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Airbnb launches new programme for wealthy travellers

Airbnb will expand into luxury travel by offering boutique hotels and properties for ‘trips of a lifetime’

Airbnb will expand into luxury market by offering wealthy travellers boutique hotels and properties for ‘trips of a lifetime’. The San Frisco-based accommodation listings site will be soon listing custom-designed getaways involving some of the world’s most luxurious homes. The firm, which was launched a decade ago, will offer the new programme called Beyond by Airbnb, for providing tailored experiences to rich customers at boutique hotels and properties in a ‘unique space’. The programme is set to be launched in the spring and offer world-class hospitality to customers.

The new programme forms part of new categories of accommodations that the firm will include to its website. The new offering stems from Airbnb’s acquisition of luxury retreats last year. The company will also offer venues for occasions ranging from work events to weddings.

Co-founder and chief executive Brian Chesky said that ten years ago it never dreamed of what Airbnb could become. In fact, people thought the idea that strangers would stay in each other’s homes was crazy. Today, millions of people every night do just that. But the company wants to go further by supporting and expanding its community so that in 10 years’ time, more than one billion people per year will experience the benefits of magical travel on Airbnb.

Airbnb is also offering another programme called ‘Airbnb plus’, under which properties will be offered after detailed checks. These properties will be inspected and verified for quality against more than 100 parameters including cleanliness, comfort and design such as fully equipped kitchens.

Chesky says the programme is available now with 2,000 homes in 13 cities, providing all the comforts of home, plus more. He said it recognises hosts who go above and beyond to provide outstanding hospitality.

Hosts will be able to join the programme by paying $US149, who will attract top placement and in-home services such as design consultation and professional photography.

Airbnb users can now choose from three property types – shared space, private room and entire home – at its 4.5 million places in 81,000 cities around the world.

It announced key changes in its leadership team earlier this month and said that it won’t launch a share offering in 2018.

Airbnb has an estimated market value of approximately $30 billion and it is only second to Uber on the list of US-based venture-funded ‘unicorns’ that have raised private capital without going to the stock markets. Its business model is similar to that of Uber, which allows individuals to tap an underutilised resource. However, its business model has been criticised by established hotel operators.

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