As we previously reported in March, when the merger was first announced, the deal caused shockwaves through the timeshare industry. Why? These are two very different timeshare brands at their core, and although the two companies will operate independently for now, it’s purported that Hilton will ultimately “absorb” the Diamond brand. This means the Diamond Resort collection, its owners, and its sales teams will be assimilated into the Hilton brand name, reputation, and culture — not the other way around.
Before I cofounded KOALA, I spent many years in sales at Hilton Grand Vacations. In my experience with HGV customers, I would expect that most of them are quite happy to see this merger materialize. As an HGV owner myself, I’m eager to see what new vacation options become available. It quickly expands our choices with additional destinations where HGV had some gaps, like Lake Tahoe and Sedona, Arizona. From what I gather, the overarching concerns from HGV owners lay around Diamond’s historically, shall we say, idiosyncratic sales process. That’s something I’m confident Hilton is interested in addressing.
Naturally, both Diamond and Hilton Grand Vacation owners are expressing both excitement and concern about the acquisition. The Hilton timeshare brands already have different booking windows for members of Hilton Grand Vacations and its more upscale sibling “by Hilton Club.” Now, it looks like there will be an even more “affordable” Hilton timeshare sub-brand that will accommodate the Diamond Resort inventory and its owners. As HGV CEO Mark Wang put it, “We’re launching a new brand called Hilton Vacation Club. And Hilton Vacation Club will be positioned just below Hilton Grand Vacation Club, which is an upper-upscale brand. And the entry price points are significantly lower, about $20,000 lower, to enter the system.”
Variety, they say, is the spice of life, and this merger more than doubles the Hilton timeshare company’s footprint. So on paper, the merger should be a welcome development for both groups of owners. But it will likely present some interesting dynamics as well.