Friday Cabins #56: A New STR Platform for Tech Lovers & Design Fans
Smart home rental properties near outdoor hotspots, complete with epic nature views (and a free Tesla)
Good afternoon and happy Friday, dear reader. We've reached the end of the week and you know what that means—a little cabin inspo for the ol' inbox. Each week we deliver fresh content to you packed with inspiring cabin and nature-focused news from around the globe, best paired with a cup of coffee and a snack (a Fika for all the Swedes out there).
Today we're examining the new(ish) rental startup, Wander. Based out of Austin, Texas, think of it like Airbnb's tech-obsessed younger sibling, on a mission to establish bougie, nature-surrounded smart homes across North America and beyond. Each rental home comes equipped with a host of modern high-tech amenities for WFH 3.0—the most notable? A Tesla. And 24/7 concierge, natch.
So read on, then enjoy your weekend!
Founded in 2021, Wander is one of many startups entering the crowded ring of emerging Short Term Rental (STR) platforms. Their signature move? Cutting-edge technology paired with impressive architecture in gorgeous natural surroundings.
The properties are curated with well-to-do digital nomads in mind, whose escape into nature skews more Ex Machina than Totoro. In short, the goal is to provide hotel-level service and luxury in the middle of popular outdoor destinations like Joshua Tree, Lake Tahoe, the Hudson Valley, Oregon Coast, and Vail.
Founded by entrepreneur John Andrew Entwistle, Wander updates, owns, and operates each property. Through Wander's Atlas initiative, guests can buy into the company's portfolio and become partial owners of the very homes they rent, with profits distributed to investors on a monthly basis and on the event of a sale. Through the business model, Entwistle hopes to provide accessible real estate investment opportunities to 'Wanderers' across the globe. Of course, the whole thing skews pretty far rich-guy, with “accessible” being very subjective, but nonetheless the overall concept is quite intriguing in the face of Airbnb, which really only seems to care about their own bottom line.
As of now, Wander hosts 14 properties on its platform, with plans to open a new property each month for the foreseeable future. Their most striking home may be Wander Orford Cliffs, perched 200 feet above the Pacific ocean on the Southern Oregon coast. Also notable is the newly opened Hudson Valley property set ~2 hours north of NYC with a design inspired by Pierre Koenig's iconic Stahl House in Los Angeles. On the other end of the spectrum is the company's largest property, Wander Surfside Beach, which launched in May 2022 and can house a ridiculous 22 people.
With a recent investment of $100 million from Credit Suisse, Wander plans to expand rapidly, with their first Canadian property set to open in 2023, and international Smart homes thereafter.
Wander's high-tech amenities are what set the platform apart, and through the Wander App, guests’ smartphones transform into remote controls for the whole house. Everything from temperature, lighting, on-site hot tubs and saunas can be adjusted with a few finger taps. Elsewhere, modern workstations host standing desks and partnerships with Herman Miller, Knoll, Design Within Reach, and NollaPelli provide luxury furniture, decor, and bedding.
While each home is surrounded by some of the country's most popular outdoor destinations (take Wander Tahoe Slopes, for instance), they're all situated just about two hours outside of major cities, so shopping, restaurants, and most likely an airport, aren't too far away.
In this day and age of saturated markets, niche-driven businesses are what's expected to succeed, and Wander certainly plays to a specific, affluent audience. While other STR's platforms like Plum Guide aim to provide a European luxury experience and Vrbo seems to focus on Boomer vacations. With many more out there competing for the everyday escape. Regardless, none are quite so driven by high-tech amenities. Will Wander topple Airbnb? That may not be the point. With nightly rates reaching well above $595, there’s plenty to be made from the highest earning end of the rental spectrum.
One thing that does seem for sure, none of these platforms care much about mitigating the negative effects of expensive STRs nationwide… but hey, where better to watch the apocalypse than from a comfy bed with a beautiful view?
Log off and go outside! Have a good weekend!