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WELCOME TO THE GUILD

It’s not an Airbnb, and it’s not a boutique hotel—this travel startup wants to be both

The Guild Miami
Courtesy/The Guild
A studio at The Guild Miami
By Rosie Spinks
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

If you are finicky about your accommodation options when on the road, there has arguably never been a better time to be a traveler.

Between luxury home rentals complete with concierges, “micro hotels” inspired by hostels—and everything in between—traditional accommodation has never been less traditional. This is thanks in no small part to new entrants eager to tailor their offering to an ever-more discerning traveler.

The Guild is one such player, and it’s one that’s appealingly hard to classify. Co-founder Brian Carrico says it’s for “mindful explorers,” a lofty moniker that might be best translated to travelers who want something close to a traditional hotel room experience when they’re traveling for business and a more spacious three bedroom apartment when they’re on a long weekend with their family. The Guild wants to provide both—along with nice sheets, in-room premium coffee, and locally-informed touches along the way.

Launched about a year ago, The Guild has a presence in four US cities—Austin, Dallas, Miami, and Cincinatti—and is set to expand to Denver soon. It builds its properties in commercially-zoned, walkable urban areas, mostly in mixed-used apartment buildings that integrate retail, office, and residential. But it also operates as a fully licensed hotel, a boon for travelers who are growing increasingly worried about the knock-on effects of scrappy startups-turned-behemoths like Airbnb.

Courtesy/The Guild
The exterior of The Guild Austin

In that way, it wants to give you the in-the-thick-of-it feel of an Airbnb, complete with design-led touches of home, without sacrificing the service and quality control standards of a hotel. Prices are akin to a night in a standard hotel chain ($150 to $300 per night), and while longer stays are an option, most guests stay for two to three nights.

But instead of the room service and restaurants you’ll expect at the Marriott, The Guild makes use of their connected traveler. Upon request, they’ll stock your fridge with what you want (via Instacart, of course) before you arrive, and guests commonly use services like Uber Eats or Postmates to recreate the services of a traditional hotel. Check-in can be seamless and tech-enabled should the traveler choose. But there’s also a front desk integrated into the lobby of each building—as well as 24/7 access to an employee via text—just in case you need the human touch.

“We think that tech is a big part of making the experience more frictionless and connecting the traveler to the local environment where they’re staying, but we also think humans are still really important as well,” Caricco said. “You can’t just automate making a great recommendation or solving an issue for a guest.”

But in an accommodation landscape where the lines between are blurring by the day, where does The Guild fit? Travelers can book rooms through traditional booking sites like Expedia, or of course, directly via The Guild’s website. Caricco said it’s to be determined whether or not their rooms will be bookable via Airbnb in the future. This would make sense, given Airbnb’s rapacious appetite to feature hotels, traditional B&Bs, luxury properties, as well as traditional homeshares on its site.

But can The Guild be different enough to stand out in a landscape that provides so much choice? Caricco is confident it can, by providing something you can’t get anywhere else: “What you’re getting is the feeling that you’re staying in the corner suite of a boutique hotel—we’ve taken that and made it more accessible through tech.”

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