Airbnb has created new challenges for the hospitality industry. However, there is no denying that the company has changed the way many people travel.
The site allows users to rent properties out to other users and has changed the way people stay when in a new destination.
Airbnb has mastered the art of marketing to the consumer and building an avid community around their platform. Airbnb even partnered with Sweden recently to promote the entire country as a travel destination.
Partnerships are crucial to the way Airbnb does business. The platform is possible because Airbnb has built such a strong reputation among the travel community. They have done a great job at pleasing both hosts and guests.
Below are a few ways Airbnb is leading the way in destination marketing and a few important lessons you can learn from their methods.
1. Helpful Blog Content To Build Community
Airbnb has adopted many content marketing strategies. These help to attract users and bring new hosts and guests to their platform. Expertly crafted blog posts are central to any content marketing strategy.
For Airbnb, the blog content is mostly aimed at those who are hosts on the site. The blog helps to provide useful tips for running an Airbnb property successfully. Their blog content truly provides value to their hosts.
The blog posts themselves feature pictures and videos as well as data-driven information. They often provide actionable tips as well as deeper content with links to studies and research.
Their focus on building up and strengthening their hosts leads to guests having a great experience as well.
What You Can Do:
The sense of community Airbnb creates is a big part of what makes the platform a success. Creating a community is also a useful destination marketing strategy for a hotel, resort, or other tourism business.
A blog, along with social media, is excellent for building your community. It can allow you to provide helpful recommendations to your potential visitors and customers.
In addition to useful information, a well-written blog is also the perfect tool to build your brand. It can be a great tool to increase engagement by your community, however small or large they may be.
2. Curated Guidebooks With Authentic Recommendations
Airbnb also does an excellent job at promoting particular destinations while providing value to guests. The Airbnb Guidebook is filled with useful recommendations from hosts in each city.
The guidebook has picks of the very best attractions in a particular city or destination. Since these are user-generated, the recommendations carry an extra weight and feel more authentic.
Using the guidebook, you simply choose a city and can then view different sections such as "Food Scene," "Drinks & Nightlife," and "Arts & Culture." The guidebook picks are ordered and ranked by hosts. You can also see exactly where the spots are on the map of the city.
What You Can Do:
It's important to realize that recommendations from previous visitors will carry the most weight.
Attractions, restaurants, and events will have a lot more impact if they are given by other visitors, rather than by your organization.
Look for ways to collect authentic recommendations from visitors. This may be in the form of online reviews or some other method. Consider using authentic recommendations in your marketing channels.
3. Neighborhood Guides With Stunning Visuals
The Airbnb Neighborhoods section of Airbnb is where a user can narrow things down in a particular city. The neighborhoods section features stunning, professional photos in a blog-like feed. This can give a potential customer a really good look into a particular part of a city.
Users can even use filters to pick between "Trendy" or "Touristy" neighborhoods as well as many other options. There's also a map on each page that can help users see exactly where the neighborhood is in the city.
Finally at the bottom of the page, there are a few homes listed so that users can easily go further along in the sales funnel. After viewing a neighborhood page, they can easily choose a place to stay.
What You Can Do:
Keep the importance of strong visuals in mind. While Airbnb's neighborhood guide provides excellent value to guests, the visuals help to seal the deal.
Visuals such as images and videos have never been more important. Many people are visual learners. A photo or visual can create an immediate and visceral reaction in a consumer.
Make sure your marketing materials are packed with enchanting images and stunning visuals. This will set you apart from the crowd. It will also ensure your potential customers have an immediate reaction to your destination.
4. Destination Marketing Powered By Analytics
Airbnb recently unveiled a data-driven, print magazine. Airbnbmag exists to help customers find undiscovered travel destinations, read about inspiring stories and discover travel tips.
It's also interesting to note that they are using a print magazine to promote an online platform.
Airbnb has a lot of user data and information on trends at their disposal. This helps them to know exactly what to write about and which destinations to promote. They can pinpoint exactly what destinations people are searching for and want to read more about.
What You Can Do:
While few hotels or resorts have the kind of data that Airbnb has, there are still ways to identify customer trends and monitor data.
What area of your site are visitors spending the most time on? Is your website's guide to local beaches more popular than its page on local restaurants?
It's also important to know the demographics of your target customers. Know which people are most interested in your business and make sure that you use the knowledge to your advantage.
5. Storytelling With A Focus on People
The Community Stories section of Airbnb shares stories about hosts. This helps to build community and show potential hosts more about the platform. The stories are told through blog posts and through original video content.
Community Stories is a great feature which helps to foster community and gain new users through the power of storytelling.
People connect with stories and on learning about other people more than anything else. The personal nature and storytelling aspect of Airbnb is very important.
What You Can Do:
Find ways to strengthen your marketing strategy by focusing on people. Work to create a story surrounding your business and the experiences you can help people create.
Reviews are one part of storytelling and one way to market your business using personal stories. Make sure you're getting excellent reviews on sites such as Yelp, Facebook, and Google. If possible find a way to use reviews in your site and destination marketing strategy.
Also, in the case of the occasional bad review, you can minimize a lot of damage by taking the time to respond to these accordingly.
Destination marketing is all about putting your feet in the shoes of guests and to know what experiences your destination can provide them. It's also important to foster a sense of community around your business.
Airbnb has mastered the art of community and has done a great job in empowering hosts while also giving guests what they want and need.
Instead of focusing on "what" people will be doing in a destination, focus on "why" they are doing it. Know that your business can help them create the wonderful experiences, emotions, and memories they need.
Need help with your destination marketing strategy? Contact us today to find out what Clear Marketing can do for you.