Airbnb partners with RXR Realty to operate Rockefeller Center suites

The firm has acquired ten floors at the location of 75 Rockefeller Plaza, with plans in place to convert them into 200 overnight suites in a newly-formed partnership with real estate developers RXR Realty LLC. After the partnership was revealed, the companies announced that the deal would help to create a “new category of urban lodging” in New York.

Each of the Rockefeller suites will have its own custom design and be individually curated, with views overlooking landmarks such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Empire State Building, and, in winter, the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink and Christmas tree.

Airbnb said the purpose behind the idea was to combine “all the comforts of home” while providing guests with a “curated, authentic NYC experience and sense of community typically reserved for locals”.

The latest foray into apartment-style suites is another signal of Airbnb’s diversification into an end-to-end travel platform, which offers flights and curated tourist experience and activities packages in addition to the company’s traditional accommodation offerings.

In the last few weeks alone, Airbnb has made its largest purchase with the online travel service HotelTonight in a move to increase hotel listings on its platform and it also completed a Series B funding round with apartment provider Lyric.

These deals play into greater context when one considers that Airbnb is reportedly planning an initial public offering before late next year.

Airbnb and RXR said they were also exploring the possibility of operating short-term rentals in other RXR properties, for example in the 47 Hall Street project by the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The San Francisco-based firm will also hope to regain its presence and popularity in New York City, where it has been subject to regulations imposed by the local government in recent times.

In New York, it is against the law for renters to rent out an apartment for anything less than 30 days without the permanent tenant present too. As such, fair housing advocates believe that up to a third of the estimated 55,000 Airbnb listings in the city may be operating illegally.

Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky said: “When we launched Airbnb over ten years ago, it was immediately clear how people opening their homes could make guests feel like locals.

“With this new partnership with RXR, we hope to provide that same unique feeling, in the form of new spaces in the heart of midtown Manhattan and elsewhere so that everyone can enjoy an authentic New York experience,” he added.