Renting a vacation home through a hotel chain

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Marriott International is the world’s largest hotel company, tucking travelers into nearly 1.5 million rooms in more than 8,000 properties. Yet, when I embarked on a recent quest for accommodations in Annapolis, the hospitality behemoth did not lead me to any of its brands — four in Maryland’s state capital alone — but to a charming pied-à-terre with a gourmet kitchen, a balcony fit for Romeo and Juliet, and a staff quick to assist with issues major (unlocking the door) and minor (locating the ground coffee).

“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

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Dreaming of a fall foliage trip or a chill beach vacation? 6 ways to find deals when renting a house

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America is ready to travel: According to a recent study released by AirDNA, which tracks the performance data of ten million AirBNB and Vrbo listings, demand for short term rentals is up 18% in October from the same period in 2019. And bookings are already soaring for the upcoming holidays. The demand for short-term rentals over Thanksgiving is 38% higher than it was in 2019, and 85% higher than 2020. The lesson: If you’re dreaming of a trip, you may want to book now — you can pursue vacation site Vrbo’s more than two million listings here — but, there’s no reason to overpay. Here we share six pro tips for landing a sweet vacation home, without spending too much.

Consider a new listing

In general, many newer listings on sites like Airbnb and Vrbo may have lower prices, to entice renters. On Vrbo, for example, new hosts offer discounts, which are searchable through a filter, to boost visibility on their listing, says Alison Kwong, a senior public relations manager at Vrbo, who adds that “travelers can filter for homes that offer discounts for longer stays” as well. If you’re worried about a new listing not having any reviews, communicate directly with the host and ask for live videos of spaces, photographs and more. For its part, Vrbo offers a Book with Confidence Guarantee, which protects renters from last minute cancellations or fraudulent listings; Airbnb has a refund policy.

Book your travel further in advance than you’d think …

Generally, the weeks after Labor Day are slower in the short-term rental industry, but that was not the case this year, notes Kwong. “This year has been an anomaly because we’re still seeing high demand for Vrbo vacation homes well into the off-season this fall compared to typical years,” she says. People were already booking houses for over Christmas in July, and demand for vacation homes in December is 15% higher than it was in 2019. As a result, if you want to secure a deal, book well in advance to ensure that you have as

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