It’s the small things that excite me about travelling. The collywobbles that strike my stomach as the plane begins to lift off the ground. The wave of foreign accents that bombard me as I walk through the airport of my final destination. The warmest of welcomes as I arrive at my Airbnb apartment, feeling right at home consumed with comfort, despite being thousands of kilometres away from my most familiar surroundings.

Airbnb is the latest contemporary travelling trend, seeing tourists veer away from staying in the standard 14sqm hotel room; leaving behind the ‘out of the suitcase’ lifestyle. Travelers have shown a preference for the enticing and spacious rooms of a foreigner’s homely apartment (seems a bit like a juxtaposition doesn’t it).

Airbnb has been considered to be one of the biggest disrupters in the hospitality industry and has done so by using digital technology to project home-renting into a mainstream activity. But how does it use technology to do this? Well, a privately owned accommodation rental website allows hosts to rent out their rooms/properties to lodgers who use the website to find a place to stay.

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Looking Back

In 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia ‘rented out’ three blowup mattresses on their living room floor in San Francisco to travelers who were incapable of finding alternative accommodation. The roommates provided the guests with homemade breakfast.

The Airbedandbreakfast.com website was launched in 2008 once member, Nathan Blecharczyk, joined in on the idea. The website URL was changed shortly after to Airbnb.com as we know it.

In 2011, an Airbnb office opened in Hamburg, Germany marking the beginning of its overseas expansion.

Over a period of five years, Airbnb grew from merely an idea to a full-blown international organization that has taken the world by storm. If this hasn’t impressed you enough, the website has 60 million users and 2 million apartments/rooms available to rent in 57000 cities definitely should. Quite a mouthful of figures, I know.

Airbnb’s latest campaign sends a message that ‘anyone can belong anywhere.’ Unfortunately, South Africa came a little late to the party and haven’t quite been exposed to the marketing magic of Airbnb. The brains behind these advertisements take on a more modern approach to enthrall their customers.

Here’s how they do it:

  • Celebrity endorsement has been Airbnb’s most recent advertising style. Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Beyoncé are just a few of many to flaunt their Airbnb holiday mansions on social media accounts including Instagram and Snapchat. However, no praise comes unpriced so these trendy celebs have been staying in the beautiful destinations free of charge, courtesy of the company.
  • If you haven’t taken a look at the Airbnb videos- checking them out will be worth your while. These videos were probably used as TV advertisements in America but are easily accessible on YouTube. The captivating music in the background composed with the visuals of families and friends creating beautiful memories together are bound to warm your heart and create a definite longing for a holiday.   Click here to view the Airbnb video
  • Another unusual way in which Airbnb has incorporated their ‘belong anywhere’ approach is by creating a sense of community on the Airbnb website. Airbnb has invited its users to create a symbol representing the story of their stay. The symbol is named the Belo and hopes to bubble up feelings of belonging amongst users whenever or wherever they might see it.

 

Whether you’re fresh out of school looking for rooms to stay while you whizz around the world on your summer vacay. Or forty-nine in need of a magnificent manor to host your closest family and friends for a month-long break in a beautiful new destination. Airbnb has something for everyone. How about giving Airbnb a try this December? However, whichever destination you choose; don’t go there- live there.

 

 

 

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