Marriott to launch short-term rental platform to stave off Airbnb

The move comes as more and more consumers are opting for short-term rentals over traditional hotels

Hospitality giant Marriott is reportedly launching a home rental service to take aim at Airbnb, HomeAway and other short-term rental companies as more consumers shrug off traditional hotels in favor of short-term rentals.

Marriott could reveal plans for the new service as soon as next month, according to a report Monday in the Wall Street Journal.

Airbnb’s market share is growing, according to a March 2019 study from sales analytics startup Second Measure. Airbnb passed Hilton in annual sales and has been gaining ground on Marriott.

“Hotel guests are increasingly likely to consider Airbnb for their travel,” the study says. “In 2018, 12 percent of major hotel customers also made a booking with Airbnb, up from 1 percent in 2013.”

Airbnb also boasts significantly more rooms for rent than any hospitality company. Airbnb currently has a portfolio of nearly 5 million rooms, while Marriott only has 1.29 million, according to the Wall Street Journal report.

Marriott – which also owns Starwood, Ritz-Carlton and Le Méridien – would be the first major hotel chain to offer the service. Others, including Hilton, are reportedly debating similar moves, according to the report.

The new platform would fit seamlessly into the company’s rewards program as well, according to the report. Home rental guests could earn rewards points for stays at any of the company’s hotels, and vice versa.

The move also comes at a time when Airbnb is moving deeper into the traditional hotel space. In March, the company acquired HotelTonight, a last-minute hotel booking app and said in 2018 it more than doubled the number of rooms it had in boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, resorts and other similarly categorized properties.

Airbnb has also recently launched a new hospitality service to rent spaces in commercial buildings, including Rockefeller Center, according to a report from Crain’s.

Email Patrick Kearns