Accor Hotels Acquires Luxury Homestay Company onefinestay

By Paul Joseph

In a marriage of British innovation with French sophistication, London-based luxury home-rental company onefinestay has been acquired by the Parisian hotels group Accor.

The deal, worth in excess of $240 million, will allow onefinestay to pursue an ambitious expansion strategy (from 5 to 40 cities over the next 5 years) by harnessing Accor's distribution capacity, customer base and operations capability. Co-Founder Greg Marsh will continue as CEO and Chair of the board and the existing city teams will continue to look after guests and hosts.

This is the first time a major hotel group has acquired a private home-rental business, which says as much about the future of luxury travel as it does about how traditional players are responding to the threat of disruption.

Travel trends indicate that high-end guests are increasingly seeking out experiences that are unique, authentic and personalised but without compromising on quality, assurance and attention to detail.

Accor, whose heritage lies in mid-tier brands, has seized on this trend and recently made a number of luxury acquisitions, having bought the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands at the end of last year. This latest acquisition cements their commitment to innovating at the top end of the sector.

A British hospitality pioneer being bought by a French hotel group is also a notable success story for a particular type of innovation that London is seen to excel at - bringing together world-class service with tech firepower and immersive experiences.

Onefinestay describe their service as ‘handmade hospitality’ - a point of distinction in the homestay category. Guests are personally welcomed into a carefully curated selection of city-based homes, all appointed with hotel linens, towels and toiletries. During their stay, guests have access to a 24/7 service team and are given a complimentary iPhone, complete with personal recommendations from onefinestay hosts.

Onefinestay currently offers homes in London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles, with Rome opening this summer.

By Paul Joseph