After much rumor and speculation, the deal terms are official. I discussed the potential rumor many months ago here and apparently got it partially right and partially wrong.
Instead of ILG acquiring Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Vacation Club will be acquiring ILG. As the the title states, the total acquisition price is $4.7 Billion with a capital B.
It constantly amazes me that the timeshare industry is a gigantic as it is with the vast majority of the population thinking that timeshares are either a scam, ripoff or some type of pyramid scheme.
I say it over and over that the timeshare industry and systems have many negatives but once you learn the systems, implement various strategies and learn how to maximize ownership, timeshare ownership can be extremely economical and open up tons of destinations that are simply unattainable for most people, even those with hotel points.
Apparently, I am not the only one that feels like this as the industry is truly massive. Most owners actually love their timeshares despite the negative perception of timeshares.
This acquisition is not necessary a complete surprise as the rumors have been swirling for months but it is obviously very significant for the industry.
Now, under one company, the timeshare brands of Marriott Vacation Club, Hyatt Residence Club, and Vistana Signature Experiences (Westin and Sheraton timeshares) will all reside along with the major timeshare exchange company Interval International and its smaller brand, Ashton.
According to the press release, the combined company will have 100 resort properties and 650,000 owners.
What Does this Mean for Owners?
The acquisition does transform the timeshare landscape and theoretically lessens the competition. The biggest compensation now is Wyndham who owns RCI, the other largest vacation exchange company, and Club Wyndham, the largest timeshare company.
I truthfully have no idea whether there will be any practical effects to this acquisition. It has the potentially to complete transform the market. However, previous large acquisitions have shown that not much will change.
Interval Leisure Group, the parent of ILG, has acquired many timeshare brands over the years. They have acquired the Hyatt Residence Club as well of the Vistana Signature Experiences. Both of these brands still operate completely independently of one another. They are sold separately, have separate systems and from the outside point of view, are completely unrelated to one another despite being owned by the same company.
Marriott Vacation Club may have other ideas up its sleeve but it is entirely possible that all of these timeshare brands will continue to operate independently with no difference to the end consumer. If you want to purchase a Marriott timeshare, you purchase with Marriott whereas if you want to purchase a Hyatt timeshare, you purchase with Hyatt. The fact that they are now owned by the same company will likely be immaterial.
What I Would Love to See!
As I stated before, I generally prefer Interval International over RCI solely due to the quality of resorts that are available through Interval as opposed to RCI. RCI does have some very nice resorts but they do not have access to Marriott, Hyatt, Sheraton or Westin, some of the nicest timeshare properties.
Now, with all of these high quality resorts under one company, I would love to see them offer a combined timeshare program that offers all of these brands. Instead of owners having to choose what brand to purchase and learn the various systems, I would love to see an Interval International product that offers some type of points systems that gives you access to all of these resorts AND gives you the ability to convert those points into World of Hyatt points or the newly announced Marriott Rewards Program.
Unfortunately, I do not view my ideal program as becoming a reality but rather view all of these programs continuing to operate independently with cost savings coming from reduced administrative items from both companies and lower financing costs for new projects due to the large size of the combined company.
However, I sure hope to be wrong.
The timeshare industry continues to evolve and for better or worse, continues to change. This acquisition definitely has the potential to change the entire landscape of timeshare offerings and has the potential to create a truly revolutionary product that could potentially erase the negative perceptions of timeshares.
While there is that potential, the timeshare industry continues to make tons of money through its existing sales tactics and despite being consumer unfriendly, still seems to work. As long as it continues to work, change will happen slowly. Once the system becomes officially broken, change happens quickly.
As I stated before, my goal is to provide a fantastic educational resource for timeshare owners and to-be owners. The timeshare system has its issues and timeshare ownership is NOT for everyone but as the industry continues to evolve, it becomes more mainstream which has the potential to be available to more and more people.
This acquisition is interesting but it remains seen if this will change anything in the industry or whether this is simply a behinds the seen acquisition that will fade away with the existing brands remaining in the forefront of the consumers.
What do you think of this acquisition? In an ideal world, what would you like to see occur with this combined company? Make sure to leave your comments below!