Welk Resorts Confirms Pending Acquisition of the Brand by Marriott Vacations Worldwide
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
After 57 years, family-owned Welk Hospitality Group has agreed to an approximated $430-million acquisition offer from Marriott Vacations Worldwide (MVW.) This offer includes the sale of Welk Resorts’ portfolio of resort properties, vacation ownership programs, and property management contracts, as well as 1.4 million Marriott Vacations Worldwide shares. The deal has an anticipated closing sometime early in the second quarter of 2021.
Once the purchase is complete, Marriott has plans to rebrand the acquired Welk resorts in California, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, and Cabo San Lucas as Hyatt Residence Club properties, bringing the Hyatt-brand upscale resort portfolio up to 24 properties. The process of rebranding will be long-term and detailed with the final approval of these decisions being made by Hyatt Hotels Incorporated.
Jon Fredrick, President and CEO of Welk Resorts, as well as the grandson of Welk hospitality business’ founder, Lawrence Welk, stated:
“It is bittersweet after 57 wonderful years of memories and accomplishments to be welcoming a new owner for Welk Resorts. We are confident in MVW and its shared commitment to excellence. Our board and family recognized that its vision, resources and globally-recognized brand ensure the best long-term future for our valued team members and Owners.”
Marriott Vacations Worldwide CEO Stephen Weisz added:
“We appreciate that Welk Resorts’ leadership has entrusted MVW to build on the solid foundation laid by generations of the Welk family and the company’s team members. We have been in the vacation ownership industry for decades and have deep respect for the strength of the Welk name, operation and legacy.”
Welk Resorts began in 1964 after famous television bandleader and host Lawrence Welk purchased a San Diego motel and nine-hole golf course for his family to utilize for their vacations. It wasn’t until 1985 under the leadership of Lawrence’s son, Larry Welk, that the Welk Resorts’ vacation ownership program was launched at Lawrence Welk Resort Villas in Escondido, California. Since 1999, Lawrence’s grandson, Jon Fredrick, has led the company alongside a number of family members who have served as chairmen, directors, and more. Additionally, Welk Hospitality Group is majority-owned by Welk family members with 12 percent of shares owned by Welk’s employees through its employee stock ownership program.
Not included in this acquisition is The Lawrence Welk Family Foundation and the sister Welk company in the real estate and entertainment business.
In addition to the family involvement, the resorts have expanded over the years. The original San Diego resort has grown to 450-acres with two impressive 18-hole golf courses, multiple restaurants, seven swimming pools, a fitness center, two water slides, five recreation centers, a spa, a theater, two escape rooms, and more. In 2020, Welk Resort opened The Ranahan in Breckenridge, Colorado, and shared news of several management contracts including El Corazon de Santa Fe and Eagle Point Vacation Community. In recent years, the company has also introduced partnerships for its Experiences Collection by Welk Resorts which provides an additional 16 resort options for its Platinum Owners outside of the brand, such as Four Seasons and Disney Vacation Club, in popular places like Hawaii and Florida.
Other notable achievements of Welk include its activity programming, Inspired For You which has earned awards with adventures like escape rooms, digital printers, and underwater virtual reality as well as its employee’s community connection and philanthropic efforts.
To learn more about Welk Resorts and this transition, please visit their official website.