Airbnb Luxe lets you rent a castle, ski lodge, or private island — Quartz

Airbnb entered the luxury market today with a new rental tier called Airbnb Luxury. The Luxe portfolio includes 2,000 homes for rent, all vetted and selected from the 5,000 Airbnb properties added to its directory upon acquisition of Luxury Retreatsa premium vacation rental company, in 2017.

A press release invoices Luxe, which is separate from Airbnb’s “Plus” upscale home offering, as “a new luxury experience that makes personal and tailor-made travel more accessible to everyone”. In addition to homes and rental properties, the tier grants access to travel “designers” who can help with planning and benefits, including things like babysitting, private chefs, massage therapists and personal trainers.

Airbnb Luxe accommodations run the gamut. On the price side, you can opt for a private island in French Polynesia, outfitted with a chef, captain, doctor and activity coordinator for $146,246 a night, or about $1 million a week. There are also high-end properties, like entire French castles and ski chalets. “Each home also has something unique,” ​​said Nick Guezen, Airbnb’s global director of portfolio strategy. says USA Today. “For example, there’s a Luxe house in Banff, which has a T-Rex skull at the entrance — only one in four of its kind anywhere in the world,” Guezen said. “The house also has a gym, with a life-size boxing ring.”

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the New York Times that the average listing on Luxe is $2,000 a night, a price that matches Airbnb guest demand for luxury experiences. According to Airbnb, bookings for homes worth at least $1,000 per night have increased more than 60% over the past year. It’s a desire for premium travel that aligns with broader market trends: In January, analysts from market research firm Coherent Market Insights placed the luxury travel market at more than 200 billion dollars.

When the company launched as a tech startup in 2008, getting an Airbnb meant nabbing a guest room or sofa at a discount over a hotel room. Now, between Luxe and Plus, travelers can rent everything from a plane to a yurt, an igloo to an entire island. Despite this, the company hasn’t let go of its original cash-strapped clientele — Airbnb’s main site still offers listings for less than $20 a night.

Additionally, it is unclear whether the shift to luxury offerings poses an immediate threat to luxury hotel chains; some of the Luxury offers include stays in charming hotels. That said, Airbnb’s suite of offerings includes experiential offerings, like its “Experiences” and his “Adventures” platforms, which allow travelers to book tours and activities, as well as overnight trips like game drives, treks and boat trips.

Airbnb teases an IPO as it expands into the luxury travel market, but has otherwise rested comfortably on its $35 billion valuation. The company has always been tight-lipped about its finances, but its strategy – which appears to be an attempt to dominate the whole travel experience – seems to be working. Skift Travel Post Noted that the third quarter financial statements from November last year were “the strongest quarter in Airbnb’s history” and generated “substantially over $1 billion in revenue”.

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