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Airbnb wants to pop the tourist bubble to bring economic benefits to local neighborhoods, and its new, locally crafted mini-guides take advantage of active users to put this promise into print.

Airbnb sent out a survey Tuesday morning asking its New York City hosts to fill in a survey listing their favorite places to hang out, grab a bite to eat, and get cultured. The free form responses fill in the statement, “Best Place to…” and will be used in Airbnb’s new global campaign Local List, which aims to highlight popular local businesses.

The campaign will collect nominations for 12 categories to create an artistic offline map guide to each neighborhood. The guide will be designed by local Brooklyn artist Joel Holland. The campaign leads up to a celebratory event on November 15 that combines the Airbnb community and the selected businesses.

Airbnb creates its version of a paper concierge offering the best places for a coffee or a concert.

“The goal is really to highlight the local economic impact to the businesses that are in the Airbnb community,” says Emily Joffrion from Airbnb.

The New York campaign is actually the third iteration of the project that taps into Airbnb’s huge community of local hosts and travelers that identify with the site and are excited to share their local favorites. This sentiment is especially strong in a city like New York as evidenced by the 700 users that completed the survey in the first day.

The program previously piloted in Berlin and San Francisco where it was called AirbnBests.

The flip side to popping the tourist bubble

Part of Airbnb’s positioning is that it offers much more than just a place to stay, and Local List is part of its efforts to provide travelers an unique way to truly connect with a local destination. Airbnb believes its campaign is part of a shifting tourism industry where tourists are pulled out of the “tourist bubble” and can contribute to the success of small local businesses.

The flip side of the live-like-a-local pitch is the impact that nightly rentals have on people who just want a place to live. Although the startup pitches itself as an insider’s resource, it’s economic model motivates some insiders to move elsewhere so they can rent their homes to outsiders. It also limits the options of long-term rentals available as property owners opt to offer shorter rentals with higher revenue potential.

Below is a copy of the limited-edition Berlin map guide that was illustrated by Berlin-based artist, Doro Petersen.

Download (PDF, 1.28MB)

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Tags: airbnb, crowd sourced, guides

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