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Editor’s Note: The Disruptor Roundup analyzes companies implementing unconventional models.

Disruptive business models aren’t encroaching on just the long-term residential real estate market. Today’s rental real estate agents have long had to compete with short-term rental giant Airbnb, which has often been said to be detrimental to the hotel industry, as well. Now, a major hotel chain is looking to reclaim the top spot for short-term rentals, with an incentive unique to the industry that could attract mass crowds: rewards.

Homes & Villas by Marriott International
The subsidiary launched earlier this year after a 2018 pilot under brand extension Tribute Portfolio Homes proved lucrative. Marriott found that the average guest stay was approximately three times longer than the typical hotel stay. Of those who participated, 90 percent were Marriott Bonvoy members—a key indicator that rewards could change the face of the short-term market.

Rental guests who are registered with Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott’s rewards program, can earn and redeem points at Marriott’s 29 hotel brands through Homes & Villas. Here’s the rewards breakdown:

  • Members can earn five points for each $1 spent.
  • Members with Elite status are eligible for Bonus points.
  • Points earned can be used on redemption stays at all participating hotels.
  • Members can earn points when booking attraction tickets through the platform.

Much like Airbnb Experiences, Marriott also launched its own complementary service called Bonvoy Moments, which provides members with access to over 8,000 exclusive experiences that run the gamut from the arts, food, music and sports.

Many of the 2,000 premium and luxury homes being offered in over 100 markets around the world already have property managers. Properties include a four-bedroom cottage located on six private acres in California’s wine country, a six-bedroom villa in Sorrento, Italy with an infinity pool, an 18th century Irish castle with room for 17 guests and access to a private lake, and more.

“The launch of Homes & Villas by Marriott International reflects our ongoing commitment to innovation as consumer travel needs evolve,” said Stephanie Linnartz, global chief commercial officer, Marriott International. “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.”

“Our approach to home rentals allows us to curate an incredible collection of homes that deliver an elevated travel experience,” said Jennifer Hsieh, vice president, Homes & Villas by Marriott International. “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: 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.”

Hotels vs. Airbnb
Who is the biggest competitor in the short-term rental market? A recent study by Clever that surveyed 1,000 Americans who have used both Airbnb and hotels in the last 12 months says Airbnb is still in the lead. Here are some key findings:

  • 60 percent of travelers prefer Airbnb over comparable hotels when vacationing
  • 53 percent of travelers say Airbnb provides better pricing

However, when it comes to work, hotels lead the way. The report found that 68 percent of business travelers choose hotels over Airbnb when on the road for work. Additionally, many of the reasons respondents cited Airbnb as a better choice relate back to amenities (53 percent) and experiences (39 percent). But with Marriott’s Homes & Villas, many of these same desirable factors can now be found within the hotel space.

The report also states that half of luxury travelers have heard of Marriott’s new rental service and are intrigued by the possible benefits of the rewards program.

These short-term rental companies could impact the real estate market, affecting housing supply, long-term rentals and affordable housing.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

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