Hotel chain Marriott is planning to get into the home-share market to take on Airbnb, according to an interesting report today from the Wall Street Journal. The paper cites “people familiar with the matter” who say Marriott will be the first major hotel company to create a U.S. home-rental platform. The new home-share biz will reportedly roll out in the U.S. after a successful pilot program in Europe. Per the WSJ:
Marriott’s successful pilot rental program in Europe is expected to serve as a model for the U.S. initiative, say people familiar with the matter. The hotel company joined with Hostmaker, a London-based home-rental management company, to offer home-sharing stays at 340 properties in Paris, Rome, Lisbon and London. Marriott is working with one or more property management firms in the U.S., some of these people said.
Marriott found that guests tended to stay more than twice the typical hotel length, and the rentals appealed to customers who wanted more space and kitchen and laundry facilities. The European homes included a 24-hour support line and an in-person check-in at the property through Hostmaker, Marriott has said.
News of Marriott’s imminent arrival into Airbnb’s territory could be seen as both good and bad for Airbnb. On the one hand, Marriott is the largest hotel chain in the world, so if it’s getting into the home-share business, the industry had got to be booming—something Airbnb benefits from tremendously. However, rumors have it Airbnb will IPO next year. Increased competition means the possibility of reduced market share, and that’s something no investor in a company wants to see.
Update: Marriott has confirmed WSJ’s story.