ORLANDO, Fla. - May 13, 2003 - Just announced, Marriott Vacation Club International (MVCI), the vacation ownership division of Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE/MAR), was named Best Sales Organization at the inaugural American Business Awards. Hailed as “the business world’s own Oscars” by the New York Post (September 22, 2002), The American Business Awards’ StevieTM is the first national, all-encompassing business awards program honoring great performances in the workplace.
Almost 500 nominations from companies of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted for consideration. In winning, MVCI topped other category finalists including Microchip Technology, Nextel Communications and Universal Music Group.
In accepting the Stevie, Alan Cervasio, MVCI’s vice president of customer relationship management strategy and associate development, gratefully credited the company’s associates and customers. “We continue to be honored by the many families who entrust us with their valuable vacation time,” said Cervasio. “I accept this on behalf of our talented associates who day after day perform with great dignity, integrity and passion for what we do.”
Cervasio also thanked Marriott International Chairman and CEO, J.W. Marriott, Jr. “for having the vision and the courage to enter this business.” Almost two decades later, Marriott’s vacation ownership division has become the recognized pioneer, innovator and worldwide leader in quality and flexible vacation ownership. “This award is a tremendous acknowledgment of our efforts, but in the words of J.W. Marriott, Sr. ‘Success is never final,’” added Cervasio.
Today, MVCI is a global organization of 7,500 associates with 61 resorts systemwide (31 in active sales) representing four distinct brands - Marriott Vacation Club International, Horizons by Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club and The Ritz-Carlton Club.
Since becoming the first branded hospitality company to enter the timeshare industry in 1984, Marriott has realized cumulative sales of $5.2 billion and amassed over 225,000 owners around the globe. Industry observers have attributed this unprecedented growth to the implementation of a consultative sales process and an intense focus on talent recruitment and training.
In 2002 alone, MVCI realized over $1.1 billion in sales. Last year also marked the company’s seventh consecutive year of annual growth exceeding 20 percent. Industry estimates place Marriott’s current worldwide market share in timeshare at over 20 percent (Vacation Ownership World, January 2003). Particularly noteworthy is the fact that over 40 percent of purchases are consistently derived from existing owners and their referrals.
“The Marriott philosophy is to create a customer for life,” explained Peter J. Watzka, chief customer officer and senior vice president of marketing, sales, service and operations. “Whether or not a customer chooses to own their vacations with Marriott, our goal is for them to feel even better about us as a company after their sales experience than before. It’s very gratifying to be recognized for our approach.”
“This is a tribute that goes beyond our talented sales executives,” continued Watkza. “Every single one of our associates plays an active role in making great vacations possible for our valued customers, year after year. In the end, it’s all about enhancing our one to one relationships with our associates and customers.”
Members of the Awards` Board of Distinguished Judges & Advisors and their staffs selected Stevie winners from among the finalists. The board includes business luminaries such as Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes; Bruce Nelson, chairman and CEO of Office Depot; marketing gurus Don Peppers and Martha Rogers; Anthony Robbins, chairman and CEO of The Anthony Robbins Companies; Drew Schutte, publisher of Wired Magazine; Jeffrey Tarr, chairman and CEO of Hoover’s Inc.; and Donald Trump, chairman, president and CEO of The Trump Organization. Finalists were selected by business professionals nationwide during February and March.
“Our goal with The American Business Awards was to recognize and celebrate those companies who represent the best of American business,” said Stevie Awards’ President and Founder Michael Gallagher. “Marriott’s exceptional leadership in the timeshare industry obviously impressed the panel of judges.”
About Marriott Vacation Club International
Based in Orlando, Fla., Marriott Vacation Club International is the world leader in vacation ownership. In 1984, Marriott became the first branded hospitality company by nearly a decade to enter the timeshare industry. Today, Marriott Vacation Club continues to expand with a diverse portfolio of 6,000 timeshare resort villas around the globe. More than 215,000 families in all 50 states and 143 countries own their vacations “the Marriott way” through a program that is well regarded for its quality management and unique flexibility. Options include priority exchanging to over 50 other Marriott Vacation Club resorts, trading week(s) for Marriott Rewards points redeemable for diverse travel awards, or exchanging within Interval International’s global system of nearly 1,900 resorts in more than 75 countries. Online at www.marriottvacationclub.com or toll free: 1-866-300-3032.
About The American Business Awards
A celebration of great performances in the workplace, The American Business Awards are the first national, all-encompassing business awards program. Honoring companies of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Awards recognize outstanding leadership, innovation, perseverance, creativity, teamwork, and integrity through more than 40 categories. The first American Business Awards - nicknamed The Stevies from the Greek word for “crowned” - were presented at an awards show in New York City on April 30. The program is overseen by a Board of Distinguished Judges & Advisors, which includes leading business executives, authors, and academics. Sponsors of the 2003 American Business Awards included BusinessTalkRadio, DHR International, Empire Media, Forbes, Hoover`s Online, Inc. Magazine, Miller Heiman, Selling Power Magazine, and Wired Magazine.