Marriott Enters The Home-Sharing Market, Competing With Airbnb

Written by Dana Sanchez
Hotel Marriott em Viena, Áustria. Photo: Wikipedia

In a world where an average of 2 million people stay in an Airbnb per night, the largest hotel chain on the planet has seen the future and it is home sharing. Now Marriott wants to make sure it gets its piece of the pie.

Marriott said it plans to start offering accommodations this month in about 2,000 high-end homes in 100 markets across the U.S., Europe and Latin America, Wall Street Journal reported.

The first hotel chain of its size to create a U.S. home-rental platform, Marriott has already completed a successful pilot program in Europe.

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Home sharing is a booming market. Airbnb has more than 6 million listings in 100,000 cities and 191 countries.

Airbnb is rumored to be planning a 2020 IPO. Increased competition could mean reduced market share for Airbnb, and no Airbnb investor wants to see that, Fast Company reported.

The Marriott program will let home-rental guests earn and redeem Marriott loyalty points just like they do when staying at other Marriott properties, according to The Real Deal.

Marriott will also have to obey the same city restrictions on short-term rentals that Airbnb has been fighting. In 2018, New York City passed a law requiring Airbnb to provide detailed information about its listings. A Manhattan federal judge blocked the law, saying it was too broad.

Other major hotel companies such as Hilton and Hyatt have also looked at the home-rental business. And Airbnb has done more than look at acquiring traditional hotels. It acquired Hotel Tonight in April — its biggest buy yet — and invested in Oyo Hotels & Homes. In New York, Airbnb is negotiating with landlord RXR Realty to make apartments available in commercial buildings.

For its pilot program, Marriott partnered with Hostmaker, a London-based home-rental management company, to offer home-sharing stays at 340 properties in Paris, Rome, Lisbon and London. Marriott is working with property management firms in the U.S. too, WSJ reported.

Home-sharing guests tend to stay more than twice as long as hotel guests, and they like more space and kitchen and laundry facilities. The European homes included a 24-hour support line and an in-person check-in at the property, Marriott said.

Airbnb said it welcomes the competition. “We welcome them to the party and wish them bon voyage,” said Chris Lehane, head of policy and communications.

Marriott’s entry into the home-rental business shows it is acknowledging the threat to its business from Airbnb, WSJ reported. But others are ambivalent.

“We really view home sharing as a different business,” said Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta. “We may think differently in the future.”