Rumors have circulated among the Marriott loyalist about a possible Waikoloa Beach Marriott conversion. Supposedly Marriott Vacation Club sales people, some of them anyway, have been telling prospective buyers and/or current owners about plans to flip the property. It appears that these rumors are true, at least in part.
In an article ran earlier this week, the Pacific Business News states that 240 of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott’s 555 rooms will be converted into Marriott Vacation Club timeshare units. The 240 hotel rooms, however, will turn into just 112 timeshare units when all is said and done. The $45 and 55 million project is expected to be completed some time in 2017, with units going on sale this year. At present, the Waikoloa Beach Marriott is one of the largest hotels on the Big Island. Post conversion, the hotel will have just 315 hotel rooms left, or a mix of 427 hotel rooms and timeshare units.
Conversions of hotels to timeshares have been really popular in Hawaii the past 10 or so years. While such conversions are good, in that theoretically it means a pool of visitors that should return fairly regularly, these changes also represent a major shift in the industry. Timeshares in general require less staff to operate, which often causes job losses. It also reduces the amount of available hotel rooms, which can cause a spike in room rates. This has the unfortunate effect of possibly further reducing the number of visitors choosing the islands as their vacation destination. Especially when you consider the fact that over the past 10 years 8,000 hotel rooms have been lost to timeshare conversions, 5,000 of which were on the island of Oahu alone. Of course, full conversions of hotels to timeshares is more likely to make the properties better… especially when compared to these hotel renovations.
In similar news, Marriott Vacation Club has also announced the construction of 190 new timeshare unites at Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club.