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Wander is pioneering the ‘hotelification’ of luxury vacation rentals combines the comfort of a private vacation home with the unwavering quality of a luxury hotel

By Jon Stojan

Wander’s consistent five-star vacation home experience appeals to celebrities and everyday travelers alike (Image: Provided)

The ongoing debate between the allure of luxury hotels and the charm of full-home vacation rentals persists, underscoring the richness of choices available for travelers in today’s market. Nearly two decades into the vacation rental industry’s remarkable global ascendancy, it is at the cusp of another revolution. Driven by the demands of modern consumers, influencers, and celebrities, all of whom have come to expect the privacy and uniqueness of vacation rentals with the quality, service, and amenities traditionally associated with five-star resorts, vacation rentals are becoming a lot more like hotels. This convergence signifies a paradigm shift in the industry and an evolution in travel preferences. Both high-profile and everyday travelers are no longer choosing between the novelty of a rental and the refinement of a hotel; they are demanding the best aspects of both, elevated by cutting-edge technology and custom experiences.

Wander is distinguishing itself as the first end-to-end travel platform has pioneered the “hotelification of vacation rentals” over the last three years – combining the comfort of a private vacation home with the unwavering quality of a luxury hotel. With an industry-leading 93%+ guest satisfaction rate, Wander is distinguishing itself as the first end-to-end travel platform for trips, experiences, and concierge service while delivering an unprecedented level of consistency and quality across their growing portfolio of homes. With its innovative model, Wander is crafting a new category in hospitality, transforming how people approach travel decisions and what they expect when they arrive. Every Wander you walk into has the same modern workstations with fast WiFi, super comfortable smart bed setups and 24/7 concierge service — and many have hotel-grade amenities like pools, spas, gyms and saunas.

Entrepreneur, investor and content creator Sahil Bloom, who has nearly 3 million followers across Instagram, LinkedIn and his newsletter said, “What I love most about Wander is that I can book their properties for any number of use cases – from a trip with my parents and family to a retreat with fellow entrepreneurs and content creators. And I know when I get there I’ll have all the hotel-grade amenities that every Wander has. From smart bed setups to beautiful workstations to 24/7 concierge I can text with and so much more.”

Created out of a genuine need

Like all great companies, Wander was created out of a genuine need that founder and CEO John Andrew Entwistle encountered in his life but noticed there wasn’t a clear and consistent solution for. A young entrepreneur already well-seasoned and experienced, John Andrew had the exact skill set needed to look at his large, antiquated industry and create a truly unique solution that could disrupt it.

A man holds a camera against a wild backdrop
John Andrew Entwistle (Image: Provided)

Growing up in New York, John Andrew’s entrepreneurial journey began at 13 when he launched his first tech company. He later co-founded, an enterprise platform providing open source tools for software development environments. As CEO, John Andrew helped Coder raise over $47 million by the age of 23 from top VC firms like Redpoint, GGV Capital, Founders Fund, and Bessemer. John Andrew became a Thiel Fellow and earned 30 under 30 honors from Forbes during this time. Today, major companies like Netflix, Dropbox, Goldman Sachs, Mercedes, and more use Coder for development.

Inspired to bring hotel-like consistency to vacation rentals 

In 2021, at 23, John Andrew stepped down as CEO and rented a cabin in Colorado to reflect on his future. However, his stay was marred by basic issues like shoddy linens and towels and spotty wifi, highlighting the inconsistency of vacation rentals compared to their advertised grandeur and cost. This experience, alongside research revealing similar issues faced by many travelers on popular rental platforms, inspired him to pursue a solution for bringing hotel-like consistency to vacation rentals where every home would be amenitised to the fullest. The more he dug into the systemic issues in travel, John Andrew discovered that many travelers, unfortunately, were encountering similar problems when using well-known vacation rental platforms. The silver lining of John Andrew’s failed retreat was that he left inspired to figure out how to bring hotel-like consistency to vacation rentals. 

With the technical skills, entrepreneurial know-how, and trusted network to hit the ground running, John Andrew founded Wander in May 2021. In about 2.5 years, Wander has grown exponentially, recently passing 50+ locations and raising over $40+ million from top-tier investors like Redpoint Ventures and QED Investors. Wander has also raised money from celebrities like Kevin Durant and Jake Paul who are intricately familiar with the unique demand for custom, luxury, and private vacation experiences.

Wander's office HQ in a desert setting
Wander HQ (Image: Provided)

Three foundational pillars

Wander has been able to disrupt the travel industry in such a short time — fostering unique brand loyalty across consumer demographics — due to the team’s groundbreaking approach to the ‘hotelification’ of vacation rentals through three foundational pillars: standardisation of quality, superior underlying operations, and an exceptional digital experience. 

  1. Standardisation of Quality: Wander ensures that every property in its portfolio, regardless of location, meets a stringent and unwavering quality standard. This commitment mirrors the consistent excellence found in luxury hotels, guaranteeing that guests enjoy Four Seasons-esque accommodations whether they’re in Malibu, Aspen or hidden gems like Bandon, Oregon. By curating properties based on quality and location, Wander removes the uncertainty that often accompanies vacation rentals. No more arriving at a home and being disappointed. This has led to a reversal in typical consumer behavior where travelers are booking vacations in cities where Wander has properties instead of deciding to visit a city and hoping Wander operates there.
  1. Superior Underlying Operations: Behind the scenes, Wander’s operational rigor ensures that luxury is built into the foundation. From advanced bedding systems to gourmet in-room amenities and rigorous cleaning protocols, Wander goes above and beyond to ensure every aspect of the stay is perfect. No detail is too small for the Wander team as they pride themselves on their operational excellence, setting a new standard for the industry. Some of this behind the scenes work may go unnoticed. However, it is precisely this level of seamless comfort — the hotelification of vacation rentals — Wander hopes to achieve with its underlying operations and other pillars. 
  1. Exceptional Digital Experience: The Wander app serves as a digital concierge, providing 24/7 access to services that enhance the travel experience, from booking massages to hiring private chefs. This personalised service, informed by detailed knowledge of the guest’s preferences and needs, ensures that each stay is tailored to the individual, whether they’re traveling with family, on a romantic getaway, or seeking a solitary retreat. 

Wander’s Chief Marketing Officer Kyle Tibbitts said, “We’re seeing this incredible shift in consumer behavior where they want the best of both worlds in hospitality. Our guests tell us they used to decide where they were going and then book whatever was available there. Now they open up the Wander app and decide which Wander to go to.”

Diverse portfolio

Wander’s diverse portfolio includes not just popular destinations like Malibu, Aspen, and Hawaii but also hidden gems across the United States, from Bandon, Oregon, to Cave Creek, Arizona. Harkening to the name, Wander encourages travelers to explore new locations, go beyond the four walls of their home-away-from-home and be open to off-the-beaten-path experiences. Travelers are encouraged to explore new destinations, knowing they can expect highly-curated options and the unparalleled quality and service that Wander is known for. No matter where you Wander, a five-star experience awaits.

Taken as a whole, Wander’s approach to disrupting the vacation rental industry and luxury travel is driving a new shift in consumer demand by revolutionising how people discover and enjoy vacations, or ‘Wanders.’ Wander stands at the forefront of this monumental shift, leading the “hotelification” of vacation rentals trend and innovating the hospitality vacation rental company niche. This commitment to consistent quality, operational excellence, and the digital user experience is a welcome change in an evergreen industry in need of a new approach. Leveraging the ideal combination of the best of world-class hotels and the best of rare vacation rental experiences, the Wander team is evolving and refining how society thinks about travel. 

Check out the Wander website and Instagram to discover your next Wander today.

A woman in a robe sits in a chair with a book in her hand drinking a coffee
Wander will help you discover your next travel adventure (Image: Provided)

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