The Marriott hotel chain has plans to compete with Airbnb in the home-rental market with a new business launching in the coming year.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Marriott International is stepping into the home-rental business with plans to take on Airbnb and other home-sharing companies. The first phase of the new venture launch could begin as early as next month according to people familiar with the matter.
Currently, Marriott is the world’s biggest hotel operator with 1.3 million guest rooms across the world, according to STR Inc. Marriott launched a pilot program in Europe to test the home-rental business and plans to be the first major hotel chain to create a U.S. home-rental platform before expanding the operation globally.
One big attraction for the new home-rental business is the ability for guests to earn Marriott points which can be used across the hotel chains other brands, including the Sheraton, W Hotels, and Ritz-Carlton. Individuals with knowledge of the situation also stated that other major hotel chains such as Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Hyatt Hotels Corp. have also begun looking into the home-rental market.
Marriott will have a hard time competing with Airbnb, however, which has nearly 5 million accommodations worldwide according to data tracker AirDNA. Airbnb’s own website reports a higher figure based on active listings. Unsurprisingly for a San Francisco startup company, Airbnb has a history of taking political stances on multiple issues. In February of 2017, the company ran its #WeAccept ad campaign with a 30-second spot highlighting diversity and multiculturalism during the Superbowl.
In November of 2018, a group of American Jews sued the firm due to Airbnb barring Israeli apartments in the West Bank from using its service. The Jewish group argued that this constitutes religious discrimination. “Airbnb has made a religion- and nationality-based decision about who can list,” the plaintiff’s lawyer, Robert Tolchin, told Reuters. “It decided in the United States, ‘We will not list for Jews in the West Bank.’ It should be equal access for all.”