Hilton invests £4.1m in luxury timeshare market

Scotland’s The Herald newspaper reported last weekend that Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) – the shared ownership division of the $8.7 billion revenue Hilton Worldwide group – has opened its first ‘exclusively timeshare’ property in Craigendarroch, Deeside.

The opening follows a £4.1 million refurbishment to transform the 45-bedroom Hilton hotel into 32 “vacation club suites” for HGV’s timeshare members.

Hilton Grand Vacations says it has seen a significant increase in the number of families joining its vacation club, so the refurbishment is well timed.

The property has a fascinating history. Craigendarroch http://higvc.co.uk/resorts/scotland/craigendarroch was built in 1891 as the country home of the Keiller family of Dundee marmalade magnates, after whom the new brasserie is named.

The Herald article mentions that the “new” exclusively timeshare resort is a response to the increasing recession-defying popularity and profitability of luxury timeshares. HGV claims that enrolment to its 200,000-member worldwide “club” is growing by between 15,000-16,000 new members every year.

Hilton anticipates that around 30% of Craigendarroch’s ownership will be from Scotland, 40% from the rest of the UK, and 30% from overseas, with the US a key target market – traditionally, American timeshare owners have had a long, neverending love affair with Scotland (as well as Ireland) and timeshare resorts located at or near golf clubs are particularly attractive to US visitors.

A VisitScotland spokesman welcomed the growth of the shared ownership sector in Scotland, saying that it “practically guarantees visitors will spend time in the country, providing a clear injection of money for local businesses.”

Richard McIntosh, managing director of Europe and the Middle East and Asia for HGV, who is based at Craigendarroch, described the timeshare concept as “generally recession-resistant as once people have purchased [a share in the property], they continue to use it. The existing timeshare part of this property had around 90% occupancy, whereas in the hotel the figure would have been 70-75%.”

“We are definitely seeing the market move towards the shorter stay, the two-to three-night break.”

“Consumers are probably having more breaks in the year, which is a good thing as the suites product is geared towards that. We have invested a lot in new bar and restaurant and leisure facilities which we expect to attract an additional 5000 tourists a year and significantly boost spend in the area.”

Hilton Grand Vacations operates a points system, allowing purchasers to amass and exchange holiday time entitlement to nights at different times of year, grades of suite, resort and country. The average week at Craigendarroch is £13,000, though suites range from £3500 for a small suite in “silver season” to £23,000 for a two-bedroom apartment at “platinum time”.

The resort was a Stakis hotel until it was bought by HGV in 1999.  Craigendarrock employs 130 people, 70 of them permanent.

HGV manages three luxury resorts in Scotland (also Dunkeld and Coylumbridge) and a stunning resort in Villamoura, in Portugal’s Algarve region.

Discover one of Scotland’s most elegant timeshare escapes here  http://higvc.co.uk/resorts/scotland/craigendarroch

Read the original article here: http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/company-news/hiltons-41m-investment-in-luxury-timeshare-market.21755806

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