Skift Take

Airbnb is on the cusp of becoming a mature hospitality brand and that's resulted from creating a culture that meets travelers where they are and where they want to be in their destination.

Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO of Airbnb, spoke today at the Skift Global Forum.

Mildenhall joined Airbnb in June 2014 and was tasked with making the company into the world’s first community-driven super-brand. He has more than 20 years experience working in creative ad agencies on high profile brands such as Audi, General Motors, Guinness and PlayStation. When Airbnb hired him, Mildenhall was vice president of global advertising strategy and creative at Coca Cola, where he oversaw the creation of Coke’s most awarded marketing platform in its history.

Jonathan’s talk “Building a Culturally Relevant Brand by Changing the Cultural Discussion” explored how Airbnb plans to take its brand beyond the homes of hosts around the world and into community spaces where travel actually happens. Here are 4 things we learned:

  • Launching a partnership with Virgin America to provide an end-to-end hospitality experience from San Francisco to Hawaii.
  • Didn’t want to bring vanity to his role as CMO of Airbnb.
  • Australia is Airbnb’s most established market but only 6% of outbound Australian travelers will try Airbnb.
  • Mildenhall believes traditional media is a huge way to drive credibility, saying German travelers trust Airbnb more if he can say that the brand was “seen on” TV.

Keep track of all the activity at this year’s Global Forum by bookmarking our #skiftforum tag.


And thanks to all the sponsors that made Skift Global Forum 2015 possible: Adobe, Amadeus, American Express, Boxever, Big Bus Tours, CendyneOne, Cheapoair, Criteo, Gogo, HelloGbye, Hornblower Cruises, MasterCard, Mindtree, National Geographic, NewsCred, Sabre, SiteMinder, Travel Channel, TurkeyHome, Uber, Underline, Virtuoso, and Yahoo.

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Tags: airbnb, sgf2015, skift global forum

Photo credit: Jonathan Mildenhall (left) speaking at Skift Global Forum with moderator Rafat Ali, Skift's founder and CEO, in Brooklyn, New York on October 14, 2015. Skift

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