Marriott entering short-term home rental market

    Marriott International Inc. is starting a home-rental business, aiming to take on Airbnb Inc. and other home-sharing companies in one of the lodging industry’s hottest segments.

    The Maryland-based company says starting next week it will offer accommodations in about 2,000 high-end homes throughout 100 markets across the U.S., Europe and Latin America.

    The Wall Street Journal reports Marriott is the world’s biggest hotel operator with about 1.3 million guest rooms globally, according to data tracker STR Inc. Now, the company is poised to be one of the first major hotel companies to create a U.S. home-rental platform. It follows a pilot program in Europe and marks the next step in the company’s plans to go global with the business.

    Guests will be able to book their home-rental reservations through the Marriott website, the company said, earning and redeeming loyalty points the same way they do when booking a stay with any of Marriott’s 29 brands, which include Sheraton, W Hotels, and Ritz-Carlton.

    The promise of new competition for Airbnb’s core business comes as the company faces heightened scrutiny from city governments that say some Airbnb hosts have turned their homes into illegal hotels. Airbnb has been also been moving aggressively into the traditional hospitality business, announcing last month it is acquiring Hotel Tonight Inc., a company that culls inventory from hotels and offers discounted rooms. Read the full story.  

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