Marriott Has An Answer To Airbnb

Airbnb, an online rental site, is growing in popularity and challenging the hotel industry, but it will be receiving competitionfrom the world’s largest hotel chain, Marriott International (MAR).

MAR has been in the hotel business fro 92 years and is working to get a piece of the bed and breakfast (BnB) sector of the industry which also includes Home-Away and Vrbo.  According to the Wall Street Journal, MAR is getting close to launching its own Airbnb-type rental service perhapsas early as next month although the company has declined to comment.

The reason for MAR’s new venture into the home-like rental service is due to the change in traveler’s desires. The growing interest in travelers that want home-like accommodations such as kitchens for meal preps, as well as on-site laundry features during their stay-overs has not posed a threat to the traditional hotel industry until now it seems.

MAR’s plans for an Airbnb-like service will be for short and long-term stays and include rental of homes as well as apartments, but also, according to the Wall Street Journal, customers will be able to earn and redeem MAR’s Bonvoy loyalty points at its rentals.

There are over 7,000 properties that are operated by MAR which include the Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels, the Courtyard brands and more which cover locations in over 130 countries and over one million rooms. By contrast, according to Airbnb, it has locations in over 190 countries with 6 million listings which cover over 81,00 miles worldwide.

Also according to the Journal, the basis for MAR’s launch of its upcoming service will be centered around its current smaller-scale home-sharing program it already has in four European cities which include Rome, London, Portugal and Lisbon. Marriott members receive loyalty points which can be redeemed for future stays.

Conversely to MARs entry into the BnB market, Airbnb is entering the hotel market partnering with RXR Realty in New York to open a full-service hotel with Airbnb-like features that will include living rooms and kitchens as well being staffed with hosts that would provide guests with assistance around mid-town Manhattan. The property will include 10 floors at 75 Rockefeller Plaza.

Airbnb also has invested $200 million in an hotel company based in India, OYO, whose goal is to become the largest chain in the world in the next five years. 

Airbnb has made further investments with the purchase of a booking application called HotelTonight to build a platform forlast-minute travelers to provide assistance with all aspects of travel, including where they should stay, what they can do and how to get there location.

Brian Chesky, who is Airbnb’s cofounder and CEO, said on CBS This Morning that Airbnb’s investments and acquisitions are all part of its plan to diversity its business in preparation to go public perhaps as soon as later this years.

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