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Marriott Is Taking On Airbnb By Getting Into The Homeshare Business

By Victoria M. Walker

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Marriott announced that its new home-sharing business, taking a direct aim at Airbnb and other home-sharing companies, will launch as early as next week.

In a statement released April 29, the company said that it is launching “Homes & Villas by Marriott International” to over 100 markets worldwide.

“The launch of Homes & Villas by Marriott International reflects our ongoing commitment to innovation as consumer travel needs evolve,” Marriott International’s 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,” Linnartz continued.

The program will feature 2,000 homes in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America. All of the homes will participate in Marriott’s Bonvoy rewards program. Luxury homes include a six-bedroom villa in Italy complete with an infinity pool overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and a wood-fire pizza oven and an oceanfront villa in Anguilla.

Marriott said it launched the enterprise after testing a pilot program several European cities in 2018. According to Marriott, 90 percent were members of Marriott Bonvoy and over 75 percent were traveling for leisure. Marriott found that customers wanted amenities such as in-laundry and full-service kitchens.

It appears that the new program is a direct shot at home sharing companies such as Airbnb and VRBO, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Nearly six million listings are on Airbnb worldwide, according to the company. As Marriott appears to be targeting Airbnb, the company seems to be doing the same. In March, it announced that it had acquired HotelTonight, a last-minute booking platform.

In recent years, Airbnb has been plagued by safety concerns and allegations of racism.

Earlier this year, a user reported a camera in his Airbnb. And in 2016, the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack gained traction after African-Americans shared experiences of discrimination on the app. A Harvard study found that customers with “distinctively African-American names” were 16 percent less likely to be accepted as guests by hosts on the platform.

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Victoria M. Walker

Victoria M. Walker is an award-winning multimedia journalist and full-time lecturer in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film at her alma mater, Howard University. She was previously the breaking news and viral content video editor at The Washington Post.

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