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US: Marriott takes on Airbnb

 |  April 30, 2019

To compete with Airbnb along with other homesharing companies, Marriott International is reportedly starting a business for home shares. Unnamed sources claim the firm could soon debut details for the first phase of the plan, The Wall Street Journal reported. It was also reported that Marriott would enable guests of home shares to earn and redeem loyalty points.

Ryan Meliker, who has served as a lodging analyst and hotel investor, told the outlet, “It’s clear that the homesharing phenomenon is here to stay, and hotel companies want to make sure they get their piece of this pie.”

Beyond Marriott, hotel operators such as Hyatt Hotels and Hilton Worldwide Holdings are also said to be looking into the home rentals business. The report noted that some executives who initially dismissed HomeAway and Airbnb as rivals have now come to think they are expanding partially at the expense of hotel companies, particularly when it comes to large families and leisure travelers.

The news comes as some homesharing marketplaces are getting into the hotel business: News surfaced that Airbnb had acquired HotelTonight, which is a firm that helps consumers locate discounted hotel rooms. The move was said to be a step toward expanding Airbnb’s business and bringing in a broader base of customers, such as those who enjoy exploring but don’t want to stay in a person’s home.

With the move, Airbnb was reportedly in competition with more traditional travel sites such as Travelocity, Priceline and Expedia. It was also said that the company’s inventory would grow to encompass hotel listings separate from the site’s home listings. While the deal’s terms were not disclosed, HotelTonight’s last valuation was US$463 million in 2017. Airbnb Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky said, per reports at the time, that buying the hotel site was “a big part of building an end-to-end travel platform.”

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