What exactly happens at a timeshare presentation by the Villa Group in Loreto?
We’ve all seen, and complained at times, the peddlers at the cozy Loreto airport wooing arriving gringos, promising all kinds of freebies. Free breakfast. Free souvenirs. And, of course, free tequila. All you need to do, they say, is hop on a bus at a pre-arranged time, and be whisked away to a special “presentation”.
All of us know instinctively there is some kind of pressure cooker sales process involved. In this case it’s a new condo development south of Loreto.
Loni mentioned earlier in a post, that we took one for the team. So what happened?
As we strolled downtown Loreto, taking in the colors, the shops, the overall sleepiness, and as usual scoping out new places to eat or snack, a “tourist information” official approached us. I think it took us less time than a Loreto mosquito identifying it’s next victim, to realize, ok here we go, timeshare hustle!
This was a new location for the sales people to hang out though. Typically we’d see them across from Cafe Ole (close to the Villa Group sales office) or, as mentioned, at the airport. They caught us on Salvatierra after a light lunch down the street at La Cascada.
They were most gentlemanly this time, unlike the often hyper aggressive guys we’ve encountered annoying visitors. After all, these were “tourist information” officials, not commission-hungry reps.
So we entertained these 3 fine Villa Group chaps, seated at their table, map of Loreto behind, and important paperwork in front. We were interested to know more about the new development. Pricing? Location? Floor plans? Time frames? All the usual things we like to dig into when evaluating real estate.
The lines were the same: a lot of free stuff for an hour of your time.
When it seemed like we were going to walk away, out came the sweeteners. Tequila! Luxury spa!
No obligation. Just sign here for one of the presentations which is offered “every hour” for a group of people. Translation: we have a sales person hungry to talk just to you.
We agreed on a time to be picked up at the Inn at Loreto Bay. 9:30. They would arrive. Drive us to Hotel Posada de las Flores for a sunny rooftop breakfast, followed by a presentation at the sales center across the street.
Just before 9:30, Loni and I headed curbside to the roundabout at the Inn at Loreto Bay. We were greeted on time by a standard taxi. We were the only two. We hopped in. The taxi proceeded to the Paseo, where a second van, with Villa Group logo and sales person in tow, followed us to Loreto.
This Bourne Ultimatum like arrangement must be a workaround for the ban the Inn has on Villa Group entering it’s grounds.
So we have two vans headed North to Loreto. A/C blasting fine. Stomachs anticipating the breakfast ahead.
We were dropped at the steps of the Flores Hotel. There we were greeted by a hostess seated at what appeared to be a makeshift table, again with lots of paperwork. She was to sign us in. We needed to show a credit card while covering all the digits for privacy save for the last 4. Sign more paperwork. Take receipts.
We meet our sales person, a pleasant enough woman who will escort us upstairs and join us for breakfast.
It turns out she lives in Loreto Bay, renting a Casa Chica. She speaks well of the development, but occasionally emphasizes the flexibility of a time share arrangement.
Another gorgeous, sunny day in Loreto. The sun streams across the rooftop, and I’m thankful that Loni again made me slather sunscreen all over myself. SPF 55.
The buffet style breakfast is very good. Nice European and Continental selections. I splurge. Two pastry, sugar-encrusted, twisted something-or-anothers. Something like a donut, muffin and cake combined to look like legitimate breakfast food. With Loni’s low-fat Fruit & Yogurt special a distant memory in San Jose, these pair wonderfully with the decent drip coffee.
Conversation with our sales person is going fine. She worked at Villa Group in other locations such as Cabo San Lucas. While we are talking she is taking notes, filling a form. Lead qualification continues.
We discover some math about the cost related to our lifetime vacationing habits. Hotels, airfare, meals, entertainment. It all adds up. Our long weekend drives up to Bodega Bay are looking like a real steal.
Now we’re seated in the small, wooden office of Villa Group. Breakfast was good, actually very good. We’re comfortable and on track. No surprises.
Photos of the upcoming resort, Villa del Palmar Loreto, line the walls. We’re offered sodas and water.
We learn about the development, the location, and the success of the developer. A draft term sheet sits in front of the rep and she attempts a close at seemingly predetermined points in the process.
The key highlights:
- Timeshare condos are the only offering at this point, to be completed in 2009 (?)
- Fully owned units may be offered in 2010
- 1 bedroom condo for 1 week/yr, about $30,000
- Special promotion if you sign, an extra week included, price also drops to about $25,000
- You can choose floating or fixed dates, the latter more expensive
- There are two seasons: winter (peak) and non-winter
- HOA for 1 bd about $750, 2 bd $800s per month
- You can use the Villa Group swap program for properties in the network, across the world
The floor plans were nice, if not typical, with a lock-off option for the 2-bedroom providing rental flexibility.
Then it came time: are we interested? Now’s the time to buy! Sign here. We didn’t. And explained we preferred full ownership. At this point, the sales person called in her superior. A gregarious man walks in, firmly shakes are hands, and makes small talk. Then asked if we would buy if the price were $5,000. Really?! Wow. Well not really… a standard sales technique to discover if price is the real objection. We danced a little, all in professional manner.
When it was done, we shook hands, and parted ways with the information, thanking them for their time and vice-versa.
Villa Group delivered on their promises.
We never felt like they were wasting our time, considering we obliged to the process and were legitimately interested in what they had to tell us. The sales tactics were not overly aggressive or beyond standard real estate practices that we’ve seen many times over.
They provided all the information and answered all of our questions.
In the end, though, for us, a timeshare is not the right fit.
However, if you are interested in timeshares, I think the Villa Group is worth at least checking out. They do have a successful network of properties in Baja. You will be treated fairly through the pre-sales process, although we can’t vouch for actual purchase experience. Perhaps we’ll hear from folks over time that have purchased.