Airbnb bests Expedia, Accor for high-end rental business

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky is active on Twitter and so it shouldn't come as surprise that his company's latest acquisition stemmed from what he read via the social-media site.

In the home-sharing site's biggest deal to date, Airbnb has acquired Luxury Retreats, a Canada-based luxury vacation rental company offering over 4,000 homes in 100 destinations around the world. According to Bloomberg, the cash and stock deal was worth roughly $300 million.

The acquisition moves Airbnb up the luxury ladder and into more of a full-service travel provider.

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“From airbeds in an apartment to castles to villas, Airbnb has always been focused on providing a broad range of amazing experiences and trips,” said Chesky. “I have spent countless hours with Joe and his team and seen firsthand their passion for delivering amazing hospitality and unforgettable experiences in spectacular places around the world. They share our values and I’m excited to work with the Luxury Retreats team to serve more travelers. The incredible energy and talent in these teams will help support our mission and grow our community and I’m confident that we will expand our team in Canada in the months and years ahead.”

Luxury Retreats CEO Joe Poulin will join Airbnb and lead luxury homes, reporting to Chesky and the Luxury Retreats team will remain based in Montreal. According to the company, Luxury Retreats offers high-quality listings, world-class concierge service and a range of amenities and the acquisition "will complement Airbnb’s work to provide a variety of homes and experiences to travelers, particularly those visiting traditional vacation destinations."

In a blow to traditional powerhouses, Airbnb reportedly beat out the likes of Expedia and AccorHotels for Luxury Retreats. As Bloomberg writes: "Those companies’ cash offers were bigger, but Luxury Retreats decided on Airbnb partly because its founder, Joe Poulin, foresaw having more control than at those other firms."

AccorHotels last year dipped its toes in home-sharing with its acquisition of Onefinestay. Earlier this month, it said it had begun exclusive negotiations for the acquisition of Travel Keys, an Atlanta-based broker of private vacation rentals. 

Expedia acquired HomeAway for close to $4 billion in 2015. 

Airbnb, with a $30-billion market cap, will likely be on an acquisitions spree. As Bloomberg points out, "targets are in airfare aggregation, group payments and pricing tools to help homeowners make more money when listing their properties on Airbnb."

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