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Marriott competes with AirBnb for home sharing in Colorado mountain towns

Posted at 10:03 PM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-18 00:36:42-04

DENVER -- Every year, David Corsun searches Airbnb and VRBO to find a condo for his family's annual ski trip.

"We have rented a condo for the last half-dozen years. We don't stay in a hotel," he said, citing value and space.

Now, the largest hotel company in the world would like him to reconsider.

Marriott recently announced that it is entering the home sharing space with its Marriott Home and Villas program.

In Colorado, the hotel company is starting with 60 luxury properties in the mountains, including Aspen, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Copper, Dillon, Edwards, Frisco, Keystone, Silverthorne, Summit County and Vail.

Dr. James Drake, an MSU Denver professor of hospitality, said Marriott was losing business, especially with groups and families.

"Airbnb is user-friendly, and people want more of an experience instead of just staying in another hotel room," said Drake.

So, Marriott is targeting the high-end market, offering hotel-like standards from the sheets to the WiFi, with properties maintained and cleaned by a rental management company.

Perhaps the greatest advantage is loyalty points that can be used or accumulated on the properties, so business travelers can build up credit to use on a dream vacation.

"I am a member of two different loyalty programs; Marriott being one of them," said Corsun, who frequently stays at Marriott offerings and is also the director of the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management at the University of Denver. "If the pricing is competitive and the property is appropriate for the needs that we havem there is absolutely no reason I wouldn't do it."

Checking out the new Marriott Homes listed in Frisco, he found a "Riverside stunner": three bedrooms for up to eight guests from $625 per night.

"That's out of my price range. I'm typically more in the $2,000 for a week," Corsun said. "By and large, Airbnb and VRBO are going to have more homes in a broader price range that includes lower pricing."

Other properties on the Marriott Homes & Villas site, however, included a two bedroom condo in Vail, listed for less than $200 per night.

Ultimately, Corsun said, if people are looking for hotel standards in luxury homes and have Marriott points to spend, Marriott Homes & Villas is worth checking out for their next trip.

"There's not a property here in which I would not stay," he said. "I cannot say that about Airbnb and VRBO."