Last week, Hanley Wood hosted its 2nd HIVE Conference and its Top 50 industry Innovators in Los Angeles at the spectacular Hotel InterContinental. Hive helps to bring the residential, commercial ,design and construction industry from multi-unit buildings to the luxurious, into the 21st century.
Innovation in the industry was the thrust and top innovators and thought leaders were inspiring about it. Notably, Steve Case with his Third Wave and Chip Conley, founder in the late 1980’s of what he would build into the 2nd largest lifestyle boutique management chain in the United States – Joie de Vivre; and who for his next encore, has helped guide AirBnB’s disruption of the hospitality and travel industry, in its rocket-ship expansion across the world.
Steve Case who co-founded the iconic AOL, talked with Sheryl Palmer, CEO & Chair of Taylor Morrison about the early days and vast lessons of AOL and now about how he is concentrating on democratizing venture capital beyond Silicon Valley and New York, as Start-ups are the key to more construction and more jobs across the country. He really is ‘a case’ of thinking outside-the-box!
The Luxury Travel Market
But turning now to Luxury, I was able to sit down briefly with Chip at HIVE 17 to talk about the segue of AirBnB into the Luxury Travel Market this year and how Wellness taps into that, as well as get a glimpse into his present and immediate inspirational future as a “Modern Elder”.
A quick snapshot of AirBnB: AirBnB was founded in August of 2008 by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, and its HQ are in San Francisco, California. AirBnB has indeed disrupted the hotel industry on a global scale.
As it deservedly proudly claims, whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, by marrying innovative hospitality to technology, it has redefined hospitality by connecting people to unique travel and home experiences, at any price point, in more than 65,000 cities and 191 countries.
As former full time Global Head of Hospitality and Strategy for four years at AirBnB, in addition to blowing out the Hospitality sector with his AirBnBOpen for Hosts, Chip was materially involved in the expansion of the company into the Luxury market, with AirBnB’s acquisition of Luxury Retreats from Canadian entrepreneur, Joe Poulin, who says Chip, “a second Brian Chesny”.
“The secret source of Luxury Retreats for AirBnB is not so much for all the extra listings, says Olivia Zaleski of Bloomberg Technology, “but really the excellent job it has done of managing all the extra little amenities that you might want on a luxury vacation, such as a masseuse, or a bar-tender” and I say things like a ballooning experience, that are actually very, very difficult to manage at scale, particularly in exotic locations when you are managing effectively what is a small business locally.
“Luxury fits very well into our global vision,” says Chip. “But the days are gone when the money you pay [for luxury] goes into the Chandeliers.”
He went on, “Some part of the luxury experience is the crucible of creating a deeper connection whether it is with yourself or the people you are with. I think it’s less about the actual facilities, and more about the actual facilitation.”
“Time and Access are the most prized things now,” he says. “And, Wellness fits into that very well.”
Another interesting fact Chip notes, is that the age range for Luxury is the full range today, and that they are noticing that luxury is multi-generational. “A lot of times for example, you are doing a family reunion so that can be 3 or 4 generations. For our luxury product it is not so much a couple taking a place to themselves, it’s really more groups of people and quite often, it’s families too.“
“Part of the luxury experience is the crucible of creating a deeper connection, whether it is with yourself or the people you are with.”
In his own thought leadership, Chip has stepped back from four years of guiding the AirBnB rocket ship, to devote time to authoring more books and promoting “Modern Elders” – his coined term for people who are “breaking the tyranny of the three stage life” – where you learn, you earn and then you retire – a model that doesn’t work anymore because you learn and then you earn and then you may go back to earning again and then you may retire and then go back to learning again, and so on.
Chip is on the cusp of opening up a residential retreat he is building in Mexico to help C-Suite Executives and Senior Social Entrepreneurs embrace becoming Modern Elders.
With his own imparting of wisdom, of learning and simultaneously earning at AirBnB, Chip Conley is an inspiring and thoroughly engaging example of how to be constantly growing and learning and giving back, in his own fifth decade of life on this earth.
Hopefully once this retreat is up and running, you will be able to find out more about it and experience it here on We Blog The World!