Is Choice Hotels Considering Entry into Sharing Economy?
Image courtesy of Choice Hotels International
Choice Hotels International is set to launch a vacation rental platform in a move that could spur the Rockville, Maryland-based company's entry into the sharing economy.
The platform, which would allow consumers to rent units from third-party vacation rental management companies, could launch as early as mid-February, Choice Hotels president and CEO Steve Joyce told Hotel News Now.
Currently, Choice Hotels' website offers vacation rentals in three markets as a beta test.
"We're going to first work with vacation rental management companies, give them a platform, sell their inventory, give them points and create this connection between those companies' product that they're getting from individual owners and our customer base," Joyce said during an interview at last month's 2016 Americas Lodging Investment Summit.
"It is not a large step to look at moving beyond the vacation rental management companies."
Once officially launched, the larger vacation rental platform will be designed to reward renters with points from the Choice Privileges loyalty program.
Joyce said Choice Hotels has the technology to go directly to the consumer.
"Choice would provide vacation rental management companies with a technology to list properties on its website as well as conduct other business," writes HNN's Jeff Higley.
"The issues that we're going to have are the same ones that Airbnb is struggling with now — how do you ensure a consistent delivery of a reasonable amount of (operational hospitality)...turning the key over in the proper way, making sure the place is clean," Joyce told HNN.
Joyce added that Choice Hotels would have executed Airbnb's concept differently had it come up with it, but didn't rule out a potential entry into the sharing economy.
"What you'll see us doing is we’re going to build up a big business of vacation rental management companies, then after that we'll see," said Joyce.
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