As Airbnb repositions itself as a 360-degree experience brand, the company is rumored to be launching Airbnb Lux, an elite service for the super-rich, after acquiring high-end rentals website Luxury Retreats. As experience culture continues to drive travel trends, a host of curated travel platforms are using the Airbnb model to make luxury accessible.
Launched in June, Plans Matter is a site which lists only modern houses designed by renowned architects. The house’s come with a handwritten host note that gives more information about why hosts built the property and a list of any design awards they have won. “When we plan our travel, we search for places to stay that are well designed and authentic. Places that will elevate our experience beyond keeping us warm and dry,” said creators and architects Lindor and Scott Mueller on their website. “Our goal is to make these places easily available for people to experience on their own.”
Hipcamp, which debuted in 2015, is another unique offering which aims to help people find and book campsites. Private land owners can put ranches, farms, vineyards and nature preserves up for rent on the site, which already lists 10,000 private locations. Recently, Hipcamp launched “eclipse campsites”, campgrounds that have a view of the solar eclipse due to take place on Monday 21st August. This unique experience is estimated to be attracting up to 1.4 million tourists, with Hipcamp listing more than 677 sites along the “path of totality”, the 70-mile-wide arc with the best view.
Brands are equally embracing experience culture and increasingly off-the-path experiences. Last fall, Audi invited consumers to enjoy a three-day private stay in a luxury apartment in partnership with Airbnb. The package included meals prepared by a personal chef and use of the new 2017 Audi R8 Coupe in a remote location in the Nevada desert. In February, Volvo collaborated with Tablet Hotels to create a popup experience called the Get Away Lodge, inspired by wellness and contemplation. Users were invited to stay in a boutique lodge retreat in Sweden’s mountains to promote the V90 Cross Country model car.
The rise of niche holiday rental services and unique stay offerings points to the increasing desire for experiences, particularly when traveling. With 78% of millennials now choosing to spend money on desirable experiences over material items, it seems that exclusive and unique getaways will no longer be reserved for the super-rich.