Nov. 14, 2009 – High season is just around the corner in Mexico and in spite of the economic downturn and negative press about violence and flu there are timeshare companies still moving doggedly along with sales and expansion. The most active sales decks are still in Cancun/Mayan Riviera, Cabo and Vallarta, but there are some venues you might not have thought of. I’ll give you an idea about those at the bottom of this post.
I already did an update on the Mayan Palace Resorts, but there’s a little more to add. First of all, I ran across a mention of a class action lawsuit filed in California against the company back in March 2008 accusing El Grupo Mayan Palace of bilking U.S. citizens of “hundreds of millions of dollars” in Mayan Resorts timeshares, using “high-pressure fraudulent sales tactics that are comparable to the worst tactics ever employed by used car salesmen in a Hollywood movie.”
The complaint states that the “defendants earn hundreds of millions each year from such sales by systematically misrepresenting in sales presentations and documents the value of the timeshares they are selling. Defendants as part of their scheme also have misled Plaintiffs as to their rights under Mexican law.”
Here are the defendants: Desarollo Marina Vallarta SA de CV, El Grupo Mayan Palace, Daniel Chavez Moran, Daniel Omar Chavez, Scott Erikson, Casey Jon Owens, Canamere Inc., Huffsmith-Kohrville Inc., Preferred Vacations Inc., Premium Travel Services Inc., Resort Solutions Inc., Seven Oceans US Inc., AZM Marketing LLC, Resort Quality Controls Inc., Resort Condominiums International LLC, and Resorts International Marketing Corp.
Here is the link. I haven’t been able to find out the status of the lawsuit so I can’t report whether or not it’s still an active case or not. Does anyone out there know?
Second up with Mayan, the parent company Grupo Vidanta recently inaugurated its new airport in Puerto Penasco and all the important people were there, including Mexico’s President. Here are the money quotes about that:
Located 20 miles southwest of the city of Puerto Peñasco and approximately 60 miles from the U.S. border, the new airport is being built and will be operated by Operadora Aeroportuaria Golfo de Cortes, S.E. de C.V., a Grupo Vidanta company, which also built and operates the Mayan Palace in the destination and has developed tourism and resorts throughout Mexico. The airport code is PPE.
Commercial service will begin in November with fully functional airport and runway facilities and a modern, bright provisional terminal building, with completion of the entire airport project, including new terminal facilities, expected by 2012. Negotiations are currently underway for charter service from gateways in Canada and the U.S. as well as regional scheduled service from Phoenix, Arizona and Hermosillo, Mexico with such carriers as Aeromexico and US Airways. In the near future, additional scheduled and charter service is expected to provide access to Puerto Penasco from all over the world via major hubs such as Houston, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
…As one of Latin America’s largest developers of luxury resorts and tourism facilities and infrastructure, Grupo Vidanta has 30,000 acres and seven miles of beachfront property to develop in Puerto Peñasco. The luxury vacation mega-plex planned by Grupo Vidanta is equivalent to approximately twice the area of Manhattan island; interconnecting 10,000 luxury vacation homes and 7,000 high-end hotel rooms from estuaries to ocean, by a system of canals to retail, entertainment and beach club centers throughout the complex. The company’s Mayan Palace Resort and Peninsula Golf, a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, are already in operation, with two additional golf courses – by Nicklaus and Greg Norman – as well as other resorts, including The Grand Mayan, The Grand Bliss and Ocean Breeze are under construction. All facilities are expected to be completed in the next five years.
My sources tell me they’re actively selling in Puerto Penasco and that in fact right now they’re the only timeshare game in town since ILX Resorts pulled out of town last year and no building is going on with their project. Remember ILX is working its way through bankruptcy right now. My sources also tell me that Puerto Penasco has seen a serious drop in tourism, so who Mayan is selling to there (besides inhouse) is a question I can’t answer but their OPCs own the streets.
Moving on, The Villa Group is continuing construction in Baja Sur at the Villa del Palmar Loreto, though it got pretty soggy there earlier this year when a hurricane blew through. This is the only active timeshare project in town that I know of (not sure about La Mision Loreto), and tourism has been spotty in Loreto, too, but Villa Group has a lock on the new airport terminal for OPCs and their marketing on the streets has been pretty aggressive too so it might be OK. But if you’re looking to sell their product you’ll probably be better off selling it from one of Villa Group’s other sales decks. They’ve got several, just look around in the Interval International catalog and make your choice.
Also still active in all their locations is Palace Resorts, Sol Melia, Pueblo Bonita, Welk Resorts (in Cabo), El Cid Resorts and the Royal Resorts.
Most of these resorts don’t advertise much, you have to go to the area of your choice and walk in, talk the talk, etc., and in most places you need to be a 20 percenter or more if you want to keep your job.
Something you might not have thought of: several sold out resorts throughout Mexico have reached the end of their RTU period and have inventory to resell, but they aren’t affiliated with any of the brands. At some independent resorts, such as the Inn at Mazatlan, some johnny-on-the-spots are setting up lucrative little “resale” rooms with small sales staffs working inhouse programs. There is money to be made there, less pressure than the big lines and if you’re a go getter you might be able to cut your own deal to set up your own deck inside a resort whose RTU has expired. It’s worth looking into if you’re tired of the rat race and like talking to punters who are already familiar with the product.
That’s all the hot stuff for today’s morning break. If you have any questions or insights email [email protected]