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MARRIOTT LAUNCHES NEW EUROPEAN EXCHANGE OPTION

At the same time, the Orlando-based Marriott timeshare firm announced it was starting a new charitable initiative to assist the Greater Orlando Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in its ongoing fund-raising efforts. The money being raised will go toward the expansion of The Alexander Center for Neonatology at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.

Marriott Vacation Club is a brand of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation, a leading global vacation ownership firm. Its vacation club now has more than 416,000 members who own units in 54 resorts and 11,700 timeshare villas throughout the U.S., Caribbean, Europe and Asia.

The launching of a new owner usage option in Europe will offer thousands of new vacation choices to members, said Bob Miller, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation. A points-based program for Asia Pacific customers was first introduced in 2006, followed by the points-based Marriott Vacation Club Destinations program in 2010 for customers in North America, the Caribbean and Latin America. Now comes the new option for European-based resorts.

"As the first branded hospitality company to enter the European timeshare market in 1996, we've been committed to providing great vacation experiences for our owners at beautiful resorts in coastal Spain and France," Miller said. "The expansion of our points-based exchange program to this region now offers exceptional vacation options to enrolled owners that are easy to use and provides greater flexibility and more personalized experiences."

What the new usage option does is give enrolled owners additional flexibility to exchange their timeshare annually for Vacation Club Points, and then travel to Europe within any of three Vacation Collections options. Those include:

Marriott Vacation Club Collection, with more than 50 resorts;

Explorer Collection, where Vacation Club Points can be used on travel packages that include luxury cruises;

World Traveler Collection, which provides a global system of hundreds of resorts through Interval International.

Miller said the Marriott brand aims to redefine the vacation ownership and timeshare experience, so owners can take advantage of a vacation experience anywhere around the world, doing it "the Marriott way."

At the same time, the firm has maintained its local ties as well. Over the next five years, the company has committed to raising more than $1 million through Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

"Since our company's inception, the passionate support of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals has been at the foundation of our 'Spirit to Serve' culture," said Steve Weisz, president and CEO of Marriott Vacations Worldwide. "No better example of this exists than right here in Central Florida, where our company has been a steadfast supporter of Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies."

Marriott Vacation Club Owners is now allowing guests at its seven Central Florida resorts to donate spare change to this campaign by leaving it in special envelopes when they're getting ready to check out.

The NICU expansion will add 19,000 square feet and three new patient "pods," consisting of ten private rooms, to meet the critical care of newborns. This expansion is expected to make the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit the largest in the nation.

In recognition for reaching this goal, it was just announced that a portion of the neonatology unit expansion will be recognized as the "Marriott Vacations Worldwide NICU-Pod" and serve to memorialize the company's long-standing commitment to children, especially newborns, said Weisz.

"We appreciate the generosity of Marriott Vacations Worldwide and their support of our mission to provide state-of-the-art, specialized care to our tiniest patients here in Central Florida," said John Bozard, president of the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation. "The expansion of The Alexander Center for Neonatology will help us provide more room to accommodate the ever-growing number of families in need of critical care in our area."

Children's Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds for 170 children's hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, supported by the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation, is a 285-bed facility dedicated exclusively to the needs of women and babies.

To learn more, visit www.winniepalmerhospital.com.



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