Monday, October 31, 2011

TT Resorts, We Joined!

While we were in Florida last winter I had my education in the ins and outs of their organization and, a long story short, we are now members of TT at their Platinum Level.   The level is very important, as I will show later.

Our first experience with them (TT), was really when we bought our first new RV from Lazydays in FL.

If you don't already know about them, well, they are the largest single RV/Camper sales site in the country.  If you go to their web site , they typically boast of an inventory of New/Used units in the range of 1000 to 1300, at any time.  They participate (host?) the annual area RV show, and it is a good thing to go to, considering the size and number of vendors and new units being shown.

Anyway, We bought a new RV from them, and as we were (very efficiently) run through their sales process, on of the stops is a 5-minute stop with 2 TT reps, who tell you about the details of the "free membership in TT".  During the interview, they tell you of the $9000+ savings if you sign the papers right then, and take advantage of free 90-day use of any TT site you want to go to, after your 4-day/3-night demo visit to Orlando that is "just up the road".

When you actually read the fine print, you will find out that; 1-the membership is only a (basic) membership for your choice of the East or West TT sites. [And when I think back to the sales pitch I did hear all of these words in one form or another, I just did not hear the details explained .  Also, as a "Basic" membership, you have limits like; a maximum of 7-days at a site, with a following mandatory "out of their system" for 7-days before you can camp with TT again, and then only at the East or West sites that you selected.

When you do go over for your 4day/3night stay at Orlando, you check in with the sales people first, before you can actually check in to the CG.  You start to know something is up, when the sales people see your green TT folder from Lazydays, and they all smile and tell you that YOU will be handled by Blank-Blank the special sales guy for Lazydays people. You sit for a few minutes and HE shows up and smilingly ask you when you want to meet with him and after you decide that day/time, he helps you pick a site, and you go on to your site and set up.

At this point, either you are a very smart guy who has just agreed to listen to a sales person for an hour, with no intention to buy anything, and stay free at a really nice campground.  Or, you are seriously interested, and finally you meet for his pitch.

The meeting will be probably the best hard-sell 60-minutes you will ever go through. He will take your folder, set it aside, break out a pad of paper and start asking about 5-minutes of in-depth questions about you, your spouse, where you live, what you do, what your camping history is, what type of unit you have, some estimate of your earnings, etc, etc, etc.

Then he starts his pitch with this info, and starts writing down numbers on the pad.  After the first number (assuming you don't just pay the top price and you are in there asking hard questions, and asking for more information on other options) he will start another column (or more) until he has a starting price for all of your options, and then starts the real hard sell, using statements like; These prices are only good for today, I can't go any lower without talking to my boss, Sorry, that is not available anymore.  These are actual statements I heard.

Well, to make a long story short, we walked out.  I get really queasy when I sit through such a hard sell, and start to fel suspicious, and the sales guy really lost me with the "Food for Today Only" part of his pitch.  I ran!

I went back to my campsite and started canvasing my fellow campers and ran across several that were members of TT, and spent the next week grilling them un-mercifully.  Here is what I learned:

  • First, you need to know that there is a TT annual fee in the range of $500-$600 you must pay, regardless of your membership level.
  • Second there is a pretty good turn in existing memberships, if for no other reason than members get older and die.
  • TT allows the resale and transfer of memberships FOR A FEE!
  • There are several web sites where you can post your membersjip for sale.
  • There are several good brokers who will handle the re-sale of existing memberships, at prices that are a lot lower then the original TT pricing, even with the TT fee they charge for approving the transfer.
It turns out one of the  biggest brokers for RV Resort club memberships was located nearby, and I made a visit.

The process was smooth, the cost was very low, and I ended up with a membership, that has paid for the annual fee for this year already, and will next year also, if we travel as planned.