News & Opinion | April 29, 2019 11:59 am

Marriott Looks to Give Airbnb Some Competition

The massive hotel company is said to be expanding its home-sharing business

Marriott homesharing
Marriott to compete with home-sharing giant AirBnb
(Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty)

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Airbnb may soon have a new competitor in Marriott.

The world’s largest hotel company, Marriott plans to launch a U.S.-based home-sharing service in May, Bloomberg reported.

The company has yet to release an official announcement, and Bloomberg’s unnamed source reportedly requested to remain unidentified until Marriott’s formal statement.

The news comes over a year after Marriott launched a home-sharing pilot in London. In October, the company announced it would be expanding its home-sharing offering to include properties in Paris, Rome and Lisbon.

Now, the company reportedly plans to bring its home-sharing services to the U.S. market, where it hopes to compete with startup turned global giant AirBnb.

With a private market valuation of $31 billion, AirBnb is currently bigger than most publicly traded hotel companies, according to Bloomberg. Recently, the rapidly growing company has used its clout to seek new opportunities in the hospitality business, including a partnership with RXR Reality. Together, AirBnb and the New York-based developer reportedly plan to open luxury lodgings in iconic New York City locations, including 75 Rockefeller Center.

Marriott Chief Executive Officer Arne Sorenson has previously taken a neutral approach in addressing AirBnb as a competitor, claiming that the two companies tend to attract different guests.

“Many of their customers are choosing to stay with them for one reason only, and that’s because they’re cheap,” Sorenson said in a recent interview with David Rubenstein for Bloomberg Television. “We’re not really in the bottom part of the market our business is never going to be to provide the cheapest stay.”

Last May, Sorenson said Marriott’s home-sharing pilot would aim to provide a “better product” than existing options.

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and we welcome them to the party and wish them bon voyage,” said Airbnb spokesman Chris Lehane.