Worldwide: Marriott International’s Homes & Villas home-sharing platform will not be rivalling Airbnb and other large supplier players in the global short-term rental industry, it emerged at the VRMA International Conference in New Orleans.
Rather than offering out luxury properties listed on its platform to the general public, Marriott will provide its selective range of professionally-managed rentals for high-earning members of its Bonvoy loyalty programme. Marriott loyalty members earn and redeem Bonvoy points when they book to stay at one of the brand’s 2,500+ properties.
Speaking to Skift, Jennifer Hsieh, global leader for Homes & Villas by Marriott International, said: “We knew that we couldn’t outsmart or out-manage professional property managers. We didn’t want to be in that business.”
Hsieh added that Home & Villa’s was principally targeting repeat business travellers who redeem their points for high-end leisure trips.
According to property managers working with Marriott, the sign-up process to work with the company typically takes between two and four months after first contacting Marriott’s exclusive technology software partner BookingPal. Property management companies are then required to get approval through a vetting process to ensure they can protect guest data and obtain effective cyber insurance.
Following that, Marriott representatives visit property owners and their properties before a deal is officially finalised.
At the same time for the service, Marriott demands to have first pick on all inventory and availability.
Vrbo chief commercial officer Jeff Hurst says the move may actually drive more customers towards the Homes & Villas rental category, rather than encouraging them to stay frequently in its hotels.
Hurst told Skift: “For someone to use a ton of points to experience a vacation rental potentially for the first time in a way that feels safe is likely to get them hooked on the idea that rentals are the only way to go for a luxury vacation. That’s good for our sector.
“You’ll probably run out of points faster than you’ll run out of enthusiasm for the rental experience,” he added.
For more information, visit the Homes & Villas by Marriott International website here.