Marriott International launches home rental initiative

American multinational hospitality company, Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR), has announced the launch of Homes & Villas by Marriott International, a home rental initiative offering 2,000 premium and luxury homes located in over 100 destinations throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.

‘The launch of Homes & Villas by Marriott International reflects our ongoing commitment to innovation as consumer travel needs evolve,’ said Stephanie Linnartz, global chief commercial officer, Marriott International. ‘What started out as a pilot a year ago is now a global offering, providing our guests with the space and amenities of a home backed by a trusted travel company, and the very best in loyalty benefits.’

Marriott’s expansion into home rentals has been developed as a result of the 2018 pilot under the brand extension Tribute Portfolio Homes. Of the guests who booked a home during the pilot, which was only available in select European cities, nearly 90 percent were members of Marriott Bonvoy, the group’s customer rewards programme, and over three-quarters were traveling for leisure with family and friends. During the pilot, the average guest stay was more than triple the typical hotel stay. Marriott says that these insights, along with its commitment to providing travellers with unique and different accommodations including spacious homes with one or more bedrooms, large kitchens, in-unit laundry and more, played an important role in guiding the selection of luxury and premium homes, as well as the key leisure markets available at launch that complement the core offerings of Marriott’s hotel portfolio.

The introduction of Homes & Villas by Marriott International adds nearly 40 new leisure destinations for Marriott Bonvoy members to earn and redeem points, including Sorrento, Italy and the Amalfi Coast, Italy; North Lake Tahoe, California; and St. Barts in the Caribbean. This curated selection of homes aims to connect travellers to thousands of rental properties around the world.

‘Our approach to home rentals allows us to curate an incredible collection of homes that deliver an elevated travel experience,’ said Jennifer Hsieh, vice president, Homes & Villas by Marriott International. ‘By working with a select group of professional management companies that understand and operate in this dynamic landscape, we are able to focus on what we do best – selecting a breadth of homes in inspiring destinations, setting standards for responsive service and designing a seamless booking experience that helps our guests navigate an increasingly complex and uncertain set of home rental choices.’

Marriott says that starting next week, travellers can search and book homes on the Homes & Villas by Marriott International site – www.homesandvillasbymarriott.com.

Gatwick announces new peer-to-peer car rental scheme, partners with Car & Away

London Gatwick has announced plans to host a new peer-to-peer car rental scheme that allows people to rent out their vehicles to others while they are away.

Gatwick is the first UK airport to introduce such a scheme. The airport is partnering with a start-up company, Car & Away, to provide a new ‘Rent & Earn’ service for passengers, in addition to the other existing long stay parking options at Gatwick.

Vehicle owners looking to participate in the scheme may register the service, via the Gatwick parking website, where they are provided with information about Car & Away’s qualifying criteria and the renting process. Their vehicle will also receive a mini valet service. Small vehicle owners can expect to earn up to GBP80 per week in rental income, while owners of larger cars can expect to earn up to twice that amount.

Renters can find Car & Away’s available vehicles via Rentalcars.com when searching for rental cars from Gatwick. On finding a suitable service, the vehicle is available for collection from Car & Away parking bays located in the valet arrivals area of the South Terminal, the airport said.

Gatwick Airport’s Head of Car Parking, Gary Wallace, said: ‘We are always searching for ways to provide new, innovative and ground breaking services so we are pleased to be hosting this exciting new scheme with Car & Away. The new service offers passengers an alternative option when it comes to renting vehicles from the airport and gives them a chance to offset their parking costs.

‘Our goal is to help as many people as possible to travel for less, in a convenient way, and airport peer-to-peer car sharing services are another way of achieving this.’

Car & Away will ensure that all vehicles are fully insured, cleaned and meet RAC approved vehicle roadworthiness checks before being offered to renters. Octo Telematics systems will be installed to monitor the vehicle driving patterns. When the renter returns, the vehicle passes through the same checking processes and will then wait in the Car & Away parking bays for the owner’s return, the airport said.

Survey predicts 27 percent increase in UK business travel

UK business travel is set to see a 27 percent growth during 2013, according to the findings of a recent survey.

The study, carried out by US-based car rental company, Avis Rent a Car, as part of its annual Corporate Connections study, surveyed 2,500 European business personnel, and its data suggests that in the coming year the UK will outstrip the 20 percent business travel growth that it achieved in 2011-2012 by an additional 7 percent.

The survey also revealed that 50 percent of those questioned travel on behalf of their company or organisation at least once a month, while 15 percent do so weekly, and 7 percent are doing so on a daily basis. The major boom areas for business travel were confirmed as the developing nations in South America and Asia, travel markets that experienced 21 percent growth between 2011 and 2013.

Service was deemed more important than price where business travel is concerned, with business travellers setting financial issues aside as 20 percent of them prioritised quality, 17 percent prioritised speed, 14 percent on-line booking, 5 percent loyalty offers and 4 percent exclusive incentives.

UK respondents were also proven to be the most loyal to a trusted brand, with 88 percent saying that they would tend to use that brand again compared to an average of 76 percent across Europe.

Avis UK managing director, Kaye Ceille, commented, ‘Despite economic pressures, it’s reassuring that British businesses still value quality over cost. We recognise that for our business travellers, speed and customer service is a priority and as such we offer innovative products such as online check-in and Avis Preferred, the fastest and most convenient way to rent cars.’

 

Hertz expands into boat rental

US-based car rental firm, Hertz, has announced that it has launched a boat-renting service in Amsterdam.

The firm said that its new Netherlands-based service would allow travellers to explore the city using the waterways. The charge will be EUR5 per hour of boating.

Called Hertz Rent a Boat, the service will offer customers motorboats, taxis and open boats. Those that need a bigger boat can opt for one at a price of EUR150.

Travellers that want to take the pleasures of city boating to another level can also hire other services including a private chef, and companies looking to host a corporate event may hire tailor-made catering services. The firm said that customers that rent boats do not necessarily have to stay in the boat until the cruise is completed. They can visit land destinations that are on the cruise route and return when they are ready to leave. Depending on the boat that is selected for the cruise, customers may also benefit from facilities that can include a kitchen, stereo system, electricity and a bar.

The company has also introduced canal cruisers that can accommodate 20 people in addition to staff.

Michel Taride, president of Hertz International, said, ‘Whether renters are looking for a relaxing cruise along the water with an experienced captain or want an adventure as they navigate themselves round the city’s water ways, Rent a Boat is an ideal option.’

Hertz Corporation is reported to be the world’s largest airport general use car rental brand, and operates from approximately 8,500 locations in 150 countries. It also runs an equipment rental businesses and a fleet leasing and management service.