Mandarin Oriental launches luxury vacation rental brand
Another hotel group is entering the luxury home rental fray, but Mandarin Oriental is putting its properties through a rigorous branding standard before guests have a chance to book.
Mandarin Oriental is the latest hotel company to enter the vacation home rental business. But these branded homes are much more committed to the standards of a genuine Mandarin Oriental hotel than seen on other hotel-backed home rental platforms.
Mandarin partners with a luxury home rental platform Stay One on its new Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes division, the companies announced Thursday in an exclusive with Skift. Specific financials of the partnership have not been made public, but Mandarin made a “strategic investment” in StayOne in 2020.
The new partnership follows a trend across the hospitality industry during the pandemic of guests seeking more space and control over the entire property where they are vacationing. Marriott launched its Homes & Villas vacation rental platform in 2019 before the pandemic hit, but it has rapidly increased its number of listings over the past two years.
Accor and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts both have their own rental divisions, but these rely more on residential offerings in a hotel rather than private homes like what’s seen at Marriott and now Mandarin Oriental.
“Once you’re a Ferrari fan, you’re almost indifferent to the product they have. You want to have a Ferrari,” said StayOne co-founder and CEO Jorge Munoz. these silos were going to fall, whether it’s hotels and vacation home rentals or home exchanges and roommates.There are different verticals in the lodging industry, and there’s room for each of them because the needs of the same customers vary depending on the occasion.
The initial eight homes are located across Europe and have undergone a vetting process to ensure that each property meets the 700 brand standards expected of a Mandarin hotel – from cleanliness and safety to amenities such as concierge services, daily housekeeping, an on-site private chef, and branded bathrobes and toiletries.
“These hand-picked luxury homes fit naturally into our portfolio and their locations offer our guests the opportunity to combine a hotel visit with a villa stay and further explore the destination in a variety of ways – but all with the assurance of Mandarin Oriental’s reputation,” James Riley, Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with StayOne to identify many more perfect homes to include in the collection.”
Both companies have been quiet on expansion plans beyond hinting that the platform will eventually be global.
“It’s not easy. It’s a most challenging and exciting project, but we have such organization and experience to make sure that quality really goes beyond the hotel experience,” said Luca Finardi, vice- Regional President of Operations and General Manager, Mandarin Oriental, Milan “That’s our goal. Basically what we’re going to do is provide a personalized and bespoke service to every guest that enters a Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Home.”
Destinations include a 600-acre estate in the Cotswolds in the UK, two villas on the Spanish island of Mallorca, two villas in the south of France and three properties on the Spanish island of Ibiza. Predictably, these homes aren’t exactly the kind of bargains some might hope to find on Airbnb.
Rates for the Cotswolds estate, which sleeps 20 people in 10 bedrooms, range from around $8,900 to $12,400 per night. A stay in a villa on a 148-acre private island off the coast of Ibiza that sleeps 10 starts at $22,600 per night. The best “deal” of the prices provided to Skift was in a 12-person villa on the French Riviera, where the price started at $5,700 a night.
The Mandarin Oriental and StayOne teams believe there is plenty of avenue to build the platform on, as fans of the hotel brand would – ideally – migrate to a new offering in the home rental sector when considering traveling on vacation. The partnership allows Mandarin Oriental to have an expanded menu of offerings for potential customers and enables the company to have reach into markets that would otherwise lack the travel basics needed to further develop a entire hotel.
“If you’re going on a business trip, you’re going to want to stay at a Mandarin hotel, but if you’re going on vacation with your family of six and another family, maybe a luxury villa is a much better fit, Muñoz said. “But until you’re able to offer the full suite of potential products that everyone could use at some point, it’s very difficult to retain that customer. Therefore, a customer will always look at other brands and in other places. I always thought there would be some kind of brand that would incorporate different products under one umbrella.
The key to successfully operating these brands under the same umbrella is quality control. Marriott’s Homes & Villas platform was launched with the premise that only the best homes would be included in the service. There are plenty of luxury homes on Homes & Villas, but an analysis of East Coast listings on the platform Wednesday afternoon also showed several homes that wouldn’t exactly resemble staying in a St. Regis. or Ritz-Carlton on Cape Cod or Nantucket.
One of the ways Mandarin Oriental avoids this is by relying on recruiting homes from the existing StayOne platform, which bills itself as “the top 1% of vacation homes”. These homes then go through Mandarin brand standards to be ready for the hospitality company’s own 4,000-home platform.
“We have a very, very good inventory of homes to choose from, and we continue to increase that inventory daily,” Munoz said of the StayOne home pipeline on the Mandarin platform. “We have the houses in the places we want to go, so why [look] outside when you have it at home? »