Airbnb likely isn't shaking in its boots over Accor ramping up short-term rental offerings. If anything, it shows hotel companies increasingly recognize travelers expect brands to offer more variety than the four walls of a typical hotel room.
Hotel companies continue to enter the private home rental space, but short-term rental companies like Vrbo and Airbnb likely have little reason to be concerned, for now.
Accor Thursday launched an “Apartments & Villas” website focused entirely on extended stay hotels and private residence rentals. But the platform, with more than 50,000 listings, isn’t a true entrance into the short-term rental market. It is more of a new marketing strategy of the residential components at existing Accor hotels.
Accor’s Apartments & Villas platform markets the company’s 15-hotel extended stay portfolio with brands like Adagio, Mantra, and Hyde Living. As for private residences, the Apartments & Villas platform includes Accor’s Onefinestay private rental business.
But a significant portion of the program, unlike the listings seen on Marriott’s similarly named Homes & Villas brand, does not feature private homes unaffiliated with a hotel. Instead, Accor’s platform markets privately owned residences within an Accor-branded property like Raffles, Banyan, Fairmont, or SLS.
Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts has a similar approach with its ultra-luxury Private Retreats brand.
“[Apartments & Villas] reflects our ongoing commitment to innovation as consumer travel needs evolve … as well as to live an exceptional travel experience: the space, comfort and privacy of a home for a weekend, a vacation or working in a new setting, allied to the convenience of hotel services from Accor brands and to the best of loyalty advantages,” said Yassine Hachem, vice president of guest digital product at Accor.
Homeowners in an Accor-branded residential development will be able to put their home on the company’s managed rental program, where it would be distributed on the Apartments & Villas website. The homes would adhere to Accor brand standards and heightened cleaning protocols, and guests will be able to earn loyalty points
Accor made significant changes to its corporate structure during the pandemic, creating an independent division for ultra-luxury brands like Raffles and spinning off its lifestyle brands like SLS and Delano into a merged entity with the Hoxton hotel brand owner Ennismore. But the foray into longer stays and residences recognizes consumer tastes are shifting.
Accor currently operates 30 branded residential properties, and another 70 are in development around the world. The SLS Residences brand is one of Accor’s leaders in terms of expansion.
The greater hotel-branded residential sector grew by 170 percent in the last decade, according to real estate group Savills International Development Consultancy. More than 100 of these projects are slated to open this year, even amid the pandemic.
“We see increasing demand for residentially designed short term rental accommodations, as consumers seek out accommodations which enable more privacy and self-sufficiency and include features like extra living space and generous outdoor space,” said Riyan Itani, head of Savills International Development Consultancy, in a statement.
Photo credit: Accor's Apartments & Villas platform includes short-term rentals at hotel-branded residences like the Fairmont Residences Royal Palm Marrakech (pictured). Accor