Just like all revolutionary business ideas, the inception of Airbnb once sounded highly unlikely. The idea of people opening their home to strangers and hosting them was just too incredulous to be true. Though this idea has become widely accepted within the space of 12 years, enabling Airbnb to become a global giant.
The hospitality industry has been revamped by this entrepreneurial venture as most people you meet will have used Airbnb services at some point. The innovative idea picked up fast and many joined in quickly, giving out rooms in their home. Travellers also enjoy this affordable accommodation option that is a far cry from expensive hotel rooms. So, what is it about Airbnb success that has, according to Forbes, helped it become a $31 billion franchise? This blog looks into the story of Airbnb and what helped it gain enormous popularity.
Turning necessity into innovation
It was the autumn of 2007 when Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia found themselves in a problematic situation. They had a shortage of money and couldn’t afford to pay rent for their loft. In desperation, they put an air mattress in their living room and turned it to a bed and breakfast. This plan proved to be successful and they were easily able to pay their rent. Initially, the duo just wanted to earn some extra cash through this easy and effortless venture.
It was only later that they realised that they could turn this into a profitable enterprise. Soon after, Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky’s former roommate joined them and they named their business Air Bed & Breakfast. Thanks to the Airbnb business model and Airbnb marketing strategy, this brainwave would one day become the biggest global company
What sets Airbnb apart?
In an era where experiential travelling is big, it is no surprise that people are excited to share living space with strangers. Staying in a hotel comes with great services but it prevents you from being at the heart of a city. With Airbnb, you get to travel and live like a local rather than a tourist.
The online marketplace for home space offers a stay that is comfortable, safe and easy. You can easily list your home on Airbnb without paying any charges. Only after each booking is complete does the company take a small commission from the customer and the homeowner.
Airbnb also ensures that the host and the guest can communicate on a verified platform. The same safety is ensured in regards to collection or transfer of payment.
Business built on strategy
The idea of Airbnb was remarkable but it was the well though plan of action that gave it the necessary leverage. The brains behind the company ensured that they hit all the right targets to give their business the necessary traction. Here is how Airbnb promotion strategy worked:
- Partnering with the right people helped create the necessary buzz for the company and provided it with a lot of exposure. From KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to the French Government, Airbnb associated with all the right people.
- Quality content is imperative within the marketing world. As a business that thrives on tourism, the company made great use of visual content to enhance customer engagement.
- Airbnb influencer program took influencer marketing to a whole new level. It encouraged those who were affiliated with the hospitality industry and had lots of followers to promote Airbnb to earn some extra cash. It got the company a lot of publicity as they were splashed all over social media.
- Making use of PR was also another effective strategy that worked well for the brand. They cashed in on every opportunity that could help them get viral.
- Airbnb is currently more of a community than a business. It has a network of travellers and hosts who share their personal experience on the platform. There is a social connection with those associated with the brand and this has played a major role in the company’s popularity.
Why is Airbnb successful?
Airbnb has come a long way from when it was first launched. Even their original website was amateurish and has since been re-worked to give it a sleeker look. Yet, in essence, it was a series of excellent and well-timed business decisions that helped the business reach its current stardom. The Airbnb growth strategy helped it to evolve continuously making use of the right tactics and technology. Here are some useful tips that other business will find useful:
- A personalised website experience that is built on the purchasing behaviour of previous customers
- Their paid search heavily emphasises on keywords associated with ‘accommodation’
- They have made an image that sets them apart from others in hospitality. While you stay at hotels and guest rooms, Airbnb focuses on “Don’t go there. Live there” which promotes the company’s offer of a more personalized experience.
- Airbnb makes effective use of email campaign which are personalised to customers’ search behaviour. This helps drive more engagement and conversion.
- Most importantly, the brand does not shy away from taking risks and being experimental with brand strategy.
Business management requires a great deal of expertise and a highly dynamic thought process. If you are interested in what makes a business such as AirBnB such a success, you should consider the Diploma in Business Management offered by the Toronto School of Management. This course will teach you the latest strategies in the business world and provide you with the specialist knowledge needed to succeed in the field.