While Airbnb is already well-known by those in the hotel industry, and may at some point soon be a threat to the tours sector, the accommodation sharing site has now set its sights on the advertising industry.

According to a recent announcement at the Cannes Lions Festival, Airbnb is appealing to museums, stadiums, tourism boards and other travel companies to work with the service to create branded experiences (one recent example was a Van Gogh-themed room at Chicago’s Art Institute).

Is the announcement a simple PR stunt? Or a sign of the company’s growing ambitions beyond the travel sector? Read on for more analysis and the rest of this week’s top stories.

Airbnb Pitches Ad Agencies on Branded Partnerships
There’s plenty of hand-wringing about Airbnb’s the potential impact on the hotel industry. But what about its potential impact on the advertising world? Company CEO Brian Chesky was at the Cannes Lions Festival this week to pitch agencies on opportunities to build branded marketing programs with the company, citing previous partnerships with Chicago’s Art Institute and Boston’s Fenway Park as two examples. Read more

Is Ryanair Transforming Itself from an Airline to a Tech Platform?
Just last week, Skift reported on Ryanair Rooms, the company’s new move into the hotel booking space. The move has some industry analysts speculating that Ryanair has bigger plans to position itself less like an airline and more like an online travel agency in the future, offering travelers a variety of services ranging from hotels to events to ancilary travel services. Read more

Marriott Rethinks the Hotel Loyalty Experience
As Skift underlined in its recent report on the topic, hotel loyalty programs are in the midst of a dramatic shift. No hotel brand is more aware of the evolving state of hotel loyalty than Marriott. Thom Kozik, vice president of loyalty for the company, outlined his firm’s changing loyalty philosophy in a recent speech, emphasizing the importance of factors like understanding cultural differences, creating seamless digital experiences and thinking more broadly about how and where customers spend at hotel properties. Read more

Michigan Tourism Makes Appeal to Chinese Travelers
A growing range of flights connecting travelers in China to North American hubs in Chicago and Detroit is encouraging Midwestern tourism boards to boost efforts to reach Chinese travelers. A recent press trip for Chinese journalists organized by the West Michigan Tourist Association and Travel Michigan is one such example. The state tourism board is also ramping up efforts to produce Chinese-language video content. Read more

Virgin Uses Gamification for New Loyalty Experience
Travel and media conglomerate Virgin is launching new loyalty app called “Red” for its British subsidiaries in an effort to consolidate its loyalty experience across 20+ brands. One of the key features of the new app is a heavy focus on enabling new ways for customers to earn points, offering a variety of daily games and quizzes that allow customers boost their loyalty status. Read more

 

Photo Credit: Airbnb is hoping to create more branded experiences for advertisers. The company's recent partnership with Chicago's Art Institute on a "Van Gogh" room is one such example. Airbnb