“You have just won a FREE 4 days 3 night package for two including 2 children from Crown Regency Hotel.“, the caller congratulated me. I know there is always a catch to freebies. They got my name from a “raffle stub” that I dropped at the Fil-Negosyo Expo 2006. The lady sounded a bit defensive “There is no catch. The gift certificate is valid for 6 months and you have the choice of staying in our Mactan or Davao Hotel. All you need to bring is a valid ID. You don’t even have to bring cash, credit card or a checkbook“. Something about the “too-good-to-be-true” call piqued my curiosity. This must be a new marketing gimmick which I needed to experience. When I relayed the news to my husband, he immediately thought of a time sharing scheme. When we arrived at the reception area, we found out that we could only get the gift certificate after listening to a 90 minute audio visual presentation. I couldn’t imagine why it would take that long to view the hotel features.
So the catch is this. No, it’s not time sharing. It’s a club membership of sorts. The guy introduces the concept of a dream vacation and the expenses it entails. But with an investment on a lifetime Club Ultima membership, your vacation expenses are not lost forever. One can avail of discounted hotel rates around the world including the Philippines. Their partnership with Interval International is very appealing.
Interval International is celebrating its 30th year leading the vacation ownership industry as the exchange company of quality and innovation. Interval has a global network of more than 2,000 affiliated resorts in over 75 countries, and serves its developer clients and nearly 1.8 million member families, worldwide vacation owners, through 28 offices in 19 countries. The company provides a variety of exchange services and year-round travel-related benefits to enhance members’ vacation experiences.
The concept of [tag]vacation ownership[/tag] is really great. Among other benefits, the Individual A membership comes with a 7 day stay for $138 in any member-hotel in the world for 4 adults and 2 children, a 15-20% discount on plane fare etcetera. Here goes the catch, for the Individual A membership it’s 210,000 pesos ($3,900) for lifetime use and one can get all the benefits right away after downpayment. They will even give you terms for the 30% downpayment and 2 year terms for the balance.
Here goes the catch: The above price for the membership is valid only today as IN that afternoon. Whoa, hold on. This is something that has to be discussed and thought of. We’re not buying apples and oranges. We have financial goals. Here are my thoughts:
Why are they pressuring us nicely to “impulse buy”? Vacations are not the highest priority in our list as of the moment.
Is this company reliable? Club Ultima has been in business for almost 3 years. It would have been great to hear of testimonials from existing members although they claim to have 3800 family members already. So maybe the owner, Mr. King is known as the Motel King magnate in Cebu before he ventured into five star standards hotel. In fact, they nearly bought one of our properties in Cebu but backed out when they saw 4 family members died. He’s definitely liquid.
Anyway, so now we know why it took 90 minutes to get our free gift certificate. Sales Talk was the agenda. That was a good one. Instead of spending millions of pesos on billboard or glossy magazine ads or brochures, a personal “talking brochure” yielded positive results in membership.
We got our gift certificate alright. But we have to pay 4,000 pesos ($75.00) booking fee a week before we check in either to their Mactan or Davao hotel. And air plan fares are not cheap. I know we need to take a break now and then but a vacation in the Philippines and outside of Luzon Islands is not affordable. It’s even cheaper to take vacation packages to Thailand, Hongkong and other Asian cities. Oh well, maybe we might buy a Club Ultima membership once the Makati hotel rises up in Arnaiz Avenue. In the meantime, our vacation in Europe is just a dream within the next 5 years.