Timeshare tours have something of a reputation in the industry - and it's not always a good one. Pushy salespeople and underhanded tactics are the expectation, but timeshare tours don't have to be a cringe-inducing nightmare; they can also be a fantastic learning experience, and a way to get a feel for the resort before taking the plunge.
Most timeshare tours tend to be pretty straightforward, and run anywhere from seventy minutes to about two hours. After being tempted in by perks and gifts, you'll likely sit through a small presentation that may or may not include other participants. You'll learn a bit about the company, the resorts and how their ownership operates. Many times, this part is made to be as comfortable as possible - snacks and drinks might be set out, and the atmosphere is very informal. Informational packets, books and pamphlets are typically distributed.
The tour itself is very much the "hook". Participants are led around the property and shown the highlights, as well as model units that mimic the resort's available units. Two bedroom units tend to be the standard - a single two bedroom lock-off unit can also used to paint a picture of a standard studio unit as well as a one bedroom unit. You are usually free to wander about and get a feel for the unit.
There's one final step to the standard tour as participants are led from the model units back to the presentation room. This is where timeshare tours tend to get their bad rap. While many of the larger and well-regarded resort developers are gentler in their approach, smaller resorts might get very pushy in trying to hook buyers. Of course, the guides can't make you purchase anything, and this it the point where participants will want to ask any questions they might have before making a retreat. A polite but firm explanation can go a long way - you'll think about it after your vacation or perhaps you need to discuss it with your family. Any refusal will likely be met with resistance, but you need to stick to your guns.
If you're not aware of how the timeshare industry operates, it's easy to get caught up in the hype of the tours. After all, the tour guide explains, this single purchase can change how you vacation, and you'll be able to visit resort all around the world! Before taking the plunge and signing those papers, be sure to do your own research. Timeshare resales can often be purchased at a mere fraction of the price, and owners are inclined to be much more honest about what the ownership entails. Some ownership programs, however, do offer extra perks and incentives for those who purchase directly from them, and it's certainly worth researching these to see if they're worth the premium for your family.