Marriott Is Launching Its Version of Airbnb

Loyalty members will be able to gain and use points at more than 2,000 vacation home rentals.

Marriott Is Launching Its Version of Airbnb

A home in Lisbon that is available through Marriott’s homesharing pilot program

Courtesy of Marriott

Watch out Airbnb, Marriott International is officially getting into the homesharing space. The global hotel behemoth is gearing up to launch Homes & Villas by Marriott International—a collection of more than 2,000 vacation rental homes that will be bookable in some 100 destinations throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

The move is a rebrand of a pilot program called Tribute Portfolio Homes, which kicked off in London last year, then expanded to Paris, Rome, and Lisbon. The expansion encompassed 340 homes and apartments curated by London-based property management company Hostmaker.

The Tribute Portfolio Homes feature one or more bedrooms, a full kitchen, and in-unit laundry. Examples include a three-bedroom atelier with a balcony near the Champs-Elysees in Paris; a large and modern apartment in Rome with a lush terrace; a rustic-minimalist home in Lisbon; and a bright and airy flat in London complete with a spa bath. Guests also have access to around-the-clock support as well as an in-person welcome and check-in experience through Hostmaker.

“Expanding into homesharing is an opportunity to deepen relationships with our most loyal guests by delivering new experiences designed to reflect how they travel,” Adam Malamut, chief customer experience officer at Marriott International, said in an October release when Marriott first expanded the Tribute Portfolio Homes pilot beyond London.

Marriott is expected to officially launch Homes & Villas by Marriott International within the next day or two, at which point there will likely be more details (such as links to the properties and how to book) available.

A London flat made available through Tribute Portfolio Homes

A London flat made available through Tribute Portfolio Homes

Courtesy of Marriott

Homesharing with a big loyalty boost

In addition to the unique properties themselves, one of the biggest advantages to booking Homes & Villas by Marriott International is the fact that it will be a part of the newly rebranded Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program. That means Marriott Bonvoy members will be able to both earn and redeem points when staying at the Marriott vacation homes.

When Marriott Bonvoy kicked off in February, it combined Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards (encompassing 30 different hotel brands) into one comprehensive loyalty program that includes more than 6,900 hotel properties in 130 countries and territories.

The program will now also include Homes & Villas by Marriott International, which will add nearly 40 new leisure destinations into the Marriott Bonvoy mix. Some of the destinations where Marriott will be offering vacation homes include the Amalfi Coast, Italy; Lake Tahoe, California; Bar Harbor, Maine; St. Tropez, France; and St. Bart’s in the Caribbean.

Vacation home versus hotel

Now that a significant number of vacation rentals will be housed under the same umbrella as many major hotel chains (Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, W Hotels, AC by Marriott, Moxy, and the Autograph Collection, to name a few), it raises the question of when customers might choose one over the other.

Following its Tribute Portfolio Homes test in London, Marriott International found that stays in the London homes were more than twice as long as a typical hotel stay and that guests sought out units with multiple bedrooms. More than 75 percent of guests staying at the London homesharing properties were leisure travelers, traveling with friends and family, or were extending a business trip to include a leisure element with friends and family.

>> Next: Everything You Need to Know About Marriott Bonvoy—and How to Take Advantage of the Perks

Michelle Baran is a deputy editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
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