Airbnb is about to face some more competition in the U.S. with Marriott’s reported entrance into the home-sharing business. On the heels of a successful home-sharing pilot in Europe, Marriott is gearing up to launch a home rentals product in the U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal. Marriott is expected to make the plans public as early as next month.
Update 5:04 p.m. PT : Marriott has confirmed its entrance into the home-sharing market in the U.S. Called Homes & Villas, the service will offer 2,000 premium and luxury homes throughout the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. The offering will launch next week.
“The launch of Homes & Villas by Marriott International reflects our ongoing commitment to innovation as consumer travel needs evolve,” Marriott International Global Chief Commerical Officer Stephanie Linnartz said in a statement. “What started out as a pilot a year ago is now a global offering, providing our guests with the space and amenities of a home backed by a trusted travel company, and the very best in loyalty benefits.”
While Marriott is the largest hotel operator, with 1.29 million guest rooms around the globe, according to STR, Airbnb is the largest room provider, with 4.92 million listings on its platform, according to AirDNA. Unlike Airbnb, Marriott will solely focus on high-end homes that are managed by property management companies.
“By working with a select group of professional management companies that understand and operate in this dynamic landscape, we are able to focus on what we do best – selecting a breadth of homes in inspiring destinations, setting standards for responsive service and designing a seamless booking experience that helps our guests navigate an increasingly complex and uncertain set of home rental choices,” Marriott International VP of Homes & Villas Jennifer Hsieh said in a statement.
Marriott’s entrance into the U.S. comes after its home-sharing pilot in Europe, where it offered nearly 400 homes to customers in Paris, Rome, Lisbon and London. The timing of its product is notable, given Airbnb’s recent acquisition of HotelTonight and its impending initial public offering. However, Airbnb is actively trying to become more than just a home-sharing platform, with hotel booking, travel arrangements for business trips, experiences and even original programming.
In January, Airbnb said it was profitable on an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) basis for the second year in a row in 2018.