As the title suggests in this article, we are going to discuss the marketing strategy of Airbnb. But why?
If a hospitality brand is among the world’s leading brands, and without even owning a single hotel, then it sure calls for a study on its marketing strategy.
Airbnb provides a platform that connects people who have vacant homes and apartments with the people who want to rent them. Airbnb is transforming the hospitality industry by making it easier for people to find rooms and accommodation when traveling for work or visiting tourist places for vacation.
As its tagline says “Airbnb for Everyone,” Airbnb is an inclusive hospitality brand. It not only offers rooms and home rentals but also offers local recommendations.
Airbnb has over 150 million worldwide users, with over 20 million overnight guests and 5.6 million global listings. Well, that’s huge!
When most businesses were facing a downfall in 2020, Airbnb ended the year with a record-breaking $100 billion IPO. They achieved this even when their bookings rates declined 85% in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Moreover, according to reports, there are 2.9 million hosts worldwide in 2021, with over 14,000 new hosts joining each month.
All we have discussed till now is its success. Let us dig deeper into the journey of Airbnb and its marketing strategy.
How did Airbnb journey its hosting
The idea of Airbnb hit its founder Brian Chesky and JoeGebbia, in 2008. After realizing that they could make money by renting out an air mattress in their living room to the people visiting San Francisco for a conference.
The co-founder, Joe Gebbia’s apartment, was the first Airbnb listing. Then after finding out that this is a profitable business, their idea evolved and took the shape of a website where they could let others do the same, be a host and rent out their rooms and apartments to earn extra bucks and where travelers could find a cheap option to stay.
They started with a website called AirBedandBreakfast.com and took the idea on a bigger scale by operating as an online marketplace for people looking for accommodations. Soon they included Natan Blecharczyk in the business and shortened the name AirBedandBreakfast to Airbnb.
The Marketing Strategy of Airbnb
Influencers are people who have a strong knowledge of a specific field and create content in that area and share it with the audience. They possess a strong following on social media by their niche audience.
Airbnb uses this strategy to influence the audience to increase their user base. Many times the influencers mention Airbnb whenever they use their service on social media. Airbnb endorses their stays in return for their social media mentions.
The brand’s first influencer marketing practice was back in 2015 when the famous American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey posted a photo of herself at an Airbnb-listed beachfront.
The best influencer marketing of Airbnb was at the time of National Dog Week in the USA. Airbnb collaborated with the adorable doggy influencer ‘Marnie the Dog’ to boost their awareness of pet-friendly listings.
Who says your pets can’t live like locals? Marnie The Dog enjoyed some much needed R&R at her Beverly Hills Airbnb, and that’s just one of our 600,000 pet friendly homes. http://abnb.co/6hg75G #AirbnbPetsPosted by Airbnb on Wednesday, 19 October 2016
This short video advert showcases how the Doggy influencer gets a VIP treatment at Airbnb listed Beverly Hills Mansion. The video is addictive and has a charm that makes everyone play it on repeat.
Airbnb chooses the right influencer to appeal to its target audience. Influencers are one reason for the success of the marketing strategy of Airbnb.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing plays a pivotal role in the success of Airbnb. The brand engages its audience and attracts more people to its platform with its wanderlust posts. With minimum efforts, they create a lot of engagement.
The best part about Airbnb’s social media strategy is that they post user-generated content. By posting UGC, they have to put less effort into creating posts.
The photos on its Facebook and Instagram page are clicks of the hosts of various listed hotels and apartments from Airbnb listings. It makes their social media pages authentic and gives a relatable feel to the audience.
Moreover, the brand posts in 3 to 4 days on Facebook, and on Instagram, it keeps up posting almost daily
The “Airbnb Help” account on the Twitter platform answers the queries from users regarding their stay.Airbnb manages its social media community well by responding within hours into the comments section of its posts.
We’re experiencing some unexpected issues with the website. Our developers are already working to fix the problem. Stay tuned for an update.— Airbnb Help (@AirbnbHelp) October 16, 2020
So that’s one reason it attracts a strong user base because they are know how to be social.
Airbnb utilizes the Youtube platform quite well to promote its services. The brand creates video marketing campaigns and posts them on their Youtube channel.
In its video marketing campaigns, the brand collaborates with some popular celebrities like Jaden Smith, Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Alice Cooper, and many more.
In 2017, Airbnb released a video titled “We Accept,” which was a great response to the accusations made on the Airbnb host of racial discrimination.
The brand handled the situation quite well by powerful video by spreading the message that they accept everyone from all cultural backgrounds and discriminate against none.
That’s how the brand retains its users and makes them believe the tagline “Airbnb for Everyone.”
PR Stunts or publicity stunts capture a lot of attention from the audience. It helps a brand to get an instant boost in terms of customers and brand exposure. The marketing strategy of Airbnb includes PR stunts.
Airbnb utilizes this strategy to grab the attention of its target customers. One of its PR stunts is an unforgettable one that was one of the most impactful PR stunts.
The campaign is titled “Night at the Floating House in London.” It was an experimental stunt where an Airbnb house was floating in the Thames in May 2015. It was a celebratory stunt in response to the Deregulation Act that confirmed Londoners could let their house out for rent for 90 days. It was the legalization o Airbnb, which had been a grey area.
In response to this stunt, over 73,500 people visited the Airbnb site including, 28,000 were new visitors.
A perfect example of a successful publicity stunt.
Content is a way the brand can tell its story most engagingly. Airbnb engages the audience with their content, and then eventually, it increases their user base.
On the Airbnb website, there is a lot of quality content that makes the users glued to the website once they visit it. The website consists of Stories, Neighborhoods, Guidebooks to offer a memorable experience on their site.
The Stories section includes the user’s travel stories how Airbnb impacted their travel.
The Neighborhoods is for those travelers who care about the location they’re going to stay, and it is a strategy of Airbnb to create a seamless journey for them.
The Guidebooks is just like a travel guide for users when they visit a new city and what is there in the city for the users.
Airbnb also runs a blogging website that includes content ranging from travel tips, tips for hosts and guides, and much more.
So The Content marketing strategy of Airbnb is strong, where it offers consumable content that attracts audiences to their service.
In the hospitality industry, referrals play a pivotal role. A user brainstorms a lot before choosing a service. But when someone refers by their experience, then it becomes credible.
Airbnb’s success is because of its referral marketing as it believes that its users tell the story better than they do, so they utilize this strategy.
It is more likely that a person will choose a service, when it comes as a reference from a friend. So, Airbnb runs referral programs since 2011 to build its user base. It is not the basic refer a friend kind of program, but the brand designs a referral program with a great look and feel that makes the users try them out.
Airbnb utilizes the Email marketing strategy to target the customers who log in to the website and check out the city they wish to visit and then do not proceed to check-out. The brand targets them with an email sequence to change their mind so that they get back at search and book their next stay.
They create tailor-made email heading, which the user searched for so that it captures their attention. Then the email includes recommendations along with the ratings of the listed hotels or apartments of the city the user searched for. So, that’s how they create a personalized email to target the user so that they complete their booking.
The marketing strategy of Airbnb is the reason for its success worldwide. The brand’s focus is on offering a great experience to its user. Moreover, the brand tries to understand what the customer wants and plans its marketing strategy accordingly. The ultimate reason for the success of the marketing strategy of Airbnb is that it is customer-centric.
The marketing strategy of Airbnb revolves around one sole purpose, and that is their customer and how to give the best of their service.
So if you are planning your marketing strategy, then make sure that it is customer-centric.