2023 Airbnb Commercials: Occasional hosts, airbnb it and get paid!

Thibault Masson

2023 airbnb commercials

Over a decade ago, Airbnb’s first hosts were early adopters eager to be the first to join the Airbnb network. These individuals were willing to take risks and try something new. In search of new sources of listings, Airbnb is taking steps to attract late adopters, who are more conservative and prefer familiar solutions. To do so, the company runs an advertising campaign called “Airbnb it”. The commercials, shown in late 2022 and early 2023, seek to make these people aware that they could become hosts, even if they had never thought of it before. As these occasional hosts need more reassurance, Airbnb also advertises its Aircover for Hosts guarantees and human-guided listing process Airbnb Setup. 

Airbnb is the only major OTA that seeks out occasional hosts. We’ll discuss how this kind of hosts isn’t as financially beneficial to a platform and how Airbnb was able to address this issue, leading to its new series of commercials playing in winter 2023. From private rooms to guest houses, the increase in supply is core to Airbnb’s 2023 strategy.

Reimagining What an Airbnb Can Be: The “Airbnb it” Campaign and its Goal of Turning New People into Occasional Hosts.

airbnb it 2023 advertisting

“Lots of people have spaces like these, they just don’t think of them as Airbnbs.”

Airbnb encourages more people to become occasional hosts with its “Airbnb it” commercials. This marketing campaign encourages potential hosts to see beyond their traditional conceptions of what “an airbnb” can be. The goal is to make them aware that spaces they already own (but do not occupy all the time) can also be listed on Airbnb. 

Here’s how Airbnb describes the campaign:

If you have a home you’re not always in, or an empty bedroom, or a camper you never use, or a guest house that you only sometimes use, then you have an Airbnb. Lots of people have spaces like these, they just don’t think of them as Airbnbs.

Why does Airbnb need to redefine what “an airbnb” can be? If you own a vacation home or have invested in a short-term rental somewhere, you automatically think that Airbnb is an interesting platform for getting bookings.

People who have booked professional or semi-professional properties open for bookings most of the year often say they’ve “stayed at an airbnb”. It may be difficult for them to conceptualize their personal space, such as their home, guest house, or private room, as “an airbnb”.

Late adoption: Showing that airbnbing one’s home is mainstream

Ten years ago, listing your place on Airbnb was for early adopters. These hosts were curious to try new things, meet new people, and make money. With this campaign, Airbnb wants to tap into a new source of hosts. It is harder to reach these late adopters as they might not have even thought that their place could be listed on Airbnb. 

Each commercial of “Airbnb it” campaign addresses a specific situation where owners may not have thought before that they could also list their space on the platform for a while and make money.

Primary homeowners: “Not Always at Home – Get Paid” – “Airbnb it” commercial

  • Text from the voice-over:

If you have a home, but you’re not always AT home, you have an Airbnb. Airbnb it and get paid while you’re away.

  • Text from the video description on Youtube:

Whether it’s a long weekend away, or a month-long work trip, when you’re not at home, you could have an Airbnb. Airbnb it when it works for you, and get paid while you’re away.

Private room owners (Empty Nest- Airbnb it commercial)

Since late 2022, Airbnb has been reactivating its actions to attract people who just want to rent out one bedroom at their place. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has even listed a private room at his San Francisco house

  • Text from the voice-over:

If you have a kid and that kid is headed off to college, then you just don’t have an empty nest, you have an airbnb. Airbnb it and get paid for that extra room. 

  • Text from the video description on Youtube:

If you have a guest house, but you don’t always have guests, then you could have an Airbnb.  Airbnb it and get paid when no one’s in town.

Guest House owners – “Airbnb it” commercial.

  • Text from the voice-over:

If you have a guest house, where your mother-in-law stays, but she only stays for the summer, then for the other three seasons, you have an airbnb. Airbnb it and get paid while she’s away

  • Text from the video description on Youtube:

If you have a guest house, but you don’t always have guests, then you could have an Airbnb.  Airbnb it and get paid when no one’s in town. 

Reassuring late adopters with Aircover for Hosts and Airbnb Setup

Some hosts who are thinking about starting today may be more risk-averse and less tech-savvy than new hosts from ten years ago. While early adopters are willing to take risks and learn by themselves, late adopters want to feel reassured and get guidance.

This is why Airbnb is including in its campaign two of its programs launched in 2022:

  • Aircover for Hosts, a series of guarantees and insurance products (e.g., $3,000,000 property damage guarantee)
  • Airbnb Setup, a process that matches a new host with a seasoned Superhosts, sends them only experienced guests and gives them access to a dedicated support team.

Who created the commercials for the 2023 “Airbnb it” campaigns?

Buck Animation has been working with Airbnb for a while. For instance, together with micro-set builder House Special, they were the company behind the animation for the Aircover guarantee. The video turned each letter of AIRCOVER into a specific property type, with the C as a treehouse and the O as a poolhouse. 

In 2021, Buck created a video about Airbnb’s founding story and a series of animated videos to promote Airbnb in India

Buck is active in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, and Amsterdam. Their clients include Microsoft, Meta, Ray-Ban, Nike, The New Yorker, and Netflix. 

Why are occasional hosts not attractive to Airbnb’s alternatives?

Airbnb is the only major OTA that seeks out occasional hosts

Here are the drawbacks of working with occasional hosts:

  • They take time and money to onboard. When a property manager lists a new property for the 50th time, they know the ropes. An occasional host will ask many questions to the platform’s customer service.
  • They do not generate a lot of revenue per listing: Occasional hosts get a few bookings per year, for which the platform gets a commission.
  • Unless the bookings are of a high monetary value, then the costs of onboarding and managing an occasional host often outweigh the commission revenues they generate.
  • Occasional hosts may also gather fewer reviews and inspire guests less trust. Some of these hosts may also not be suited to welcoming guests.

This is where Airbnb Setup steps in: Instead of getting costly Airbnb employees to help new hosts, the company is delegating the tasks to Superhosts (who get rewarded with a cash bonus).

Airbnb is taking tangible steps to make it easier for people to become hosts on its platform. Through the Airbnb Setup program, newly interested individuals have access to resources that can help them through the process and make it less intimidating. This includes connecting them with more experienced hosts, allowing them to welcome only experienced guests, and providing a team of dedicated support representatives who can answer any questions or concerns. By offering these features, Airbnb hopes to encourage more individuals to join its network and become occasional hosts.

Conclusion: Will 2023 Airbnb commercials lead to #Airbnbust?

Airbnb seeks to redefine what “an Airbnb” can be through its “Airbnb it” commercials. This clever marketing strategy encourages people to list their space on the platform, even if they had never considered it. Airbnb is the only major OTA that actively targets late adopters, and these efforts have successfully increased the supply of listings on the platform. With this campaign, Airbnb has allowed more individuals to join the network and become occasional hosts.

For existing hosts, the risk is that, in 2023, many more hosts will be chasing the same amount of bookings. Will the “Airbnb it” commercial trigger the #Airbnbust?

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