It’s billed as an oasis in the middle of the city – a $1.5 million home in Coconut Grove is one of thousands of short term vacation rentals listed on Marriott’s Homes and Villas Program.
“Now we’re at 30,000 homes across Europe, the Middle East, about to enter Asia and across the Americas, with a heavy focus on the US and Canada,” said Diana Plazas, a chief sales and marketing officer for Marriott International.
Plazas said they started the platform back in 2019 and, despite the pandemic, they have seen lots of growth.
“We actually heard that the lift has been over 700% in visits to our site because of people that want to get away and they trust our brand,” Plazas said.
The Marriott brand is the latest option available for consumers looking to stay at a home instead of a hotel. NBC 6 found the Coconut Grove house on Marriott’s site as well as on Vrbo and Airbnb listed for between $1,000 and $1,500 a night.
“We are the only ones that have a key loyalty program as part of the home sharing,” Plazas said. “So you are able to earn points but then you can also redeem your points for it.”
Marriott said it only lists entire homes for rent and does not work directly with owners. Instead, Marriott works with property management companies that it says must go through a strict approval process which includes making sure they can provide 24/7 support.
“We’re only providing homes that have been verified by us,” Plazas said.
In a statement, Vrbo told NBC 6 Responds: “Vrbo has cemented its leadership position in the private vacation rental category since it was built 26 years ago. 2021 has been Vrbo’s best ever start to a year in the U.S. with hosts making more on Vrbo than competing platforms. Vrbo business thrived during the pandemic because we only list private homes; and with 2+ million unique whole homes around the world on the Vrbo platform, including luxury home offerings, momentum shows no signs of stopping.”
An Airbnb spokesperson said: “With 4 million hosts in 100,000 cities and 220 countries and regions, Airbnb offers one-of-a-kind stays and unique experiences that make it possible for guests to experience the world in a more authentic, connected way. Our global customer support team is available 24/7 in dozens of languages to ensure that our guests have the best possible vacation.”
Before booking any reservation, make sure you’re clear on the cancellation policies available, especially if you are concerned about the pandemic potentially impacting your future travel plans.