Airbnb goes after high-end market with new Luxe tier

The Airbnb Luxe tier has been launched with 2,000 exceptional homes; Te Kahu in Wakana, New Zealand

Building on expertise gained from its acquisition of Luxury Retreats in 2017, Airbnb has launched Airbnb Luxe, a new tier above Airbnb Plus, which the home rental giant says will enable it to “meeting the needs of every traveller at every price point”.

Boasting more than 2,000 high-end homes, the new luxury tier provides access to outstanding properties with dedicated trip designers to deliver bespoke experiences and services.

The Airbnb Luxe tier has been launched with 2,000 exceptional homes; Te Kahu in Wakana, New Zealand

Each home in the tier must pass an evaluation across over 300 criteria in both design (e.g. premium materials and finishes, rare features) and function (e.g. chef-grade appliances and the proper amount of bathrooms corresponding to each bedroom).

The homes are also evaluated by the special attributes they possess, their location and surroundings, as well as the services that come with them – like the medieval farm-to-table experience of Castello di Vicarello in Tuscany, or the cutting edge, yet eco-friendly design of Te Kahu in New Zealand, or the chef, driver and butler services that come with Grace Bay Residences in Turks and Caicos.

Each Airbnb Luxe booking provides 24/7 access to a dedicated trip designer who will ensure the stay is tailored to the traveller’s needs throughout their trip. This includes ensuring smooth booking and check-in, coordinating local bespoke experiences and activities, and arranging a range of services from childcare to private chefs and in-house massage therapists – or even personal training sessions in a private gym.

“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. 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 – to reimagine the way people think and experience luxury travel,” Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder, CEO and head of community

In Asia-Pacific, Bali, Ko Samui, Phang-nga, Phuket, South Island and Sydney currently have homes in Airbnb Luxe.

Beyond the region, guests may choose from homes in New Zealand and South Africa, castles in France and historic villas in Tuscany. Literary fans may seek inspiration and beachfront luxury at The Fleming Villa in Jamaica where Ian Fleming wrote his famous spy novels. Others may prefer complete privacy and exclusivity by booking an entire island with its own self-declared time zone at a private atoll in French Polynesia, Nukutepipi, curated by Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil and Lune Rouge.

In addition to chateaux and chalets, Airbnb Luxe will also open the door to remarkable places to stay in cities. Building on the places to stay already available in cities like London and Los Angeles, the company will be adding Luxe properties in at least 12 more cities this year, including Milan, Paris and Austin.

The launch of Airbnb Luxe also helps meet increasing demand from Airbnb guests for luxury properties and experiences. In 2018, the number of Airbnb bookings for listings worth at least US$1,000 per night increased more than 60 per cent. The increased interest in luxury travel on Airbnb is consistent with broader trends: analysts believe the luxury travel market is worth more than US$200 billion and poised to grow in the years ahead.

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