From building branded hotel-condo towers to buying hotel room booking app HotelTonight, Airbnb has quietly been moving deeper into the hotel industry.
- Airbnb has been quietly opening branded apartment buildings and condo-hotel towers in cities like Miami, Austin, Orlando, and Nashville.
- In Miami, the company is partnering with a developer to open a 48-story, Airbnb-branded tower called Natiivo that will offer 412 condos and 192 hotel rooms — all of which can be rented out via Airbnb, Christopher Cameron reported for The New York Post.
- Airbnb is also opening branded apartment buildings in cities like Orlando and Nashville, where studio apartments start at $2,392 per month.
- In the past couple of years, Airbnb has also added more and more boutique hotels to its platform and acquired hotel-booking app HotelTonight.
- These moves signal that Airbnb is expanding from its vacation rental roots and moving toward real-estate and hotels.
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Airbnb may be on its way to becoming a hotel company.
In the past couple of years, the 11-year-old hospitality company has been quietly departing from its roots of listing private homes and rooms to developing branded hybrid hotel-condo towers, offering boutique hotel listings, and even buying a hotel room booking company.
Airbnb is partnering with Newgard Development Group to open a 48-story tower in downtown Miami called Natiivo that will offer 412 condos and 192 hotel rooms — all of which can be rented out via Airbnb, Christopher Cameron reported for The New York Post.
Natiivo claims to be the first-ever property that's designed, built, and licensed for home-sharing, but it's not the only concept of the type Airbnb is working on.
Airbnb-branded towers are rising in cities like Miami, Austin, Nashville, and Orlando
Natiivo Miami, set to open in the spring of 2022, is one of several Airbnb-branded buildings that are popping up in places like Austin, Nashville, and Orlando.
Austin, Texas will also be getting a Natiivo condo-hotel in the fall of 2021, Curbed reported in 2017. Airbnb won't own or manage the Natiivo towers, but it will be a branded partner and provide consultation on interior design.
Then there's Niido, an Airbnb-branded apartment complex with locations in Nashville and Kissimmee, just south of Orlando, Florida, that leases "Airbnb-friendly unfurnished apartments" to residents, while guests can either book a resident's unit on Airbnb or stay in one of the "designer apartments," called NiidoHomes.
Niido's website includes a calculator for residents to see how much money they'd save renting out their place on Airbnb.
These Airbnb-branded residences don't come cheap. At Niido Nashville, studio apartments start at $2,392 per month and one-bedrooms start at $2,612. Two-bedrooms start at $4,195. And at Natiivo Miami, condos are currently listed from $350,000 to $1.2 million.
Airbnb is moving more and more into the hotel industry
Airbnb, which today has more than seven million listings in 191 countries, is looking more and more like a hotel company.
Last month, CEO Brian Chesky announced that the company would conduct a comprehensive review of every single one of its listings to verify their accuracy and safety standards, The New York Times reported.
Jeff Spross of The Week called this "a big step towards operating more like the traditional hotel business."
While more and more boutique hotels have been listed on Airbnb in the past few years, Airbnb announced in early 2018 that it was making it make it easier for boutique hotels to list their rooms on the site. Now, you can search Airbnb listings in four categories: Shared Room, Private Room, Entire Place — and Hotel Room.
After Airbnb added this option, users went on to book three times as many boutique hotels in 2018 as the year before, according to the company.
And earlier this year, Airbnb bought HotelTonight, an app for getting discounts on hotel rooms through last-minute bookings, and started adding the app's hotel partners to Airbnb's platform.
These moves seem to be a departure from Airbnb's roots as a platform that connects travelers to people willing to open up their homes to strangers.
But Cameron Houser, the hotels program manager at Airbnb, told Skift earlier this year that she hopes the company's expansion into hotels will bring the platform closer to being "for everyone."
"My hope is that those folks who maybe had positioned us as a place that they weren't really going to find an accommodation can now open their minds and hearts to Airbnb a little bit more," Houser told Skift. "And find, perhaps, a small hotel or a bed-and-breakfast that they've been looking for."
Airbnb is part of a wave of companies offering hybrid accommodations that combine elements of hotels and private homes
Airbnb isn't alone in filling a hybrid role in the hospitality industry.
Startups like Sonder, Lyric, and Blueground offer apartment-style rentals in properties they lease and manage. Sonder, which has a valuation of more than $1 billion, even has backing from the former CFO of Airbnb, Laurence Tosi, who is a board member.
The new CEO of Trivago, Axel Hefer, recently told Business Insider that he thinks these companies are the future of travel because they they combine the best parts of Airbnbs and hotels: the coziness and personality of a private home with the predictability and standards of a hotel.