When Marriott Vacation Club International completed its transformation of Boston's historic Custom House into a luxury vacation ownership property, CM Communications was tapped to design and execute a year-long public relations program to meet the following objectives: 1) Launch the brand expansion of Marriott’s first urban vacation ownership property, 2) Dispel negative preconceptions of the timeshare sales process and inferior properties by repositioning and recasting the term “timeshare” in a more positive light by replacing it with the newer phrase “vacation ownership,” 3) Foster strong ties with city officials and the local community and 4) Create demand and attract prospective buyers for the Custom House luxury vacation ownership condominiums.


To garner media coverage for Marriott’s Custom House, CM created and produced a series of special events including a grand opening ceremony featuring Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Bill Marriott, a fundraiser to benefit the Special Olympics and a historic marker dedication that landed the property news coverage on local TV affiliates: NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX. During the course of the project, over $1 million of regional and national print coverage was achieved in real estate and business sections of newspapers nationwide including Barron’s, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Boston Business Journal, Boston Magazine and New England Travel Guide.


As a result of widespread grand opening media exposure, consumer interest was high and sales of the luxury condominiums far exceeded Marriott’s forecast. Edward F. Kinney, Senior Director, Brand Advertising & Communications for Marriott Vacation Club, stated that the grand opening of Marriott’s Custom House received more media coverage than any other vacation ownership property nationwide.