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Is Hilton’s Bluegreen Acquisition a Positive or Negative?

Bluegreen acquisition: A view of a Miami beach with the ocean on one side and condos on the other

In November of 2023, Mark Wang, the CEO of Hilton Grand Vacations, Inc. (HGV), announced that HGV was acquiring a rival company, Bluegreen Vacations. This latest move by Hilton adds around 50 timeshare resorts and over 220,000 owners to the HGV network, and it improved HGV’s position in the stock market. If you are a timeshare owner with either of these companies, the natural question might be how this event will affect you and your vacation property.

 

 

A good indication of what might happen in the future is the past. In this case, one could look to HGV’s acquisition of Diamond Resorts International, another big change that added both resorts and owners to HGV’s portfolio. Though Bluegreen is not as large as Diamond Resorts was, it does add some different kinds of properties. Its current members, though, will also put a strain on HGV’s existing timeshare inventory. 

 

 

This article will examine the facts of the acquisition of Bluegreen Vacations and what owners can expect as a result. We’ll also compare a few Hilton and Bluegreen properties. Finally, if you are underwhelmed with your HGV or Bluegreen membership, we will address the possibility of a timeshare exit with Centerstone Group.

 

 

The Bluegreen Acquisition: What Happened

Bluegreen acquisition: A closeup of two businessmen shaking hands

According to a November 6, 2023, press release by Hilton, it acquired Bluegreen Vacations for roughly $1.5 billion. After the prior merger with Diamond Resorts International, HGV’s total membership was around 525,000 owners. With the Bluegreen owners, that number has now swelled to more than 740,000. Hilton’s resort portfolio also jumped from 150 to nearly 200 properties.

 

 

Based on the advertising materials and reputations of the two companies, Bluegreen resorts was marketed to, and patronized by, a younger demographic. Its image as a more value-based than luxury-based vacation ownership company adds some younger people, then, to Hilton’s resort offerings. The Bluegreen resort properties will likely be made available through the Hilton Grand Vacation Club Max (HGVC Max) program, as the Diamond Resorts properties were. 

 

 

Though it was unclear from the press release, it would be logical to assume that Bluegreen owners would be treated similarly to Diamond owners and be placed in the HGVC Max tier of timeshare ownership. While existing Hilton timeshare owners received a points increase in connection with the Diamond acquisition, it is unlikely they will receive a similar point adjustment this time.

 

Who Benefits from the Bluegreen Acquisition?

A blurred photo of a sporting goods store

The acquisition of Bluegreen will have big effects on several different groups. The timeshare owners from both brands will be affected in terms of the number and quality of the resorts offered. Hilton will also benefit from the strategic partnerships that Bluegreen established with other companies, specifically Bass Pro Shops.

 

 

1. Timeshare Owners With Hilton Now

 

Owners who are already with Hilton (i.e., HGV’s membership base) will likely get access to Bluegreen real estate. Bluegreen has resorts in 24 U.S. States as opposed to Hilton’s 15 states. That does provide Hilton owners with more variety in resort choices, even if Bluegreen does have fewer resorts overall than Hilton’s current portfolio.

 

 

Getting into that limited number of resorts might be challenging however. Hilton has over half a million resort owners now that have trouble getting reservations for their own, much larger collection of properties. Adding Bluegreen’s existing customer base to that already gigantic number means that reservation problems will likely not let up any time soon.

 

 

Bluegreen resorts in states not currently featuring Hilton properties may experience a boost in business from Hilton’s current owners being able to book those properties. But because those resorts are not in as many traditionally in-demand vacation areas, the impact on them will likely be limited.

 

 

Hilton owners should also keep in mind that Bluegreen is generally considered a more “budget” timeshare company, and so the quality of whatever “new” resorts Hilton owners have access to will almost certainly be less than what a Hilton owner has come to expect. Bluegreen owners, on the other hand, will be more likely to go for Hilton resorts, making reservations at those locations more difficult for Hilton owners.

 

 

2. Timeshare Owners From Bluegreen

 

A similar fate awaits Bluegreen members who are coming into the Hilton vacation club system. While they might believe they are moving to a stronger and bigger company, HGV does not quite have the track record that many might pair with the Hilton name.

 

 

As happened with the Diamond Resorts acquisition, Bluegreen owners will be led to believe that they will be offered an entirely new world of Hilton Grand Vacations resorts, when in reality they will mostly have access to Bluegreen properties that have just been rebranded as HGV.

 

 

While some Bluegreen owners might get access to nicer resorts in high-demand places like Las Vegas and Hawaii, booking those might be hard when competing with a half million other people trying to get the best rooms from HGV’s offerings. This is a matter of pure numbers, regardless of how nice the HGV Ultimate Access experiential platform might be.

 

 

Also keep in mind that the purported increase in quality at the Hilton properties will likely require an increased point buy-in from Bluegreen owners, meaning thousands of dollars in extra purchases. This would likely take the form of a membership upgrade purchase through HGV Max. That means more debt and higher annual maintenance fees as well.

 

 

The Bluegreen resorts in states not currently featuring Hilton properties may experience a boost in business from Hilton’s current owners being able to book those properties. But because those resorts are not in as many in-demand vacation areas, the impact on them will likely be limited.

 

 

3. Bass Pro Shops

 

Bass Pro Shops and Bluegreen have been partners since 2000 — with Bass Pro Shops offering its outdoor and sporting goods to Bluegreen customers, and Bluegreen offering outdoor-themed resorts in a variety of locations. Bluegreen had an exclusive marketing agreement within the sporting goods store chain, granting it extended customer reach into Bass Pro customers.

 

 

This strategic partnership will likely be passed on to Hilton, which will now feature sales points in Bass Pro Shops stores like Bluegreen had. It remains to be seen, however, whether this deal will last, given the legal troubles it caused between Bluegreen and Bass Pro Shops over Bluegreen’s sales practices. That said, Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris seemed upbeat about the future of the deal when asked.

 

 

4. Hilton Grand Vacations

 

Probably the biggest winner from the Bluegreen acquisition is Hilton itself. The timeshare company gets to grow its owner base, along with the payment of lucrative annual maintenance fees. The additional owners will give Hilton a perpetual stream of income that will more than offset the additional cost of maintaining Bluegreen’s resort properties.

 

 

What Are the Differences Between Bluegreen and Hilton Properties?

A couple looks at a brochure while standing in a hotel room

The largest differences between the properties of Bluegreen and Hilton are the number and distribution of the resorts throughout America. Hilton also has several international resorts that set its resort portfolio apart from that of Bluegreen. 

 

 

Perhaps a finer point, though, is that the American locations in which both companies have resorts consistently show that Hilton’s are superior. In Las Vegas, for example, the Elara, the Polo Towers, and the Trump International Hotel are all located on or adjacent to the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. 

 

 

Bluegreen, by contrast, has the Bluegreen Club 36, a less extravagant property located a few blocks off the south side of the Strip. Club 36 is also located in a flight path of Harry Reid International Airport, which makes it considerably noisier and less desirable from a safety perspective.

 

 

In Hawaii, the difference is even more stark. Hilton boasts 13 different resorts across four islands: Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai. Bluegreen, on the other hand, only has one resort in Kauai, the Pono Kai Resort. Similarly, Bluegreen has one New York property, compared to Hilton’s five.

 

 

Even a review of timeshares in Miami, Florida, shows that Bluegreen’s resort there is not even in Miami but in the neighboring town of Surfside. While there may be some travelers who prefer the quieter town to the larger one, it will likely not be a majority of them. Even in the huge Orlando market for timeshares, Bluegreen has only two properties.

 

 

A common theme in all of these locations is that the Bluegreen resorts are in cheaper and less desirable locations than the Hilton resorts. They also tend to be of lower quality. Though some Hilton owners may want to take advantage of properties in new states, that doesn’t seem like a big feature for Hilton’s current customers. 

 

It is more likely that Bluegreen owners will be seeking reservations at the Hilton properties, rather than the other way around. In reality, this extra demand for the higher-end resorts will just put even more strain on the current HGV owners, making it a poor deal for them.

 

 

Getting Out of Your Timeshare Contract Whether It Is With Hilton or Bluegreen

It appears that, after the Bluegreen acquisition, the most significant change for timeshare owners at both companies will be increased maintenance fees. 

 

 

In addition, Bluegreen owners will face steep pressure to upgrade their membership, and Hilton owners will find it more difficult to use the resorts to which they already have access. They will all still be subject to onerous timeshare contracts with ever-increasing fees, and they will still be subject to long, pushy sales presentations to upgrade their membership or buy more points.

 

 

Those disadvantages likely won’t appeal to anybody. That is why Centerstone Group has used its professionals’ collective decades of experience in the timeshare industry to help timeshare owners get out of their burdensome contracts and reclaim their lives.

 

 

Centerstone Group is the premier timeshare exit company, with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. When you come in for a free consultation, they will evaluate your case to see whether you might need a cancellation, escrow services, or their proprietary pressure campaign against timeshare developers. They even offer referrals and discounted rates for attorneys and law firms if you need those services.

 

Whether you are ready to get out or just considering the possibility, book a free consultation and case evaluation.

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