New Marriott service to compete directly with Airbnb

Beach House
Marriott's new home-sharing service will allow users to rent stays in beach houses, castles, city apartments and cabins. Photo credit: terng99/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Marriott International will introduce a new home-sharing program next week, according to Business Insider. The program will allow users to earn or redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for stays and initially will feature more than 2,000 homes.

According to Business Insider, the program will run in partnership with several rental property-management firms. Accommodation options will include castles, city apartments, beach houses and cabins.

Marriott introduced a beta program last year called Tribute Portfolio Homes. Done in partnership with homestay property-management company Hostmaker, the program at this point has only included options in Paris, Rome, London and Lisbon, Portugal.

When it comes to traditional hotel companies entering the home-sharing business, Marriott is not alone. In 2017, the Wyndham Destination Network’s timeshare company RCI acquired the London startup Love Home Swap, a company that allows users to swap homes with other users. In 2016, Accor bought a different U.K.-based company, Onefinestay, for $168.45 million, with plans to invest a further $73 million on expanding the high-end home-rental company.

Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s cofounder and CEO, told “CBS This Morning” he welcomes Marriott’s new service. “The fact that the largest hotel company in the world is going into home-sharing is pretty much an incredible testament—and the fact that we have half a billion guest arrivals on our platform.”

Airbnb also has been diversifying its business lately. In March it agreed to acquire HotelTonight, an app which allows users to book last-minute on discounted hotel rooms. Then, earlier this month, Airbnb made a major investment into Lyric, a San Francisco-based real estate and hospitality company. Lyric rents full floors of apartments from landlords, furnishes them and then subleases them for short- and long-term stays.