5 keys to Airbnb’s marketing success that you can learn from

5 keys to Airbnb’s marketing success that you can learn from


GlobalLinker Staff

GlobalLinker Staff

253 week ago — 6 min read

From having little traffic and bookings when founded in 2008, Airbnb has now grown into a global brand with about 150 million users and a valuation of $32 billion.

The success of Airbnb can be traced back to their clever marketing strategies that attracted travelers all over the world and disrupted traditional hotel businesses. 


Aside from the determination of the founders to build the startup, the success of Airbnb can be traced back to their clever marketing strategies that attracted travelers all over the world and disrupted traditional hotel businesses.  Here are some of the marketing strategies we can learn from the success of Airbnb:


1. Know your customers well
It starts with the basic. The success of Airbnb is because they managed to provide solutions to the pain points and aspirations of their target customers, and capitalized these solutions to create effective marketing campaigns.  In 2016, Airbnb had their “Live There” campaign where they shared a unique way of travelling and encouraged travelers to travel like a local.  They were able to highlight their unique selling point which is having an authentic travel experience by staying at a local home. This messaging captured the heart of many travelers globally which differentiated Airbnb from a typical hotel accommodation.

You can stand from the crowd when you harness your customers’ pain points and aspirations and leverage it to create a relevant marketing campaign that will attract customers.


Also read: Win them with your product, keep them with your service: 4 case studies


2.  Connect your campaign with the trending topics
When the news broke out about a man who was trapped overnight in a bookstore in London, Airbnb managed to turn what seemed to be a PR disaster for the bookstore company into a successful social media campaign.  Airbnb partnered with the bookshop to let 20 people spend the night in the bookshop which went viral over social media. Since Airbnb is about offering unique accommodation, they were able to maximize the trending news and align it to their service and create a relevant campaign out of it.

Thus, as a business, it’s important that you are always aware about the trending topics in your industry and also what’s trending in social media. Capitalize on the noise to promote your company, but make sure that the campaign is aligned to your mission as a business to avoid receiving backlash from the general public.

3.  Leverage other platforms to drive traffic to your website

Back when Airbnb didn’t have hundreds of thousands of listings on their platform, they started leveraging Craiglist, a US classified advertisement website, to drive traffic to their platform. They reached out to home owners who made listings in their area and invited them to try Airbnb.  The home owners eventually became the evangelists of the platform.

To drive more traffic to your website, you should know where you can find your customers. Examine on which platform they are most active so you can tweak your campaign effectively.

4.  Utilize your uniqueness

While the competitors of Airbnb are fighting on the title of the “leading” online booking platform, Airbnb mastered the power of differentiation and stayed away from the bandwagon. Instead, they remain true to their core mission to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere, providing healthy travel that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive, and sustainable. Airbnb’s marketing campaign always goes back to providing authentic travel experiences.

Instead of proving to your customers that you’re the original or the number one in the industry, learn to utilize your uniqueness and deliver this as your message.

Also read: How to build an evergreen brand


5. Tell a story

Don’t just sell your product; tell a story, but make sure the story is relatable to your customers. Content is still the king when it comes to marketing, and Airbnb has utilized this from the very beginning.  Although they offer a cheaper accommodation than a regular hotel accommodation, they didn’t position their brand that way. What they do is that they focused on their strength of promoting a place of belongingness and experience like a local. This was evident by their published content in their website and social media accounts, providing local tips and featuring local homes and people.

So dig deeper. Don’t just focus on your product.  You may be at the point where your product can already sell on its own, but just imagine its potential when you also connect your product to an empowering and relatable story.

These are just some of the many marketing strategies that we can learn from the success of Airbnb. Leverage on your resources and creativity so you can build a brand that your customers will authentically love.


Also read: 6 cost-effective marketing ideas for small businesses


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