For a service that began as a simple house-sharing service, Airbnb has definitely expanded to include some interesting, if off-target, promotional initiatives. The company recently stepped into the restaurant reservation space, and has even offered up Sarah Jessica Parker as a shoe shopping partner. According to a new report at The Information, Airbnb is looking to take a step even further with company-branded apartments in Florida.
According to The Information, Airbnb is working with a real estate developer in southern Florida, Newgard Development Group, to design a new apartment building as a proof of concept near Orlando in Kissimmee, right next to all those theme parks. Airbnb won't own or even contribute to the development costs, said one person familiar with the matter. Another source said that this is only one of many experiments that Airbnb is using to expand its brand to more places.
The idea, say The Information 's sources, is to pull in younger renters who work part-time in Orlando, but want to make money by subletting rooms or apartments (via Airbnb) when they aren't in town. Airbnb, the developer and the main apartment tenants would split the revenue earned from such an arrangement. It sounds like this could bring Airbnb one step closer to becoming like a hotel chain, notes The Information. Marriott already works with developers in this way, not owning the buildings or land, but by providing a standard of hospitality and the use of its brand name.
We've reached out to Airbnb for comment on this matter and will update when we hear back.