Airbnb is going upscale. The short-term vacation rental site which has long positioned itself as the budget-friendly alternative to hotels is expanding its offerings to include luxury retreats that come with concierge services.
The news comes following the company's acquisition of Montreal-based vacation rental company Luxury Retreats, which lists 4,000 homes in 100 destinations around the world.
Listings are upscale properties that may include a villa in Tuscany or a seaside retreat in the Turks and Caicos.
While Airbnb's existing database includes everything from treehouse lodgings to boats and castles, the acquisition is meant to expand Airbnb's clientele from budget-conscious tourists to wealthier globetrotters for whom money is seldom an object.
"From airbeds in an apartment to castles to villas, Airbnb has always been focused on providing a broad range of amazing experiences and trips," said co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky in a statement.
"I have spent countless hours with Joe [Poulin, Luxury Retreats CEO] and his team and seen firsthand their passion for delivering amazing hospitality and unforgettable experiences in spectacular places around the world. They share our values and I'm excited to work with the Luxury Retreats team to serve more travelers."
In the short-term, Luxury Retreats will continue operations as a standalone entity and remain headquartered in Montreal. Listings will gradually be integrated into Airbnb.
Earlier this month, AccorHotels also announced plans to acquire an elite travel broker representing luxury villas around the world. The acquisition of Travel Keys would be the latest addition to the group, which also includes private vacation rental services like onefinestay and Squarebreak.