Since Airbnb emerged on the scene, travel and accommodation have been completely revolutionised. For holidaymakers and businessmen and women alike, the idea of a cold, overly replicated hotel room has entirely lost its appeal, and the prospect of a warm, lived-in home to call yours for the night is endlessly more enticing.
And as flights become cheaper and international commuting becomes the norm, there are more tourists and commuters in need of a place to stay than ever – many of whom would rather spend their time making believe in a real home than twiddling their thumbs in a sanitary hotel room.
Real estate mogul Harvey Hernandez noticed the trend grow before his very eyes. Sitting in his office, which is housed inside one of his condo developments, he noticed more and more passersby arriving with suitcase in hand, never to be see again. They were just visiting, there for a night or two, and certainly not the owners of the condos.
“I could see the opportunity for [apartment sharing] happening right in front of my face,” Hernandez recalls. “But there was no support for it, and no community.”
Hernandez began to develop a concept that would not only serve as a lucrative opportunity for property owners and investors, but would actually create a community for the fleeting, temporary residents to further enhance their Airbnb experience.
The pitch was made to Airbnb cofounder Joe Gebbia and soon after plans began to materialise. Over the coming months, Airbnb and Hernandez’s company, the Newgard Development Group, will complete “Niido powered by Airbnb,” a 324-unit building in Kissimmee, Florida, that is slated to be the first in a series of apartment buildings around the country.
Every aspect of Niido apartments has been reconsidered to deliver a seamless experience for guests, from home offices that can easily convert into spare bedrooms to the keyless entry system that uses temporary codes for maximum security and a hasslefree handover.
“We thought about every element, from the curb when you approach, to the wayfinding and contacting your host,” says JaJa Jackson, Airbnb’s director of housing partnerships.
The icing on the cake, in our opinion, is the plan to channel 25% of the standard 3% Airbnb booking fee into local community projects such as cooking lessons or art classes. By doing so, they plan to integrate these local events into their already established ‘Experiences’ offering, and promote them to their Airbnb customers. By fostering the opportunity to create a more connected community, they hope to offer a more wholesome and overall exciting travelling experience – even if it’s just another routine business trip.
“Right now we’re focused on Florida, but we’re considering other markets,” said Hernandez. If this concept rolls out globally as fast as Airbnb itself did, we’ll have Australian Niidos in no time.