Marriott is betting big on a continued lean toward blended leisure and business with a new extended stay division called Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy.
The new offering will focus on a few markets—the business traveler who wants more choices for accommodations, that new blended traveler, and younger travelers who want more space for their travels. All of those markets have been a big focus of Airbnb and other home-sharing networks over the past few years.
"Travelers planning vacations and long business trips today are seeking more choice in accommodations, and the introduction of Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy responds to those trends while offering developers a premium product backed by our trusted name and distribution platform," said Stephanie Linnartz, President, Marriott International.
"With Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy, guests will be able to shop a wider array of accommodation options within the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, growing their loyalty to the portfolio and its range of brand offerings."
Marriott has run a separate apartment division called Marriott Executive Apartments in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa for 26 years. The new, Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy, will build off of that experience in North America, bringing serviced-apartment options to guests in both the U.S. and Canada.
Each apartment will feature a separate living room and bedroom, a full kitchen, and a washer and dryer. The apartments will distinguish themselves from Marriott’s existing extended-stay options by not providing certain amenities that come with a hotel stay including food and beverage, meetings space, and retail options.
Marriott says that each property will employ “a design approach similar to the company's successful Autograph Collection and Tribute Portfolio lodging brands, which offer consumers independent, uniquely distinguished hotel experiences.”
The plan is for the first Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy to debut in the upper-upscale and luxury segments, with the properties being either brand-new or conversions. All of the properties will be bookable via Marriott and Marriott’s loyalty program Bonvoy.
Marriott is not the first travel giant to either build a product or change its offering, to go after the new “bleisure” traveler, a segment that has been trending since the pandemic. American Airlines, for instance, announced it was dropping its first-class cabins on international flights in order to boost its business travel offerings.
According to American, its customers have shifted from business travelers to “blended demand” travelers, or those traveling for both work and leisure simultaneously (United mentioned a similar trend in its earnings call earlier this year). Those blended demand travelers are willing to pay up from main cabins to business class, where the heightened demand for business, and the desire to increase its capacity onboard, is coming from.