Marriott Finally Picks a Partner to Take on Airbnb

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Marriott Tribute Portfolio Homes rentals with Hostmaker

Hyatt recently began offering private home stays under the Unbound Collection umbrella to give Airbnb a run for the money—a partnership with serviced-home provider Oasis in which World of Hyatt loyalty members could earn and redeem points, adding about 2,000 vacation home rentals to its inventory.

AccorHotels, which owns Fairmont, Sofitel, and Raffles hotels, also now offers about 10,000 home rentals as a result of acquiring luxury homeshare leader Onefinestay in 2016.

Now the world’s biggest hotel operator is dipping its proverbial toe in the vacation home rental market. On Monday, Marriott International announced Tribute Portfolio Homes, a six-month trial with Hostmaker, a U.K.-based home rental agency.

Marriott Tribute Portfolio Homes rentals with Hostmaker

“Hostmaker already does an incredible job of curating a great portfolio of homes,” stated Marriott Chief Customer Experience Officer Adam Malamut. “Within that portfolio, we added other types of design, safety and security criteria that meet our standards.”

As Skift points out, what makes this interesting is that “Marriott is using one of its own existing brands to market the homes, and not using the Hostmaker brand or creating a new brand. AccorHotels, for example, combined all three of its homesharing acquisitions—Onefinestay, Squarebreak, and Travel Keys—into the Onefinestay brand last year. Hyatt houses Oasis under its own soft brand, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, but still uses the Oasis name to market the home rentals.”

“Instead of creating a new brand, Marriott has this great collection of brands already,” explained Nakul Sharma, the founder and CEO of Hostmaker, to Skift. “This extension of Tribute Portfolio made a lot more sense to us than trying to create a brand from scratch. It’s a seamless experience for guests when they come onto Marriott’s booking platform.”

To be sure, it’s a small test for Marriott, adding an inventory of about 200 homes in London to a global inventory of 6,500 hotels and 110 million loyalty program members.

Marriott x Hostmaker Tribute Portfolio Homes private home rentals

CNTraveler.com ran the numbers and found Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio Homes to be a viable contender to Airbnb and rival hotel-brokered homestays.

Searching for the same dates, the site found about a dozen one-and two-bedroom properties through Tribute Portfolio Homes that would earn travelers rewards points while offering hotel-like services such as “extra keys, more towels, fans, in-stay housekeeping (additional fee), portable cribs, and high chairs.”

“Also a bonus: 24-hour in-person check-in and instant check-in with a full refund if you cancel more than 48 hours before staying,” CNTraveler added. “Overall, Marriott’s foray into vacation homes looks promising, and actually gives Airbnb a run for its rentals.”

As The Points Guy notes, “This isn’t Marriott’s first time evaluating the homeshare market. CEO Arne Sorenson has often mentioned the hotel chain’s interest in the industry, which even led to a scathing open letter from Airbnb last fall.”

“We’ve been thinking about this for a while, and how this type of business affects ours,” Malamut commented. “Timing is about finding the right partner to bring an idea to life that makes sense for our business. That’s what we’re offering here.”

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