Once upon a time, two guys needed to pay rent. So they rented air mattresses in their flat to the total strangers who participated in the huge design conference. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the Airbnb story, the same two guys funded this company by selling the special edition of cereal boxes Obama O’s (I’m serious).

Basically, on Airbnb, you could rent a room or bed in someone’s house.

And it became a massive hit in terms of travel and $$$, while no one was giving it a chance in the beginning. 

After a while, you could see the whole apartments, tree houses, and other strange things for a short term on this platform. Indeed the online platform was blooming, with more than 150 million users. But with time, it looked like Airbnb loses its focus from what inspired its beginnings in the first place. What’s worse, it started to convert into (yet) another booking platform which listings you can find on every OTAs (online travel agencies).

Then pandemic hit. 

The downtime gave the Airbnb founders time to think about where the company is heading. Now, it seems like it’s coming back to its roots: focusing on hosts who provide magical experiences.

They recently have launched a tv ad campaign inspired by their hosts & travel community: “Made possible by hosts.”

See one here, here, and here.

While they invested lots of money in it, there are 3 key takeaways from this marketing campaign you, as a hotelier, can induce your own marketing with. Without spending $24.9 million on it:

  • User-generated content – Airbnb’s ads consist of amateur photos made by the guests.
  • Storytelling – photos used in the campaign tell a visual story from the trip travelers have taken and their stay in one of Airbnb’s listings.
  • Nostalgia – this is a big thing in 2021 marketing. Emotional music with photos brings back memories from the old, good times (whenever it was before the pandemic). 

Airbnb’s tv ads are simple yet emotional and take us back to the core values of these platforms: meaningful travels made possible by hosts.


Posted by Ewa Gabara

Posted by Ewa Gabara

Founder of Don’t Mess With The Receptionist. I geek out on hostels and I’m a long-time receptionist turned into a copywriter. I help the hospitality and travel brands conquer the world with words.

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