Marriott International (MAR) has completed the spin-off of its timeshare business, freeing up some time so it can now focus on its lodging management and franchise divisions.

The Bethesda, Md.-based hotel-chain operator said Monday that shares of the new company, called Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp., will be distributed to existing Marriott shareholders.

"Today is a milestone."

- Marriott International CEO J.W. Marriott

The new company began trading Monday under the ticket “VAC” on the New York Stock Exchange. Marriott’s board approved the deal last month.

"Today is a milestone,” Marriott International’s CEO, J.W. Marriott, said in a statement.

With the oversight of Marriott Vacations Worldwide, the timeshare brand “will be in the best hands,” he said.

With 99% of Marriott International’s properties operated under long-term management or franchise agreements, the company will be focused on an “asset light” strategy, with intentions to continue growing around the world.

The company will continue to be paid royalty fees from the timeshare business.

As of the third quarter, Marriott, which also operates Courtyard by Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton, operated some 3,700 properties and timeshares.

Follow Jennifer Booton on Twitter at @Jbooton