You Could Soon Rent Richard Branson’s Island on Airbnb
Airbnb has acquired Luxury Retreats.
In its humble beginnings, Airbnb was often advertised as a cheaper alternative to a hotel for those travelers looking to blend into a more “local” environment. But now the omnipresent home-sharing company is expanding into more luxurious territory.
Airbnb announced this week that it has purchased vacation rental platform Luxury Retreats. The acquisition will pair Airbnb’s customer base with Luxury Retreats’ “high-quality listings, world class concierge service and a range of amenities,” according to a statement.
The luxury platform has 4,000 high-end properties around the world, including Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the Caribbean (where Barack Obama recently learned to kite-surf), and Francis Ford Coppola’s Italian villa, Palazzo Margherita (which has its own pizzeria).
Airbnb is speculated to have paid as much as $300 million to acquire Luxury Retreats, according to Bloomberg.
The hefty sum could signal a new direction in which the home-sharing service is hoping to head, however the luxury acquisition is just one of many Airbnb could make this year. As the company tries to become a one-stop shop for vacation planning, it is looking at providing additional travel services like car rentals and even flight booking. Late last year Airbnb introduced “Trips,” curated experiences that let hosts—even those who do not have a house to rent out—provide tours and activities to travelers.
It’s worth mentioning that Airbnb wasn’t a complete stranger to the luxury market before the acquisition. Celebrities often use the platform to book expansive homes-away-from-home for their vacations. Last year, Beyonce stayed in a $10,000-per-night Airbnb for her Super Bowl performance; Gwyneth Paltrow has stayed in several luxury Airbnbs, including a $40-million mansion in Cannes; and the Kardashian family has vacationed in Airbnbs all over the world, including New York City, Nantucket, Malibu and Turks and Caicos.