Several Marriott Hotels Sell Rooms Through Airbnb – For Less Money Or Instead Of Marriott.com At All

When Marriott created Moxy hotels, they were looking to compete with Airbnb for millennials. But several owners of Moxy hotels have turned on Marriott and choose to sell their best rooms through Airbnb.com, skipping Marriott’s distribution channels entirely.

I wrote about the Moxy Portland Downtown selling its suite only through Airbnb. Since then, that listing has been taken down. Once revealed, Marriott couldn’t have taken kindly to the practice. But this isn’t the only hotel doing it.

If you create a product for Airbnb guests, then that’s the platform where you’ll find your customers, right? Rather than Marriott.com?

Personally I don’t like hotel rooms without desks, but it’s not just Moxy owners turning to Airbnb for distribution.

And lest you think it’s only Marriott’s lower-end brands unloading room inventory on Airbnb, sometimes to the exclusion of selling the same rooms through Marriott channels, would you be surprised to learn that the St. Regis New York is bookable at Airbnb and that they undercut Marriott.com pricing there?

The St. Regis is available for booking the night of April 5, 2022 – the first date I picked at random:

According to the Airbnb listing, “The $587.00) room is similar to a Deluxe room at St Regis NYC (~430 sq/ft).” Marriott prices the deluxe room type at about $100 more than a base room. Here’s their prepaid listing for the same night:

Marriott has their own homesharing platform to compete directly with Airbnb, but Marriott hotels list at Airbnb and not Marriott Homes & Villas, and in some cases pull their room inventory from Marriott entirely to sell suites through Airbnb. Do these room bookings even go into their property’s system with revenue reported out to Marriott for calculating fees?

What I find perhaps most striking is nobody at Marriott corporate thought to Google “airbnb+[Marriott brand]” to suss this stuff out? What are they paying these people for?

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. I wouldn’t be surprised if a hotel staff member at one of these properties is pocketing the AirBnb revenue and not reporting these rooms as booked.

    The St. Regis one doesn’t add up at all. It looks like real people have stayed there and received real hotel services, based on the reviews.

    Then there’s the Airbnb listing for a “King Penguin Studio Suite / King Suite + Parking” in Orlando (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/47884861). This listing very carefully avoids naming the hotel. It’s actually the TownePlace Suites Orlando at SeaWorld.

    Could this be rogue staff skimming money?

  2. Fascinating/interesting find, Gary. Funny to see Marriott getting Bonvoyed by some of their operators. Ah, the irony.

    It would be interesting to compare service differences (e.g. cancellation rules and charges, housekeeping rules and charges, mask policies, checkout times, refund policies, etc.) between Marriott and Airbnb bookings at the same property.

  3. So if you end up at a Fairfield Inn instead of a cute bed and breakfast
    (bummer!) is there still a cleaning fee?

  4. So when high Marriott status holders check in are they denied upgrades when rooms are available because they aren’t on Marriott’s site, because they are on airbnb?

  5. @Jorge: Everyone today seemingly has a “side hustle.”

    Even Marriott 🙂

  6. Well this just reinforces the fact that Marriott has absolutely no control over its properties at this point. The SPG merger was a complete disaster in that regard (and many others obviously).

  7. @Garyleff Whi is the one listing the St. Regis? The listing says some Mark guy but it that the owner/gm? Or do you suspect it’s a third party taking cash on airbnb and then booking the hotel dirt cheap thru other channels?

  8. @Scott – there are several room types listed, I wouldn’t guess it’s an owner taking rooms out of inventory since the property is marriott managed!

  9. The owner of the St Regis in New York is the government of Qatar. So, who is Mark in Jupiter, Florida? An employee pocketing money out of an offline roo
    ?

  10. St. Regis NY has a residential/timeshare component, so I am guessing it is individual unit owners (or managers hired on behalf of those unit owners) listing them on Airbnb.

    The others are trickier.

  11. @Echo: But do you get the hotel services, including St. Regis butler service, in the timeshare? If you read the reviews, it appears as if the people who booked it were treated as hotel guests. If Marriott doesn’t have a contract to manage any residential units then any bookings of those units should not receive hotel amenities and services, right? I would also think there would be others selling residential units and not just Mark from Jupiter, Florida. That’s what is kind of suspicious.

  12. It’ll be interesting to see if Marriott comes to the very belated realization that the hotel owners that they’ve been coddling for the last couple of years couldn’t care less about Marriott. Contrast that with the loyalty members who have been getting royally screwed by Marriott yet pay the bills for both the property and Marriott corporation. Now maybe Marriott will reverse some of the considerable damage they’ve done and actually try to make engaged loyalty members feel welcome. No, I wouldn’t bet a dime on it either but stranger things have happened.

  13. I can see a manager wanting to sell at a discount through an alternative channel rooms that project to go unsold without advertising those prices to people who would book the rooms anyway at regular prices. It looks like airbnb is a new way to do this. I currently have a nice booking in Dubai by that method.

  14. In some respects, how is this different than hotels going on Hotwire (or another OTA channel)? I agree that there’s room for shenanigans, but it’s not like the chains have been freezing out OTAs.

  15. @DaveS and @Gray: Because Airbnb is a direct competitor to Marriott. In this case, the major brand on Airbnb (Moxy) was created SPECIFICALLY to compete against Airbnb. This would be like a Marriott brand popping up on Hilton’s website. As of now, Marriott is technically still a proprietary hotelier even if increasing they are merely a booking platform.

  16. We are members of Marriott Vacation Club. Due to covid and previously cancelled reservations, there has been 60 or 120 day restrictions placed on utilizing some of the owner’s vacation club points. After repeatedly checking Marriott Newport Coast Villas (within 60 days due to restrictions) for a 3 night stay in December, there has been no available inventory for a month. However, I went onto Chase Reserve and found a 3 night stay in December using our Chase Sapphire Reserve points. I contacted Marriott Customer Service to point out that as paying Marriott Vacation Club Owners (with hefty annual dues) we shouldn’t be placed in a position of competing with other reservation services for a reservation. We have also found Marriott Hotels at a better rate via Chase Sapphire Reserve, than through the Marriott website. Marriott is disappointing and just isn’t the same. The Marriott points continue to be devalued for the hotels and for their hotel/airline packages.

  17. Wild.

    A 15 second google search illuminates that the AirBnB “hosts” for the Moxy Oakland are Rex Maxion, the hotel’s Director of Sales. That’s not just a side hustle.

  18. Most of these listings have a co-host named Jason. Click on his profile and you’ll see hundreds of hotel listings across the county under multiple hotel names, not just Marriott’s. Could this be a hotel management company that owns all these hotels that “Jason” is putting up?

  19. marriott does not match the price because you get points and perks based on your status. Not fair because of your status you should get the best price. we discovered this in Monterey California.

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