Homes & Villas by Marriott International has carved out a differentiated offering in some respects, and it is trying to grow while sticking with the formula that brought it to where it is.
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Homes & Villas by Marriott International is focused on adding homes to meet demand challenges, and it is also looking to tap new use cases — groups looking for meeting space and company retreats.
That’s the word from Jennifer Hsieh, the Homes & Villas vice president, who will be speaking May 12, the second day of the Skift Future of Lodging Forum on the topic, “Can Hotels and Rentals Every Complement One Another?”
Asked whether potential disruptors such as Sonder are providing learnings, Hsieh said Homes & Villas is “very confident in our model,” and prefers to respond to the preferences of Marriott Bonvoy members.
Hsieh responded to a few questions by email as a preview to her appearance at the Skift Future of Lodging Forum.
Dennis Schaal: What’s next for Homes & Villas? Is securing more inventory the main challenge, or going more upscale or the converse, offering more lower-tier accommodations?
Jennifer Hsieh: We’ve had such a great response to HVMI that our main challenge now is adding homes quickly enough to keep up with demand! In light of that, we’re very focused on smart growth in the right areas, in locations and types of homes that we know our Marriott Bonvoy members are interested in traveling to. The key is to achieve growth while remaining true to our mantra of only curating the best of the best in the premium and luxury space.
We also see an interesting opportunity in the B2B space, looking at how our homes can make a great option for teams looking for a non-traditional meeting space or team retreat location, so this is an area of growth we’ll be exploring in 2022 and beyond.
Schaal: How does Homes & Villas feature in the wider Marriott Bonvoy ecosystem?
Hsieh: HVMI was created to provide more options for our Marriott Bonvoy guests when they travel and recapture home rental business that we already knew was going outside the portfolio. We see it as a complement to our core hotel business, serving a different purpose. Adding homes to our portfolio means that our guests looking for more privacy or space for a large group trip now have an option within the Marriott Bonvoy family – and can earn points on their stay to use elsewhere in our portfolio for a future, different type of trip.
Schaal: How has Homes & Villas influenced the Marriott hotel guest experience, and vice versa?
Hsieh: We took a lot of learnings from our hotel business when we launched HVMI, particularly around design and operational standards, and it’s this 90+ years of hospitality experience that we believe differentiates us in the market. Our homes also benefit from many of the enterprise partners Marriott has access to, allowing us to provide the same high-quality guest experience at our homes that our members are used to receiving at our hotels. Finally, HVMI has also provided the opportunity for our hotel owners to showcase home products within their hotels to customers looking for this type of accommodation, given that we have branded residences and other home-like products within our hotels listed on the site.
Schaal: Are there any takeaways for Homes & Villas from the ranks of companies like Sonder that purport to be disrupting hospitality?
Hsieh: The growth in the industry is exciting to see as it shows the appetite that is out there for these types of accommodations. That being said, we are very confident in our model, so rather than looking at other players in the space, we prefer to focus on listening to our Marriott Bonvoy members and responding to what they are looking for – a good example of this being our approach to new destinations, which is often driven by the location and travel interests of our member base.
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