Airbnb shelved its huge $800 millions marketing budget when the pandemic hit. Now as a company not just recovered but thriving, it has brought all its marketing, advertising and creative in-house, and the team is now numbering in hundreds, according to Airbnb’s global head of marketing Hiroki Asai, in an interview with Digiday.

Airbnb ad campaign from late last year, focused on hosts.

From the Digiday story:

Is the in-house team still responsible for the creative? What about media? 

It’s all done in-house. All of our creative, all of our marketing, all of our design, it’s all done in-house. In total it’s a few hundred people. We work with an agency to buy the media. Strategy and execution is all done internally. Creative is done internally, production is done internally.

We’ve heard that some companies have been taking more of a hybrid approach to in-housing media recently, working on strategy in-house and an agency to execute. That seems to be the approach you’re taking.  

It makes a lot more sense. With something as specialized as media buying when it’s all about scale, [and] connections, it doesn’t make sense to build that. The strategic part of it, absolutely. The planning, absolutely. For us, on the creative side, everything is internal. That’s something I’m deeply passionate about. The best way to create great work is to create it in-house. [Over the last two years,] we have built out an advertising team on top of the creative team we do have. We’ve also deeply integrated it a lot more tightly. We have our advertising team working tightly with our marketing team working tightly with our design team, product team, the whole thing is much more integrated. By integrating deeply, that allows you to create some of the stuff we launched.

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Tags: advertising, airbnb