Happy hump day, folks! I hope your week is going easy. We have a long one today. Let’s get into it.
Luxury hospitality brand Inspirato has partnered with Thomas James Homes, a replacement homebuilder in the U.S. As part of the collaboration, Inspirato will provide Thomas James Homes’ clients with a complimentary 12-month Inspirato Travel Membership. This membership will grant clients access to Inspirato’s curated collection of over 750 luxury vacation options in more than 100 locations worldwide at members-only rates. Preferred destinations include Los Cabos, Mexico; Vail, Colorado; and Tuscany, Italy.
Thomas James Homes builds new homes on existing homesites.
In 2023, Thomas James Homes is expected to deliver between 275 to 300 homes to its customers. And the hope is for these customers to make the best of the Inspirato membership in this intervening waiting period and in turn will drive a demand channel for Inspirato.
“If somebody’s waiting for a home to be built by Thomas James Holmes, their request is that the buyer waits nine to 12 months to have access to Inspirato,” said Dain Rasmussen, senior vice president of revenue at Inspirato. “This will help us with member growth in a much more efficient fashion because immediately we’re talking to people that have the means and the wherewithal and more importantly what we like to think about is the emotional driver.”
Inspirato recently got a new CEO: Eric Grosse. And the company has been tackling its excess supply by pruning its portfolio and driving demand through partnerships like this one and the one with Saks Fifth Avenue.
Rasmussen said Inspirato should start seeing the results of this partnership kick in next year.
“Folks need to be introduced to the club and then they potentially make bookings or they convert at a later stage and so there’s a tremendous amount of work that goes in up front to educate and to on board,” Rasmussen said. “We anticipate through this partnership and other partnerships that we’re working on — this would really start to have a material impact on our business really next year.”
Rasmussen also hopes some of this demand will convert to guests making use of Inspirato’s longer-term renting program – Inspirato JauntLiving.
Airbnb Discontinues Plus Program
Airbnb is discontinuing its Airbnb Plus program, which was introduced in 2018 as an initiative to highlight exclusive listings meeting specific design standards. The program was supposed to involve annual inspections and exclusive listing arrangements with Airbnb. However, it failed to meet expectations, and the company has decided to end it on November 6.
While Airbnb confirmed the program’s termination, it assured that guests would still find and appreciate unique design and well-reviewed listings. The company is also working on new tools for hosts to enhance their property listings. The decision reflects Airbnb’s focus on on its core service, as it moves away from the Airbnb Plus program, which never gained significant traction in the market.
Commenting on this, CEO of vacation rental channel manager RedAwning Tim Choate said “Airbnb Plus never made sense for hosts. The reality is that Airbnb, though very powerful in most destinations, only represents a small fraction of guest demand. Being exclusive to a single channel, even a large one, causes hosts to earn less money from their properties.”
This quote reminds me of my conversation with Plum Guide CEO Doron Meyassed at Skift Global Forum, whose company feels like it’s fitting into the space between Airbnb Plus and Airbnb Luxe, which are curated luxury properties with “dedicated trip designers.” During his research before setting up Plum Guide, Meyassed traveled to international urban centers including Paris, Berlin, London and New York to meet Airbnb hosts who he considered as “craftspeople.”
“I took a week off and went to meet 30 hosts in London, Berlin and Paris, who I believed were these kind of craftspeople,” Meyassed said, “And at the end of the trip, I came to the conclusion that in the depths of Airbnb, lying are these craftspeople and they feel undervalued. Yeah, one of them said, “I feel like a Louis Vuitton handbag and a Primark.”
Where Airbnb didn’t succeed with Plus is exactly the niche Plum Guide is after.
“We aim to vet every single home in a city that’s available for short lead in an 18-month period, and accept the top 3% of those three price points at a medium, high end luxury price point,” Meyassed said. “And the homes have to pass this test and they have to make sure they are beautifully designed and the beds are of quality, and there is enough cutlery and so on. And then we provide a service layer, we have people who can help you choose a home. So they’re called matchmakers.”
Katanox Partners with Dutch Accommodation Operator Yays Group
Katanox, the travel accommodation distribution and fintech platform, has announced a new collaboration with Yays Group, a serviced-apartments provider. Yays Group will leverage Katanox’s streaming distribution capabilities to connect with travel management companies and expand its serviced apartment offerings. With 16 properties in cities like Amsterdam, The Hague, Paris, and Antwerp, and plans to expand to Madrid and Berlin, Yays Group aims to tap into a valuable source of high-demand travelers. The partnership aims to provide transparency and control for Yays Group in offering its inventory to travel agents and travel management companies, streamlining the distribution process.
Telluride Hosts Pay $857 Fee
Telluride, Colorado is set to let its moratorium on new short-term rental licenses expire, ushering in a new era of regulations. Property owners who rent to vacationers will now face an annual per-bedroom regulatory fee of $857. This fee increase aims to generate revenue for housing initiatives, with Mayor Pro Tem Meehan Fee emphasizing its role in aiding local residents in finding homes, The Colorado Sun reported.
A recent study by Economic and Planning Systems offered various per-bedroom regulatory fee options to mitigate the impact of short-term rentals on housing availability — the chosen mitigation rate is expected to generate approximately $1.5 million annually for the town’s affordable housing fund.
Telluride’s council approved three levels of short-term rental licenses, exempting owners and residents who rent for fewer than 29 days a year from the new fee. The town currently holds 760 short-term rental licenses, with over 450 for one- or two-bedroom condos.
This move marks a shift in Colorado’s short-term rental regulations, driven by the influx of new residents, rising home prices, and labor shortages. Other communities like Estes Park, Breckenridge, and Pagosa Springs have also introduced regulatory fees to support affordable housing initiatives. Telluride is also considering an excise tax ballot measure for vacation rental homes in 2024.
Philadelphia Operators Brace for Short-Term Rental Regulations Impact
Philadelphia’s recent efforts to regulate its short-term rental industry have led to a decrease in available listings on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo. Deckard Technologies, a firm tracking the national short-term rental industry, reported that approximately 1,000 hosts in Philadelphia transitioned from short-term to long-term rentals earlier this year when new city regulations were implemented. The enforcement of these regulations in July prompted hundreds more hosts to move away from short-term rentals, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Many hosts in August and September have gone offline or shifted to long-term rentals, expecting a further dip in October before market stabilization. Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections revealed that since the crackdown on unlicensed operators began in July, over 1,850 hosts have been removed from platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo.
The new laws reinforce the requirement of a hotel license for properties conducting short-term rentals where owners don’t reside.
Traverse City School That Almost Became a Short-Term Rental
The Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) Board has unanimously approved a $750,000 purchase agreement for the Tompkins Boardman Administration Building, securing the structure’s preservation.
The sale, granted to Boardman Building includes a 90-day inspection period, a deed restriction against short-term rentals, and possession upon closing. The parties plan to jointly seek a Grand Traverse County Brownfield planning grant, which could provide additional funds for TCAPS. Boardman Building intends to maintain much of the original building, converting it into 13-15 residential units and constructing three townhomes.
This decision follows the rejection of a $1.2 million offer from Keel Capital in favor of a bid from local residents Ken Richmond and Eric Gerstner, operating as Boardman Building, to create market-rate residential units. The purchase agreement also imposes a 25-year repurposing restriction. Five members of the Boardman Neighborhood Association expressed support for the offer.
Srividya Kalyanaraman writes the Short-term Rental Report. Reach out to her with tips, comments and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org