I’ve found several Marriott hotels sell their rooms for less on Airbnb than at Marriott.com. Marriott isn’t ok with this and cracked down on the specific properties I’ve written about. However the practice continued.
I’ve even documented instances where the difference in room rate was over $450 per night! It’s amazing that even as hotel chains spend a lot marketing that you’ll find the best rates on their rooms through their own websites, hotels are unloading rooms for less through Airbnb. One guest even managed a successful Marriott best rate guarantee against an Airbnb listing.
Hotels sell through Airbnb to:
- reach a different market not searching Marriott.com or Expedia, and
- price discriminate, pick up business that’s more price sensitive while not undercutting the higher rates they’re getting through traditional channels.
Marriott is hurt when it’s possible to book their own rooms cheaper somewhere else, so the practice isn’t actually allowed. Plus they have their own home sharing site so Marriott hotel properties are fueling inventory for the competition – and it’s Airbnb getting a cut of the revenue instead of Marriott!
To be sure when price is the same you’re going to want to book direct, because
- You’ll receive elite benefits (while third party stays aren’t supposed to)
- You’ll earn points, and Airbnb still hasn’t launched a rewards program
- You’ll earn credit towards elite status
- Sometimes third party bookings get worse rooms, though it’s unclear how scofflaw properties posting their inventory to Airbnb treat Airbnb guests
However if a Best Rate Guarantee doesn’t work to match and even lower the Airbnb rate, book on Airbnb because the savings can be worth forgoing Bonvoy benefits.
What’s perhaps most striking is that even after I pointed out to Marriott several of their hotels that were doing this back in November, they didn’t assign someone to continue to Google “airbnb+[Marriott brand]” to suss this stuff out. Though I suppose there’s a certain laziness combined with desire not to anger owners – perhaps they view it as better in the short run to let owners generate incremental income and not give them a reason to reflag with another brand (taking their fees with them).
Other Marriotts you’ll find listed on Airbnb include the Courtyard Waikiki and Courtyard Atlantic City and the Aloft Chicago Magnificient Mile and Aloft Savannah Historic District. Interestingly the Renaissance Chicago North Shore is even offering free wifi on Airbnb bookings when that’s supposed to be a benefit of booking direct.
Wonder why there aren’t upgrades available for Marriott elite members? Here’s a junior suite at the Le Meridien Dallas through Airbnb. And pay just $119 for a suite at the Sheraton Suites Galleria Atlanta.
Maybe the biggest single offender is Highgate Hospitality which has an incredible 623 listings of their managed properties on Airbnb, from Hilton to Hyatt and IHG also. This isn’t just a Marriott issue, though Marriotts feature prominently.
Airbnb can be expensive with high cleaning fees and booking fees, but hotels – which have housekeeping in the room anyway – often list without extra cleaning fees. So it’s worth checking to see how prices compare for hotels that are available on Airbnb compared to how they price at their chain’s website.