Airbnb has acquired Montreal-based Luxury Retreats, a luxury vacation rental company with over 4,000 homes in over 100 destinations worldwide.
As part of the deal Luxury Retreats CEO Joe Poulin will join Airbnb and lead luxury homes, reporting to Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky, while the Luxury Retreats team will remain based in Montreal. Luxury Retreats will connote to operate as a standalone entity in the short term, with its listings becoming highlighted and integrated into Airbnb’s platform over time. The Luxury Retreats tema also offers travelers concierge services and access to its support team, as well as dedicated villa specialists to match guests with villas. All of these services will be maintained as part of the acquisition, Airbnb said.
What does the move mean for travel agents? In our recent roundtable of Millennial advisors, opinion was split on the company, with some agents reporting that a lot of business has gone over to Airbnb. Other agents said that they liked the way in which the company has acted as a competitor to traditional hotels, while others pointed out that the less-touristy experience of an Airbnb appeals to many Millennial travelers.
The move is the latest in a series of big product expansions from Airbnb. In November the company launched its new Trips platform, which offers local hosts the chance to offer activities like a Samurai Swordplay workshop or the chance to drive classic cars in Malibu, or chances to give back to local communities, like a behind-the-scenes program at the Downtime Boxing Gym in Detroit, as well as Insider Guidebooks spotlighting top areas to check out in a given destination.
At launch the launch of Trips 500 Experiences are available in 12 cities worldwide, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Detroit, Havana, London, Paris, Florence, Nairobi, Cape Town, Tokyo and Seoul, with the option for Airbnb hosts in an additional 39 cities to request to list their Experiences. 100 Insider Guidebooks are available at launch in six cities — Los Angeles, San Francisco, Havana, Nairobi, Detroit and Seoul - with more planned to launch soon.
In December, Bloomberg reported a rumor that the company was even eyeing development of a flight-booking platform.