Posted on October 13, 2022
Hyatt Vacation Club has reemerged onto the vacation ownership scene following Marriott Vacations Worldwide’s purchase of Welk Resorts last year. So, you may be asking yourself what does this acquisition have to do with Hyatt Vacation Club? Everything.
First, lets start with Marriott. In 2018, Marriott Vacations Worldwide purchased ILG for a reported $4.7 billion and since the Hyatt timeshare operation was part of ILG, it was acquired by Marriott. Fast forward to 2021 and Marriott bought Welk Resorts for $485 million, which meant that Welk and Hyatt were now both part of the Marriott empire. So, Marriott started moving the chess pieces around in order to relaunch the Hyatt Vacation Club.
After the purchase, Marriott said they would rebrand the Welk Resorts as part of the Hyatt Residence Club, which has been Hyatt’s upscale timeshare brand for over a decade. Since the announcement, the decision was made to convert the newly acquired resorts into a new club called Hyatt Vacation Club.
Clear as mud? Longtime observers of the timeshare industry understand that these types of moves are not uncommon among the corporate giants. Try tracking the movements of Wyndham over the last 30 years from its roots in Fairfield, then through Cendant to Wyndham Worldwide and emerging as Travel + Leisure to get an idea of how fluid the industry can be.
The irony is that the Hyatt Vacation Club is not a new concept, but originally goes back to 1995 with Hyatt’s first timeshare resort, Hyatt Sunset Harbor in Key West. The vacation club grew to 14 resorts before being renamed to its current moniker, Hyatt Residence Club, in 2009.
Now that the Hyatt Vacation Club has been resurrected, you may wonder why Hyatt would now manage two separate clubs? Simple, it’s about market share. It’s similar to Wyndham running multiple clubs and Hilton creating the Hilton Club concept within Hilton Grand Vacations.
The Hyatt Vacation Club is sure to appeal to a difference audience than the Hyatt Residence Club, thereby allowing Hyatt to expand by tapping into a different market.
Today, there are a total of eight resorts listed as part of the Club with resorts in Escondido near San Diego, Lake Tahoe, Palm Springs, Breckenridge, Branson, Santa Fe and Cabo San Lucas.
There is some overlap between the two clubs, as both offer Lake Tahoe and Breckenridge as destinations within their respective clubs. But the idea is to provide resort offerings that allow Hyatt to grow their overall timeshare operation without cannibalizing their ownership base.
HVC members can also sign up for the World of Hyatt loyalty program where they can access more than 1,100 Hyatt hotels around the world. Beginning next year, HVC members who are part of the Platinum Points program will be able to exchange HVC points to stay in participating World of Hyatt hotels.
For members looking to exchange outside of the Hyatt Vacation Club resort network, Interval International is the affiliated exchange provider for the Club. Members can join II and gain access to the 3,200 resorts around the world that are in the II network.
Welk previously had three types of ownership as part of its program - fixed week, floating week and points ownership. It is our understanding that Hyatt is in upgrade mode, contacting Welk owners about converting their points into HVC Platinum points.
Owners can continue to use their ownership at their deeded home resort but may find internal exchange options more limited following the Hyatt takeover. External exchange options are still available but are now through II instead of RCI.
The former Welk resorts have been rebranded, some slightly and others more intently. Below are the resorts currently included in the Club:
Located north of Escondido in the North County region of San Diego County, the resort is about 40 miles from downtown San Diego but only about a half-hour drive to the beaches of Oceanside. Repeat visitors will know that the resort complex consists of Resort Villas, Villas on the Greens, or Mountain Villas, with two golf courses and onsite live entertainment for an amazing stay.