What’s Fueling the Urban Timeshare Market?

Marriott Vacation Club Pulse - San Diego
Though the majority of timeshares are still in areas where you would expect them to be - Hawaii, Mexico, Florida, the Caribbean - some vacation clubs are urbanizing into cities like New York, Boston, Phoenix, D.C. and San Diego. Large hospitality chains such as Marriott, Hilton and Starwood, in response to a demand for urban timeshares, have already moved or are in the process of moving into metropolitan areas with their timeshare offerings.

Responding to Customer Desires

Though it's been suggested that the urban timeshare market might be a reaction to trendy companies like Airbnb, there may be other issues at work. "There's a strong demand for city-centric properties," said Ed Kinney, Marriott Vacations Worldwide VP of corporate affairs and communications, who was recently quoted in skift.com. 

"We've known our owners and guests are eager to explore new places and try new experiences, especially those in more urban areas," Marriott's new Vacation Club Pulse is one of five properties in U.S. cities (New York, Boston, D.C., Miami, and San Diego) where Kinney says owners and guests can "immerse themselves in the cultures, local scenes, and neighborhoods of some of their favorite cities."

Dr. Amy Gregory, assistant professor at the University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management agreed, "Companies like Marriott Vacations and Hilton Grand Vacations Club are expanding their collections with city locations to get new experiences for their owners who want city vacations. More and more people are going to urban areas and wanting to explore what they have to offer."

Urban Vs. Resort 

How do the urban timeshares differ from traditional timeshares? 
  • Limited space and expensive real estate
Urban timeshares are usually smaller than timeshares in resort areas because metropolitan cities have less space for development than resort areas, and the space they do have is more expensive.
  • Shorter stays and quick getaways
Urban stays are shorter than traditional timeshare stays. Urban travelers are not looking for swimming or golfing, or even ocean views. They are looking to experience the city's culture, feel its vibrancy and do what the locals do. For example Dr. Gregory says, "Marriott’s Vacation Club Pulse in New York might offer historical walking tours, or wine and food experiences." She speculated that because people are there for such a short time, a full-fledged program isn't as necessary or critical. Owners will have more flexibility in being able to use up their points for the smaller trips or getaways.
  • Meeting the needs of the business traveler
Urban timeshares are attractive to the business traveler and corporations who want to get away from the more institutionalized hotel atmosphere, and offer employees and clients a more comfortable space that is also close to business, cultural activities, restaurants and sporting events.

For more information on urban timeshares visit www.marriottvacationclub.com/mvpulse 
www.hiltongrandvacations.com If you've done any urban timeshare vacationing, we'd love to hear about your experience! Contact us at www.timeshare-info.org 
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