“Welcome to ‘The Port.’ Our team is here for you,” read a note from the owners of iTrip Vacations Annapolis, the property management company that oversees the home for Marriott. To my relief, they really meant what they wrote.
Over the past few years, hotel chains have been venturing into the short-term rental market, a domain long dominated by peer-to-peer platforms populated by individuals moonlighting in hospitality. The arrangement is straightforward: The homeowner provides the residence, and the hotel or its industry partner handles the rest, such as processing the reservation, recommending or booking excursions, troubleshooting problems, tidying up during the stay and deep-cleaning after checkout. Travelers also receive hotel benefits — loyalty program awards, access to resort amenities — without having to step inside a lobby.
For instance, vacationers who book through Onefinestay, the high-end rental company that AccorHotels purchased in 2016, can earn and redeem points with Accor’s Live Limitless program. In London, renters receive special deals, such as the Pamper Package, and discounted rates at the Sofitel London St James, an Accor brand. Relais & Châteaux, which has a constellation of five-star lodgings, pairs its private home guests with its Michelin-starred chefs and restaurants.
“Business travelers as well as many leisure travelers value what Airbnb lacks and what hotel brands do best: availability (hotels cannot delist at short notice), professional hospitality, brand standards and loyalty program perks,” said Chekitan Dev, a professor at Cornell University’s Nolan School of Hotel Administration in Ithaca, N.Y. “This is why most major hotel companies are extending their