Airbnb has moved upmarket in a big way and is about to take that up another notch. The company is in the late stages of acquiring Luxury Retreats, an Airbnb-style service that focuses on high-end homes, for a price believed to be around USD 200 million, reported TechCrunch.
The potential deal for Luxury Retreats was first reported by Bloomberg, at a price of under USD 300 million.
One source notes that Airbnb “is deeply interested in the company because of their extremely talented team with deep experience in the luxury segment. Their capability in the luxury is unrivalled and complimentary to the capabilities at Airbnb.”
This would fit in with Airbnb’s wider remit, too, to continue diversifying its user base and income, potentially ahead of a public listing. The company has now raised close to USD 3 billion and last summer filed to raise USD 850 million at a USD 30 billion valuation.
Others in the same market include OneFineStay, which was recently acquired by AccorHotels for USD 170 million; Index- and GV-backed Secret Escapes, a membership flash sales site for luxury holidays; and HomeAway has its own sub-brand, the similarly named Luxury Rentals.
Luxury Retreats is a bit different from these because of its attention to vetting sites — or “curation” as Poulin calls it — and generally making the walls of its sharing sandbox just that much higher. This is also consistent with how Airbnb has been trying to develop attention to the quality of its service.
“You can’t just load a property and go,” said Poulin. “Our peel off is that we have a little more control. It’s not fully peer to peer because we certify all properties. There is a need for driving business on the high end. Luxury is not sold, it’s delivered.”
This is in addition to a deal in the works at Airbnb, for crowdfunding platform Tilt, for north of USD 50 million.
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