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Marriott International has become the first major hotel company to launch its own home rental service, taking aim at the business at the heart of Airbnb’s success. The world’s largest hotel operator will offer more than 2,000 homes in 100 destinations across Europe, the US and the Caribbean on its new Homes & Villas platform.

The Financial Times reports that Its challenge comes just as Airbnb pushes further into the hotel industry ahead of an expected initial public offering. Stephanie Linnartz, Marriott’s chief commercial officer, said the platform reflected an “ongoing commitment to innovation as consumer travel needs evolve”. It will give customers the chance to use the “space and amenities of a home backed by a trusted travel company”, she added.

Homes & Villas will be part of Marriott’s recently relaunched “Bonvoy” loyalty scheme, which aims to cement a more direct relationship with customers. Marriott’s move comes just weeks after Airbnb made a succession of acquisitions in the hotel sector.

Via Financial Times