Skift Take

Airbnb officials fell in love with the perceived artistry of their TV commercials, which don't have a targeted message. That could produce aftershocks later this year if rivals take advantage.

Series: Dennis' Online Travel Briefing

Dennis' Online Travel Briefing

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, Executive Editor and online travel rockstar Dennis Schaal will bring readers exclusive reporting and insight into the business of online travel and digital booking, and how this sector has an impact across the travel industry.

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Online Travel This Week Could Airbnb's until-now underwhelming global advertising campaign, including television spots in five markets, come back to haunt the company later this year? That might be especially true if for some reason rivals like and Expedia, which would lean more heavily on paid marketing through Google, come to outpace Airbnb's growth during a more robust travel recovery later in 2021. What's Wrong With Airbnb's Ads? Airbnb's series of TV commercials, called Made possible by Hosts, are purely an image campaign with no coherent or targeted message. They are too long, at more than a minute each in some airings, and there's no concise call to action. Or any call to action. For example, consider the spot, Forever Young: Made possible by Hosts, with the theme song sung by Firewoodisland. It features heartfelt scenes of guests embracing, kayaking, and otherwise enjoying host "Cynthia's" The River Lodge. During the spot a message appears, "Remember that weekend?," and viewers get reminded that these soul-quenching experiences are "Made possible by Hosts." The advertisements feel like host appreciation