Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian

Currently valued at more than $30 billion, AirBnB started out as a small startup with big dreams. The San Francisco-based, community-led marketplace is considered an easy and convenient way to “book unique homes and experience a city like a local.” AirBnB has successfully created a brand and website that appeals to both guests and hosts alike. As one of the highest valued private companies, it’s safe to say that AirBnB has hit the spot with its marketing.

Here are eight times when AirBnB got marketing right:

1. Community building. AirBnB’s ability to build a community by creating trust between its users has been a big part of the company’s success. AirBnB encourages detailed profiles, regular communication and strong reviews. As a result, there’s a high level of engagement from its users.

2. Lifestyle building. AirBnB is not just a brand, it’s become a lifestyle. It’s created a large number of loyal users who “don’t do hotels” because they’ve adapted the lifestyle that AirBnB offers. By doing this, AirBnB has created customers for life that will use their services over and over, as well as recommend them to other people.

3. Guidebooks. What started out solely as a residential experience has now evolved into an end-to-end travel experience. AirBnB now provides online guidebooks that are crowdsourced from hosts, who are invited to add their recommendations to the platform. This is a great example of user-generated content that has a personal and authentic touch.

4. App Design. AirBnB’s app is a marketers dream; it’s easy to use and provides a personalized experience for the user. It has everything from recommendations to recent searches to extensive content such as guidebooks. With easy access to the search function, messages and booked trips, the app is easy to navigate and use.

5. AirBnB experiences. You’ve booked a room in the city of your choice but you don’t know what to do when you get there. Well, AirBnB has come up with the marvelous idea of having people host experiences. Just like everything else on AirBnB, experiences are community led. People can advertise experiences from bike tours to cooking classes to a language exchange for a price.

6. Leveraging influencers. In 2015, AirBnB hosted a “floating house” publicity stunt on the Thames river in London, which included a variety of events, such as the #FloatingHouseParty. At these events, attendees were encouraged to share their experiences by posting pictures and live streaming on social media. AirBnB had instantaneous results, with 10,000 new users and more than 70,000 page hits.

7. Brand partnerships. AirBnB has been successful expanding its exposure with its partnership with corporations such as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the French government and UK bookstore chain Waterstones. For example, with KLM, AirBnB created a contest where winners were able to spend a free night in a luxury “airplane apartment.”

8. Focus on image quality. AirBnB understands the importance of high quality images, encouraging hosts to post good quality pictures of their accommodations. They even go so far as to offer hosts free professional photography!


Ronn Torossian is CEO of leading PR agency 5WPR.