Marriott to enter home-sharing business

Hotel giant will take on Airbnb in the growing sector of the hospitality market

Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson (Credit: Getty Images, Marriott)
Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson (Credit: Getty Images, Marriott)

Marriott will take on Airbnb and other home-sharing companies by starting a new home-rental business of its own.

The company —which owns the Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton and W Hotels brands — could unveil details about the plan by next month, according to the Wall Street Journal. It has already launched a pilot program in Europe.

The program would let home-rental guests earn and redeem loyalty points just like they do when staying at other Marriott properties.

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Other major hotel companies such as Hilton and Hyatt have been looking at the home-rental business as well, while Airbnb has taken steps toward the traditional hospitality business. The firm acquired Hotel Tonight last month — its biggest buy yet — and made a recent investment in Oyo Hotels & Homes. In New York, the startup is negotiating a deal with landlord RXR Realty to bring apartment-style hospitality spaces to commercial buildings.

Marriott would need to obey the same city restrictions on short-term rentals that Airbnb has been fighting against. Last year, New York City passed a law requiring the site to provide detailed information about its listings to the city, but a Manhattan federal judge blocked the law, saying it was too broad.

The hotel company partnered with London’s home-rental management firm Hostmaker in Europe to launch its pilot home-sharing platform there at 340 properties in Rome, Lisbon, London and Paris. It found that the units appealed to customers looking for more space, as well as kitchen and laundry facilities.

“It’s clear that the home-sharing phenomenon is here to stay,” hotel industry professional Ryan Meliker told the Journal, “and hotel companies want to make sure they get their piece of this pie.” [WSJ] – Eddie Small