Fancy free lobster dinners? …. or maybe massages? See Free Gifts
Following on from our article Cheap Inclusive Holidays we had intended to interview the management and staff at the Sandos Playacar Resort hoping this would give us an insight into the holiday market from the other side of the fence.
We are often quick to complain when things aren’t up to our expectations but at the same time we look for rock bottom prices. Just how hard is it for hoteliers to meet our expectations in the current economic climate?
Well, like most best laid plans we had a change of heart. One of the subjects on everyone’s lips here at Sandos Playacar resort, and indeed on the net, is the Sandos timeshare club. It seems to have gathered quite a bit of bad press so we thought we would investigate.
Is it or isn’t it?
So you’ve heard people talking about ‘the Sandos Timeshare Scam’ or read about it on Trip Advisor – perhaps now is the time to set the record straight.
- Yes it’s true they did have a few teething problems with response to phone calls for bookings etc. but it was early days at that time and as far as I can judge the Sandos management team are very quick to respond to potential problems or complaints.
- Yes, we were pounced on as soon as we walked through the door after a long trip and I sincerely hope this is something they will put a stop to when they realise it is one of the things that makes people talk about ‘timeshare scams’.
- Is it scam? No I don’t think so. Timeshare works for many people and if the people you buy from are reputable, I see no reason to call it a scam. Yes of course they want you to buy and will do their best to get you to buy it on the day, any salesman of any product will so why should that surprise you. I have no reason to suppose that any of what I heard from Sandos timeshare staff was anything other than the truth.
- Do they keep you hours wasting your precious holiday time? No absolutely not unless you are stupid enough to be frightened of saying no. If the product is not for you then say so. Don’t be afraid of saying you don’t really want to discuss it further. Of course, do them the courtesy of listening to what they have to offer but if you feign interest you don’t really have then it’s bound to take longer.
- Why do they want your credit card? Well this should come as no surprise. They hope you will fall in love with what they are offering and buy into it. To do that, you need your card. It NEVER leaves your person – they simply ask you to flash the logo so they know you have a card on you.
- Do they pressure you? No – again absolutely not. Yes of course if you say you can’t afford it they will find a way to show you how, if you say it’s too expensive they will show why it isn’t and so on, but at the end of the day, if it’s not for you they will thank you for your time, give you your free gifts and allow you to leave with a smile.
Here’s what happened when I decided to investigate Sandos Timeshare.
We were first approached by Patty when we booked in. I was so annoyed when she wrote out a slip ‘in case we changed our minds’ that I tore it straight up and put it in the bin. Later we had cause to talk to Erik in the middle lobby who had a much more ‘low-key’ approach.
Erik is a genuinely helpful person. Yes it’s true that part of his job is to enrol people for the presentation but he never pretended otherwise and never pressured us other than to say ‘come see me if you decide to do it and I’ll sort you out some free massages or free lobster dinners’.
Until I decided to write this article, I had no intention of going. Over the week Eric took my shoes to the cobbler when I broke my heel, found my bag when I lost it and a number of other small services.
Now the more cynical amongst you will be wondering about his motives and once more I’ll say we would be naive if we thought he wasn’t there to get us to ‘take the tour’ but NEVER was there any pressure or even talk about it. Just a couple of times he mentioned ‘if you ever want to do it, come to me’.
So week 2 of our holiday I decided to go see what Sandos Timeshare was all about. Here’s how it went:
8.15am Met by the hostess, filled out some basic info. and briefly showed my ID and credit card. I was not asked for any financial information or about anything I would consider remotely personal.
8.30 Introduced to Anan, my sexy Italian guide for the tour. We had a relaxed breakfast and chatted about something and nothing but naturally including my holiday habits.
9am Tour round the resort and beach plus the superb one and 2 bedroom apartments overlooking one of the best beaches I have ever seen. If I were to buy into anything then this would be the place for me. I love this Mexican resort and will definitely be coming back to Sandos although not through timeshare.
9.45am Sat in the bar with a drink to talk about costs and other info. I was pleasantly surprised that everything was open and above board, no hidden agenda, no heavy sales push and no animosity when I said it wasn’t for me.
So why wasn’t it for me? Well I travel several times a year, mainly last minute with some incredible deals and airline discounts. It didn’t make economic sense for me. Ok so you’re all probably wondering what happens next?
10am Anan brought in his manager who checked over what we’d discussed. She agreed that it didn’t suit my holiday lifestyle and very graciously thanked me for my time and organised our lobsters dinners.
Total time 1hr 45minutes including breakfast
Our conclusion on Sandos Timeshare?
Go get your free massages or lobster dinners. Go with an open mind and no worries about being pressured. If it’s not for you then you won’t get hassled. If you decide you like it, and trust me once you see those rooms with that ocean view you may well change your mind, then just make sure you cover all the bases before you sign on the dotted line.