Timeshare Sales and the OPC
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Dennis, MA, like other popular timeshare vacation areas, is looking for ways to balance timeshare sales opportunities with the peace and privacy of those who pay to vacation there.
In the beachside community of Dennis, Massachusetts there have been recent discussions about “timeshare OPC’s”. Dennis is not the first community with concerns about where and how timeshare OPC’s operate.
In the timeshare industry, the person who sets up timeshare sales presentation appointments by connecting with prospective timeshare buyers in public venues is generally known as an OPC. The initials stand for off-premises contact or outside public contact depending upon whom you ask. This person may be an employee of the timeshare company or may be either a temporary or a contract employee of the company. They deal in sales of new timeshare only, not timeshare resales or timeshare rentals.
OPC’s frequently operate from a hotel desk or hotel lobby, or from a kiosk in a high traffic tourist area. An OPC rarely offers mini vacations or reduced rate vacations, but will more likely be recruiting you to attend a sales presentation, either at the timeshare resort or at a nearby location in return for a gift. As a ‘thank you’ for your time, you typically will be offered something of value, such as restaurant passes, tickets to shows or theme parks, or occasionally merchandise like luggage or small electronics. The Timeshare Authority reported recently on a move by Bluegreen timeshares to hand out prepaid credit cards (in conjunction with Maverick Network Solutions), to people attending some Bluegreen timeshare sales presentations.
But Dennis, like many communities, is concerned about where people are approached by the OPC trying to sell Massachusetts timeshare. For example, you cannot approach someone on the beach or while he or she is in a car … such timeshare sales solicitation violates a Dennis town bylaw.
Accorded to Wicked Local Dennis, which reports on news from a number of Massachusetts communities, Dennis Police Capt. Bill Monahan says, “They (OPC’s) drive around the Sea Street Beach and Glendon Road Beach parking lots, approaching or stopping cars and trying to persuade people to go to timeshares …”
Dennis city officials theorize that since the fine is only $50, many of the solicitors don’t mind paying it. If a case goes to court, the fine can be as much as $300. But because the person solicited has to be willing to testify in court, many people don’t wish to take the time off from their jobs to appear in court or, as visitors from out of town, won’t travel back to Dennis for a court date.
The Timeshare Sales OPC and a Solution that Works for Everyone
Certainly in this job-tight economy, no community wants to prevent a hardworking timeshare sales person from working. Nor do they want the tourists, who feed the revenue base of their communities, feeling annoyed or pressed by enthusiastic timeshare sales representatives.
The popular timeshare vacation destination of Gatlinburg, TN. has tried an interesting solution. They provide visitors with free lapel buttons that say “No thanks” as a way for them to signal OPCs that they do not want to be approached. (see: The Timeshare Authority Thanks, But “No Thanks” to Timeshare OPC’s, March 20, 2007.)
Many happy timeshare buyers made their purchase during a vacation after being approached by a timeshare sales OPC. As a marketing tool, timeshare companies have successfully used this method for many years. Like any other aspects of business, this sales tactic may have to be rethought over time to best serve the needs of prospective timeshare buyers and to better serve the changing needs of timeshare developers. In the end, the goal must always be to achieve a win-win-win for communities, consumers, and timeshare sales people.