Hello, Bélo: Airbnb Brings Its New Brand Identity Home


Surely, many Airbnb users tidy up their places for incoming guests, and now the controversial service is doing the same with the launch of a new brand identity and user experience. 

Launched in 2007, Airbnb has grown to accommodate millions of travelers in nearly 200 countries, capitalizing on the growth of the sharing economy. But Airbnb’s success hasn’t been without controversy, namely legal spats in cities that say the company avoids hotel taxes and violates housing agreements.  

All that aside, Airbnb is pushing forward into new markets with its refreshed brand and tagline, “Belong Anywhere.” In a livestreamed event, Airbnb detailed its new logo, a symbol it’s calling a “Bélo,” along with a redesigned website and mobile experience that “make it easier for users to find the information that they need while also making listings on its platform more appealing,” TechCrunch reports.[more]

On the site, users will now see a curated list of destinations and listings to spark their imagination, and more visual and clean listing pages will allow for an easier booking experience. To carry the homey, individual feeling throughout, Airbnb is encouraging others to create their own, personalized version of the Bélo symbol with their “Create Airbnb” toolkit that invites users to create and share their own logos and stories.

“For so long, people thought Airbnb was about renting houses. But really, we’re about home,” co-founder Brian Chesky wrote in a blog post. “You see, a house is just a space, but a home is where you belong. And what makes this global community so special is that for the very first time, you can belong anywhere.”

Well, maybe not anywhere. Airbnb continues to face legal friction in major cities around the world, New York being one of its biggest foes. In reaction to New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman continued offensive against the service, Airbnb has launched a campaign that shows New Yorkers supporting the service. It’s gone as far as launching a dedicated website to the campaign and even signed on to sponsor the New York City Marathon—a move that likely hasn’t gone over well with NYC’s hotel industry. 

Airbnb would like to “amend a 2010 state law that prohibits New York City residents from renting out their entire apartments for less than 29 days” and “figure out how to pay taxes,” according to The Verge. Airbnb would like to collect the taxes for its hosts in New York and then pay them in one lump sum. Whatever does end up happening in New York will likely affect how Airbnb is treated in other cities around the globe. 

And while the regulations sort themselves out, Airbnb continues to experiment with new ideas, VentureBeat notes, such as “a plan to turn homes into temporary restaurants in San Francisco” or “ways to allow its ‘hosts’ to market services to guests via the Airbnb app.”

For now, Airbnb will pretty itself up and hope that New York lawmakers like what they see. And that wags on social media have had a good chuckle and learn to embrace Bélo.

• Connect with Mark on Twitter: @markjmill


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