Airbnb Plus Targets Hotel Segment

SAN FRANCISCO—Airbnb is expanding its efforts to capture market share in the hospitality segment, revealing higher-end, personally vetted properties with more amenities, along with the addition of new property types—B&B and Boutique—on the homesharing platform.

To mark its 10th anniversary, Airbnb Plus is rolling out to 2,000 homes in 13 cities, including Austin, TX; Barcelona; Cape Town, South Africa; Chicago; Los Angeles; London; Melbourne, Australia; Milan; Rome; San Francisco; Shanghai; Sydney; and Toronto.

These homes in particular have been inspected and verified in person against a 100-plus point checklist covering cleanliness, comfort and design, according to the company.

In addition, Airbnb is adding four new property types to its platform— Vacation Home, Unique Space, B&B and Boutique, providing more accommodation options, transparency over the types of accommodation available, and enabling hosts to better showcase the distinctive aspects of their properties, according to the company. All seven property types will launch to guests this summer.

Following last year’s acquisition of Luxury Retreats, Airbnb also unveiled Beyond by Airbnb. Launching this spring, the program will offer custom designed luxury trips and experiences, including the high-end homes.

A spokesman for the American Hotel & Lodging Association pointed to ongoing concerns about unregulated commercial activity.

“Whether it’s called Plus or Boutique program, Airbnb’s latest scheme is just further proof the company is trying to play in the hoteling space while evading industry regulations,” said Troy Flanagan, VP of state & local government affairs at American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). “If Airbnb wants to enter the hoteling business, then it needs to be regulated, taxed and subject to the same safety compliances and oversight that law-abiding hotel companies adhere to each and every day.”

Flanagan added, “The question that cities and neighborhoods should be asking—will these ‘Plus’ or ‘Boutique’ listings include commercial operators exploiting Airbnb’s platform to run illegal hoteling schemes that have fractured our communities, raised serious safety concerns and increased the price of rent while depleting affordable housing options?”

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