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Holiday Club Parasites

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Having just come back from a whirlwind six day Qld park blitz I have to raise an issue of disappointment on behalf of the triple park management. Movie World and SeaWorld in their ultimate wisdom allowing the con men of Holiday Club pestering patrons at the aforementioned parks. I find it terribly disappointing to have these so called commission sales people who you would normally find at the bottom of the escalators outside Woolwoorths in Cavel Ave annoying all who pass by with their dumb scratchy promotion offering super prizes if you just attend a 90 minute sales meeting about their time share junk.

Given that at both Parks everything comes with a price tag and we all tolerate this as we are there to hopefully have an exciting fun time, to be assaulted by these parasites is a little annoying. Given that in one day at movie world I was accosted three times. Upon raising my concerns with the parks customer services I was informed that this was a corporate decision and out of there control.

I am not sure if others feel this way about having third party spruikers annoy the crap out of you when you are trying to have a fun family time.

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Given that at both Parks everything comes with a price tag and we all tolerate this as we are there to hopefully have an exciting fun time, to be assaulted by these parasites is a little annoying.

But that's just it, isn't it? Everything at the park comes with a price - and these guys holding prime position in a tourist hot spot would be paying handsomely for the privilege.

It's either a revenue stream (like the dog-tag machines and skill games), or VRTP is getting 'in kind benefits' from the company promoting it. Make them go away and something else has gotta give - less money in the pot, or (in the case of in kind benefits) more money spent from the pot to pay for the things they got for free.

I've seen these Jokers at MW and SW. I would hazard a guess at SW's location (apart from it being convenient) being the bottleneck everyone hates so much forcing patrons to walk past them. In MW it's less prominent out near Wild West - however both locations have an assortment of barrels or benches, with the staff spruiking the product behind or beside.

As far as i've ever seen, these guys don't leave their bench, or if they do, they're only allowed perhaps a metre away from it. I'm sure someone with a little more knowledge of VRTP could shed more light on it, but I don't take people seriously if they claim to have been 'accosted' by these staff... especially 3 times in one park in one day.

Fact of the matter is that if you don't wish to be troubled by them, you stay on the opposite side of the path, and simply ignore their attempts to engage you. It seems rough to ignore them, but if you engage with them, they'll rope you in - they're trained to do it.

I spent part of my honeymoon in a time-share type accommodation provided by a family member who has shares in the program. They specifically warned me about 'free breakfasts' offered at the resort, and simply advised us to 'politely refuse'. We stayed there for a week, and were asked on check-in, again 2 days later when we requested local info at the reception desk, and a further 2 times by telephone (the phone always rang within 60 seconds of us returning to our room so they were able to tell when we were there).

It's important to realise that it isn't a scam. Sure, the sales pitch isn't as upfront, but they invest a lot of money into those seminars. They usually provide a night's free accommodation, food, and sometimes credit at a local restaurant, venue or event. The cost price of that reward may not be much, but it depends on how highly you value it. 90 minutes of your time for a free night in surfer's paradise? If you had nothing better to do - why not?

It's a bit like entering a competition to win a car, and then receiving spam for six months - you don't get something for nothing - theres always a catch.

The program has it's benefits - but yes, those sales people are as annoying as hell. I can't speak personally for the guys in our parks, but others i've seen work on a commission basis purely of how many people they can sign up to attend.

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Fact of the matter is that if you don't wish to be troubled by them, you stay on the opposite side of the path, and simply ignore their attempts to engage you.

But that's ultimately the problem isn't it. I have no issue with parks upselling, implementing upcharge attractions, dog tag machines, whatever - but when you are hounded by timeshare people it's annoying. I don't want to be approached by them in a theme park. I don't want to have to purposely avoid particular areas. Shopping centres or other "public" spaces are more semi-acceptable environments. I think this is a prime example of VRTP selling out; sacrificing guest satisfaction for revenue. When you're in an industry of making people happy I don't think it's a wise business decision.

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I would debate anyone who says they were harassed. They cannot move more than 2 metres from their allocated positioning. They can't physically come up to you. It's a sale pitch by sales people. If you respond, that's your choice. To call them parasites is a bit rich. They are people doing a job they are paid to do. Just because u don't like their profession doesn't mean you should demean them. There is no scam involved, and the parks are paid handsomely. I didn't see anyone complaining when Ford were at MW and asking everyone to come test drive the cars. U had to give them your details & then get calls trying to get a purchase out of u. Same process, different product.

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Handing out scratchies that imply you've won big prizes when you in fact haven't is a fundamentally misleading sales tactic. It's an industry that relies on bait-and-switches, high pressure selling and fine print to make a profit and is one rung above pyramid schemes in terms of legitimacy.

I know a few folks who do well out of the freebies on offer in exchange for sitting through seminars with no intention of ever signing up, and also a few who have signed up for these sorts of programmes and get their money's worth. But no one could defend this industry as entirely honest, nor could you say their presence in theme parks is a good thing.

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It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a fact of being in the tourism industry that you're going to partner up with other tourism style operations for mutual benefit.

The parks will most definitely profit handsomely for allowing this group a very restricted floorspace within the park - probably moreso than dogtag machines which might bring in money, but only if they're used.

Disney does the same thing in their parks - pushing the Disney Vacation Club. Some of the other chains like SeaWorldBusch also have these kinds of folk in them.

Point is - nothing they're doing is illegal, and the park has given their blessing on the matter. If you disagree with it - fine, but you can't change it, and so long as the relationship is profitable for both parties, it will continue...

Richard you say they are one rung above pyramid schemes in terms of legitimacy - fact is pyramid schemes aren't legal, and these guys are. As for 'implying they've won great prizes', Reader's Digest (a long standing and legitimate publication) frequently posts me a cheque for several million dollars, with fine print attached.

If people are dumb enough to think they're getting something for nothing, fine. So they turn up for their free hotel room and then get told they have to spend 90 minutes listening to a sales pitch? Small price to pay. All the terms and conditions are there for people to read - if they don't read them - tough shit.

As I said - if you don't wish to interact with them - ignore them - or give them a simple no thanks. My personal favourite is when they say "hey guys, can I talk to you for a second?" - I go "sure", wait for 'a second', then say "times up!" and walk off. These guys get rejected a thousand times a day. They aren't going to cry in their cornflakes if you ignore them...

Next people will say the parks should get rid of 'win a prize' games which are just as much of a scam as the holiday club is (which is to say, they aren't.)

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I actually originally wrote "one rung above pyramid schemes multi-level marketing in terms of legitimacy" but changed it to call it what it is and avoid the sidetracking. You know exactly what I meant so let's avoid the debate over semantics. But if we are talking semantics, you'll note I said legitimacy, not legality.

Yep, Disney do it in their parks. Yep Readers Digest tell people they've won millions all the time. Yep, people who don't read the T&Cs deserve everything they do or don't get. And yep, it's easy to ignore or reject these folks and continue on your way -- I've never once engaged with one. Doesn't mean they're not a negative aspect of our parks.

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What I found amusing was we won the major prize on their first attempt at us at movie world, the dude went through his little spiel partly hiding the fact the little scratch box to determine which major prize we had won would be scratched at the 90 minute meeting, having no intention of attending I told him up front that the box would reveal we had won the holiday and not the 2k cash or the 1k Ipad, he tried to suggest that it may be the cash or ipad at this point I advised him that there was no way we were going to attend and for him to scratch of the prize box to reveal that it would be the holiday for sure, to this he refused as this would then prove me correct.

I know this practice is not illegal and I am sure the parks are getting some sort of kick back from this all I am suggesting is that the happy world of the theme park really is not the place when hawkers should be able to flog holidays etc. The whole idea of the theme parks is to forget the outside world and in my case immerse myself in some quality time with my family and not have to think about the real world outside. Is this really that much to expect? I find it really hard to believe that the theme parks are hard up for a buck.

These type of selling techniques belong at the bottom of the escalators outside woolworths not in theme parks.... :D

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I've never said they're a positive addition to our parks, but they are a fact of life in the parks - our parks profit from them being there (positive) we all find them vaguely annoying (negative).

The things that escape most people's attention is that the parks are a business - and they're in business to make money, not memories or happiness. Disney included.

As for the vacation club, you might think they belong outside the escalators at woolies, but the fact is they don't. You don't market bagged ice in Alaska, and you certain don't try and sell sand to a jamaican. A business selling shares in holiday apartments is best suited to be in a tourist attraction to have the best chance of selling to their target market. It's simple economics. These guys have identified their best chance of success lies in signing up holiday makers visiting the parks, so thats where they set up shop. Each organisation involved in the transaction profits from it, and while i'm sure the money made from these guys won't buy a new coaster, every little bit of revenue helps keep prices down elsewhere. Who wants to pay $25 for a burger meal and $15 for a bucket of popcorn?

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Alex B I think you must either work for them or are just plain ignorant. You already pay $16+ bux for food, $25 for a photo etc etc etc. These things I accept as part and parcel of being in their parks, however the marketing of time share in the parks I can do without. I think it is naïve to suggest that without them prices will go up and to compare little ole Sea World Qld with Disney is simply a gross over exaggeration on your behalf. I think as a regular patron of theme parks and everyday given I have two kids I happily invest my hard earned cash on stuff at the parks as the happy memories I have with my kids is worth every cent, but to have marketing vultures target families is I guess sort of double dipping and I would have to suggest greedy. I know they are a business and need to make money to survive and to prosper and grow, but is this the correct way to go about it? To suggest that they are not in the business of creating memories and happiness is possibly the most shallow and stupid comments I have ever come across. So Movie World and Sea World don't market themselves as the " Theme Park Capital of Australia" with the cute pics of little girls with wonder women and cute tiger cub pics etc etc you must be living in a vacuum.

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Alex B I think you must either work for them or are just plain ignorant. You already pay $16+ bux for food, $25 for a photo etc etc etc. These things I accept as part and parcel of being in their parks, however the marketing of time share in the parks I can do without. I think it is naïve to suggest that without them prices will go up and to compare little ole Sea World Qld with Disney is simply a gross over exaggeration on your behalf. I think as a regular patron of theme parks and everyday given I have two kids I happily invest my hard earned cash on stuff at the parks as the happy memories I have with my kids is worth every cent, but to have marketing vultures target families is I guess sort of double dipping and I would have to suggest greedy. I know they are a business and need to make money to survive and to prosper and grow, but is this the correct way to go about it? To suggest that they are not in the business of creating memories and happiness is possibly the most shallow and stupid comments I have ever come across. So Movie World and Sea World don't market themselves as the " Theme Park Capital of Australia" with the cute pics of little girls with wonder women and cute tiger cub pics etc etc you must be living in a vacuum.

  • No, i don't work for them
  • These people don't cost you anything, unless you choose to give them your time.
  • They are a revenue source. Without them paying for the privilege of being in the park, either something becomes more expensive, or you lose something else to compensate. It's not naive - what do you think they're doing with the money they're making off these guys? Making a pile to swim in like scrooge mcduck?
  • 'little ol sea world is a theme park. Disney is a theme park. The level of immersion and investment is the only difference. Both are tourism destinations, and both are therefore the optimal market for holiday clubs.
  • to want to make money for your business isn't greedy - it's good business. They won't get any money out of you unless you want to give it to them, so your point is flawed.
  • Is it the correct way to go about it? Apparently yes - because it's what they're doing.
  • I'm not suggesting they AREN'T making memories or happiness - but this is their chosen way to MAKE MONEY. If what they're doing isn't making money, they won't be in business very long. Their aim is to fulfill a market want in the tourism industry. Aint nobody gunna operate a ride without getting paid - and the park won't either.
  • Your last sentence doesn't even make sense, but at the very least - Sea World and Movie World don't HAVE tiger cubs. Of course that wasn't your point but i'm not sure what it was.

I predict a very long, uninteresting rebuttal...

If it's uninteresting, don't read it. I tried to bullet point my responses to keep things brief for you, since it was such an issue.

There are a lot of things in the parks that aren't exactly a 'good thing'. I personally don't like the hawkers in the show arenas (at either park) walking up and down the aisles shouting "POPCORN! - GET YOUR HOT BUTTERY POPCORN!"... especially when I happen to be walking right in front of them and cop an earful - but the kid is just doing his job, and it's something the park wants him her to do. Some people in the arena will benefit from the offering, having not had anything to eat and decide to buy an overpriced cup of the stuff (I do like a cup every now and again but usually buy it before entering the arena).

Point is - holiday club isn't for everyone... and their marketing tactics may not be to everyone's tastes, but I don't see ACA chasing them around with cameras, so the people they convince to sign up must be happy with their choices. Nobody is holding a gun to their head.

I've acknowledged several times that these guys aren't the most pleasant part of a visit to the park, and that they can be annoying, but I take issue with someone who chooses to call them parasites or con men, accuses them of "pestering", or attempting to sell "time share junk", to claim that these people "assaulted" and "accosted" them is a gross misrepresentation of what these people are allowed to do within the parks... and given the response from Guest Relations it confirms that they were not 'pestered' 'assaulted' or 'accosted' because if in fact they were, the complaint would have definitely gone further.

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Completely agree with everything you've said Alex. At Fright nights I had 'do u want a fast pass' screamed at me about 200 times in 4 hours. That was frustrating, but hell u just ignore it and zone if out. The holiday club staff don't follow you around, and are only in 1 area of the park. Unless u make repeated trips to WWF from other areas in the park, you won't even see them more than once

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Having just come back from a whirlwind six day Qld park blitz I have to raise an issue of disappointment on behalf of the triple park management. Movie World and SeaWorld in their ultimate wisdom allowing the con men of Holiday Club pestering patrons at the aforementioned parks. I find it terribly disappointing to have these so called commission sales people who you would normally find at the bottom of the escalators outside Woolwoorths in Cavel Ave annoying all who pass by with their dumb scratchy promotion offering super prizes if you just attend a 90 minute sales meeting about their time share junk.

Given that at both Parks everything comes with a price tag and we all tolerate this as we are there to hopefully have an exciting fun time, to be assaulted by these parasites is a little annoying. Given that in one day at movie world I was accosted three times. Upon raising my concerns with the parks customer services I was informed that this was a corporate decision and out of there control.

I am not sure if others feel this way about having third party spruikers annoy the crap out of you when you are trying to have a fun family time.

Haven't actually seen them around before, but from what you said about them, I am disgusted and I think guest services should really do something about this, even if it's 'out of their control'

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Haven't actually seen them around before, but from what you said about them, I am disgusted and I think guest services should really do something about this, even if it's 'out of their control'

Why are u disgusted?? You have never had a personal experience with them and why should guest services do something about it when their admittance to the park is paid for and approved by VRTP management?

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Why are u disgusted?? You have never had a personal experience with them and why should guest services do something about it when their admittance to the park is paid for and approved by VRTP management?

i just don't think it's right. with guest services, I see what you mean, but wouldn't that also mean they could tell management about this? still, I guess if it weren't for them, prices would probably be higher...

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A lot of complaining about a tiny tiny thing... We are treated like consumers every minute of every day, why should a theme park be any different. Just smile at them and keep walking if your not interested. Problem solved... No need to be rude to people just doing a job.

Edited by aussienetman

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I know some people have a tough job, but the fact is that Luke from The Holiday Club outright lies.

Yes, on paper everything is legit. Although if you look closely at the paper you'll see there's no competition permit listed. In NSW and VIC another company (or the same under a different name?) have registered competitions (http://www.classicescapes.com.au/full-terms-and-conditions-of-nsw-scratch-and-win-promotion and http://www.classicescapes.com.au/full-terms-and-conditions-of-vic-scratch-and-win-promotion) but nothing exists for The Holiday Club in Queensland.

Luke also claimed to be sponsored by Harvey Norman. On the ticket there's no ABN, official website, or official address for The Holiday Club, and no Harvey Norman logos or mentions, so I doubt this is true.

Basically, this is the start of a sales pitch couched in terms of a competition. The ONLY prize are these holiday vouchers, which come with caveats that are glossed over or not mentioned. The 90 minute sales pitch is always longer, plus you need to listen to another one while on the holiday you've won.

Some may enjoy the free stuff and don't care if they have spend hours of their lives being pressured by sales people, but I think it's only fair that people know what they're in for, and Luke from The Holiday Club does not give that information. I've even noticed that although he's circled the caveat about the sales pitch at the Gold Coast, he didn't actually talk about that (using the words "information session). What he did talk about was how many $450 Harvey Norman vouchers and $2000 cash prizes are given away. In truth, since these scratchies aren't regulated by anyone, The Holiday Club doesn't have to give away a thing.

Sales people doing their job is one thing, but this guy is a fast talker and a liar. I simply wasn't expecting any sales people (beyond the theme park's own) inside the park so I was completely off my guard and got sucked in. Cost me $20 "deposit". I would never have looked twice if he was in a shopping mall. So please don't belittle people trying to warn others - not everyone is equally savvy but that doesn't mean that dodgy companies like The Holiday Club should get away with their lies, and it's a real shame that Warner Village (in this case, it was at Wet'n'Wild) let's them in. Puts a sour taste in my mouth, and when I tell people about Wet'n'Wild, they hear more about Luke from The Holiday Club than they do the actual theme park. Is that the publicity Wet'n'Wild want?

Edited by newaddict

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I know some people have a tough job, but the fact is that Luke from The Holiday Club outright lies.

Yes, on paper everything is legit. Although if you look closely at the paper you'll see there's no competition permit listed. In NSW and VIC another company (or the same under a different name?) have registered competitions (http://www.classicescapes.com.au/full-terms-and-conditions-of-nsw-scratch-and-win-promotion and http://www.classicescapes.com.au/full-terms-and-conditions-of-vic-scratch-and-win-promotion) but nothing exists for The Holiday Club in Queensland.

Luke also claimed to be sponsored by Harvey Norman. On the ticket there's no ABN, official website, or official address for The Holiday Club, and no Harvey Norman logos or mentions, so I doubt this is true.

Basically, this is the start of a sales pitch couched in terms of a competition. The ONLY prize are these holiday vouchers, which come with caveats that are glossed over or not mentioned. The 90 minute sales pitch is always longer, plus you need to listen to another one while on the holiday you've won.

Some may enjoy the free stuff and don't care if they have spend hours of their lives being pressured by sales people, but I think it's only fair that people know what they're in for, and Luke from The Holiday Club does not give that information. I've even noticed that although he's circled the caveat about the sales pitch at the Gold Coast, he didn't actually talk about that (using the words "information session). What he did talk about was how many $450 Harvey Norman vouchers and $2000 cash prizes are given away. In truth, since these scratchies aren't regulated by anyone, The Holiday Club doesn't have to give away a thing.

Sales people doing their job is one thing, but this guy is a fast talker and a liar. I simply wasn't expecting any sales people (beyond the theme park's own) inside the park so I was completely off my guard and got sucked in. Cost me $20 "deposit". I would never have looked twice if he was in a shopping mall. So please don't belittle people trying to warn others - not everyone is equally savvy but that doesn't mean that dodgy companies like The Holiday Club should get away with their lies, and it's a real shame that Warner Village (in this case, it was at Wet'n'Wild) let's them in. Puts a sour taste in my mouth, and when I tell people about Wet'n'Wild, they hear more about Luke from The Holiday Club than they do the actual theme park. Is that the publicity Wet'n'Wild want?

Well said newaddict.

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If you are going to have a rant newaddict, at least get your facts right. There is only nsw and Vic permit numbers, because qld, nt and wa do not require permits for competitions. Look at any national competition run by any major company and you will see exactly the same thing. Nothing in life is free, if you were suckered in thinking u could win a holiday from a scratchie that u didn't even have to pay for you shouldn't be so gullible. Seems to me like u just don't like sales people and have created this whole falsehood about the company being dodgy in your head based on there not being a permit number or Abn on the ticket.

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