Posted on October 08, 2020
Marriott Vacation Club timeshares are some of the most sought-after timeshares on the market. As the first major hospitality brand to enter the timeshare industry, Marriott has been in the timeshare business since 1984 and understands all the nuances needed to deliver an exceptional vacation experience. For owners thinking about selling a Marriott timeshare, there are several advantages to the program that make it attractive to resale buyers.
Marriott has over 50 timeshare resorts within its network, offering vacations in the U.S., Aruba, St. Kitts and St. Thomas in the Caribbean, France, Spain, and Australia, plus Bali, Bangkok and Phuket. This impressive variety of destinations is a major plus and a distinct advantage over most timeshare operators.
Using this network as a selling point gives owners a competitive advantage over owners with brands which only operate in the U.S. or provide few overseas options. Yes, COVID-19 has impacted international travel, but timeshare vacations have always been a forward-looking product with owners planning as much as 13 months ahead of time. COVID will pass and smart consumers are looking for deals and information now to prepare for their future vacations.
An argument could be made that exchange companies such as Interval International or RCI can provide the same type of flexibility. Keep in mind that they also require an annual membership payment in addition to exchange fees to exchange to another destination. Because Marriott owns II, there is a sweetheart deal between the two that benefits Marriott timeshare owners, with a designated help desk and internal exchange options unavailable to other owners.
It is amazing how many people don’t fully realize what they own. We still have people coming to us thinking they own an RCI timeshare when RCI doesn’t own, manage or sell timeshares. Marriott timeshare owners are much more savvy than most, but the takeaway here is to make sure you understand exactly what you own and all of the benefits of your timeshare before you start the selling process.
This may mean reverting back to your original sale documents to review information about what you own. You should have your documents and any deeds available as these will be helpful to streamline the sales process.
Marriott is unique as it has a designated points product which coexists with owners of fixed or floating week timeshares. Marriott Destination points is a pure points program with the ability to use those points as a type of vacation currency across the Marriott timeshare network or for other travel products such as cruises, tours or rental cars.
When sellers promote their Marriott points, don’t forget to mention the different ways the points can be used. Even existing owners looking to add more points may not even be aware of some of the benefits.
Because Marriott now only sells points through its sales offices, an underappreciated option involves fixed or floating Marriott timeshare weeks.
Fixed week ownership in high demand resorts such as Marriott Aruba Surf Club or Marriott Maui Ocean Club at times such as New Year’s week can be a prized possession, so emphasize the week or season of ownership.
Sellers should point out the advantages of a secured, guaranteed week of ownership in these popular destinations when negotiating a sale.
Be as specific as you can regarding your ownership. If applicable, include your unit configuration, season, view and any other additional benefits. Photos definitely help as does explaining the amenities in the unit as well as the resort. Sell them on the same reasons and benefits that you were moved by when you originally bought your timeshare.
Marriott BonVoy is the recently rebranded loyalty program involving the various Marriott vacation brands. This is primarily their hotel loyalty program where frequent visitors rack up points to be used for future hotel stays and other affiliated travel products.
BonVoy should not be confused with Destination points, as Destination points are the purchased points through the Marriott Vacation Club, whereas BonVoy points are loyalty points freely acquired when using Marriott-affiliated travel products.
In some cases, Destination points can be converted into BonVoy points if an owner wants to travel to areas not covered by a Marriott timeshare resort. While this may seem like a nice perk, it really isn’t enough of an incentive for a seller to use to promote their Destination points on the resale market because of the transfer rules that will be discussed below.
First, let’s look at the options of ownership. There are essentially three categories of ownership, 1) fixed/floating week, 2) Destination Points and 3) weeks converted into Destination Points. This distinction is important when it comes to transferring on the resale market.
For fixed or floating week ownership, benefits will transfer to the new resale owner so this is an excellent point for sellers to mention. Marriott will seek to convert these owners into Destination points owners, as they have in the past for most week owners, but buyers purchasing resale weeks can use their timeshare week as they see fit.
For Destination points owners who originally purchased their points through Marriott, benefits will transfer to the new resale owner. However, keep in mind that if points were converted into BonVoy points, those BonVoy points will not transfer on the resale market.
For owners who have previously converted their week ownership into Destination points, those points will not transfer on the resale market. This ownership will revert back to the original week of ownership when sold on the resale market. This is an important distinction that should be understood by sellers, since you don’t want to promote your ownership as a points product but rather as the original week, lest you end up with an upset potential buyer.
This is Marriott’s way of trying to maintain a certain level of price integrity on the resale market. If a seller comes to an agreement with a buyer and the paperwork is signed, the deal needs to be approved by Marriott before it can proceed.
Marriott will look at the deal and the agreed price. At this time, they will either buy the timeshare back from the seller or allow the sale to proceed. This decision is made for a number of reasons, as Marriott may want the timeshare back to repurpose through its sales team. However, the primary reason is that they want resales to be made at a certain minimum price point, so timeshares at lower sale prices could be absorbed by Marriott whereas timeshares at higher sale prices could be allowed to continue to closing.
While this doesn’t necessarily impact a seller, since they will still be able to sell their timeshare one way or the other, it is an important part of the process to understand.
When selling a Marriott timeshare, you have a few different ways you can go. You can sell your timeshare yourself, use the services of a licensed timeshare resale broker or go directly to Marriott and see if they will place your timeshare in their resale program.
If you want to sell it yourself, you should look for a timeshare-specific website that specializes in timeshare resales. Some owners look to more generic sites such as eBay or Craigslist, but keep in mind that these sites are more like online garage sales and most timeshare buyers want to go to a site run by professionals who understand the important distinctions of the ownership options.
Timeshare brokerage firms employ licensed real estate agents to promote and negotiate the transactions, which is why they mainly work on a commission-only basis. Similar to the way a traditional real estate agent would sell a home, there would be no upfront fees charged and the agents would handle all aspects of the sale, from the initial promotion to presenting offers and handling the paperwork. Payment would be made after the sales is closed and the ownership has been transferred to the new owner.
Sellers could go to Marriott to try selling through their resale program, but remember that Marriott is obviously in active sales themselves. You should ask yourself how motivated they are to help you when you could be technically competing against them. Plus, they charge upwards of a 40 percent commission if a sale goes through, so that could be thousands of dollars going into Marriott’s coffers instead of your wallet.
Marriott owners have a great opportunity to sell on the resale market. If you have any questions or need more Marriott timeshare information, you can always call one of our licensed agents at 877-624-6889 and we’ll be glad to help you.