Hotels vs. Airbnb: New 2023 Commercials Target Hotels and Amp Up Localisation

Uvika Wahi

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Hotels vs. Airbnb: New Commercials Target Hotels and Amp Up Localisation

In a burst of activity over the past two weeks, Airbnb has introduced a series of five commercials, each falling into two distinct categories. The first set introduces animated adverts that send a clear message: the superiority of Airbnb over conventional hotel options. These animations underscore the traveler-centric benefits of opting for Airbnb stays – the allure of personalized spaces and addressing loneliness with the opportunity to truly spend time together when on holiday.

The subsequent trio of commercials serves as an extension of Airbnb’s ongoing campaign that debuted at the tail end of May, featuring work by photographers the company commissioned to experience Airbnb firsthand and to document their experience. Through this set of commercials, Airbnb further intensifies its global expansion through localisation efforts, especially in Brazil, and a little help from a pony named He-Man.

Let’s inspect the rationale behind these campaigns, explore the songs used in the commercials, and take a closer look at the listings featured. 

Two-Fold Messaging: Airbnb Over Hotels and Reinforced Branding

Get an Airbnb Get a Place to Yourself 2023 Animated Commercial
Still from Airbnb’s 2023 Animated Commercial: Get an Airbnb, and get a place to yourself

The first salvo of Airbnb’s recent commercials introduces a duo of animated advertisements, created in collaboration with Buck Animation, a longtime partner responsible for previous Airbnb campaigns, including the Airbnb It commercials at the beginning of this year. Here’s how Airbnb describes the campaign:

When you’re going on a trip, why choose to be cramped in a hotel room, when you could get an Airbnb with a private pool, or a room for everyone? Made in collaboration with Buck Animation, these films show the many moments that booking an Airbnb makes more sense than booking a hotel.

These commercials are meticulously designed to drive two distinct points home.

1. Elevating Airbnb Above Hotels

In this two-part series, Airbnb firmly asserts itself as a superior option when compared to traditional hotels. The animations emphasize how the Airbnb experience transforms the mundane act of travel lodging into a personal journey. By highlighting personalized spaces and the liberating experience of being together with loved ones under one roof, Airbnb positions itself as a more enticing alternative to the isolated and confining ambiance often found in hotels.

These commercials transcend the transactional nature of accommodations, capturing the essence of Airbnb’s brand promise – a homely stay that seamlessly integrates into one’s travel adventure while nurturing bonds with family and friends.

2. Reinforcing Airbnb’s Brand Identity

This animated approach is more than just a strategic advertisement; it is a tactical maneuver to further embed the term “Airbnb” as synonymous with short-term rentals. Drawing upon the success of prior campaigns like “Airbnb It,” this continuation capitalizes on the familiarity audiences have with the brand. Airbnb bolsters its presence in the collective consciousness by playing on this familiarity, solidifying its status as the go-to platform for unique travel accommodations.

The brilliance of these commercials lies in their ability to convey both narratives concisely. With a blend of captivating animation and precise messaging, Airbnb underscores its advantages over hotels while harnessing its brand identity’s power to create a lasting impression.

Spotlighting Personalised Spaces: “Get an Airbnb, and get a place to yourself” commercial

In the first animated commercial, a group of friends embarks on a long-awaited vacation, seeking relaxation away from the buzz of everyday life. Their enthusiasm is dampened as they arrive at a hotel to find the pool area bustling with energetic, screaming children. Amid this chaos, the allure of a tranquil escape fades.

Accompanied by a voiceover, the commercial drives home its message: “If you are finally ready to take a trip without the kids, why stay at a hotel with more kids? Get an Airbnb and get a place to yourself.” This clever play on words strikes a chord with travelers seeking a serene haven, emphasizing the distinctive advantage of an Airbnb in providing the much-desired peace and privacy for adults’ retreats.

Text from the video description on Youtube: If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, why stay in a crowded hotel, when you could get an Airbnb with a private pool?

The Desire for Togetherness: “Get an Airbnb, and stay together for less” commercial

The second animated commercial unfolds with a cheerful reunion of four friends, each brimming with excitement as they gather with their travel bags in tow. The anticipation of a memorable trip together radiates from their smiles. However, as the scene progresses, a twist of disappointment emerges: they are shown separated in four different hotel rooms. The joyous camaraderie that ignited their journey is subdued by the isolation of separate spaces.

The impactful voiceover punctuates the scene, delivering the message: “If you are taking a trip with your friends, why pay for four hotel rooms to stay apart from your friends? Get an Airbnb and stay together for less.” This choice of words resonates not only with the desire for togetherness but also addresses the growing concern for affordable travel options.

In light of Airbnb’s broader strategy, the phrase “stay together for less” acquires added significance. It underscores Airbnb’s commitment to fighting the perception of having become unaffordable. This message, in the context of social media critiques around extra fees, emphasizes Airbnb’s value proposition and counters such concerns, positioning the platform as an accessible and cost-effective choice for travelers seeking both togetherness and savings.

Text from the video description on Youtube: If you’re going on a trip with your friends, why split up into separate hotel rooms, when you could actually stay together?

Push for New Categories and Global Expansion

The subsequent trio of commercials extends Airbnb’s campaign trajectory initiated back in May. This series invites viewers into the world of Airbnb stays away from the mundane, employing the eyes of photographers who have ventured into these unique spaces alongside their loved ones. With a renewed focus on three categories – this time Farms, Amazing Pools, and National Parks – these commercials offer a compelling dive into immersive travel experiences and unique stays. Here’s how Airbnb describes the campaign:

Airbnb was born in 2008 when two Hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home, and has since grown to millions of Hosts who have welcomed over 800 million guest arrivals in almost every country across the globe. Every day, our Hosts offer one-of-a-kind stays and unique experiences that make it possible for guests to experience the world in a more unique, authentic, connected way.

What’s intriguing, however, is the geographical thread that weaves these narratives together.

The first two commercials, both set against the backdrop of Brazil, shine a spotlight on the country’s captivating landscapes and diverse offerings. The titles and descriptions of these videos, entirely in Portuguese, underscore Airbnb’s intentional targeting of the region. This makes all the sense when you factor in Airbnb’s vocal global expansion strategy.

While discussions surrounding Airbnb’s global reach often center on Europe and the Asia Pacific, recent insights have shown Latin America to be the platform’s fastest-growing territory. Amid the global travel resurgence, this region has demonstrated a remarkable surge of 22% YoY in bookings. Notably, Brazil has emerged as a pivotal growth engine, boasting a staggering 110% increase in bookings compared to pre-pandemic levels.

By prominently featuring Brazil in these commercials, Airbnb capitalizes on the momentum it has been cultivating in this pivotal market. This move serves as a testament to the company’s localization strategy, tapping into the Latin American region’s burgeoning travel appetite.

Tranquilo | Piscinas Incríveis (Tranquil I Amazing Pools)

Photographer: Paz Olivares Droguett

Paz and her friends wanted an absolutely peaceful weekend. The house in the middle of the forest in Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro, was the perfect place to disconnect from life as a mother, professional and student. It all started with a warm welcome, with a cake made and presented by the hostess. Afterwards, life revolved around the pool. It was there that they swam, relaxed, sunbathed and ate. Among wild animals and an inspiring landscape, the friends spent moments free from worry, laughing, talking nonsense or having deep conversations around the campfire. It was only two days. But it was enough to renew energies and friendships. The only concern now is knowing when they will be able to return.

What is the link to the Airbnb listing? 

Here’s the link to book the listing featured in the Airbnb commercial titled ‘Tranquilo’: 

What is the song on the 2023 Airbnb commercial titled Tranquilo | Piscinas Incríveis?

Airbnb’s commercial titled “Tranquilo | Piscinas Incríveis” is set to the melodious strains of “Tranquilo” by Thalma de Freitas.

The selection of “Tranquilo” by Thalma de Freitas for their commercial is a well-calculated move aimed at enhancing the emotional resonance of the advertisement:

1. Emotional Resonance: The song’s calming and peaceful melody resonates with the themes of relaxation, escape, and serenity that the commercial aims to convey. The gentle rhythm harmonizes with the visuals, creating an immersive experience that taps into viewers’ emotions.

2. Creating Ambiance: “Tranquilo” sets a specific ambiance that enriches the viewing experience. It transports viewers to a serene and idyllic setting, allowing them to imagine themselves in similar peaceful surroundings. This aligns perfectly with Airbnb’s emphasis on providing unique and immersive stays.

3. Cultural Connection: Thalma de Freitas, a Brazilian singer-songwriter, brings a cultural authenticity to the commercial. Given that the commercial’s focus is on Brazil, using a song by a Brazilian artist strengthens the connection between the visuals and the music, providing a more authentic and resonant experience.

4. Memorability: The distinctive melody and soulful performance by Thalma de Freitas contribute to the commercial’s memorability. The song lingers in viewers’ minds even after the commercial ends, associating the positive emotions they felt with Airbnb’s brand.

5. Subtle Messaging: The tranquil and calming nature of the song subliminally reinforces the message of Airbnb as a provider of peaceful getaways. It speaks to the desire for relaxation and personal retreats, aligning with Airbnb’s positioning.

Você e Eu, Eu e Você | Fazendas (You and me, me and you I Farms)

Photographer: Luisa Dörr

Paulo decided to take his stepdaughter, Valentina, and her best friend, Olivia, to spend a few days away from the city. Luisa went along and recorded everything. It was only after arriving at the farm surrounded by nature in the Catarinense mountains that the friends were out of their routine. They fed animals, collected eggs and gained an unusual traveling companion: the pony He-Man, who followed the girls everywhere, just like a dog. At the picnic, on the walk through the forest and even around the campfire, the new friends were always together. They and He-Man, He-Man and them. Favorite moment? Coming back tired and realizing that the simplest things become unforgettable memories when shared with best friends.

What is the link to the Airbnb listing?

The listing featured in the Airbnb commercial titled ‘Você e Eu, Eu e Você’ can be found here:

What is the song on the 2023 Airbnb commercial titled Você e Eu, Eu e Você | Fazendas?

Central to Airbnb’s commercial titled “Você e Eu, Eu e Você | Fazendas is the timeless track “Você e Eu, Eu e Você” by Tim Maia.

In the context of the commercial, which highlights the enchanting allure of farm getaways, “Você e Eu, Eu e Você” becomes a sonic bridge that connects the visuals with sentiments and transports viewers to idyllic pastures and bucolic retreats.

Why might Airbnb have chosen this specific song? 

1. Cultural Reverence: Tim Maia is a legendary figure in Brazilian music, and his songs hold a special place in the hearts of many. Using “Você e Eu, Eu e Você” pays homage to Brazilian culture and adds an authentic layer to the commercial’s narrative.

2. Emotional Resonance: The song’s themes of companionship and unity align perfectly with the concept of farm stays, where bonding with loved ones takes center stage. The emotional depth of the song enhances the connection viewers feel with the commercial’s message.

3. Timelessness: “Você e Eu, Eu e Você” is a timeless track that transcends generations. Its universal appeal ensures that it resonates not only with older audiences but also with younger viewers who appreciate its enduring quality.

4. Nostalgia and Longevity: The song’s nostalgic quality weaves a thread of reminiscence, tapping into viewers’ memories and emotions. This emotional link deepens the impact of the commercial and leaves a lasting impression.

5. Brand Association: By associating Airbnb with this beloved song, the company reinforces its identity as a platform that curates unforgettable experiences, creating lasting memories for travelers.

Airbnb’s latest Brazilian commercial groove is undoubtedly striking a chord – and this time, it’s not because of eyebrow-raising lyrics. In an earlier outing, a song with not-so-savory lyrics found itself in an Airbnb commercial, catching the company off-guard as Brazilian viewers flooded the comments section with bemusement. This round, they’ve orchestrated a mellower arrangement, avoiding any surprises. No comment section lockdowns this time, just harmonious melodies and good vibes for everyone to enjoy.

American Woman | National Parks

Photographer: Annelise Phillips

Midway through their epic Great American Road Trip, Idaba and Erica decided to visit one of the country’s crowning jewels, Zion National Park. They stayed at Mindy’s A-frame, nestled just outside the park. The awe-inspiring surroundings of sandstone, slot canyons, and ancient rock formations helped the friends put things in perspective. This is just one of the millions of trips made possible by Airbnb categories.

What is the link to the Airbnb listing?

Here’s the link to book the listing featured in the Airbnb commercial titled ‘American Woman’:

What is the song on the 2023 Airbnb commercial titled American Woman | National Parks?

Airbnb’s commercial “American Woman | National Parks,” is where the iconic song “American Woman” by Lenny Kravitz takes center stage. The song’s inclusion isn’t coincidental; rather, it’s a deliberate choice that amplifies the commercial’s narrative.

“American Woman,” with its pulsating rock riffs and powerful lyrics, adds a layer of depth to the visuals, enhancing the storytelling experience. As the commercial unveils the enchanting landscapes of Zion National Park, the song’s lively tempo mirrors the awe-inspiring majesty of the scenery. The raw energy of the song complements the rugged beauty of the outdoors, fostering a sense of adventure and discovery.

The song’s title, “American Woman,” further intertwines with the commercial’s theme of embracing the wonders of the United States’ National Parks. This subtle yet impactful association enhances the connection between the song’s lyrics and the visual journey, creating a symbiotic relationship that resonates deeply with viewers.

Why might Airbnb have chosen “American Woman” for this specific commercial?

1. Sonic Adventure: The energetic rock vibes of “American Woman” mirror the adrenaline-fueled escapades of exploring National Parks. The song’s liveliness acts as an auditory parallel, intensifying the sense of adventure.

2. Resonant Lyrics: While the song’s lyrics delve into themes of empowerment and identity, their adaptability allows them to also evoke the grandeur of the American landscape. This dual resonance amplifies the song’s impact within the commercial’s context.

3. Memorable Fusion: The blend of Kravitz’s charismatic vocals with the striking visuals of Zion National Park creates a blend that transcends traditional advertising, leaving an indelible mark.

Fun fact: “American Woman” by Lenny Kravitz is, in fact, a cover of the original rendition by The Guess Who, a renowned Canadian band.

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