An exclusive look at Marriott’s terms of employment for short-term rental hosts

Skift has learned that Marriott International is strongly involved in hiring property managers for its homes and villas business, charges 15 percent commission on most stays, and prohibits property managers from working with Hyatt and Hilton. The global accommodation chain is setting up a discount program for employees on stays at these hotels.

Marriott has been signing up for property managers for months. Vacasa and its new sister brand Turnkey as well as Natural Retreats are three of the most widely used management companies in Homes & Villas.

But the size of Airbnb’s initial public offering and the stellar performance of vacation homes in geographies free of lockdowns during the pandemic have certainly fueled Marriott’s real estate hiring efforts.

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The tactics are the latest example that the homes and villas that Marriott refers to have significant growth potential, despite repeated messages in the first months after its launch in 2019 that it was a very small division of the company.

In terms of financial reports, homes and villas are still small. Unlike other Marriott brands and divisions such as The Ritz-Carlton, Westin and Residence Inn, Homes & Villas has not appeared in any of the company’s recent financial disclosures with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

But this is no longer just an entity that offers commercial customers more ways to cash out Bonvoy Points on recreational stays.

Marriott has added thousands of homes to the platform in the years since its Homes and Villas beta debuted in 2018 with 200 listings. Marriott President Stephanie Lennarts said there were more than 25,000 listings for homes and villas during an investor call in February and that there were “a few million homes in the sector we’re playing in.”

Marriott’s current job openings also indicate a greater integration of homes and villas into the company’s network. This includes withdrawing the current reservations system in favor of a new one that includes vacation rentals and non-residential products such as the Ritz-Carlton yacht and all-inclusive resorts. There is even a business opportunity aimed at strengthening the platform’s presence internationally in markets such as Europe.

“We don’t see much optimism right now about a downtown business travel hotel driving business in the near term. Right now, we’re looking at the vacation home side as an independent driver versus a secondary benefit,” said Chris Anderson, a professor at Cornell University School of Hotel Management. to support the loyalty program.” “This is what we see happening here: a shift in where this program falls within the company’s earnings portfolio compared to only supporting incremental loyalty members.”

Although many vacation rental managers are trying to create direct bookings, Airbnb, and Vrbo seem to dominate the sector among the big platforms. In theory, this makes it difficult for a novice short-term rentals to break into.

But TJ Clark, Turnkey’s co-founder and current VP of business development for Vacasa, said Homes & Villas find their niche.

Clark said, “They have found a premium offering in the market, which offers a fine selection of curated stock that is provided with consistent upscale hospitality service.”


Home and villa sales reps and executives email and contact potential property managers — home management companies, or HMCs, in the language of Marriott — and engaging them in this subscription will give them access to 145 million Marriott loyalty members, its distribution and marketing channels, and pricing. Chain purchases.

Other benefits, home and villa sales reps herald the prospects for the property management company, including brand affiliation with Marriott International, sharing insights on traveler behavior, guidance on property renovations, potential clients on homeowners considering joining the management company, and a dedicated account manager .

Marriott’s sales representatives tell potential villa managers that its strategy is to include luxury villas that create unforgettable experiences for Bonvoy members in prime destinations.

Some of these selling points mirror Marriott’s offering in other sectors, as it is increasingly entering new market segments away from traditional hotel accommodation. Along with the growth of homes and villas, Marriott cemented its presence in the all-inclusive resort segment earlier this year by signing a 19-property deal with Toronto-based Sunwing Travel Group.

The reinforced frame around homes and villas highlights a more concerted push to grow this Marriott division as it approaches its second birthday later this year, but it’s still not expected to be a direct competitor to Airbnb.

Homes and Villas is a closed platform where Marriott will only work with professional management companies as service providers. Just as the Marriott has brand standards, the listing for homes and villas must also adhere to the surrounding standards of amenities, safety, and design aesthetic.

“Throughout the hiring process, Marriott International audits and reviews property management companies to ensure they meet Marriott’s standards for regulatory compliance, design and facilities,” the company said in a statement to Skift after publication.

Terms of the contract

Among the terms of the business that haven’t yet been published, standard contracts for homes and villas require home management companies to give Marriott access to all of their homes, and Marriott will sponsor those it wants to offer. In the initial term of the contract, Homes & Villas prevents the properties from signing deals with competitors like Hilton and Hyatt — which are believed to be about to launch a competing vacation rental service — but are allowed to distribute their inventory through online travel agencies such as Airbnb, and Vrbo.

Hyatt declined Skift’s request for comment for this story, but potential competition from fellow traditional hotel companies is not new.

Accor regrouped its Onefinestay rental business late last year into Apartments and Villas, a platform with a similar name to Marriott, and one that also includes long-term hotel reservations with brands like Adagio, Mantra and Hyde Living.

Home management companies that join Homes & Villas are only allowed to use the following channel managers to handle distribution: Rentals United, Booking Pal or Nextpax.

Under the standard contract, homes and villas earn commissions of 15 percent on the most popular types of stays — those with a nightly rate of less than $2,000 — and commission rates drop to 10 percent on overnight bookings of $5,000 or more.

Commissions, or withdrawal rates, around 15 percent are fairly standard among the big players in the short-term rental industry, although the exact amount can vary by ownership, geographic location or timing.

Despite this, property management companies have some flexibility in raising nightly rates to fund the commissions you may owe for homes and villas.

Employee Discount Program Coming

Scift has learned that Marriott intends to launch the Marriott International Employee Discount Program for Homes and Villas in the next several months, which is being funded by Marriott and the property management company. For example, on stays under $2,000 per night, employees will see their rates drop by 10 percent. Homes and villas will receive a commission of 7 percent instead of the usual 15 percent, and the home management company will reduce the rate by 3 percent.

Just like online travel agencies

Homes & Villas transitions to become the registered merchant of stays booked through the platform. With some irony, the home and villa contracts state that Marriott owns all guest data, and that the property can use this data only for service reservations, not to retarget guests with ads.

Hotels have long complained that online travel agencies own customer data and do not share this data with hotel partners when making accommodation reservations through online travel agency websites.

In other terms of home and villa contracts, the property can set a cleaning fee and can take guest deposits offline, which must be returned within 48 hours if the stay goes smoothly without damages.

appease investors

Vacation rentals provided a rare growth opportunity for Marriott last year at a time when development pipelines were at risk due to tight financing for new hotel projects.

“These guys are all publicly traded and need to shine a spotlight on their growth,” said Nicholas Graf, associate dean of the Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality at New York University. “If there is no growth in the traditional hotel space, where do you go? You are switching to another market that shows there is potential growth.”

There will be competition from the likes of Airbnb and potentially other hotel companies in hiring more property managers. But vacation rental growth is still less resource-intensive for Marriott than newly built hotels and even conversions, the increasingly popular way to add more rooms to the pipeline is through deals with existing hotel owners.

“No one is sure if this will be a long-term structural change or just a passing picture,” Anderson said, referring to Homes & Villas. “It is an ideal strategy because you can enter the market quickly and affordably. Even if business trips come back in a couple of years, you will still have all that product there so those customers can use their points for redemption stays.”

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[UPDATE]: this is The story was updated after publication to include a statement from Marriott.

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