As the disruptive brand continues to grow and travelers continue to eschew big tourist crowds, Airbnb has launched a new app to pair guests with hosts and neighborhoods to “eradicate drive-by tourism.”
“The number one reason people chose to travel on Airbnb is they want to live like a local,” said CEO Brian Chesky, in a press release. “They don’t want to be tourists stuck in long lines, fighting with the crowds to see the same thing as everyone else.”
With more than 2 million listings in 191 countries worldwide, Airbnb is adding benefits to its model, leveraging its advantages over the hotel industry: cheaper prices and local experts.
Airbnb’s footprint covers 690 neighborhoods and 23 cities around the world. “Our hosts offer more than just generic hospitality—they welcome travelers from around the world into their communities,” notes the company. “Today is the start of an exciting journey to help people not just go somewhere, but truly live there.”
Airbnb’s now offers the following features:
- Bespoke matching serves up hosts, homes and neighborhoods based on a traveler’s preferences.
- Get to know neighborhoods showcases the spirit of a neighborhood through rich photography and content.
- Guidebooks are created by Airbnb hosts to showcase local tips on restaurants and bars, attractions and off-the-beaten-path suggestions.
The campaign features TV spots, as well as digital, out-of-home and print creative, the latter featuring Pinterest-style images of travelers in a Tokyo artist’s loft, a California poolside or a cozy Parisian apartment, each with tagline, “Live there. Even if it’s just for a night.”
Founded in 2008, Airbnb has so far disrupted an industry, created a new kind of customer service and engagement and a new market for everyday people to monetize their space and utilize their expertise.
“It’ll be interesting to see how Airbnb utilizes the data it has amassed from the more than 80 million people worldwide who have used the platform for their travel, and applies it in this updated app to effectively match guests with hosts and various experiences,” reports Skift.
Airbnb has also been trialing services that include allowing guests to book tours, activities or services when they book a room, an antidote to the stress that surfaced in a recent poll commissioned by the brand by YouGov of 2,307 U.S. adults.
“Respondents said they felt overwhelmed with the crowds at tourist attractions, equating it to be as stressful as going to the dentist (48 percent) or doing their taxes (52 percent). Only 26 percent of respondents said they felt their last vacation exceeded their expectations.”
As the app gets to know a user’s choices, it can deliver a castle rental or an urban treehouse cabin.
“The modern tourist industry kind of shepherds travelers through this exhausting conveyor belt of rather crowded experiences,” Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall told Adweek. “Trip Advisor’s rankings are driven by what tourists think of their experiences, not what locals think of their experiences.”
No longer just a home/vacation rental-sharing business, Airbnb has gone from clever start-up to everyday verb as locals explain: “I’m Airbnb-ing my place.”