When Airbnb was launched a decade ago, the tech start-up offered cash-strapped travelers cheap overnight stays on sofas and in spare bedrooms around the world.
Since then, they’ve expanded to include entire houses and even some upscale ones, a featured service that’s recently drawn the ire of Spanish Town residents worried about parking and maintaining the culture of the historic neighborhood.
“We have an overall strategy of having a product for every traveler, and Luxe is for the ones seeking luxury,” says Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s chief executive and co-founder.
The Luxe portfolio of 2,000 homes, available starting Tuesday, includes villas in Tuscany, ski lodges in New Zealand and castles in the French countryside. They were selected from the 5,000 properties listed on Luxury Retreats, a high-end vacation rental company that Airbnb acquired in 2017.
The customers for these homes, Chesky says, are the same guests who rented sofas with the company when they were younger, though now they have well-paying jobs and more discerning tastes and seek upscale accommodations. Airbnb has seen a 60% increase in the last year in bookings that cost $1,000 or more a night.