Idaho's Big Potato Hotel [Photo Credit: Airbnb]

Airbnb puts down $1m to build fantasy houses

US: Airbnb is launching a $1m competition to incentivise the creation of fantasy houses.

In a statement the company said they were seeking the “most unconventional and unusual livable spaces on the planet.

Airbnb has made headlines with its wild and unique available rentals in the past. Choices like a Star Wars themed rental, a baked potato house and a Malibu Barbie mansion have all caught the attention of journalists and renters alike.

According to Airbnb’s internal data, searches for unique spaces to stay increased by 70 per-cent over the previous year. These fantasy listings have included things like unique houses, as well as yurts, domes, RVs and treehouses.

Now, the group hopes to catch that wind, asking contestants to submit unique ideas alongside an essay to determine one of ten winners. Submissions will be judged against criteria based on creativity, feasibility, sustainability and social good.

The panel judging includes Airbnb superhost Kristie Wolfe, of the Idaho Big Potato Hotel, as well as global cutting edge architecture firm MVRDV. Most notable, however, camp-focused style Icon and Emmy, Tony and Grammy winner Billy Porter will judge.

Porter said: “The only thing better than pushing the boundaries of style, is empowering others to do the same. I’m thrilled to join Airbnb in this global search for the most outrageous, spectacular home ideas ever.”

The panel is open from now until the 15th of April 2020. The judges will have their winning designs selected by the 15th of May, with reports saying construction may go from June until December.

This is not Airbnb’s first unique competition to help bring in new people. The group laid out a letter writing campaign this valentines day to send a couple to Verona, and launched a sabbatical programme in the Bahamas to help rebuild the region’s tourism in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

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