How Airbnb is redefining luxury travel

The home-sharing platform is keeping it classy, always. Source: Shutterstock

ELEVEN years ago, Airbnb founders Brian and Joe, inflated three airbeds in the living room of their San Francisco apartment and Airbnb was born.

From airbeds, they expanded to spare rooms and then to entire homes, to Airbnb Plus and even to boutique hotels.

Today Airbnb is bringing the same innovative approach to luxury travel by introducing Airbnb Luxe — a new luxury experience that makes personal and bespoke travel more accessible to everyone.

Airbnb Luxe provides access to unique and spectacular properties with dedicated trip designers to arrange bespoke experiences and services to make every stay truly magical. With homes that are destinations in themselves, travelers can stay at incredible places, including award-winning homes in New Zealand and South Africa, castles in France and breathtaking historic villas in Tuscany.

For complete privacy and exclusivity, book an entire island with its very own self-declared time zone at the incredible private atoll in French Polynesia, Nukutepipi, curated by Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil and Lune Rouge.

Villa Saanti in Phuket, Thailand. Source: Airbnb

“Today’s luxury traveler 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,” Airbnb co-founder, CEO, and head of community Brian Chesky said.

“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,” he added.

Here are some quick facts about Airbnb Luxe:

1. Airbnb Luxe boasts more than 2,000 handpicked homes around the world, each one passing strict evaluation across 300+ criteria to meet standards in both design and function.

2. This includes elevated design standards on a variety of elements, from premium materials and finishes, and rare and unique features to spaces that accommodate groups, highly functional design, chef-grade appliances and the proper amount of bathrooms corresponding to each bedroom.

Villa Saanti in Phuket, Thailand. Source: Airbnb

3. Each Airbnb Luxe booking provides access to a dedicated, highly trained trip designer who will ensure the stay is tailored to the traveler’s unique needs every step of the way.

. After booking a property, the trip designer can help ensure effortless 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 your own private gym.

The launch of Airbnb Luxe will help 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 percent. 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.

With Airbnb Luxe joining the platform’s portfolio, sitting above Airbnb Plus, Airbnb is closer to meeting the needs of every traveler at every price point by including the luxury category alongside it entire portfolio.