New Airbnb hire highlights expansion into hotel and condo rentals

Fortune | Original Article
By Danielle Abril

February 24, 2020

Airbnb has created a new executive position to help lead its continued expansion beyond home and apartment rentals.

Jesse Stein, former senior vice president of real estate private equity firm KHP Capital Partners, will be Airbnb’s global head of real estate, the company said on Tuesday. His job is to partner with property managers including real estate companies, boutique hotels, and condominium developments.

The hire highlights Airbnb’s strategy of adding more hotel and hotel-like offerings on its service. In doing so, the company would increase its inventory of rentals that are professionally monitored following safety concerns like the killing of five people at a party at an Airbnb rental in Orinda, Calif. and fraud complaints about sketchy property owners.

Those concerns could have a major impact on any initial public offering by Airbnb this year. Investors have high expectations for an IPO by the company, which was valued at $31 billion in 2017.

Last year, Airbnb acquired last-minute hotel booking service HotelTonight and started working with it to provide a new type of accommodation that would give guests the comforts of a home with the services of a hotel. Airbnb has yet to debut that feature.

Airbnb also teamed up with RXR Realty, a real estate company in New York, to develop portions of commercial properties into Airbnb rentals. Those projects are still in the works.

Additionally, Airbnb also has invested in rental service startup Lyric, which leases entire floors of apartment buildings, remodels the units for travelers, and lists them on sites including Airbnb.

Meanwhile, competition from other more traditional hospitality companies like Marriott International is heating up.  Last year, the hotel giant introduced a high-end home-rental service called Homes & Villas that includes an 18th century Irish Castle that sleeps 17 and a six-bedroom villa in Sorrento, Italy overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Two months later, Airbnb responded with its own luxury offering called Luxe, which aims to provide lavish rentals that come with concierge service. Some of the swanky rentals includes an entire island in French Polynesia and a Jamaican oceanfront villa.