Making good on its promise from last month, Choice Hotels confirmed that it will start offering vacation rentals.
Choice Hotels CEO Steve Joyce had hinted at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit that Choice would enter the sharing economy via partnerships with existing vacation rental management companies.
Today in an earnings call to discuss the fourth quarter of 2015, Joyce confirmed that within a month, three such vacation rental companies have already signed up with Choice -- with “a pipeline of a lot of rental companies” behind them.
The shared rentals will be managed via SkyTouch technology, a cloud-based property management system, which Choice has significantly invested in over the past year and will continue to do so in this new capacity.
CORRECTION: March 3, 2016: According to a Choice Hotels representative, the shared rentals will be managed via Maxxton, a software provider for the vacation rentals industry (and not SkyTouch, as we previously reported.)
The tool will allow the rental management companies to “run their entire business in a professional, efficient manner.”
However, unlike shared-home rental giant Airbnb, guests won’t be interacting with Choice directly but rather with the vacation rental companies that Choice has partnered with. (Individual owners are not allowed.)
Guests also won’t be able to rent out spare rooms in the back of a house or the couch in the living room, as according to the website, Choice’s rentals partners will only rent out “entire homes, resort units, condos, apartments, cabins or villas.”
But guests who book through Choice’s vacation rentals site will earn Choice Privileges points. The company -- which, incidentally, has more than 6,000 traditional hotels worldwide, is also actively working on a review feature for its rental listings.
Other hotel giants are interested in the sector.
Earlier today, French hotel giant AccorHotels said it had made strategic investments in two holiday rental companies. Hyatt has previously invested millions in OneFineStay, which offers upscale apartments for rent.
The likely reason: Some hotel owners worry that Airbnb poses a long-term, structural threat to their market dynamics.
See Choice's new vacation rentals platform.