Airbnb enters hyper luxury rental market with 2,000 new high-end properties

by | Jul 9, 2019 | News

Always wanted to stay at a French chateau? Airbnb Luxe has got you covered.

A new rental tier expands Airbnb’s listings which now include approximately 2,000 high-end homes and villas worldwide.

Airbnb has added a new luxury rental tier called Airbnb Luxe as part of a push to expand its target demographics to include ultra-wealthy travellers.

This focus on a new, richer market is a notable shift for Airbnb, a start-up tech company which began life eleven years ago as a way for travellers to find cheap places to stay, often on couches or in spare rooms.

The company’s listings long ago expanded to include entire houses, many of which are already upscale and more expensive than rooms in luxury hotels, but now it will have a specific designation for the luxury market.

These new fancy accommodations include 2,000 new listings, ranging from entire islands to private atolls with bungalows to medieval castles.

It’s a brave and very expensive new world that Airbnb has now entered.

Aiming for every traveller

This addition is indicative of Airbnb’s effort to be the platform of choice for booking accommodations for every type of traveller.

The company has long ago succeeded at eating into the younger demographic, proving especially popular among the millennial generation which now makes up the vast majority of the hospitality industry’s revenue.

It has not had as much success breaking into the market for business travellers, who by and large continue to prefer the perks and consistency afforded to them by more traditional hotel chains.

As its name implies, Airbnb Luxe is aimed squarely at yet another market: the ultra-wealthy traveller.

“We have an overall strategy of having a product for every traveller, and Luxe is for the ones seeking luxury,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s chief executive and co-founder, during a recent interview with The New York Times.

A competitive market

Unlike when Airbnb began its life as a platform to help people rent out their spare rooms and couches, there is already a pre-existing market for the type of luxury accommodations it now seeks to dominate.

There are several competitors already in the space, including Accor’s Onefinestay. Others in the space include the second-home rental platform ThirdHome, as well as the apartment-rental company Paris Perfect, all well-established services.

Airbnb Luxe, meanwhile, is essentially a re-branding of Luxury Retreats, a Canadian company it acquired in 2017 for roughly $300 million. This means the listings on Airbnb Luxe are not new to the market, but they are new under the Airbnb umbrella.

Ultimately, it is the strength of its brand name which Airbnb hopes will give it an advantage in this new, much pricier space.

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