Marriott International take on Airbnb with the launch of “Homes & Villas”

Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel group with over 6500 properties worldwide, are officially about to leap into the home rental market that has been dominated by Airbnb for the past decade.

Easily one of the biggest and most surprising recent evolutions in the lodging industry, the new upscale rental property platform, simply called “Homes & Villas”, will be across over 100 different destinations with around 2,000 premium and luxury homes on the platform. This includes cities in the U.S, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Perhaps most exciting – and distinctive – is the fact that members of Marriott Bonvoy – Marriott’s recently reimagined consolidated loyalty programme – are able to redeem points to book these homes.

“The launch of Homes & Villas by Marriott International reflects our ongoing commitment to innovation as consumer travel needs evolve”, explains Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Marriott International. “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”.

Homes & Villas comes after a year of testing in a pilot program under the brand extension of “Tribute Portfolio Homes”, where it was found that the average guest stay for these rentals was more than triple the typical hotel stay. Why wouldn’t Marriot want to get in on that?

So far the Homes & Villas platform, which launches next week, highlights some truly upscale and exciting properties in leisure destinations not previously accessible to those looking to throw around their Marriott Bonvoy points. These include a four-bedroom cottage on six private aces of California wine country; a six-bedroom villa in Sorrento, Italy with an infinity pool overlooking the Mediterranean and its own wood-fire pizza oven; and a 17-sleeper 18th century Irish castle with a private lake for boating and fishing.

Select property management companies are involved in the program to closely finesse the properties and their individual offerings, which include the expected 24/7 support, high-speed Wi-Fi, premium linens and amenities, and other modern comforts.

The Homes & Villas website – homesandvillasbymarriott.com – will be softly integrated into Marriott’s primary website so those searching for three-plus nights in markets where these rentable properties are available will also be able to see these options alongside the usual hotels.

Members of Marriott Bonvoy will earn points at these rental properties in the same way as long stay hotel brands, meaning five points are offered for each US$1 spent. Members will be eligible for Bonus points based on Elite status.

Members can then use points earned on redemption stays at all participating hotels around the world, as well as on experiences curated as part of the loyalty program’s “Moments” concept. The easy way to explain that is to just liken it to Airbnb’s experiences, working similarly in that exclusively available experiences are listed, bringing access to more than 8,000 things to do across sports, music, culinary tourism, and the arts.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review and a freelance travel writer. You can reach him on Instagram by following @chrisdsingh.

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