Industry Update
External Article14 September 2020

Marriott built its own ‘Airbnb’ before coronavirus crashed business travel. Did it help?

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  • Marriott International's Homes & Villas platform has grown, with 90% of stays on the Airbnb competitor coming from the Bonvoy rewards program members.
  • This summer was the highest in gross revenue since the 2019 launch - bookings increased by 700%, revenue by more than 800%.
  • As Airbnb preps an IPO many experts thought the coronavirus had made impossible, Marriott's success in alternative lodging can't make up for the traditional hotel industry challenges posed by the pandemic.

Marriott International began its push back against the success of Airbnb in Spring 2019 with Marriott Homes & Villas, a luxury property lodging service that offered customers a private residence alternative to hotel rooms. Bookings are up, by a lot, during Covid-19, as more travelers flock to individual properties. That's made the Airbnb rival a rare bright spot in business results for the hotel giant, which like its peers, has seen a massive falloff in traditional room bookings as business travel, travel to urban centers, and international vacation travel dwindled during the pandemic.

From May to August, Marriott saw record performances in top booking days, up to 2x historical highs, according to data the company provided to CNBC. This summer has been highest in gross revenue since launch, with bookings up by 700% over last summer, and revenue increasing by more than 800%. Since the launch, the number of properties on the platform has grown 5x from about 2,000 to more than 10,000 in 250 markets.

"We knew it was an offering that our customers wanted but we didn't have," Stephanie Linnartz, group president of Marriott's consumer operations, technology and emerging businesses, had said in an interview with CNBC shortly before the Covid outbreak.

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