Airbnb to trial branded apartments

George Sell By George Sell
27 September 2017 | Updated 29 September 2017

US: Airbnb is reportedly developing a branded apartment complex in Florida.

The move would be Airbnb's first attempt to physically create Airbnb-branded accommodation, and is one of a number of trials the company is running to broaden its revenue streams as listings growth begins to slow and legislative pressure increases.

According to a report in The Information, Airbnb is working with a South Florida-based real estate developer, Newgard Development Group, on the design of the building.

Airbnb won't own the properties but they will carry its brand. The building, expected to have hundreds of apartment units, is being built in Kissimmee, near Orlando, Florida.

The developer is reportedly aiming "to attract young renters who work part-time in the Orlando area and live elsewhere the rest of the year, but want to make money from subletting rooms or entire apartments when they aren't in town".

The tenants, Newgard Development and Airbnb each would take a share of the revenue earned from apartments rented through Airbnb's platform.

Newgard CEO Harvey Hernandez declined to comment on the partnership, but said the companies would issue a "joint release" in the next 10 days.

Editor's Comment

Airbnb’s trial of branded apartments in Florida is an intriguing move, and is one of a number of initiatives the rental platform is considering as it explores ways to broaden its revenue streams as listings growth begins to slow and legislative pressure increases.

The move would be its first attempt to physically create Airbnb-branded accommodation and, ironically given the hospitality sector’s reaction to Airbnb’s whirlwind arrival on the scene, will see it acting in a similar role to the global hotel chains. The Airbnb brand will effectively be franchised to buildings which are owned and operated by other parties, with Airbnb providing the booking platform and marketing clout.

If the initiative is successfully rolled out, it will be interesting to see if building owners - and indeed investors and lenders - will begin to favour having Airbnb’s name above their door over that of a traditional serviced apartment operator.

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