Most Important Travel Trends of 2013
Courtesy of Airbnb.com
Villa Rentals: You Will Sleep in Someone Else’s Dream House
No longer just a resource for practical-minded travelers, online villa- and apartment-rental services are now focusing on fulfilling travel fantasies. Airbnb.com has transitioned from a sleep-on-my-couch site to one that offers curated collections of rentals (many of them high-end) that appeal to travelers’ interests and passions, from design to gardening. Portico and Inspirato, two recent additions, have introduced a club-style model for rentals. You have to pay steep membership fees: for Portico, a one-time charge of $2,500 plus $2,500 annually; at Inspirato, $15,000 up front and $2,500 yearly. But in return, you get exclusive access to private houses and hotel villas around the world for below-market rates—in our tests, they were as much as 45 percent lower than what the hotels themselves were offering. What’s more, all the rentals have been visited and vetted, and each comes with concierge and maid service.