Airbnb Moves to Luxury hotels

 Airbnb Moves to Luxury hotels Airbnb Moves to Luxury hotels

In the most aggressive move in their 10-year history, Airbnb has expanded to include boutique hotels, luxury rentals and bespoke tour itineraries, distancing itself further from its humble couch-surfing origins.

Airbnb are adding two new luxury tiers, Airbnb Plus and Beyond by Airbnb.

The goal of the new services, according to CEO Brian Chesky, is to make Airbnb appeal to business travelers and high net-worth customers, not just those looking for budget-friendly hotel alternatives.

Airbnb Plus is an individually inspected portfolio of properties with impeccable design credentials, standardized amenities, including speedy Wi-Fi and top marks for cleanliness and comfort. All Airbnb Plus homes come with concierge support, making the company a direct competitor to "hometel" services such as Buenos Aires-based Oasis Collections and London-based Onefinestay. The average Airbnb Plus property nightly rate remains under $250, but the company guarantees a minimum level of quality.

Beyond by Airbnb, also unveiled on Thursday, is the result of the company’s acquisition of Luxury Retreats in 2017, offering high-end holiday properties, travel and experiences, when it launches in spring. With the launch of guided ‘experiences’ in November 2016, Airbnb had already moved beyond accommodation and into peer-to-peer tour operation, but this brings Airbnb even closer to being a full-service travel booking site.

“Our vision is to be the homepage for travel,” is how Natalie Schwartz, the head of Global Marketing, puts it.

Within the travel industry, the news that Airbnb—considered a direct challenger to hotels—is now including independent hotels on their platform will come as a surprise.

“Today we’re announcing that we’re committed to helping boutique, independently-run hotels grow their business and deliver what guests want,” says Cameron Houser, Airbnb’s program manager for hotels, a brand new role created just last year. It seems that small hotels, unable to beat Airbnb, have decided to join them.

“It’s my job to look at how we can help guests know exactly what sort of property they’re walking into and help these boutique hotels become more successful and give them a home, a platform, on Airbnb,” says Houser.

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