Tuesday, July 10

Mystery Shopping a Time Share Resort

Perhaps one of the most valuable mystery shops you can do is the time share.  There are different scenarios ranging from full resort stay vacations to "day drive" shops.  Yesterday I completed my very first time share mystery shop.  Since my assignment was a "day drive" I will report on that scenario.

The day drive shop is the most basic one and is given to first time shoppers.  I should note that the company who assigned me the shop normally requires experienced shoppers, so even this basic shop is available only to seasoned mystery shoppers.

The day drive shop is easy.  I was given a list of locations in the Orlando area where retail kiosks were located.  I had to visit any kiosk and express interest in a time share.  This wasn't part of the mystery shop but rather was how I get access to a presentation.  I had to answer just a few qualifying questions about my income and finances and make a $20 deposit, which would be refunded after the presentation.  That part was kind of weird but it was intended to weed out people who weren't actually going to attend.  Why would someone pay to listen to a sales pitch?  Because these kiosks are set up to look like they are offering free or discounted tickets to theme parks.  Sit through a sales pitch and maybe get free tickets to Disney.  Since I wasn't interested in theme park tickets I asked if there were other carrots they could dangle and was offered a $75 American Express gift card in exchange for sitting through the two hour presentation.

I was required to covertly record the presentation.  This wasn't too difficult but I was nervous that something would go wrong with my equipment.  Fortunately my worries were unfounded.  The presentation itself was relatively painless.  I was given a tour of the resort, watched a Powerpoint presentation and met with a salesperson.. and her manager... and some other guy.  My assignment was to express interest until I found out the price, at which point I could end the shop.  The purpose of the shop is to ensure the sales staff are complying with the law in regards to time shares.  There are certain promises they can't make and disclosures they have to provide.

The best part about the shop is the compensation.  I was provided a $102 travel allowance, $200 hotel allowance, $50 shop fee and received a $75 gift card that I got to keep.  Since I wanted to be in the area anyway, this was a lucrative way to subsidize my trip.  In total I received over $400 for little more than three hours of my time.

One last thing.  This shop was different than most I do.  Yes, there was a report.  But, it was quick and easy.  Since the company provided me the recording equipment, I simply mailed back the materials in a prepaid envelope.  The report took about 20-30 minutes.

4 comments:

  1. Very nice. Are there mystery shops that are only available to more experienced shoppers? Or is what you see on their websites all that is available?

    Hope you enjoyed your time in Orlando.

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    Replies
    1. Pat,
      There is some work that only preferred or more experienced shoppers see. One company has a short list they provide their account executives (sales reps). When the rep is pitching to a prospective client, they will often provide a sample shop. I've done some of those and the pay is usually much more generous. There isn't a lot of that kind of work - I might get 3-4 jobs a year that aren't posted for everyone to see.

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  2. Hi -

    I've been a mystery shopper for 3 years now. I've completed many restaurant mystery shops locally, theater checks, retail, and I've even taken a couple of trips with them, but I've not yet found the time share or resort companies. Any suggestions on where to find them?

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