By Stacey Leasca
April 30, 2019
Courtesy of Homes & Villas by Marriott International

Move over Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO. There’s a new home-sharing company in town.

Marriott, the world’s largest hotel company, is officially launching its Homes & Villas by Marriott International next week, according to Skift.

The hotel giant has been busy testing the program over the last year, starting with just 200 homes in the London area. Now, however, the program contains more than 2,000 properties in more than 100 different markets around the globe. That includes several markets that Marriott has never entered before.

“The launch of Homes & Villas by Marriott International reflects our ongoing commitment to innovation as consumer travel needs evolve,” Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Marriott International, said in a statement. “What started out as a pilot a year ago is now a global offering, providing our guests with the space and amenities of a home backed by a trusted travel company, and the very best in loyalty benefits.”

And the new listings are even better news for loyalty members as they can still earn Marriott Bonvoy points when they book and stay in any of the homes.

Though the program launched with the UK-based property management company Hostmaker, Marriott explained that it will not continue with the same program. Instead, it will expand to work with various property management partners around the world. Initial partners, Skift reported, include TurnKey Vacation Rentals, LaCure, Loyd & Townsend Rose, Veeve, London Residents Club, Mainsail Lodging, CPG, and Reserva Conchal.

“The best way I can think about it is to compare it to how Marriott manages hotels,” Linnartz told Skift. “That’s what these property management companies will do for these homes.”

The homes available through the rental program will not be exclusive to Marriott. Instead, property managers may decide to share their listings on a number of platforms.

But, the properties that do appear on Marriott will be in the hotel’s “luxury” category. That means each home will come with the same support as a hotel, WI-Fi, premium linens, and family-friendly amenities when requested by guests.

“Our approach to home rentals allows us to curate an incredible collection of homes that deliver an elevated travel experience,” Jennifer Hsieh, Vice President, Homes & Villas by Marriott International, added in the statement. “By working with a select group of professional management companies that understand and operate in this dynamic landscape, we are able to focus on what we do best — selecting a breadth of homes in inspiring destinations, setting standards for responsive service and designing a seamless booking experience that helps our guests navigate an increasingly complex and uncertain set of home rental choices.”

But, fear not, Airbnb lovers. Marriott isn’t expected to completely overtake the market just yet.

“I don’t think they’re trying to [give Airbnb a run for its money],” former Hostmaker Chief Operating Officer James Lemon told Skift. “They can’t be the leaders in size and scale in homes, but I don’t think that’s what they need to achieve. They are trying to offer an alternative for a certain customer segment and certain types of lengths of stays and to offer a credible supply choice.”

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