Seemingly overnight, Airbnb has taken the travel industry by storm and become the world’s leading hotel group. While impressive, we are certain this boom in their popularity and their expansion is no mistake. Airbnb has been clever and creative with their marketing strategy, putting them miles ahead of their competition. It’s likely that many factors over the years have helped Airbnb achieve their current status as a travel industry leader. Here is how their marketing strategy has worked for them and therefore can work for others too.
Brand partnerships are a great way to generate business buzz and get great exposure. Airbnb has participated in some very successful partnerships. Such as with the large UK bookstore chain Waterstones, Royal Dutch Airlines, and even the French government. With these partnerships, Airbnb has been able to create fun giveaways and unique contests. Giving each partner brand crossover leads and a serious exposure boost.
Social Media & Influencers
Today, any business who wants to compete must market themselves on social media, and to take that a step further – the real successful ones also include influencers in their product launches. Influencers are prominent people within their field who have a large following of fans who take their advice or product suggestion. Journalists, bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters and social media stars can all be considered influencers – and inviting them to engage with a product launch or a new business announcement can take the buzz about your business from non-existent to trending within hours.
It has mastered the use of social media and influencers. Whether it’s launching an event such as the Airbnb Floating House party of 2015 or picking up the tab for celebrities and social media stars in exchange for a little social media love, it has gained an excess of exposure and regular users through incorporating influencers. Airbnb has figured out how to capitalize on the mass social media followings of other influencers to build their brand.
Another clever and successful marketing strategy employed by Airbnb is its use of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing draws visitors and leads to you rather than you pushing your brand or product out to potential leads. It may sound simple but creating successful inbound marketing campaigns are no easy feat, yet Airbnb has created numerous. For example, when Craigslist was the go-to forum to find short-term housing, it thought to lure qualified leads by reverse engineering a Craigslist form – making the two short-term rental sites compatible. Whenever a new user lists accommodations on Airbnb, they receive an option to automatically duplicate their post on Craigslist. While this prompted leads to Craigslist, it also created a ton of additional inbound links for the user and drove traffic they would have not previously received solely on Airbnb.
Airbnb truly understands that quality content is equal to maximum engagement. They are very selective about the images that they post, ensuring all of their images are high quality and aesthetically appealing. Hosts have access to free professional photography courtesy of Airbnb. This extra expense has really paid off for them. All of their Airbnb listings share a common professional appearance, resulting in higher demand and more bookings for their accommodations.