Partnerships / Acquisitions

Airbnb On The Cusp Of Buying Luxury Retreats

Airbnb wants to get a bit more luxe. Reports are emerging this AM that the home-sharing pioneer is well into acquisition talks with Luxury Retreats, a Canadian company that specializes in high-end vacation villas.

Thus far, it looks like the deal will clock in at about $200 million in a mix of cash and stocks — and would represent one of the larger plays out of the little company widely credited with disrupting the travel and accommodation industry.

The offerings on luxury retreats are a bit different than standard Airbnb fare. Right now, for example, Luxury Retreats customers have the option of snagging the “Chateau Petit Versailles,” a 14-bedroom mansion that rents for $27,000 a night. Over all, the 18-year-old firm currently lists around 3,000 properties around the world, each individually vetted by the company.

Apart from their toni listings, Airbnb is also acquiring much of Luxury Retreats’ executive team, who plan to stay-on with the firm — though they will continue to be Canada-based.

Luxury Retreats’ annual books are a mere percentage point of Airbnb’s, but most experts agree the move is generally intended to attract more elite travellers who are likely to spend more on high-touch services.

Airbnb’s yearly bookings are around $3bn, while Luxury Retreat’s bookings are about $150m.

“We are always looking to provide our community with access to new and different options, but we have no announcements to make,” noted Nick Papas, a spokesman for Airbnb, who declined to comment on the specifics of a potential luxury acquisition.

Luxury Retreats did not respond to a request for comment.

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