In recent years, the vacation rental market has experienced a massive shift with the emergence of home-sharing platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo. Airbnb and Vrbo have long been the go-to options for many travelers seeking a more personalized and authentic experience. However, there’s a new player in town: Homes & Villas by Marriott.
This platform offers a curated selection of high-end vacation homes, villas, and apartments in some of the world’s most popular destinations like the California wine country and the Amalfi Coast. Their home rentals promise a more upscale experience for travelers looking for a luxurious home away from home.
But how does it stack up against its more established counterparts?
Here’s a closer look at the main pros and cons of Homes & Villas by Marriott compared to Airbnb and Vrbo. From pricing to amenities to onboarding, we’ll explore what sets this newcomer apart and what challenges it faces in a highly competitive market. Keep reading so that you can make an informed decision for your home rental business.
Marriott International boasts over 90 years in the hospitality industry and so it was the logical next step to expand their expertise to vacation rentals. Launched only a few years ago in 2019, Marriott Homes and Villas is an international home rental platform and a much smaller platform compared to names like Airbnb and Vrbo.
Their unique selling proposition is that they focus only on premium rentals that offer a high level of luxury. To ensure that the properties in their portfolio live up to these standards, they work with only select property management companies. Marriott themselves won’t manage the properties, but rather the property management company. Some of the well-known property management companies that they work with include TurnKey Vacation Rentals and London Residents Club.
It’s currently available in more than 100 destinations across Europe, the United States, Latin America, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. Plus, to help guests enjoy that sense of exclusivity, they also have locations in areas like small ski towns and remote islands where they don’t currently have a big hotel presence.
Marriott doesn’t manage or clean the properties. So, to ensure that all rentals offer the level of luxury promised, every property listed must have the following features:
In addition to these amenities, all properties must also include the following services:
This way, they can keep the properties up to standard and deliver a first-class guest experience, but still, ensure some variation between different properties. For example, house rules can differ from one property to the next, but typically include set quiet hours.
The Marriott brand provides travelers with the best of both worlds when it comes to vacation rentals. They can choose from a variety of top-notch properties and access world-class services and amenities.
Though, what’s in it for property managers? Why should professional management companies use Marriott’s platform?
Here are some of the main benefits:
If your property ticks all the boxes of the strict criteria list and you’re searching for an alternative to more mainstream platforms like Airbnb, Booking.com, and Vrbo, listing your home with Marriott can be the next logical step for your business.
To get the process started, both individual homeowners and interested property management companies will need to contact Marriott Homes and Villas directly. If you’re a property owner, they’ll then connect you with one of the property management companies in your location (signing up with one of their selected companies is a prerequisite). Their platform is exclusive to property managers and, unlike other sites like Airbnb, individual hosting isn’t allowed.
Considering that their unique selling proposition is that only high-end, professionally managed homes are included, you can expect to charge more. According to online data, multi-bedroom luxury villas can charge as much as $10,000 per night. However, you also get condos that go for as little as $99 per night.
Homes & Villas by Marriott offers a unique loyalty program called Marriott Bonvoy. This program allows travelers to earn Marriott Bonvoy points for their stays. They can then redeem Marriott Bonvoy points to pay for their stay. This is a great perk for many travelers, helping hosts to attract loyal guests in return.
Here are some of the Ts and Cs of the loyalty program to consider:
What makes Homes & Villas so unique can also be the biggest drawback for hosts and property managers looking to expand their presence. Here are some of the potential drawbacks that you’ll need to keep in mind:
If you’re thinking about listing on other platforms, you’ll also need to furnish your property. However, as Homes & Villas is all about luxury, the list of criteria is longer. Wi-Fi, for example, is a prerequisite, instead of simply being strongly recommended. Also, you can’t buy the cheapest linen and towels. For Marriott guests, only premium bedding will do.
With platforms like Airbnb, getting started is much easier. Marriott, on the other hand, includes a strict vetting process. This means that where Airbnb hosts could start generating rental income almost immediately, this isn’t the case for properties listed on Marriott. In fact, according to online resources, the onboarding process can take anything between three to six weeks.
While your property doesn’t necessarily need to boast five bedrooms, it should have at least one dedicated bedroom. Also, no shared spaces are allowed.
Homes & Villas work exclusively with property management companies. This means that, unlike other platforms where individual hosts are allowed to oversee all the day-to-day activities (even the cleaning if they choose to get their hands dirty), this isn’t possible with Marriott.
If you rely on social proof like online reviews, you’ll have to rethink how you market your property. Homes & Villas doesn’t let guests rate their accommodation or write reviews. That being said, according to their website, there are plans to introduce reviews once more of their guests experience their luxury villas.
Marriott launched Homes & Villas to compete with the likes of Airbnb and Vrbo. While they all offer vacation rentals, they differ in several unique ways.
The platform is definitely not suited for all properties or owners. If you prefer a more hands-on approach and the ability to meet and greet hosts is just as rewarding as the extra income, listing on Marriott will be an unsatisfactory experience. The process is less personal and lacks the sense of community that Airbnb is known for.
One surefire way to streamline your vacation rental property is with automation software. Vacation rental software like iGMS can help you by:
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