Marriott Pilots Homesharing in London With Partner Company Hostmaker
Just days after announcing its new unified loyalty program with SPG, Marriott is tackling another frontier. The world's largest hotel chain officially entered the homesharing market on April 23, launching a six-month partnership with Hostmaker, a London-based home rental management company.
“Hostmaker already does an incredible job of curating a great portfolio of homes," said Marriott Chief Customer Experience Officer Adam Malamut. "Within that portfolio, we added other types of design, safety and security criteria that meet our standards.”
The companies worked together to handpick each of the more than 200 homes across London that will be participating in the pilot, which are available for booking at TributePortfolioHomes.com at an average nightly rate of $280-$350. Each home features at least one bedroom and is equipped with a full kitchen and laundry facilities, as well as meeting Marriott hotel standards for safety, design, security and service. Guests who book Tribute Portfolio homes will also receive additional hotel-like services and amenities, such as 24/7 dedicated phone support and an in-person check-in/welcome experience.
But perhaps the most appealing reason to choose a Marriott homeshare over competitors such as Airbnb and Homeaway is the ability to earn Marriott Rewards points on each stay, which no doubt will be attractive to travelers who are recalculating their plans after the Marriott-SPG loyalty program update. And beginning in May 2018, travelers can redeem points for homestays as well.
While Marriott certainly isn’t the first major hospitality company to dip its toes into the sharing economy or professionally managed home rentals, this homeshare endeavor differs from competitors such as Wyndham or Choice Hotels, which have both participated in the vacation rental market for years.
Marriott is using its own existing brand, Tribute Portfolio, to market the available homestays, rather than using Hostmaker's existing brand or creating a new brand. And while these same homes are also available for bookings via other sites such as Hostmaker's own website or Airbnb, Marriott promises "an exclusive experience" for guests who book through TributePortfolioHomes.com.
Marriott and Hostmaker chose to launch the pilot program in London because they felt the market was “conducive to learning quickly and complementary to our hotel inventory,” according to Skift.com. If the pilot is successful, Marriott may consider expanding into other markets.
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 said. “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.”