[dropcap size=small]A[/dropcap] historic manor sitting on a 1,210ha estate in North England. A hilltop villa in Tuscany. A Parisian apartment with private pool access. These luxury abodes would not look out of place on Airbnb Luxe, the home- sharing start-up’s attempt at attracting the well-heeled traveller, but they are in fact listings on Homes & Villas by Marriott, the hospitality giant’s 2,000 listing-strong property rental platform launched in April this year. Two months later, Four Seasons followed suit with Four Seasons Private Retreats, adding another 750 properties to the premium home rental market.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts, however, is in no hurry to pack its bags and jump on the bandwagon. “Marriott, Airbnb, and home-sharing are definitely growing the travel market which I think is great…but we believe we offer something unique. We offer guests that trust in the brand, reliability, (and) a level of service and consistency,” says Daniel Welk, vice-president of luxury and lifestyle for Hilton Asia Pacific.
Besides working to reinforce hospitality standards, strengthening the brand’s loyalty programme Hilton Honors is par for the course. The perks of being a member unlocks “experiences that money can’t buy”, says Welk, 43. Last year’s Formula One Grand Prix in Singapore, for example, saw Honors members rubbing shoulders with McLaren personnel at the motoring pit stop.
If Hilton’s 100-year history is anything to go by, the decision to focus on bolstering its loyalty programme and current luxury hotel offerings the likes of the Waldorf Astoria might just be the key to its continued longevity.