Marriott to compete with Airbnb by offering short-term home rentals

Hotelier Marriott International is jumping into the home-sharing business and the expansion could happen as early as next month, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Right now, Marriott, which is the largest hotel company, has about 1.3 million rooms all over the world.

The company, which operates Marriott, Sheraton, W Hotels and Ritz-Carlton, will be one of the first hotel chains with a U.S. home-rental option, and it will allow customers to rack up points like when they stay at any traditional hotel property, according to the Journal.

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Hyatt Hotels is also exploring home sharing, investing in a startup Oasis Collections, in 2017. The company allowed customers of its loyalty program to spend accumulated points on home rentals, the Los Angeles Times reported.

But Marriott’s jump into the home-sharing business isn’t new for the company.

It already has some similar businesses in Europe, the Times reported.

The company's chief executive, Arne Sorenson, has acknowledged that home-sharing customers differ than those of traditional hotels. Travelers who use companies like Airbnb are looking for a cheap stay, Sorenson said, according to the Times.

As hotels eye home rentals, Airbnb is investigating turning the tables by offering hotel rooms. It has purchased Hotel Tonight Inc., which offers discounted traditional hotel rooms from unused inventory, the Journal reported.

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