Airbnb acquires Luckey Homes to signal potential entry into property management

France: Airbnb has acquired French concierge services company, Luckey Homes, for an undisclosed sum, signalling a potential entry into property management.

France represents one of Airbnb’s most profitable markets, with over 500,000 listings and 13 million guests and hosts. Paris is Airbnb’s top global destination however the city is embroiled in a number of regulatory battles with the short-term rental platform.

Luckey Homes, founded in 2015, helps short-term rental hosts manage their listings, handles guest arrivals and departures, provides cleaning services, and offers customer assistance in 20 cities across France, but the company is now aiming to expand globally.

Since its founding, the startup has raised around $3.2 million (€2.8 million) in funding from Paris-based real estate developer, Nexity, and venture capital firm Newfund. Airbnb has reportedly purchased Nexity and Newfund’s shares in Luckey Homes.

Airbnb country manager for France, Emmanuel Marill, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Luckey team to the Airbnb family. Luckey Homes not only shares our very high standards for hospitality, but also has developed an innovative and highly scalable approach that can help more people become hosts.

“We look forward to building new and better services that will make hosting on Airbnb even easier,” he added.

Luckey Homes CEO Aurélien Malfait said: “We are excited to join the Airbnb family as it is a unique opportunity to develop and scale our product together with the teams and community of the leading platform in the short-term rental industry. Luckey’s unique model and technology will help scale host management services benefiting other hospitality players and the whole Airbnb host community.”

As part of the acquisition, Luckey Homes employees will become Airbnb employees and the company is expected to continue operating as its own business unit within Airbnb.

Airbnb’s acquisition of Luckey Homes potentially signals a major shift in the company’s approach toward property management of private accommodations. By acquiring it rather than entering into a partnership, it will raise questions about Airbnb’s direction.

On the face of it, it appears similar to how Marriott has partnered with property management company Hostmaker, or how AccorHotels’ Onefinestay unit has partnered with vacation rental cleaning and operations management provider, Properly.

Until now, Airbnb has largely acted as more of a platform by which professional property management companies and managers can market and distribute their listings. In a highly fragmented industry, Airbnb has tried creating new tools and partnerships which make it easier for professional hosts and companies to work alongside Airbnb.

This latest acquisition suggests Airbnb is considering a role that broadens the company’s reach beyond simply being a marketplace, and more of an active provider of private accommodations.

Luckey Homes’ services aligns with Airbnb’s intended offerings with its Airbnb Plus category of verified accommodations, which, it hopes will take private accommodations into the mainstream. Airbnb Plus listings are not yet available in France although Airbnb has over 2,000 home listings that qualify as Plus.

According to an article published in Les Echos, Luckey Homes will “continue to work with other major rental platforms”, so its inventory will not be exclusive to Airbnb. Despite this, the acquisition is expected to bring more hosts onto the Airbnb platform and grow its network in France.