AIRBNB Case Study 2016

HIGHLY COMMENDED 2016

TRAVEL & TOURISM

Brand

AIRBNB

Lead Agency

STARCOM MEDIAVEST GROUP

NIGHT AT

The Challenge

At the beginning, Airbnb was 3 friends renting an air mattress in a flat in San Francisco.

It is now a $25bn company with 1 million hosts looking after 60million guests a year. This represents 2m listings in 34,000 cities in over 190 countries worldwide.

However, to take the business to the next level, Airbnb faced, and still does, two fundamental challenges:
– It has low awareness levels of the brand globally, especially outside the US
– It still needs to build trust and credibility, key category drivers, by social recommendation

The Strategy

With the Night At platform, Airbnb gave people access to previously exclusive spaces and places, taking the concept of bed and breakfast and giving it a makeover. Working with global celebrities, iconic locations and
premium partners we created incredible, fantasy-like properties that were visually stunning and that people would love to stay at, talk about and share images of. Each property was tailored to a specific market and audience.
Lucky guests could spend a “#NightAt” the place of their dreams. Ski & snowboard fanatics had goose bumps while staying in a cable car 9,000ft above the ground in the French Alps; and then they had the slopes for
themselves for a morning. Londoners and tourists alike could win a night in a floating house on the river Thames or if airplanes were your thing you could stay the night in a converted KLM plane with a cosy living room. In Korea it
was a magical trip hosted in Seoul by Asia’s biggest pop star – G-Dragon – for his biggest fans, staying at the legendary k-pop studio in which stars like GD trained for years, transformed into an Airbnb listing designed by GD
himself. In the US Conan O’Brien plugged Airbnb live on air and offered his TV studio space for a sleepover.

But as amazing as these locations where to stay these experiences we also created to drive conversation about Airbnb. Potential guests talked about the amazing destinations which Airbnb curated whilst existing users had a
reason to talk about their own Airbnb experiences. We captured those conversations and fuelled them with media, ensuring that millions of new people found out about the Airbnb experience.

The beauty of the idea is that we created a platform, coined Night At, for Airbnb which can easily be rolled out to any market to demonstrate the uniqueness of listings available and adding urgency with a competition element that supports social sharing and PR pickup.

The Implementation

Although each ‘#Night at’ was unique, we created and refined a globally consistent approach to activating these experiences. This allowed us to evolve and scale our approach across new markets.

We focused on delivering content to four core audience groups via paid social media, PR outreach and further down the line with ATL:
• Airbnb Fans: We knew that they would be the first to proudly talk about brand actions; we used them as ambassadors on Facebook and Twitter.
• Sharers: We identified groups and industries that were the most likely to share content on social platforms, and targeted them with paid ads on Facebook and Twitter.
• Influencers: Depending on the nature of the #NightAt competition, we worked with bloggers as well as 1st & 2nd tier celebrities who were relevant to each field to create credible, visually driven advertorials in their own digital
properties.
• Aficionados: Those were everyday people who were passionate about the nature of the #NightAt (e.g. Plane enthusiasts for #NightAT KLM Plane). These were targeted with social media ads if not exposed to influencers or
fans content already.

We super charged our targeting through 3rd party data from Acxiom and used Twitter and Facebook to pin-point very precisely a pre-disposed, socially connected audience. We used Airbnb social pages data to identify lookalikes in the broader data pool; we then over-laid interest data relevant to each #NightAt and finally ensured our audience were heavily active socially. This enabled us to build unique custom pools for each competition. For example for #NightAt Courchevel, we targeted winter sport addicts who are willing to travel to France.

We targeted our relatively modest budget to these core groups in order to generate disproportionate free organic reach and create far greater share of voice from our budget.

The execution on paid social was simple. Apart from showcasing the one of a kind listings via beautiful imagery or video, the majority of creative communicated urgency with the competition element to win a night at the listing. Social sharing was made simple and seamless to gain incremental reach.

The Result

To date our ‘#NightAt’ campaigns have earned over US$3MM in equivalent media value, 10x times more than our paid media budget, through a total of over 1,000 print and online articles across 33 countries for the EMEA
outreaches.

Of our 50MM paid impressions, 625,000 people spent time discovering Airbnb. Of those, 540,000 visited our exclusive content about our #NightAt properties and 90,000 either shared, commented, or positively interacted with
this content. 25,000 were engaged enough to write why they’d want to spend a #NightAt one of our locations, with 25 lucky winners seeing their dream of staying at these properties come true. Over time, channels which were
driving most engagement and shares at the lowest cost have been prioritised, pushing down the avg CPE from campaign to campaign.

Our campaign also had an impact beyond just driving conversation. Over 8,000 new people signed up as Airbnb guests and the #NightAt Floating House in London has created so much interest, it was one of the three highest
peak in bookings in the UK ever and the client’s largest PR stunt to date within region.

Through this campaign brands and designers are proactively approaching Airbnb to get involved and create the next ‘#NightAt’. An example of this is Barcelona FC who is currently in the works of setting up a permanent Night At
Camp Nou for football fanatics to stay in a corporate box/suite transformed into a living room with the most amazing view of the action. N.B. this is confidential!

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