We Stayed at a waterfront RV Resort for FREE! But what did it really cost us?
Recently, Brian and I stayed at a beautiful RV Resort on the Colorado River for FREE. The price for a 4 night stay at this resort and all its amenities was 90 minutes of our time attending a resort membership presentation - also called a "resort tour". Sort of like a timeshare presentation. We were excited to stay at this park given its waterfront proximity on the Colorado River and had heard a lot about the exciting amenities. In fact, my parents stayed here several years before us and loved it! The cherry on top was that our contact in the promotions and marketing department verbally promised us a waterfront spot along with several other free gifts in exchange for our time. How could we go wrong?!
After driving 3.5 hours from Las Vegas, we finally arrived at registration with eager anticipation of getting to our waterfront site. We could see the Colorado River and it looked awesome! Now...I'm sure you can guess what happened! That's right...no waterfront sites available to us. So, we did what most would do and contacted the person who set us up for the "resort tour". Our first red flag was being told no waterfront sites are available and the second was being shuffled around to several individuals other than our own contact person. Basically, we were called "liars" in a politically correct way. 🙁 Since it was 3:00 in the afternoon, we decide to press on and fulfill our obligation. A park guide in a golf cart greeted us and guided us to our spot which had a wonderful waterfront view from the next row back. Great consolation prize!. The sites in this park are large, lined with palm trees and each has its own wooden picnic table. The amenities were great!! Two pools with three jacuzzis, putt putt golf, tiki bar & grill, clubhouse, two dog runs, activities, two laundry houses, bathhouses and beautiful beach access. We were ready to forget the frustration we'd experienced at the beginning of this adventure!
We were given a couple of days to settle in and enjoy the park and the BEACH before our "resort tour". And that we did! The temps were in the high 70's with a breeze, so it made for a wonderful spring day on the beach. This park is very large so we took the opportunity to walk the dogs up and down the park to get the lay of the land. The Tiki Bar was having a lunch special on Taco Tuesday, so we definitely took advantage of it along with $3.00 beers!
Our 90-minute "resort tour" was scheduled for the next morning and we arrived with many questions, along with a genuine interest in learning more about California River Adventures, Coast to Coast & RPI memberships. Several couples were in the waiting room along with us, and the sales office was decorated in cute RV memorabilia and travel posters. Definitely intended to set the mood! Our salesperson greeted us in the waiting room and took us back to her office space and began laying out brochures and information.
For the next two hours (that's right, not 90 minutes as promised), we listened to our salesperson who was tremendously disorganized, nervous and spoke at a volume you'd expect at a rock concert or construction site with jackhammers. Yikes! While there was no resort tour given (as our registration letter described), we were instead shown charts, brochures, pictures and maps with numerous lucky charm symbols. We were utterly confused and even after asking clarifying questions, had no idea how to make sense of what this salesperson had shared for the last two hours. When she presented a price for membership (IT WAS A LOT OF MONEY!), our answer was a resounding "No, thank you" and we thanked her for her time. She quickly stood up and was ready to escort us to the exit. But wait.... where are the free gifts mentioned in our registration letter??? Her response "I don't know, you'll have to call the marketing office, I need to get to my next clients". Wait...WHAT???!
Out came red flag number three! To make a long story short, our salesperson wasn't willing to honor the free gifts in our letter because of an error in the coding on HER paperwork. Luckily, the receptionist at the front desk was more concerned about doing the right thing and honored our letter. While we didn't expect the "resort tour" to be high-pressure, we did expect it to be professional, honest and informative. It missed on all points, which is really unfortunate.
Now to sum this all up....First of all, we really enjoyed our stay at the park and appreciate CRA for providing us with the 4 free nights in such a wonderful second row spot. The park staff were very friendly. The park was fantastic and the amenities were great. We especially enjoyed the onsite tiki bar and grill and the sunsets over the beach. The red flags, while they didn't impact our stay, were enough that we wouldn't consider a membership with this organization. The sales & marketing staff just weren't truthful or professional with us to the extent we would expect. The company's asking for a lot of money for their membership and in doing so, need to refine their practices.
The verdict: We LOVED the park and enjoyed our stay!! It cost us 2 hours of our time and some frustration with how we were treated by sales & marketing, and because of that, WE would not purchase a membership. And if you are considering a "resort tour" here and they promise you a waterfront site, get it in writing!
Have you ever stayed at a resort to attend a membership "resort tour"? How did it go? Would you recommend this process to others?
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