Airbnb – Branding Magic or Trickery?

Airbnb has risen like a disruption rocket to come after the hospitality industry with a vengeance.

By now, this is all well documented. Most people are familiar with the sea change that they have largely heralded.

However, from a Branding perspective, there are some interesting, often subtle, strategies that they have implemented. These tactics don’t get as much attention, but Laura Busche shares 7 Magical Branding Lessons from Airbnb in her Brandicians blog series.

In her view, Airbnb creates “magical brand experiences.”

Airbnb Key Success Factor

One aspect that I believe has been vital to Airbnb’s branding success is their authentic connection to deeper values.

Here again is Laura: “At its core, Airbnb offers accommodations, but so do a million other websites. The key to build a unique position in the marketplace, and differentiate their offer, has been their pronounced emphasis on deep-rooted values like multiculturalism, diversity, and the love of travel. These ideas are universal and appeal to human beings on a basic level regardless of who they are or where they live.”

The brand’s values break down barriers – whether they be physical (national borders & front doors) or psychological (fear of staying in someone’s home, for example).

Airbnb Fast Facts

They continue to break down barriers, such as being considered worthy competition to Hospitality Industry titans like Marriott, Hilton and Intercontinental. They’ve done this by amassing a market capitalization and number of listings that surpasses all their competitors. Further, their meteoric growth rate continues, with their launch of a Chinese brand, Aibiying, and with the Indian market being largely untapped.

Lastly, they’ve embraced a fun side, with “Night At” events – like the one in the video below that gives a lucky Lego fan a night in a Lego house. On top of that, Airbnb and Lego are helping the winners build their dream Lego creation – an experience that you can’t get anywhere, but Airbnb. And that is exactly what Airbnb wants to reinforce, this concept of unique experiences. In a world of cookie cutter blandness, hotels are fighting back by launching new concepts, as well as introducing technology to enhance and personalize the guest experience.