Airbnb has steadfastly stuck to its position that it is not a hotel chain, and in the most obvious sense, it's not. The company doesn't own buildings, doesn't set prices, and doesn't provide room keys. But in other, subtler ways, Airbnb is becoming the largest hotel chain in the world, and now it has a commercial to prove it.
The home-sharing company is rolling out a global ad campaign across the Web, mobile, in movie theaters, and on airlines throughout the next month showing off scenes from real Airbnb hosts' homes. According to Advertising Age, you'll see 60-second, 30-second, or 15-second clips across sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, but not on TV.
A TV buy would have widened Airbnb's prospective audience, but ads on social media and news sites will generate click-throughs to actual listings--and maybe even bookings for the busy summer travel season.
The campaign, called "Views," is Airbnb's first, and will appear in the U.S. and U.K., as well as Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. Marketing in China is particularly important to the company, Ad Age noted, because it has the largest population of potential tourists.
While Airbnb is a platform for its hosts' listings, the company has long since shed its tech startup image and has moved into full-fledged hospitality. The company has plans to launch a cleaning service for hosts this summer, and airport transportation and easy key hand-off are also reportedly in development. The cleaning service is currently being piloted in San Francisco, though Airbnb has handed off responsibility for that project to cleaning startups Homejoy and Handybook.
An ad campaign furthers Airbnb's goal of legitimacy by way of public opinion, particularly in cities like New York and San Francisco where hosts are facing fines and eviction and the company is fighting to change regulations.