Airbnb SNL commercial: Chanel & Chanel Interior Design

Thibault Masson

The March 2, 2024 “Airbnb Design Commercial” skit by Saturday Night Live humorously critiques both the design aesthetics commonly found in Airbnb rentals and the sometimes cumbersome or peculiar experiences provided by hosts. Dialogues such as “Why stay in a hotel when for basically the same amount of money you can stay in a place with worse sheets and a camera in the toilet.” and “Chanel and Channel interior designs for Airbnbs. Leave your vacations to the amateurs.” were particularly acid.

Airbnb SNL commercial design

The fake Airbnb designer commercial used terms such as “bland” and “generic”, which reminded us of a similar 2020 Financial Times article, The curse of the Airbnb aesthetic.

The SNL skit uses humor to highlight the disconnect between the marketed cozy, homey appeal of Airbnb rentals and the reality of impersonal, sometimes inconvenient experiences faced by guests. It underscores a lack of personal touch in design choices and the imposition of complicated rules or restrictions that can detract from the guest experience. These critiques suggest a desire for more thoughtful, guest-oriented approaches to Airbnb rental design and hosting practices.

Critiques Against Airbnb Design:

  1. Generic and Uninspiring Aesthetics: The skit mocks the bland, generic, and uninviting design choices often seen in Airbnb rentals, such as plain furniture and art that lacks personal appeal or significance.
  2. Cliché Art Pieces: Specific examples of art, like Albert Einstein with his tongue out and Bansky’s black and white child holding a red balloon, are cited as overused and uninspired choices that fail to create a unique or inviting atmosphere.
  3. Unsettling Personal Elements: The mention of a “single unsettling photo of the family that actually lives there” critiques the awkwardness of staying in a space that feels too personal and lived-in, disrupting the guest’s comfort.
Airbnb SNL commercial designers

Critiques Against Hosts:

  1. Complicated Access: The “impossibly complicated lock box” represents the often frustrating experience guests have simply trying to enter the Airbnb, highlighting a lack of consideration for user experience.
  2. Overly Detailed Instructions: A “12-page packet on how to take out the garbage” symbolizes the excessive and sometimes unnecessary rules and instructions provided by hosts, which can overwhelm guests.
  3. Restricted Areas and Items: The “foreboding closet labeled owner’s stuff, do not touch” points to the odd experience of sharing a space with off-limits areas, making it feel less welcoming and more like intruding on someone’s personal space.
  4. Ambiguous Decor with Hidden Cameras: Mentioning worse sheets and a camera in the toilet critiques the lack of privacy and comfort in some rentals, implying that some hosts prioritize surveillance over guest comfort.

Script for the SNL Airbnb commercial

Airbnb SNL commercial spoof

Here’s the complete script of the Airbnb commercial spoof by SNL:

Bland.
Generic.
Downright uninviting.

If these are the vibes you’re going for, then we’re your girls. Because we’re the nation’s number one interior designers for Airbnbs.

Airbnb SNL fake commercial

I’m Chanel. And I’m Chanel. And together, we can make your rentals pop with plain furniture and art for nobody. Art pieces like

  • Albert Einstein with his tongue out.
  • Black and white child holding red balloon.
  • And of course, a single unsettling photo of the family that actually lives here.

Why stay in a hotel when for basically the same amount of money you can stay in a place with worse sheets and a camera in the toilet. Hi!

But our designs aren’t just beautiful but also functional. That’s why we’ll make sure your listing has:

  • an impossibly complicated lock box,
  • 700 K cups,
  • 12-page packet on how to take out the garbage,
  • politically ambiguous artwork,
  • and of course a foreboding closet labeled owner’s stuff, do not touch.

Still not sold? Just listen to one of our satisfied customers. Before Chanel and Channel decorated my Airbnb, it was a little drab, but now there’s so writing on the wall.

Airbnb SNL ad design

You may know our work from cozy casita steps. And the Wonka in Glasgow. Still don’t believe us? Just listen to one of our satisfied customers.

What? Hi. You already did me. Oh.

So come enjoy our classic designs with the utmost privacy. Bye.

Chanel and Channel interior designs for Airbnbs. Leave your vacations to the amateurs.

Airbnb ad SNL

Echoes of the FT’s The curse of the Airbnb aesthetic

The 2024 Financial Times article, “The curse of the Airbnb aesthetic,” delves into the homogenization of interior design across Airbnb listings worldwide, critiquing how this trend towards a global, anonymous chic has made diverse cities like Budapest and Brooklyn appear strikingly similar in their presentation. This phenomenon, termed “airspace,” is characterized by a tasteful yet uniform blend of white walls, grey sofas, house plants, and mid-century-style furniture, often punctuated by self-consciously quirky touches intended to convey individuality but instead contributing to a profound sense of unoriginality and conformity.

Key critiques include:

  • Uniformity and Loss of Authenticity: The article laments the loss of authentic, unique interiors in favor of a generic, globally recognized style that prioritizes minimalism and metropolitan chic over local character and individuality.
  • Design for Digital Consumption: It argues that these interiors are designed more for consumption as images on a screen than for living in, aiming to seduce with an idea of generic global familiarity rather than genuine comfort or practicality.
  • Impact on Local Character and Craftsmanship: The trend is criticized for displacing smaller, more interesting buildings and local makers in favor of generic apartments constructed for short-term rentals, contributing to a cultural and aesthetic flattening.
  • Aspirational Banality: The article also critiques the paradoxical aspiration towards this banal uniformity, driven by digital platforms like Airbnb that have become style guides for interior design, encouraging a cycle of replication that prioritizes the average and easily reproducible over the unique or genuinely stylish.

The parallels between this article and the 2024 “Airbnb Design Commercial” video by Saturday Night Live are striking. Both critique the generic and impersonal design choices prevalent in Airbnb rentals, highlighting how these choices contribute to a sense of placelessness and lack of authenticity. The SNL skit humorously exaggerates these critiques, focusing on cliché art pieces and impractical host demands, while the article takes a more analytical approach, examining the broader cultural and economic implications of this trend. Together, they underscore a growing disillusionment with the homogenization of travel and living experiences, urging a reevaluation of what makes spaces genuinely inviting and unique.

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