About six weeks ago I got a phone call from a telemarketer. Unlike a lot of people, I don't just tell them where to go. They've got a job to do, so I'm polite. I listen to what they're pedaling, and if I'm not interested (which is usually the case) I politely tell them no, and that's it.
Now, this telemarketer call was actually interesting. She was representing a company called The Lifestyle Club, and they are a world-wide holiday club. If you come down and listen to their sales blurb, you get a three day/two night stay at Kooralbyn Hotel Resort (midweek unfortunatly).
Now, I like Kooralbyn. It's in a small valley about an hours drive south west of Brisbane, for those who don't know. It's only reason for existence is the Resort. Originally a cattle property, it was bought and turned into the resort in the early 70's. One of the people who worked on the infrastructure for Kooralbyn was my father, who was working for the construction company who built the airport and most of the roads in the area.
So I thought I'd give them a go.
I calculated the drive down would take about an hour, gave myself an hour and a half, and got there in an hour and ten minutes.
Kooralbyn is a beautiful place. A nice secluded valley, it's lovely and peaceful, something I could do with a lot of at the moment. The entire thing was worth it just for the drive down, and the walk around the resort. Beautiful place.
Now the deal with The Lifestyle Club was this: They are part of a world-wide holiday organization called RCI (don't know what it stands for). RCI have agreements going with over 3700 four and five star resorts and hotels world-wide. If you purchase a membership in RCI you get a certain number of points every year to use through RCI. These points can be used on accommodation, car hire, plane flights, entertainment, activities, etc, through any of the RCI partners world-wide.
Points you don't use in a year get added to the next years, and you can borrow points against the next years. A membership lasts for 30 (yes thirty) years, and a member has usually used more in value than the money they actually paid for it within the first two or three years.
RCI have not started in Australia, and are looking at launching within about the next six to twelve months.
As a means of reeling people in they were offering a "Pre-Launch VIP Charter Membership". If you joined up, you got a heap of benefit's for the next two years.
* 1 week at Kooralbyn for up to six people per year.
* 2 for 1 deal with any Captain Cook Cruise (Great Barrier Reef, Murray River, Sydney Harbour or Fiji Islands)
* 12 rounds of golf at Kooralbyn free
* 10% of all food and Beverages at Kooralbyn
* An additional weekend (2 days/1 night) or midweek (3 days/2 nights) stay at Kooralbyn per year
* A free one week stay in Europe
* A free one week stay in Asia (Bali, Phuket or Pattaya)
* Privileged Rates at selected Resorts in Queensland (for example, $185 for a full week at a five star resort on the Gold or Sunshine Coast)
All this, and more.
It's not cheap. $2970 worth. However, knowing Kooralbyn, two weeks at Kooralbyn for six people cost more than the entire package costs. Also some of those European locations can cost 400 pounds a night (that's English Pounds, approximately $1200 in Aussie currency).
So overall it's a very good value. Plus if, once RCI launch, I join the RCI scheme I get a discount of $2700 on the price (ie: the non-GST component of what I pay).
I signed up.
Why? Simple: I do not take anywhere near enough holidays. The first company I worked for I was at for 18 months. I took some sick-days, but I never took holidays. Same for every other place I worked at up until my current place of work. I never took holidays, just sick-days when required.
At the current place (which I've been at for about three years) I've taken a trip to Melbourne each Easter for a Roleplaying convention, but I don't think that's a real holiday. For the first one I was there for the four days of Easter only, the second one I was staying with Wayne's relatives (it was cheap, but at a cost!), and the third one (this year) wasn't a holiday for other reasons. Plus each time I was actually running things at the convention, so I was still working hard, though enjoying it.
Since moving out of my parents place in January 1992 I haven't had a holiday.
Now, the good thing is they have a three day cooling off period, so anytime up until Wednesday I can cancel, I get my $50 deposit back, and that's that.
However I don't think I will. I'm going to be very, very broke for about the next six weeks, because I'll be paying about $500 a week for it until it's all paid. But I think it's going to me worth it.
I hope so.