It is over two years since Airbnb first showed its intention to expand its activities in the luxury segment following the Feb-2017 acquisition of Luxury Retreats International, a Canadian start-up that specialised in luxury holiday homes and travel services, so it has been a relatively slow journey ahead of the formal launch of the new product.
“Airbnb Luxe provides access to unique and spectacular properties with dedicated trip designers to ensure bespoke experiences and services to make every stay truly magical,” the company states. “Each Airbnb Luxe booking provides 24/7 access to a dedicated, highly trained trip designer who will ensure the stay is tailored to the traveller’s unique needs every step of the way.”
The company’s new Luxe product offering features more than 2,000 handpicked homes around the world, with each passing a strict evaluation across more than 300 criteria.
Airbnb did a certain level of homework before diving into the high end luxury rental market. The company stated in 2018 the number of Airbnb bookings for listings worth at least USD1,000 per night increased more than 60%.
And at least some of the customers for those luxe properties appear to Airbnb loyalists. Company executives told the New York Times patrons for the homes are the same guests that rented sofas with Airbnb when it was a younger company. Now, the publication states, those customers have well-paying jobs and more discerning tastes and want seek upscale accommodations.
And just like its original concept with three airbeds in the living room of a San Francisco apartment opened the market to price sensitive travellers, Airbnb aims to bring the same innovative approach to luxury travel by introducing what it describes as “a new luxury experience that makes personal and bespoke travel more accessible to everyone”.
Regular research shows today’s luxury traveller is craving more than just high-end accommodation, but they they seek transformation and experiences that leave them feeling more connected to each other and to their destination. Airbnb Luxe says it is “creating local, authentic and magical travel moments now in amazing places to stay - to reimagine the way people think and experience luxury travel.”
And what is more, beyond the stunning locations each Airbnb Luxe booking also provides 24/7 access to a dedicated trip designer who ensures the stay is tailored to the traveller’s unique needs every step of the way. This includes ensuring effortless booking and check-in, coordinating local bespoke experiences and activities, and arranging a wide range of services from childcare, to private chefs to in-house massage therapists – or, for the dedicated, personal training sessions in a private gym.
“Whether guests are island hopping in the Caribbean, or embarking on a ski holiday in the Alps, our trip designers ensure each getaway is as one-of-a-kind as the individuals taking it. Creating itineraries based on the guests’ specific goals paired with local insight from on-the-ground experts, trip designers are there to simplify the trip and make sure every traveller has a unique and memorable stay,” says Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s co-founder, CEO and head of community.