Airbnb is entering the luxury market with its new rental tier, Airbnb Luxe, a collection of extravagant homes ranging from medieval castles to mansions.
The new tier went live Tuesday with 2,000 listings, including a sprawling estate in the Tuscan countryside and the Fleming Villa in Jamaica where Ian Fleming penned the James Bond novels. For $1 million, a private atoll in French Polynesia with 21 bungalows and a staff of 50 can be rented.
To be listed on Airbnb Luxe, homes must pass a rigorous checklist. They are evaluated on more than 300 different criteria, from overall design and spaces that accommodate groups to chef-grade appliances and the location’s surroundings. Airbnb also evaluates services that are available, like the medieval farm-to-table experience of Castello di Vicarello in Tuscany and the chef, driver and butler services that come with Grace Bay Residences in Turks and Caicos.
When booking with Airbnb Luxe, guests will have a dedicated concierge. The “trip designer” will be responsible for arranging check-in logistics, local bespoke experiences and services from childcare to private chefs or in-house massage therapists.
The launch of the new platform comes two years after Airbnb acquired Luxury Retreats, a Canadian company that specializes in high-quality listings, for around $300 million. According to Bloomberg, Airbnb Luxe is a re-branding of Luxury Retreats.
The launch of Airbnb Luxe helps meet increasing demand from Airbnb guests for luxury properties and experiences, the company said. In 2018, the number of Airbnb bookings for listings worth at least $1,000 per night increased more than 60%.
As Airbnb targets the growing $200 billion luxury travel market in its latest move, it’s part of the brand’s overall strategy to become an end-to-end travel platform. The company recently introduced new products like multiday adventure tours and bought last-minute booking platform, HotelTonight.