In Praise of Airbnb’s Marketing

I think Airbnb is doing great things with it’s marketing. It’s selling a new idea: Hospitality. It sells travel, it sells an experience that presents itself as something outside our current range of known options. Go home, everywhere.

It sells something that isn’t ubiquitous yet, isn’t common sense yet. And that makes a lot of sense to me. You can’t fight hotels by trying to be another hotel. You have to sell a different experience altogether.

I also find it interesting to study Airbnb’s blog. It’s influencing my thoughts about what to do with ReferralCandy’s blog in 2015 and beyond. Pay attention to the categories- Hospitality, Local Lens, Wanderlust, Stories, News, Events. There’s a lot of personality in that. Blogposts include things like “STUDYING ABROAD: why you should do it (and how to make it happen)“.

They also have a design blog ( and an engineering blog ( When you get as large as a company like Airbnb, the main thing that influences your longevity and survival is probably the quality of your hires. So having these blogs allows Airbnb to market itself to its potential hires.

Here’s a comment I left on HN when they first changed their logo:

I don’t find many people who share my view on this, but I think this is a good move and that they should hold their frame. I think the logo is simple and memorable, and it transcends language limitations. The genitalia jokes will persist for a while, but eventually it will probably just mean “Airbnb.”

I also like the Belong Anywhere idea. I think it’s a nice touch of branding, I think it helps them to self-select a certain kind of host and a certain kind of traveller, and that can make all the difference. I’m eager to see how they grow and develop as a cultural force in the world.

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