“I can never get into my own resorts on the weekends, and if I wait till the booking window opens, it’s already booked!” I have been in the timeshare industry for over 15 years, and this is one of the most common complaints I get from owners. It is also the one that causes the most frustration.
Most of you would like to just be able to pick up the phone to make a call or go online and book what you want, when you want, at the resort you like. If you have any timeshare experience, you probably realize this is unrealistic, if not impossible.
Some owners have unrealistic expectations like trying to book major holidays on short notice, but there are many times when it shouldn’t be so difficult. Keep in mind, timeshare is not perfect and definitely doesn’t work on every vacation you are going to take.
Booking on short notice is not the best way to use the timeshare, but if you do the things I teach you in this book, going on short notice Tony Avitia 68 success just depends on you, your travel habits, and what type of ownership you have. Most developers have inventory that they haven’t sold yet, but they are still responsible for the maintenance fees.
The program for using this unsold property at most resorts is called bonus time, escape time, fun time, or some other variation. It allows you to utilize your resorts without using your points or weeks. This is similar to staying at a hotel; you simply pay a cash rate directly to the property where you are staying.
This cash rate allows developers to recoup the fees they have to pay on their inventory and picks up the slack from all of the cancellations. As I mentioned earlier, timeshare resorts traditionally have a 20 to 30 percent cancellation rate. Life happens and someone might have to stay home and work, the kids might have school, a family emergency might occur, an illness, or any other number of things. Because of this cancellation rate, rental time is nearly always available, but it is on a first come, first served basis, leaving busy and last-minute travelers out of luck.
One of the other drawbacks is you can only book it so many weeks or months in advance, so it is hard to plan on such short notice for your major vacations and difficult to get in for mini trips. When you first bought your timeshare, they probably said you could just buy a small package and then stay at the resorts whenever you wanted for a small nightly fee of $39+ per night. If decent hotel rooms in that area were $100 a night, that probably seemed like a heck of a deal until you actually tried it.
You probably called up all excited because you were going to take your family away for the weekend just a couple hours away and you wanted to save your points or week for your big trip, but you called and they said it was all booked. No big deal; you will get a bigger or smaller room or try a different resort. Still no results. I understand your frustration, and you are not the only one Timeshare Simplified 69 who this has happened to. This happens to nearly every owner, no matter which developer you own with, but in many cases you have options. If you only vacation with a week or two notice and you like to stay on weekends and major holidays, timeshare is probably not your best way to travel. It is possible to do it that way, but it will probably cost you a lot of time and aggravation. It wouldn’t be good business if your resort always had rooms available, and your maintenance fees would be higher than they already are. One of the tradeoffs to staying in nice condos instead of hotel rooms is the lack of availability on short notice for weekends and holidays.
I do have a few ideas about how to accomplish this, even though it is usually hard to do. One good site to rent out timeshare rooms on short notice is www.endless-vacation-rentals.com. These rooms are typically timeshare and are usually easier to get into if you pay cash. Example: You like to go to Las Vegas on weekends, Anaheim with the kids on summer break, and Lake Tahoe in the winter for a yearly ski trip. Your developer allows Insiders tip: Book weekends and holidays even if you do not think you are going to use them. You know whether you are the type of person who likes to travel at the drop of the hat or with only one or two weeks’ notice. Also, you probably know which places you are most likely to go and during which times of the year. If you are able to book nightly reservations, you are most likely a points owner and are able to book nightly stays a certain number of days in advance.
Each developer is different but the same basic rules apply. You should never just have your points sitting in your account if you travel on short notice. Always have some type of reservation booked out in the system. Tony Avitia 70 you to book nightly stays up to six months out and the reservations center is on the west coast and opens at 7:00 a.m. You are allowed to cancel reservations fourteen days ahead with no cancellation fee of any kind. This is what you do: Every Halloween, call and book a weekend for spring break in Las Vegas. Every Christmas, book four nights in Anaheim for the summer. Every summer, book a weekend in the winter in Lake Tahoe. Set a reminder in your phone, on your day planner, or men, if you’re like me, tell your wives to cancel the booking during the appropriate cancellation window if you are not going to go. I know this requires a little work and planning, but it will make your timeshare a lot less frustrating and you will be able to take more trips. You might say, “Well, I want to take a big trip and my points are tied up.” All you have to do is cancel them all at once and change it to the full week you want. You might even decide you want to go a few weeks before or after a reservation you have.
Most resort booking systems give you first priority if you change a reservation rather than start a new one. This system is not perfect and might not get you in every single time you want, but it will increase your chances tremendously. Subconsciously, you may end up planning your trips around these reservations.
Insiders tip: Be knowledgeable on your cancellation guidelines to avoid any fees or losing any time.
Timeshare Simplified 71 Utilize the waiting list You may have tried the waiting list before and did not get any results. It is definitely not one of my favorite options, but many times it is worth a try. Ask the reservations department when you call in if they have a rating system on the wait-list .
Some resorts can tell you if you have a Level 1 (great chance of getting in), Level 2 (50 percent chance of getting in, so you might want to try something else), or Level 3 (slight chance, but very doubtful).
Most reservations departments allow you to get on multiple waiting lists up–to eight in some cases–so you can always give that a try at multiple resorts. The waiting list is definitely not the best option for getting short term reservations as many of you pros’ know, but I thought I would cover it in case there is anyone new to the industry. Stay for free on short notice without touching your points (cleaning charge will still apply)
The timeshare industry is heavily regulated, and there are many laws the developers must follow. This leads to a situation in which there are times when you can actually stay at resorts for free. Most resorts that are in popular destinations sell out fast for holiday weeks and special events, so people must book far in advance to ensure availability. Most owners in these cases just wanted to come for specific events or holidays, such as the rodeo here in Las Vegas, the Fourth of July, or New Year’s Eve. In most of these cases, the owners just wanted to book three nights, but if they had waited for the appropriate booking window, the reservation would have been gone. Instead, the owners booked the whole week just to get anything. Because of this, owners often check out early, leaving the room open for the rest of the reserved week.
According to the laws in nearly every state, the resorts are not allowed Tony Avitia 72 to charge again for those rooms, so they usually sit empty. In these cases, the empty rooms do not show up in the reservation system online or over the phone. If you can travel on a very short notice of one to three days, these “early outs” allow you to get a room without using any of your own points, credits, or weeks. When you go to book these early outs, you cannot call the reservation line or go online. Instead, call the resort where you want to stay directly. Whatever you do, do not ask the front desk person for this availability because they are trained to tell you they cannot make reservations and you must call the reservation line. It is most important that you speak with the manager or the assistant manager and ask that person if there are any early outs or whatever that particular resort calls these rooms. If they have rooms that people have used their credits for and then have checked out early and there are no other rooms, you should obtain access to that early out reservation. Aside from paying a cleaning fee (if applicable), you can stay in any size room for the remainder of the original owner’s nights at no cost to your credits. I am not 100 percent positive that this will work at every resort, but I know many people who have used this method several times and they have stayed in everything from studios to penthouses.
This especially works well on major holidays and sold out weekends for the days that follow. It is not a perfect method for those who would like more than a few days’ notice, but it is something beneficial to know for times when it is applicable.
Nightly exchange through the exchange companies The timeshare industry is evolving, and there are more and more options added to the available programs annually. One of the biggest complaints from timeshare Timeshare Simplified 73 owners regarding trading used to be the inability to utilize reservations on a nightly basis. Since this problem was commonplace throughout the industry, access to nightly stays is now available with nearly all exchange companies. The process varies from developer to developer, but all you have to do is call your reservations department and ask them how to convert your week into RCI points.
Developers such as Bluegreen allow you to trade your week into RCI and then utilize their points system for nightly stays. Other companies such as Wyndham have direct access to RCI nightly and can view RCI’s availability from their home websites.
No matter which developer you own with, all you need to do to stay nightly on exchanges is call in and figure out the process to convert your time into nightly stays with your exchange provider. Most exchange companies have their own points systems, so all you need to do in most cases is book a full week like I explained in previous chapters and deposit it in one company’s system. That company will issue you the appropriate number of points to use as you wish. There will be a prorated exchange fee you have to pay with this; however, it gives you access to many more resorts as well as longer booking windows.
Nightly trading is still in its infancy, but I suspect it will grow in a number of resorts and with additional benefits year after year. Hotel discounts offered by reservations most resort developers know it is difficult to obtain nightly reservations on short notice, so they have created affiliations to make things easier. As part of their quality customer services, many times your reservation lines will assist you to obtain rooms at hotels at prices lower than or equivalent to most online sites. This gives you the ability Tony Avitia 74 to simply call one number even if you can’t get into your own resorts using your points. Sometimes you can stay back at your own resorts by searching for rooms online.
Developers never want to pay HOA dues on their inventory, so they utilize any means necessary to dispose of vacant rooms, including renting them out on popular travel sites. If you call your resort hotline and can’t get a reservation, search online the name of that resort and you might find a site that will rent a room out to you on a cash basis. It may seem ridiculous that you can stay at your resort paying cash when you couldn’t get a reservation yourself, but that is how the system works. This is why you need to know the inside tips to take advantage of every opportunity.Exchange company websites.
Visit the sites of the exchange companies mentioned in the previous chapter to view their availability for nightly rentals. It is also possible to get on the waiting lists for nightly reservations just like whole week exchanges. Many times when you call they will not have what you want so this would be your best option since they have a 20-30% cancellation rate as well. Marketing/education packages Sometimes there is just no way to get a reservation at the resort where you would like to go, but you are desperate for a room and just have to get there. As a timeshare salesman it pains me to tell you this, and it is something I would never personally do, but it is a viable option: nearly all developers have inventory allocated for marketing and sales. These rooms are not released into inventory, but they still exist. On nearly any given day, there is a section of rooms dedicated just to marketing, and these rooms Timeshare Simplified 75 are usually no problem at all to book. You must be willing to sit through an owner update/sales presentation. Most of the time this method can get you the room you couldn’t book. You will get it at little to no charge, along with a nice gift and sometimes a great education. All you do to book one of these rooms is contact your resort’s marketing department. You will be amazed how easy it is to get your booking done and how accommodating the resorts are if there is a chance you might buy something.
First of all, the marketing representative trying to book the room for you makes in the neighborhood of $30 to $70 to just get the reservation booked for you at the time you want.
Secondly, if there are no rooms on the property, they typically have access to nice hotel rooms in the same area that usually don’t cost any extra.
The vast majority of times, if the company thinks you are going to buy something, you will get a room. I am not advocating doing this, because sales are how these agents feed their families. You wouldn’t appreciate going to work and not getting paid, and neither do these agents. You also never know; you could end up sitting at my table in the educational seminar and learning more in one hour than you have in many years of ownership, all at little cost to you.
Again, this is my least favorite option for people to use on a regular basis; however, it is a very effective one that will get you a reservation nearly any time you try it if your resort offers mini vacations for owners. When you contact the marketing department, ask them if they are offering mini trips to owner education meetings or updates at the resort where you would like to go. Instant/flex changes through exchange companies There are times when you can find absolutely nothing in your resort group at the time you would like to travel, and you only need a few days. Because of cancellations when Tony Avitia 76 trading, weeks of time become available on short notice, such as forty-five to sixty days. The exchange companies offer these weeks at a deep discount. You are probably thinking, “But I don’t want to go a full week,” and with this technique, you still won’t have to.
If you want to travel a few weeks out and your resort is full, but there is a week in RCI for a third of the credits, it’s often better to just use that week if you are planning at least three nights. Even though your reservation is for a week, it doesn’t mean you have to stay a whole week. If the reservation starts a day or two before you want to arrive, simply call the resort directly and tell them when you will be checking in. The same works when you check out. There is no day in particular to check out; it’s done whatever day you decide to leave.
You’re probably thinking, “This is good, but there still is an exchange fee.” You are right, and I will show you in subsequent chapters how to limit or eliminate fees with various different options. It might not necessarily seem the cheapest way to travel until you look up the prices for a comparable hotel in that area. In cases where you must go to a particular destination, it is definitely worth the full week when you compare it to four or five-star hotel room prices.
Many of my owners have gotten really nice places for a weekend, such as the Four Seasons in Carlsbad, on these instant exchanges. This technique can land you some great properties you didn’t even know existed. You will also be staying in condos instead of hotel rooms, so there is more room and usually a kitchen, which can offset some of your costs.
Book/search for reservations at the exact time the phone center opens. At most resorts, cancellations come in throughout the day and they are not processed or put back into the reservation systems until the end of the workday. This means if you call early in the morning, the likelihood of getting what you want is greater because you will have first access to any Timeshare Simplified 77 cancellations.
It is also a great idea to speak with one of the reservation operators to find out the best time to book rooms, since every developer is different. Internet booking, when available, is usually open for reservations before the phone room, so find out from your company’s department what time you can book online to get cancellations when they first become available.
Make friends with the manager at your favorite resorts. Resort managers meet lots of people on a yearly basis and they usually don’t remember everyone. On one of your trips, buy the manager a nice bottle of alcohol or some kind of food and you will make a friend for life. The resort managers usually get the reservations as soon as they come in, and if they don’t need them, they release the inventory to the general pool. Just call the resort directly, ask for the manager who is your friend, and remind that person that you’re the cookie guy, or the bottle of wine, Bailey’s, cake, etc. guy. You can ask your new friend for the favor of getting you a room when you need it.
This is not something you can abuse or use all of the time, but it is very effective and works on many occasions. My wife’s cookies have done tremendous things for us in the past. If you give people something and they cannot return the favor immediately, they are often more than happy to return the favor when possible.
Booking the hardest reservations in the world is as easy as a mouse click for the resort managers, and 99 percent of the time there is a hidden room or two at every resort.
Conclusion I know it can seem overwhelming or like too much work, but the best things in life come with a little effort. You will not use all of these techniques all of the time, but it is good to know you have options available to you. A mechanic Tony Avitia 78 doesn’t always use all of his tools, but it is good to have them all, anyway. Like I said, timeshare is not perfect for every situation, but if you are a little flexible and willing to do a bit of work and planning, you can take some truly amazing vacations as well as save some serious cash.