Airbnb is the world’s largest accommodation provider, and doesn’t own a single property. With over 200 million guests in over 65 thousand cities across 191 countries, Airbnb has revolutionised the hotel and service industry in only 9 short years.
And while it has changed the way the world travels, Airbnb is more than just a way to find and list a place to stay. Airbnb provides a unique kind of hospitality – a sense of belonging, comfort and community no matter how far away from home you may be. Their tagline ‘Belong Anywhere’ is about creating a better world where communities embrace equality and diversity.
MEET THE BÉLO
In 2014, Airbnb created the ‘bélo’ as a symbol for their community, and christened it the ‘universal symbol of belonging’. The symbol was created to illustrate the fact that the Airbnb community represents something much bigger than travel; it is about imagining a world where you can belong anywhere. The distinctive symbol was created to transcend language, culture and location; and it encompasses the acceptance and belonging that Airbnb aspires to create.
The ‘bélo’ represents the coming together of people, places and love; which is at the core of Airbnb’s success.
The bélo is just the starting point for Airbnb’s powerful branding efforts. In order to drive home their desire to create a sense of belonging, Airbnb has created numerous influential, creative and authentic marketing campaigns that reiterate their focus:
- people, places and love.
The #OneLessStranger campaign was launched on Airbnb’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to over 3 million followers with a video from the founder and CEO Brian Chesky.
The social experiment aims to create a world where all 7 billion people can ‘Belong Anywhere’, one less stranger at a time. Airbnb set aside 1 million dollars, and invited members of the Airbnb community to spend $10 to carry out a random act of kindness. The campaign was a roaring success, with people from all around the world paying it forward in simple ways. From buying coffee for a stranger to baking homemade croissants for fellow passengers on the subway.
In a time where new technologies have made it easier to keep each other at a distance, Airbnb made use of a simple hashtag to bring people together.
Don’t go there. Live there.
Airbnb wants to change the way people experience the world around them, and aims to tackle the tension that so many people feel when they travel. People choose Airbnb because they are tired of being tourists stuck in long queues, fighting their way through crowds only to recreate the same cliché photo thousands of people have already taken. People choose Airbnb because they have a desire to build a deeper connection to the community, and they want to genuinely feel like they belong.
Airbnb’s strategy is to inspire people to have an authentic holiday experience, by offering an alternative to mass-produced tourism. The ‘live there’ campaign was born out of the need to address the growing dissatisfaction people found in standardised tourist offerings. The tagline of the campaign ‘Don’t go there, live there’ reiterates the fact that Airbnb hosts offer more than just generic hospitality – they welcome travellers from around the world into their communities.
Source: Own Photos
Perhaps the most important value for Airbnb is love. Airbnb believes in the ‘simple idea that no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, you deserve to belong’. Love and acceptance are at the core of all that Airbnb does, and it is no surprise that they strive to encompass this in their marketing campaigns.
Perhaps the most noteworthy campaign is when Airbnb spent $5 million on their airtime during the 2017 Super Bowl to spread their belief of love and acceptance, with their #WeAccept Campaign. The advert marked a further commitment by Airbnb to provide short-term housing for 100 000 displaced people all around the world as well as a contribution of $4 million to the International Refugee Assistance Project.
Airbnb has created a powerful movement to try and make the world a better place, and to build a global community where everybody can truly belong anywhere.