How to break into the luxury vacation rental market with the backing of Marriott International
As a busy property manager, it can be challenging to keep up with trends, technology and marketing opportunities. But to keep your calendar booked, it’s crucial to use the best distribution channels to position your properties to your ideal guest. That’s why we’re introducing you to Homes & Villas by Marriott International, a new platform successfully reaching the luxury traveler and carving out a niche for high-end vacation rental homeowners.
What is Marriott’s, Homes & Villas?
Vacation rentals have been gaining popularity ever since VRBO launched the first home-sharing platform in 1995. Fast forward, and more than a decade later, sites like Airbnb, VRBO, Turnkey Vacation Rentals and Booking.com have become household names used regularly around the globe for booking travel accommodations.
In 2019 Marriott International (a brand known for its luxury hotels) launched a rental platform called Homes and Villas by Marriott International that has expanded from Europe to 250 countries around the globe. They offer a curated selection of luxury vacation rentals hosted by approved property management companies that maintain the same service and luxury standards that high-end travelers have come to expect from the Marriott brand.
Guests using their platform can search for high-end properties in curated categories like:
- Beach Getaways
- Ski Destinations
- Mountain Homes
- Vineyards, Villas and Views
Although Marriott’s name is on the site, they don’t own the listed properties but instead, work with property management companies that fit the vision of their brand. As a distribution channel, they’ve been successfully attracting high-end travelers that, up until now, may have been resistant to using a home-share rental platform because they were unwilling to sacrifice the service, amenities, and conveniences they believed were only possible when staying at a high-end hotel brand.
How influential is Homes and Villas’ presence in the online travel agency market?
While HVMI is still in its early stages compared to the enormous presence of Airbnb, it has found a solid footing in the industry, catering to the luxury travel market and has been experiencing impressive growth. According to SKIFT, they launched with approximately 2,000 properties in over 100 destinations. They then saw demand for their properties outpace their supply, even throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Currently, Marriott rentals exist in California, New York, Florida, and Hawaii. As well as international locations such as the Caribbean, Latin America and beyond, with over 25,000 properties available and counting.
Can any vacation rental owner list on Homes & Villas by Marriott International?
HVMI is committed to upholding the standards of its brand. For that reason, they take time to review each property management company interested in listing on their platform.
According to their site, Homes & Villas works with national, regionally specific and market-specific property management companies in varied destinations around the globe. They do this by vetting each company to verify their level of expertise and compliance with local regulations and take an in-depth look at each property management’s service standards.
If you’re the owner of a single vacation home and interested in listing your property with HVMI, unfortunately, you won’t be able to list with them directly. Homes and Villas only work with property managers that operate approximately 15 or more rental properties. However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the game. If you find yourself in this situation, HVMI encourages you to contact them and will link you directly to one of their approved property management companies.
What are the vacation rental requirements?
For your property management company to be considered by the Homes & Villas platform, you must offer luxury homes with amenities that go above and beyond what a mid-rate home offers. It will be essential for you to meet their preliminary list of requirements and provide design elements and perks that make your home(s) stand out above the crowd.
Amenities that fall into this category include hot tubs, pools, a gym, a private backyard, easy check-ins, and desirable locations close to attractions such as concert venues or golf courses.
Overall, they are looking for short-term rentals with a high degree of quality amenities, adherence and compliance to safety standards, a strong sense of design, and impeccable service.
The terms and regulations that Homes and Villas offer property managers are somewhat elusive to the public. Still, it has been communicated that as a property manager working with Homes and Villas, it is off-limits to work with other large hotel chains that may be planning to launch their own vacation rental platform. However, distributing your properties on the main three online travel agency sites (Airbnb, VRBO and Booking.com) is still permitted.
Doing business with Homes & Villas means that you’ll be charged a 15% commission by HVMI for an average stay which is in line with other online travel agencies. Additionally, it’s understood that Marriott must have access to the homes listed on their site to inspect as needed to ensure continued alignment with their quality standards.
Why should you consider listing on HVMI in addition to Airbnb, Vrbo & Booking.com?
It’s worth considering HVMI if you’re a property manager of multiple properties because of the sheer power behind their branding, marketing and the depth of their experience. These elements combined are a huge potential boost to increased bookings. They offer a wealth of valuable information regarding the type of traveler in the market for renting luxury vacation rentals that can assist you in perfecting your property management processes and additional revenue streams.
Benefits of listing with Homes & Villas you may not have thought about
- As a property management company approved by Homes & Villas, you will have access to their supplier list for household items like plates, premium linens and other hotel amenities.
- Moving through the auditing and review process will force you to elevate your rental home and increase your desirability on other online travel agencies like Airbnb and Vrbo.
- Guests are incentivized to book because they can gain points to the Marriott Bonvoy member‘s reward system and use them towards future stays.
- Bonvoy customers represent a different traveler segment that is highly sought after by many luxury property management companies for the following reasons.
- They are generally more financially established.
- They are typically a bit older in age, so there’s less worry about parties that get out of control with noise complaints.
- They are known for being more refined and hold more realistic expectations for the services companies provide.
- Being an accepted HVMI company is a great feature to advertise to potential homeowners looking to enlist you as their property manager. Imagine how great it will be for your sales representatives to share with potential homeowner clients that your company has been approved by Marriott and therefore has the backing of their platform and use of their best practices to boost occupancy rates and revenues.
How to get started with Homes & Villas?
Due to the exclusivity of the platform, the details of being vetted and accepted are not readily available; however, the basic overview of the process is as follows:
Step 1 Contact Homes and Villas by Marriott International through their Property Management Company Interest Form.
Step 2 Once they’ve reviewed your information, the vetting process will begin. This process will include audits and reviews of your property management company to ensure you meet operational, service, and safety standards Marriott adheres to and that each property meets luxury design and aesthetic standards.
Step 3 Make it official by signing Marriott’s terms and conditions and non-disclosure agreement.
Step 4 Sync the HVMI distribution channel to a property management software (PMS), like Hostfully’s. This will ensure that you respond promptly to all inquiries, avoid double bookings with a central calendar and keep third-party scheduling straight for services like laundry and turnover cleanings.
Reasons why some travelers may trust Marriott over other OTA’s
There’s no arguing that established online travel agencies have had enormous success and dominated the online space. But, Homes and Villas are capturing a type of traveler that otherwise may not have made the switch to vacation rentals without being assured that the same service and amenities they’re accustomed to at a 5-star hotel are also available in a home rental.
Choosing to book with Homes & Villas assures travelers that when staying at one of their vetted properties, they can rely on the home being professionally cleaned and maintained, have access to 24/7 support and take advantage of their 150 million-member International award-winning travel program – Marriott Bonvoy.
How does Marriott Bonvoy work with the Homes and Villas Program?
Marriott’s Bonvoy program is a rewards system that offers members exciting ways to earn and redeem points.
Marriott Bonvoy points are earned with every stay at a Marriott property, with the number of points you earn based on the amount of money spent per stay. You can then use those points towards free nights for future stays or experiences and upgrades with Homes and Villas.
This loyalty program is beneficial to its members and is a successful incentive for guests to continue booking with Homes and Villas to build up their points and use them to extend and upgrade their stay.
The opportunity to capture a new market segment and stand out from the crowd.
Searching for a way to market to travelers seeking a high-end experience? HVMI could be the answer you’re looking for. With their marketing power, rewards program, and access to loyal customers, all you have to do is ensure you offer the required amenities, and design aesthetic and pass their approval process.