Marriott Timeshare Goes Green

Timesharing is going green, and Marriott is leading the way. As part of a parent company initiative, Marriott Vacation Club International recently introduced a number of property-level sustainability measures:

• Resorts are now using plastic keycards made of 50-percent recycled material, saving about four tons of plastic from going to landfills. The company uses 1.2 million keycards annually.

• More than 800,000 guest arrival pieces are now printed on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and purchased from FSC-approved merchants. The Council encourages responsible management of the world’s forests.

• Marriott Vacation Club switched to pens made of 74-percent pre-consumer recycled material. The company uses more than 1.5 million pens a year. In addition, each of the eco-friendly pens writes longer (1.2 miles) than the one previously used.

• Each of the company’s 50 resorts has installed energy-efficient lighting, low-flow showerheads and toilets and have robust recycling policies. One property, Grande Vista in Orlando, saved more than $200,000 in energy costs since switching to more-efficient light bulbs in 2008.

MVCI’s green efforts date back to early 2008, when the company launched a green program at its headquarters office in Orlando. But, according to Ed Kinney, the division’s vice president of corporate affairs and brand awareness, MVCI has been in involved in sustainability projects for more than 10 years. The company’s Ocean Pointe timeshare resort in Palm Beach has been using an automated recycling system for more than a decade, and the Grande Vista property employs a solar supplement system to help offset energy costs.

Marriott’s new green profile also helps where it really counts in the timeshare business: in the sales and marketing process.

“There’s a limit to how in-depth we can get with potential owners, but from time to time the subject comes up during sales presentations,” says Kinney. “Sometimes we’re able to bring up the topic of how environmentally sensitive and conscious the company is, and that’s always a positive.”

According to Kinney, the company plans to continue pursuing green opportunities. “It’s not a fad for us; we’re committed to sustainability as a corporation and at MVCI,” he says.

Future initiatives, he says, include adding more sophisticated thermostat systems and the installation of dual-flush toilets, a technology that’s common nearly everywhere in the world except the U.S.

The division is also working with various state green hospitality certifications programs, including those in Florida, Virginia, California and Hawaii. In June, three properties in Florida received the Green Lodging Program Designation from the state of Florida, and the company’s Grand Chateau timeshare property in Las Vegas received a similar accolade from the state of Nevada.

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