Middle East 'perfect fit' for Airbnb's new luxury tier

Launched last week, the new Airbnb tier – Airbnb Luxe - includes 2,000 handpicked homes from around the world,

Hadi Moussa, Airbnb’s regional manager for the Middle East and Africa. Image courtesy: AirBnB
Hadi Moussa, Airbnb’s regional manager for the Middle East and Africa. Image courtesy: AirBnB

The Arabian Gulf region is a “great fit” for Airbnb’s new luxury segment, even if no properties in the Middle East have been listed in so far, Hadi Moussa, Airbnb’s regional manager for the Middle East and Africa told sister title Arabian Business.

Launched last week, the new Airbnb tier – Airbnb Luxe - includes 2,000 handpicked homes from around the world, ranging from French castles and Tuscan villas to the property in Jamaica where Ian Flemming penned his famous James Bond novels.

The average listing on the tier has an asking price of $14,000 per week, with the priciest listing between $1 million a week for a private atoll near Tahiti. The property includes 21 bungalows and a staff of 50.

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Each of the properties includes a trip designer that can help with check-in, as well as local activities and services.

“This is an exciting region for us and the number of hosts and guests using the Airbnb platform has been growing steadily across GCC and MENA, especially after we launched the Arabic website a few months ago,” Moussa said.

“Airbnb Luxe provides access to unique and spectacular properties with dedicated trip designers to arrange bespoke experiences and services to make every stay truly magical and we strongly believe that this newest tier of Airbnb properties would be a great fit for the [Gulf] region,” Moussa added.

Evaluation process

Moussa did not provide any details on when or where regional listings would be available.

To qualify for the Airbnb Luxe tier, properties must pass a strict evaluation process involving over 300 design and function criteria. This includes elevated design standards on a variety of elements, from premium materials and finishes and unique features to spaces that accommodate groups and a proper number of bathrooms corresponding to each bedroom.

According to Airbnb, the launch of the Airbnb is designed to help meet demand for luxury properties and experiences. In 2018, the number of Airbnb bookings for listings worth at least $1,000 per night rose by more than 60%.

Analysts believe the global luxury travel market is worth more than $200 billion and is set to grow.

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