Confirming recent speculation, Airbnb Inc. has struck a deal to buy Montreal-based Luxury Retreats International Inc. The move is designed to bolster Airbnb’s presence in the high-end vacation rental category.
The Globe and Mail is reporting that the SFO-based hospitality company will pay US$200-million for Luxury Retreats, in a combination of cash and stock. Estimates are that Luxury Retreats does about $200-million in gross bookings per year.
Luxury Retreats CEO Joe Poulin will join Airbnb, reporting to Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky. The Luxury Retreats 250-strong team will remain based in Montreal.
The company will operate as a standalone business under Airbnb ownership in the short term with its 4,000 home listings in 100 destinations integrated into the Airbnb network over time, the companies said in a statement.
"Airbnb has revolutionized global hospitality, connecting a vibrant community of hosts and guests to deliver a tremendous amount of unique travel experiences," said Luxury Retreats Founder and CEO Joe Poulin.
"Brian’s vision, values and approach mirror what Luxury Retreats has been focused on in the luxury market since 1999. We are thrilled to join the Airbnb family with a continued commitment of delivering quality, luxury travel experiences.”
Luxury Retreats provides customers with concierge services and access to its support team, as well as dedicated villa specialists to help travel agents and guests find the perfect villa. These services and support will be maintained as Luxury Retreats joins the Airbnb community, the companies say..
Airbnb has a private market valuation of $30-billion. Its bread-and-butter has traditionally been urban rentals, but it has been entering new product categories of late, including flight-booking and trip planning.
Rival Expedia Inc. is building a network after a string of acquisitions, including the US$3.9-billion purchase of vacation rental site HomeAway, whose brands include VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com.