Airbnb has launched a new luxury arm, Airbnb Luxe, offering well-heeled travellers “spectacular properties with dedicated trip designers”. Samuel Ballard reports
Following the company’s acquisition of Luxury Retreats in 2017, Airbnb Luxe will offer more than 2,000 properties around the world, with each one having met 300 different criteria – including spaces to accommodate groups and restaurant-quality kitchen appliances.
Among the properties on offer include the Fleming Villa in Jamaica (sleeping 10 guests from £3,558 per night, which works out at £355 per person), where Ian Fleming wrote many of the James Bond novels and Nuketepipi, a private island in French Polynesia with its own self-declared timezone (it sleeps 52 guests and costs from £115,225 per night).Each home offers unique services, from the eco-friendly design of Te Kahu in Zealand (sleeps six guests from £2,067 per night) or Grace Bay Residences in Turks and Caicos (sleeps 10 guests from £6,789), which comes with its own driver and butler service.Guests can also add on services to tailor their experiences where they’re not included, including adding fresh groceries, organising childcare, getting restaurant bookings and organising spa services.
The launch of Airbnb Luxe was down to the patterns of users on Airbnb, the company said, where the number of bookings worth at least US$1,000 per night had increased by more than 60 per cent in 2018.“Today’s luxury traveller is craving more than just high-end accommodations; they seek transformation and experiences that leave them feeling more connected to each other and to their destination,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder, CEO and head of community.
“With Airbnb Luxe we are applying the same approach we’ve used since we launched Airbnb more than 11 years ago – creating local, authentic and magical travel moments now in amazing places to stay – to reimagine the way people think and experience luxury travel.”
Last month, Airbnb announced the launch of Airbnb Adventures, offering experiences such as cliff camping in Colorado or Kung Fu in the Himalayas.
Airbnb Adventures will offer “multi-day experiences”, differentiating it from Airbnb Experiences, which tend to be city-based and last no more than a few hours.
Other examples include a four-day “Epic Motorbike trip through Vietnam” costing £298 per person or a three-day Island Survival Skills experience in Puerto Rico where guests will learn how to forage for food and build a shelter. Prices start from £726 per person. A three-day Lion trek on foot with Samburu warriors costs £412 per person.
Both launches are further evidence of Airbnb’s dominance becoming more pronounced in the travel space, as it looks to leverage its brand name in the adventure and luxury spaces.