Thursday, December 19, 2013

Astoria Membership Sales Pitch

Every year my wife and I celebrate our wedding anniversary out of town because we want to make it special.

This year, we visited the Island of Boracay together with our kids.  Our flight was in the afternoon so we arrived in Boracay and checked in to our hotel around 7pm. Because we were all tired of the long travel, we  decided to stay in our hotel and rest that night.

The next day, we hit the beach at around 6 in the morning, our kids was so excited to swim. While we were enjoying the white sand and crystal clear water of the island, a man (Allan) in his late 30s approached us offering free buffet for lunch at Astoria Boracay Resort. He told us that after the buffet there will be a tour in their resort because it is a newly opened hotel in Bora. We said yes since it’s free and a tour to their hotel is okay because we were planning to go back in May 2013 with my in-laws.

Around 9:00AM, we decided to take a walk along the shores from station 2 where we were staying to station 1. We stayed there for a while, swimming and taking pictures. We were already hungry at that time so we took a light meal because it’s almost lunch. We went back to our hotel at around 10:45am to rest and prepare for lunch; however, our kids fell asleep so we decided not to go to Astoria. Pass 11:00am, we received a call from Allan advising us that the buffet is ready. We told them we will go when the kids woke up before 1:00PM.

We missed the free buffet lunch because we woke up past 1:00PM. While we were at the beach again, another man approached us again offering us free buffet dinner. We told him that we already got an invitation from Allan but we missed it. He said that it is still valid; we can still go there and look for Allan. Later that afternoon the latter called us again informing us that we were already registered for the free buffet dinner. We decided to go, but my wife told me there might be a catch. I was not thinking of anything but I told her maybe it’s just really part of their promotion to show us the resort so we can recommend it to our friends and families.

We had to walk for a few minutes to reach Astoria because it is located in station 1. When we got there, Allan immediately assisted and brought us inside the resort. The place is beautiful, they have swimming pool with lights that changes colors. We never really stop by at any place in the resort; we were like just passing by the resort. Allan brought us to a nearby building he said that it is the resort’s conference room. When we entered the buffet area, he arranged the table for us and introduced us to his manager telling us there will be a 90-min orientation after dinner. There also other guests like us who also got invited for a free dinner.

We ate after the short introductions. The food was great, and we liked the desert .

The Presentation. While we were eating a guy approached us introduced himself as Albert the facilitator. After eating we told Albert that we are ready. So he guided through another room filled with other people like us. The room was very noisy, people laughing out loud and speaking on the top of their lungs, specially the girl (facilitator) on the other table just right behind us. He laughs like Kitkat (comedian) and talks very loud (annoying). Also another guy facilitator who laughs so loud you can tell that he was faking it. Albert was also lively but not as much as those I mentioned. He told us just pretend it was only us in the room. 

The Catch. The presentation started around 8:00PM. Albert introduced the company and the TV endorser (Boy Abunda).  He asked us about our plans of travelling in the future and how often we travel in a year. He asked about the places we’ve been to for the past years as a couple.  Computed how much we spend for travels. Then he pitched about the membership program that they offer. There are times that he would ask us questions that would really annoy us. At some point, my wife would answer direct to the point (with a tone of sarcasm). She was the one answering most of the questions because I was taking care of my daughter who was sleeping already on my lap. He asked us many times what factor would stop us from signing up for the membership. We answered a lot of times that it’s the money. Then we would ask him how much, but he never gave any amount which really pisses us off. We told him if our budget would allow it we will sign up otherwise no. He seems to be not satisfied with our answer. He really wanted to make sure that we will sign up but could not give us how much we need to pay.

The Offer. He then called his manager to talk to us about the offer. Gave us three options Studio, 2 Bedroom and 1 Bedroom. We picked 1 Bedroom, then he quoted us PhP11,000/month. He is also asking for a deposit to be paid that night or issue a check. We told him we can’t do it. Then he offered us a Studio Unit, it’s still too much for us, we said NO. The manager then said okay and turned us over to our facilitator. He (facilitator) gave us another option, convincing just give it a try for a year, because first two offer was payable in 30 years. Now you see why we declined the offers.  After more than 90-minute presentation we got really tired. The facilitator asked for referrals and feedback about the presentation. We told him he’s okay but be straight forward next time and stop beating around the bush. We also told him that the room was very noisy.

Lesson Learned. I want to say thank you for the free buffet but I’ll pass next time and say “NO, Thank You.”

Purpose. I am sharing this to let other people know and warn them about this kind of hard selling scheme. I have searched the internet and I’ve seen a lot of blogs, writings about it and I have seen many negative feedbacks about their experiences. I don’t know if Boy Abunda has also experienced this kind of presentation. Maybe not. This is not in any way trying to ruin anyone’s reputation but I am just sharing my experiences and opinion on how the company presented itself to me.