The pivot to longer-stay models has been well documented over the last couple of years, driven by consumer appetite to book private accommodation and now corroborated by the trend to travel less but for longer periods. In this respect, the short-term rental industry has experienced a fantastic trial and as this sector booms in popularity, it is prompting established hotel brands to enter this market.
Graduate Hotels has launched its latest iteration: Graduate Homes. Properties are now available to book in two US states for this autumn, and the brand is encouraging homeowners in university locations to apply for inclusion on the platform. In direct competition to Airbnb, Graduate has advertised it will also handle guest communication, provide professional photos and essential amenities, and even offer perks to guests and homeowners such as discounted F&B and stays across the Graduate Hotels portfolio respectively.
Marriott launched a similar offer at the end of 2021 whereby guests booking rentals on Homes & Villas by Marriott International could also experience amenities at nearby Marriott Bonvoy hotels. It’s a clear bid from both parties to retain guests and drive brand loyalty, particularly on the hotel side which may have lost business to companies like Airbnb as a result of the pandemic.
I suspect we will therefore see new product offerings from hotel brands to attract those guests seeking more than just a hotel room. Take for example The Lucan in London, which will mark the first standalone branded residences under Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Travellers can no longer be segmented into business or leisure but exist as a hybrid of the two, and the blending of apartments with lifestyle services and amenities caters to this widespread evolution.