INTERNATIONAL REPORT—Airbnb has introduced Airbnb Luxe, a new luxury experience that aims to make personal and bespoke travel more accessible to everyone.
Airbnb Luxe provides access to properties with dedicated trip designers to ensure bespoke experiences and services. With homes that are destinations in themselves, travelers can stay at award-winning homes in New Zealand and South Africa, castles in France and historic villas in Tuscany, Italy.
Literary fans can stay at a beachfront luxury at The Fleming Villa in Jamaica where Ian Fleming wrote his spy novels. Others can obtain complete privacy and exclusivity by booking an entire island with its own self-declared time zone at the private atoll in French Polynesia, Nukutepipi, curated by Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil and Lune Rouge.
Airbnb Luxe is built on the expertise in luxury travel Airbnb gained from its acquisition of Luxury Retreats in 2017, according to the company. This new tier launches with more than 2,000 handpicked homes around the world, each one passing strict evaluation across more than 300 criteria to meet standards in both design and function. This includes elevated design standards on a variety of elements, from premium materials and finishes as well as rare and distinctive features, to spaces that accommodate groups, highly functional design, chef-grade appliances and the proper number of bathrooms corresponding to each bedroom, according to the company.
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, Italy; 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.
“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,” 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.”
According to the company, 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 $1,000 per night increased more than 60%. The increased interest in luxury travel on Airbnb is consistent with broader trends: Analysts believe the luxury travel market is worth more than $200 billion and is poised to grow in the years ahead.