Marriott has announced that they’ll soon be offering 2,000 premium home rentals in over 100 destinations, giving Marriott Bonvoy members access to more lodging options.
The biggest threat the hotel industry faces
Much like the taxi industry has faced a lot of competition from ride sharing services like Uber, the lodging industry faces a lot of competition from home sharing services like Airbnb.
It’s interesting to see how the hotel industry is interacting with this trend. Many hotel groups have stayed radio silent when it comes to home sharing, while others have actually invested in home sharing companies.
Homes & Villas by Marriott
Next week Homes & Villas by Marriott will launch, which will be a home rental initiative offering 2,000 premium and luxury homes located in over 100 destinations throughout the US, Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
This will allow Marriott Bonvoy members to earn and redeem points for a wider variety of accommodation options.
This new program is an expansion of a trial that Marriott launched in 2018, when Marriott introduced Tribute Portfolio Homes. They found some interesting trends based on that:
- Nearly 90% of people who booked were Marriott Bonvoy members
- Over 75% of people who booked were traveling for leisure, or with friends and family
- The average guest spent more than triple as much as they would for a usual hotel stay
What home sharing does for Marriott
Homes & Villas by Marriott will add nearly 40 additional leisure destinations for Marriott Bonvoy members to earn and redeem points at. Marriott gives the following examples:
- A four-bedroom cottage on six private acres of California wine country
- A six bedroom villa in Sorrento, Italy with an infinity pool overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and a wood-fire pizza oven
- An oceanfront villa in Anguilla with private beach and a personal butler and house staff
- A 18th century Irish Castle that sleeps 17 and features a private lake for boating and fishing
- A six-bedroom townhouse in London with a children’s playroom and climbing wall
Marriott is launching Homes & Villas by Marriott International with select property management companies that are already managing these homes, including TurnKey Vacation Rentals, LaCure, Loyd & Townsend Rose, Veeve, London Residents Club, Mainsail Lodging, and Reserva Conchal.
How to book Homes & Villas by Marriott
Starting next week you’ll be able to book Homes & Villas by Marriott properties directly through their website, which is homesandvillasbymarriott.com.
Furthermore, when searching for accommodation on marriott.com for three or more nights in locations with home inventory, Marriott’s website will provide a link to this option as well.
Marriott is still deciding how to sell Homes & Villas by Marriott through other channels, including the Marriott Bonvoy app and travel advisors.
Earning & redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points for homes
Marriott Bonvoy members will be able to earn and redeem points for home sharing stays. While redemption rates haven’t yet been shared, I suspect they’ll be using a revenue based system, and I doubt it will represent a very good deal.
Rather the value here comes with being able to earn points for stays, in my opinion. Marriott Bonvoy members will earn five points per dollar at these properties, which is the same as the points members earn for other extended stay properties, though is half the number of points earned at most Marriott properties.
Members will also receive bonus points based on elite status, and elite members will also receive an elite welcome gift of a special amenity or points.
Is this actually a big deal?
In general I think it’s smart for the major hotel groups to acknowledge home sharing as a concept, since it’s something that’s here to stay. So I think this initiative from Marriott is smart, as members will be able to earn and redeem points for more experiences.
That being said, I’m not sure that these partnerships will be the game changer that some people are suggesting they will be.
It’s important to remember:
- Marriott isn’t investing in any existing home sharing business
- Marriott doesn’t have any expertise in home sharing
- Marriott isn’t launching their own home sharing business
Instead this is essentially a marketing partnership, where Marriott is white labeling what other companies are doing.
I would assume that all they’re really doing here is taking a commission on what you book through them, and they’re offering you some rewards in return. It’s a win-win-win, because the home sharing companies get more business, Marriott seems like they’re into the trend, and Marriott Bonvoy members can earn points.
But it’s not like this actually changes anything with home sharing, other than open it up to more eyes that would otherwise just consider hotels.
On the loyalty front, being able to earn an extra five points per dollar spent does equate to an incremental return that may make this worthwhile for some.
At the same time, on some level I have to imagine the cost of all of this is being passed on to consumers pretty directly — the home sharing management company takes a cut, and presumably Marriott is taking a cut, so that money has to come from somewhere.
What do you guys think — is Marriott partnering with a home sharing company a game changer, or is this just a mildly positive but mostly inconsequential development?