Marriott Hotel Sells Its Best Rooms Through Airbnb – Not Marriott.com

Perhaps the biggest existential threat to the hotel business isn’t the delayed return of business travel, it’s homesharing sites like Airbnb. Those sites allow nearly anyone to compete with hotels with inventory as small as a single room.

This increases the supply of rooms for rent, it increases the number of competitors in the marketplace (along with product diversity), and it does these things without nearly the kind of capital outlay required to open a hotel property.

Some hotel chains differentiate themselves through better service, but major chains are cutting back on services like daily housekeeping and room service to cut costs. That cuts into the unique selling proposition of a hotel versus an Airbnb. Other chains are buying into or starting their own homesharing platforms. Marriott has its Homes & Villas program.

But given the threat that Airbnb poses to the traditional lodging model, I was surprised to read a review of the Moxy Portland Downtown that included this,

The Moxy Portland Downtown contains just 197 rooms. Though the website advertises a “Forest Park Suite” with two bedrooms, I couldn’t find any available dates to book. Interestingly enough, I found the suite on Airbnb bookable for $377 per night (excluding occupancy taxes and cleaning fees).

The Moxy Portland Downtown is selling rooms through Airbnb, and indeed selling rooms through Airbnb that it isn’t selling through Marriott.com? Why yes that does seem to be the case.

Not only is this suite available through Airbnb, it does not appear to be available through Marriott’s Homes & Villas either. Hotels usually have to offer their ‘best rates’ through a chain’s booking platform, but it seems it’s alright – since it’s been going on around six months, based on reviews – for hotels to undercut Marriott channel pricing as long as the price they give to Marriott channels is infinity.

For Marriott customers this wouldn’t be a suite they’d be entitled to an upgrade into if available. The price on it though doesn’t seem bad at all, and it’d nice to be able to earn Marriott Rewards points for booking it. However there are various statement credits available on Airbnb bookings, so perhaps having that channel – no matter how odd – is more pro-consumer than being able to book it with Marriott.

I reached out to Marriott to see whether this is something they condoned, and haven’t yet heard back. Surely they prefer customers booking Marriott hotels through Marriott, and to be able to say at a minimum that it’s always possible to do so.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. To me, wouldn’t Airbnb just be another sales channel – such as the OTA’s and airline web sites that offer hotel booking options?

    What may cloud this, and I say may, would this impact any Marriott Bonvoy member from exercising their benefits for upgrades or using awards/points for rooms and suites that are not showing “available” through the Marriott site as they may be through Airbnb?

    SO_CAL_RETAIL_SLUT

  2. I’m sure Marriott will act in this instance since Airbnb bookings are presumably undercutting corporate’s share of the profits. I would imagine Marriott gets somewhere between 7% and 10% at a Moxy property. Marriott may not care about enforcing breakfast and other elite status benefits, but they surely care about getting every penny and dime they’re owed by a [rogue] franchisee and/or the franchisee’s third-party management company.

    This Moxy property is operated by Graves Hospitality, which operates several other hotels across different brands. It would be interesting to know if they’re doing this at their other properties.

    https://graveshospitality.com/hotels-portfolio

  3. AirBnb should take advantage of this. “We’re so good that Marriott uses us.”

  4. Marriott will literally accept anyone into their fold, just to claim to be everywhere. Quality, standards, ethics, value, etc., none of that matters. Just be everywhere.

  5. Problem w AirBNB (and to a lesser extent sites like VRBO) is stays can be cancelled without warning, “hosts” may not deliver and you have no place to stay after paying, accommodations may not match expectations, etc.

    Sorry but I will NEVER book w AirBNB and anyone with a brain shouldn’t count on them. IMHO they are only a threat to established hotels in Gary’s mind.

  6. It’ll be interesting to see whether Marriott reacts. They always shrug when the hotels hose the customer. Will they allow the same leeway when the hotel chooses to burn them instead?

  7. I had that room reserved for a few nights in August and I did it via Marriott.com so it’s likely a glitch.

  8. Ugh! Todays Marriott! #frustrating. Iv got reward certificate that instead of category restrictions now sez 25K. But hotels start at 30K. Y not just give me 25K points? “Suite Upgrades” not sweet. Dirty secret reservation has to be made 24 hours in advance to use. Dosnt say that on the web and the tele rep had to get a supervisor. @Hilton?

  9. I saw European hotel rooms show up on AirBNB or some other such site in 2020 or maybe even 2019. I had at first assumed it was being done by some enterprising individual, but I never got around to diving into what was going on there with the hotel rooms showing up on the homesharing site.

  10. This explains why there are NEVER any suites available at Moxy when I try and book them via Bonvoy. Absolutely fascinating.

  11. Hotel owners have had a rough 2 years with the pandemic, labor shortages. Let’s show them some compassion and let stuff like this slide. Haha, I’m only joking. I would love to be the corporate Marriott employee laying down the law on this property. I’d be ripping the owner a few new anuses, ramming some rods made of Titanium while shouting BONVOY! BONVOY!

  12. To FNT Delta Diamond, it is likely that Marriott’s cut is based on gross revenues and not the source of revenues. If this is indeed the case, Marriott corporate has no basis on which to complain — it receives the same payment from the property and they won’t care.

    To So-Cal-Retail-Slut, you provide keen insights. If corporate has no basis on which to complain, as you note, it’s how elites are denied upgrades on paid stays . . . upgrades on award stays . . . and likely use of SNAs. This institutionalizes the denial of upgrades.

    If they do this, why not eliminate upgrades as a stated benefit? Because there’s some sucker who thinks he has a shot at one.

    On this site and others, I’ve been beating the drum that hotel loyalty programs are a mug’s game . . . and we’re the mugs. And, after all of the articles talking about this benefit devaluation or that benefit denial, there are some mugs who are still asking themselves, “Should I apply for its credit card?” If someone still

    Bill Marriott has left a shameful legacy.

  13. Marriott literally created Moxy as a brand to compete with AirBnb.

    See: Moxy Hotels, Marriott’s Millennial-Friendly Answer to Airbnb, Opens in Times Square (https://www.cntraveler.com/story/moxy-hotels-marriott-opens-in-times-square)

    It looks like several hotels are doing this:

    Moxy Oakland: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/51305757?source_impression_id=p3_1636284072_FqNnWzqeq6zBKyUa

    Moxy Boston: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/51133189?source_impression_id=p3_1636284069_RhC%2FFO%2FiG2ogMhrY

    Moxy Minneapolis: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/51728872?source_impression_id=p3_1636284065_NumRuIAW%2Bi%2Bh5RWl and https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/48465076?source_impression_id=p3_1636284062_FvzQkcQwNlrWKx8O and https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/47814373?source_impression_id=p3_1636284062_UMm0BlWhDBfC%2FNEq

    Courtyard Waikiki Beach: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/51526449?guests=1&adults=1&source_impression_id=p3_1636251510_5VMl8YNfz%2Fo69kxt&fbclid=IwAR2AQQqB_MG2yjjQoVLW1TYu4kEYoYqJsej5XwCnqjHxvGU0soQoVWl8oNo

    SpringHill Suites Pittsburgh: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/48882196?source_impression_id=p3_1636251469_yDOVLdGqZbU9x1FF&guests=1&adults=1&fbclid=IwAR1-zkHZgmDp-LbSIKAvMdT873pur8CEMhJQ5C7nEWhh9k21EAXk7H2LeDw

    Fairfield Inn New York City: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/45701240?source_impression_id=p3_1636251319_s9WPIm02e0mUNRw6&guests=1&adults=1&fbclid=IwAR15LVVEzpcERsH-GBAvNoQUDjEUspy4VbPT3iUZLwg9fr8tL16pG9s0stE

    At least three of these properties are owned and operated by Graves Hospitality

    The Courtyard Waikiki Beach is owned and operated by Highgate.

  14. Note that you are an airbnb host, you will be generally charged 3% on what you make (i.e., your rate + cleaning fee) + airbnb will charge the customer additional 14% (before taxes and fees). Of course, as a host you do not pay credit card swipe fees. So the actual markup is about 14% or so.
    It is hard to say what it is for Marriott because they charge for many thing. However, they charge franchise fee if 6% (of gross room sales) and Bonvoy fee of 4.2% (of the total guest folio). So the numbers are quite comparable. It is likely that the owners are simply paying both the Airbnb and the franchise fees. They are also “adding” airbnb cleaning fees to compensate for the expenses.
    Furthermore, why not to sell a premium room instead of giving it away to the Bonvoy Elite members?

  15. If it makes business sense for the property owners, fine. But, if there is a systematic removal of suites from inventory, then promoting suite upgrades as a benefit is a deceptive business practice. It’s something the members will never get.

    This is yet another example that affirms my departure from this valueless game.

  16. This is only a problem because (1) Marriott manages less than 30% of its hotels across all brands and (2) Marriott doesn’t require a franchisee to operate the hotel either through Marriott or a third-party. So, it’s no surprise the properties with the most cheating almost always are operated by the franchisee. Companies like Highgate and Aimbridge. Hyatt doesn’t have this kind of problem because they manage a majority of their hotels.

  17. Why have a “brand” if you’re going to let everyone else use it / take ownership of it ? It’s nothing but deception and scamming of unsuspecting victims.

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