In 2009 TML dipped our early adopter toes into the ‘sharing economy’ staying in a magnificent brownstone in New York’s Chelsea via VRBO. Later, we stayed in a 2-bedroom apartment in New York’s Gramercy Park. Our One Fine Stay greeter met us well after midnight due to a long delay courtesy of our airline.
Waiting patiently with the keys, he was remarkable cheerful equipped with a very yummy welcome hamper as well as an iPhone for our use while in the Big Apple. The beds were made with crisp white linen and the bathroom was stocked with Kiehls shower gels, lotions and more. And during our 14-day stay, cleaners arrived to vacuum and make it all look sparkly and new. http://www.onefinestay.com
In 2016, the world’s most popular media owner creates no content. The world’s largest taxi company owns no vehicles. It seems fitting then the world’s largest accommodation provider owns no real estate. The shift from ownership to access has caused seismic change to many industries. Airbnb is the poster child of the disruptive economy or as the hotel industry likes to call it unregulated short-term accommodation.
Luxury Retreats, a Montreal-based short-term rental marketplace has 2,800 homes in 90 locations around the world. Francis Ford Coppola’s Italian palazzo and Richard Branson’s Necker Island are just two listings on their books.
One Fine Stay and Luxury Retreats have seen ‘peer-to-peer’ Airbnb go after their market with more and more luxury properties now available. Australia now has its own home grown version of One Fine Stay – Luxico.
Luxico’s pioneering ‘home hotel’ concept combines prestige apartments and luxurious private homes with Superhosts who are on call 24-7. Like having a concierge on speed dial they can organise transport or even a chef to whip up something fabulous in your home away from home. Luxico can even assist with a tailored holiday itinerary.
The properties are currently concentrated in Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula, Sydney and Byron Bay.
You can stay in the former MacRobertson Chocolate factory in Australia’s hipster capital Fitzroy, for less than a Melbourne 5 star hotel.
Or maybe the architecturally dramatic The Edge at South Coogee with a wrap-around horizon pool that’s the only thing between you and the Pacific. http://www.luxico.com.au
Airbnb has branched out, partnering with airlines such as Delta and Qantas, establishing it has a mainstream player. ‘Trips’ is designed to help travellers book activities, tours and one-of-a-kind experiences. Soon, the company says it will offer grocery deliveries, car rentals and flights as part of the Airbnb app.
For every traveller it is about what’s important to him or her – amenities, type of experience or location. Staying in someone else’s home allows us to pretend that we live in that town or city – adopting a routine or just getting to know the neighbourhood. It can all add up to a more memorable holiday.
Airbnb, One Fine Stay and Luxico haven’t sounded the death knell for hotels. In Australia alone a hotel building boom (120 hotels in the pipeline) is forever changing capital city skylines and the economy. In fact many brands are changing hotel design so as to best utilise existing facilities in the neighbourhood such as gyms and restaurants.
Some hotel brands are making a serious play for the millennial dollar by making rooms more like apartments encouraging longer stays at comparable prices. Some others meanwhile, are going smaller.
What will 2017 bring? If you can enjoy free internet in a peer-to peer rental, hotels can’t continue with exorbitant by the day fees for WiFi. In turn, loyalty programs may come into their own in offering unique interactions and experiences akin to a home share host. There does seem to be one certainty – it’s all a win win for travellers.