Marriott Vacations to Get New CEO as Timeshare Sector Faces Higher Hurdles

Marriott Vacations Worldwide‘s current president, John Geller, will become CEO of the timeshare giant on January 1, 2023, succeeding Stephen Weisz, who’s retiring. Geller will be taking the helm at a time when the company may see how well timeshare sales perform during economically turbulent times.

Geller has been the company’s president since 2021 and was its chief financial officer for over a decade. He’s helped Marriott Vacations slip off the timeshare sector’s reputation for locking customers into convoluted contracts after extensive sales pitches. The company has done this through simplified processes, brand standard processes, and the delivery of better-than-average inventory at “upper-upper-scale” resorts. Since its spinoff from Marriott International in 2011, it has gone from 12 percent to 17 percent market share.

Geller’s experience will be handy as the timeshare sector navigates a possible recession. A Bloomberg survey of economists estimates that the chance of a U.S. recession is at about one in three — and the chance of a European recession is at one in two.

“An inflationary environment increases the value proposition of timeshare,” Geller said in an interview with Skift. A timeshare contract helps owners lock in a price long-term, compared with spikes in daily hotel rates.

“[In early June] we took our vacation contract sales up roughly $100 million [to $1,875 million forecast this year] because the product is resonating more than ever,” Geller said, adding that sales volumes are above pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

Industry-wide, the annual maintenance fee timeshare companies charge rose 15 percent over the five years through 2021, while the cost of a seven-night hotel stay at a “resort hotel” rose 24 percent before resort fees and taxes, according to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA).

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