Mastering The Psychology of Timeshare Presentations


Timeshare presentations have a reputation for being high-pressure events. The presenters and salespeople have a single-minded goal: to get you to sign a contract before you leave the room. They don’t want you to mull it over. They don’t want you to consult professionals like accountants or lawyers. Instead, they will almost always use pressure, exaggeration, and even a bit of guilt to motivate you to make an on-the-spot decision, one that often leads to a desire to exit the timeshare contract.

With the reputation of the timeshare industry, you might wonder why people find themselves at these presentations in the first place. How can intelligent people with free will not resist the lure of a timeshare presentation? The truth is, after many years of operation, the fractional ownership industry has developed an effective sales process that takes advantage of some powerful psychological tools. In this post, we’ll look at a few of these tactics so that you can be prepared the next time someone suggests the benefits of buying vacation ownership weeks.

Reciprocity Bias

The promise of a free gift is often at the start of the timeshare sales process. These incentives can include free meals, hotel stays, resort weekends, deep discounts, and loyalty program points. The type of gift changes as salespeople determine what works best. However, it’s not the gift that matters; it’s the sense of obligation it creates. Reciprocity bias is the idea that people are uncomfortable feeling indebted to someone else, and they will make choices that are not in their best interest in order to avoid that feeling.

People attend these meetings because they think the company is doing them a favor. Even though customers have every right to walk out of the presentation with their vacation voucher, most people will stay beyond the allotted time simply because they think they should.

The Power of Fatigue

Once you are in the presentation, the salespeople go to work. They are trained to create a sense of excitement and anticipation. They want you to feel like you’re getting a deal like nobody else, even though there will be another presentation tomorrow and the next day! Presenters tend to stretch the truth about availability and contract cancellation.

Often, the group presentation wraps up and moves to small group or one-on-one sales. This closing session can last for hours as the sales team offers new plans or perks to turn your “No” into a “Yes.” You may notice that the team members switch out, allowing them to take breaks while you feel trapped.

At a certain point fatigue sets in, and it becomes more difficult to make rational decisions. Some people end up signing up for timeshares simply because they want to get out of an uncomfortable situation.

Sunk Cost Bias

Sunk cost bias is another psychological term that comes into play at this point. This tendency is the same one that keeps people at the Blackjack table even though they’re losing money. People don’t like to lose the time or money that they’ve invested in a project. Even though it’s not in their best interest, it is difficult to cut their losses and walk away. At a certain point, people feel like they have invested in the process, and they will stay in the room to see it through because quitting and walking away feels like a loss.

Avoiding the Pressure

Avoiding the pressure of timeshare presentations requires awareness and a strong resolve. The high-pressure tactics and psychological tools used by salespeople are designed to wear down your resistance and lead you into a decision you may later regret. However, by understanding the tactics used by these companies, you can protect yourself from making hasty and ill-informed decisions.

The best way to deal with these high-pressure environments is to remember that you are under no obligation to sign anything. Saying “No” and walking away is always an option, and often the best one.

If you have been pressured into an unwanted timeshare contract, it can feel like a heavy weight. After you have researched the possibilities for legally exiting your contract, we would be happy to review your options during a free consultation.


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Written by the top Real Estate Litigators in the Timeshare Industry.