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Luxury accommodation | The non-hotel renaissance

With the tread of luxury veering towards non-traditional formats, it is hospitality's turn now to experiment with unconventional accommodation options. Here's why a home away from a hotel may just lead the way to the next big travel trend

The traditional hotel as we know it is giving way to unique genres of accommodation

Word on the hospitality block is that, in a post-pandemic world, a significant chunk of luxury travellers are moving towards the ‘non-hotel’ for lodging options. For starters, this would include anything that does not involve a traditional hotel format. We’re talking about villas—and the accompanying villa rental services— home stays, service apartments and more offbeat options like containers, pods, tree houses, heritage castles, tented camps etc. According to an October 2021 report by Economic Impact, commissioned by Airbnb, surveying over 4,500 people found that an overwhelming 79 per cent of Indian travellers want to travel in ways that benefit social communities both economically and socially. Thus, this would translate into the concept of ‘unique’ accommodation options, which the vacation rental platform defines, interestingly as ‘barn boat, castle, campsite, hut, island, plane, shepherd’s hut, train, treehouse, windmill and yurts’, none of which include the word hotel. According to Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager Airbnb for India: “Alternate accommodations allow for opportunities for travellers to engage with locals and contribute to socio-economic development first hand. Today’s luxury traveller uses travel as a way to foster meaningful conversations and regenerate communities.” Bajaj also highlights the rapid growth in this non-hotel format. “In India alone, from 2019 to 2021, nights booked at unique properties on Airbnb have increased by over 30 per cent.”