Airbnb’s got $3 billion burning a hole in its pocket.
The home-sharing site is considering various acquisitions and partnerships to broaden its horizons to include flight booking, itinerary planning and vacation-home managing, Bloomberg reported. Since 2008, the company has raised $3.1 billion capital — most of which it still has — and now appears poised to start investing it in alternative revenue sources.
“Airbnb has dominated in the urban-rental market but still has lots of room to grow in vacation rental markets, where Expedia’s HomeAway is stronger and the average transaction value is significantly higher,” Douglas Quinby, an analyst at the travel industry research firm Phocuswright, told Bloomberg.
Airbnb’s board met on Thursday to approve the purchase of Luxury Retreats, a Montreal-based vacation-home management company. The company is focused on expanding into luxury tourism, airfare aggregation, guest management and group payments, according to Bloomberg.
Airbnb became profitable for the first time in the second half of 2016, despite some legal difficulties. In October, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that raised the fine for hosts with illegal Airbnb listings up to $7,500. Affordable housing advocates have argued Airbnb drives up rents in New York City. A 2015 analysis by The Real Deal found the startup pushed up rents as much as $69 per month in neighborhoods such as Williamsburg and Greenpoint. [Bloomberg] — Kathryn Brenzel