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Airbnb felt the heat in 2019, pre-Covid, when it leaned into performance marketing on Google, and didn't get the results it hoped to achieve. In its first major campaign of 2021, Airbnb is mounting a global branding advertising blitz on YouTube (owned by Google) and television in five countries. The campaigned is geared toward expanding the ranks of hosts.

With regulatory headwinds in various parts of the globe, how can Airbnb grow? Well, beyond expanding into new businesses, adding to its roster of 4 million hosts might do.

In a livestream addressed to hosts Thursday, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced a global digital and TV campaign, called Made Possible by Hosts, that will run through the peak travel season.

Chesky said the digital ads “will run in most every country” on Google’s YouTube and other social media, and the TV spots will air  in the U.S., France, the UK, Canada and Australia starting February 22. The soundtrack to the ads includes “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, and “Sweet Child ‘O Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses.

Chesky characterized the advertising blitz as a “really big campaign,” adding that he expects 300 million people to view the videos, for example. [See three examples of the videos embedded below.]

“Airbnb the brand is mainstream, but hosting is not yet,” Chesky said. “The world doesn’t fully understand what you do, what you make possible. But we want to show them.”

Chesky said Airbnb has already made a handful videos, which feature guest photographers staying in Airbnb’s short-term rentals around the world, and they feature old songs sung by modern-day singers.

Airbnb has been trying to win favor among hosts in various ways since it alienated many last year by refunding guests during the beginning of the pandemic, which left many hosts scurrying to pay mortgages and to survive.

That could be one reason Chesky announced the campaign to hosts first.

He said they will be instrumental in 2021 in helping facilitate the shift from mass travel to meaningful travel, where who people travel with and what they do there will be more important than the destination.

Chesky didn’t reveal the costs of the advertising campaign.

The livestream had its sappy moments: An introductory video proclaimed: “We love hosts on Airbnb. (All 4,000,000 of them).” And, “Airbnb is made possible by you.”

Here are three examples of the videos:

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Tags: advertising, airbnb, short-term rentals

Photo credit: A scene from one of the advertisements Airbnb is launching to promote its hosts. Airbnb

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