Sometimes it pays to share. Marriott Vacations Worldwide, formerly part of hotel giant Marriott International, operates more than 50 timeshare resort properties with one-, two-, and three bedroom villas in prime vacation destinations in the US (such as California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, and Nevada) and a handful of other countries (Aruba, France, Spain, St. Thomas, the West Indies, and Thailand). The villas are jointly owned by about 400,000 people who have exclusive use of the properties for limited periods of time. Owners can also trade intervals for time at other Marriott Vacation Club resorts, or for other rewards programs. Marriott spun off Marriott Vacations as a separately-traded company in 2011.
The timeshare business -- which also includes the Grand Residences by Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, and The Ritz-Carlton Residences brands -- accounted for about 13% of Marriott's 2010 total revenues. As a result of its dragging down Marriott's business, the parent company spun off the timeshare operation. It made the separation to allow the hotel and timeshare businesses to each tailor their strategy to their own respective market segment. Under the plan, Marriott Vacations is licensing the Marriott names for its timeshare properties, and can make deals with other hotel companies. The change in ownership is not affecting timeshare owners.
Marriott Vacations continues to suffer from the market crash, even as the hotel industry shows signs of a recovery. Hotel sales are starting to benefit from an increase in business travel, while vacationing consumers remain wary as unemployment levels have yet to improve. In addition, the timeshare sales have been hurt by stricter financing practices. In the fourth quarter of 2010, Marriott's timeshare sales decreased by $2 million compared to same period in 2009.
Marriott Vacation club began in 1982 when Marriott bought a timeshare property in Hilton Head, South Carolina.