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In recent years, Airbnb has changed the way that people travel. Instead of booking a hotel room, vacationers are opting to book a room in a private home or even an entire house. This trend puts traditional hotel chains like Marriott International in a difficult position because many potential guests are now selecting a different accommodation experience.

In order to keep up with the versatile overnight housing options made widely available through companies like Airbnb, Marriott International has made the decision to expand their properties from hotels to stand alone houses. The standalone houses that they offer are not your average family home and range in price from $200 per night to $10,000 per night. On the $10,000 end of the spectrum is a castle in Ireland.

In addition to Marriott’s existing hotels, guests now have the choice of 2,000 houses owned by Marriott International. These houses are situated all over the world to provide additional flexibility to guests who are looking for a more private and spacious experience. In addition to the castle in Ireland, other unique homes include a Lake Tahoe mountain home and a villa in St. Barts.

Guests will not have the same experience of getting a key or a pass code from the homeowner that is common with Airbnb. The Marriott homes are all owned by third-party companies that have spaces in unique and sometimes unconventional locations. Some of Marriott’s third-party partners include LaCure and Loyd & Townsend Rose.

Where did the idea for this nontraditional home sharing program originate? Marriott conducted a trial last year to survey interest in the program. The majority of the participants were members of Marriot Bonvoy, which is Marriott’s loyalty program. The individuals in the trial were mostly traveling for leisure. The trial revealed that most of the participants stayed at the rental home for three times longer than a traditional hotel room. These results were promising for the success of a home sharing program.

Marriott’s global chief officer Stephanie Linnartz recognizes that people stay at different hotels for different reasons. For example, someone looking for an extended stay at a destination such as a beach is likely to choose a different hotel design than someone staying overnight for a business meeting. The home sharing program is simply another option that Marriott guests can choose from when booking their stay.

Overall, many hotels including Marriott International are expanding to the world of home sharing. Home sharing provides guests with even more options when it comes to overnight stays. Just as travelers compare accommodations before they book a trip, they should also compare and purchase travel insurance to protect their Airbnb or hotel booking investment. Safe travels!

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