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How to apply for the $10,000,000 Airbnb OMG! Fund (Airbnb Categories series)

airbnb OMG FUND

Airbnb Categories, the company’s new way to help its users discover new listings and destinations, is at the front and center of Airbnb’s summer 2022 marketing campaigns. Among Airbnb’s new 56 categories, the OMG! (Oh My God!) category gathers the quirkiest and craziest listings. With its $10 million OMG! Fund, the travel company will help finance the building of 100 individual remarkable properties. Each winner will receive a total of USD $100,000, made in three payments of approximately USD $33,333 upon the completion of three successive project milestones: The thematic design phase, design development phase, and construction documentation phase. Entrants can apply for the fund until July 22. To get started, you need to be able to describe, in English, what your idea is about. If it’s selected, you’ll have a chance to share your vision in more detail, with blueprints, plans, and video.

The OMG! Fund, a PR-friendly tool to promote Airbnb Categories

During its Summer 2022 update, Airbnb put an emphasis on Airbnb Categories, a drastic website and app redesign that impact the way listings are displayed on the company’s homepage and search result pages. To promote awareness and usage of this new feature, Airbnb has launched new commercials promoting categories such as Castles, OMG!, Amazing Pools, and Camping.

Airbnb is a PR machine. One of the biggest weapons that it has consistently used is promoting the quirkiest of its listings, from tree houses to UFOs, potato hotels to yellow submarines. Throughout the world, news outlets and blogs love publishing photos of such places, helping Airbnb build its brand at a lower cost.

The $10 million OMG! Fund uses this trick to promote Airbnb Categories. Here, Airbnb goes further, by not just promoting existing extraordinary places, but by actually helping get built. Applicants to the fund can share the details and their idea, and then, if selected and declared winners, get $100,000 each to make it happen.

Airbnb gives you $100,000 for the construction of your craziest idea (but you have to respect clear building project milestones)

Airbnb has established a fund dedicated to making the creative, unusual, and unique home-sharing space/listing ideas of aspiring Hosts on Airbnb a reality. The aim of this contest is to identify, through an application and judging process, 100 people who will each receive a grant of up to USD $100,000, subject to fulfilling all requirements set forth herein to receive the entirety of the prize.

The purpose of the prize is to enable each winner to carry out their plans of creating or renovating a unique space, with the intenon that upon completion, guests will have the opportunity to experience the space by booking it on Airbnb.

Payments of the prize will be made to winners in 3 phases of approximately USD $33,333 upon their individual completion of thematic, design, and construction milestones.

So, Airbnb will only pay $100,000 to people who actually complete the project. It means that entrants and winners will have to be pretty good at documenting and conducting every building phase. It makes sense but also means that people will some project management experience have a bigger chance to be selected and get the whole prize money.

How to apply for the OMG! category fund

To apply for the OMG! Fund, you need to fill in a form where you explain what your idea is about, before July 2022. Now, we have listed below the exact questions that Airbnb is asking to applicants. You will see that they go way beyond “Please enter your quirky idea here”. For instance, you may need to indicate whether you have obtained the necessary permits. You need to be pretty good at conveying ideas (in English only), as you have to describe your sources of inspiration, what makes the project stand out, and share about yourself.

Full name

Email

Country/Region of Residence

Are you at least 18 years old?

This contest requires that you are able to read, write and comprehend in the English language. Are you able to read, write and comprehend English?

What type of idea are you submitting?

  • Existing property that requires some renovation work
  • An idea in progress where the funding could be used to complete it
  • An idea that is only at the idea stage and the funding could be used to make it a reality

Does or will your idea consider the environment in some way (e.g., are you using recycled or repurposed materials to build it and/or do you plan to use sustainable decor or clean energy)?

What sort of rights and/or permissions have you obtained or do you have to carry out this idea?

If selected as a winner, how long will it take you to obtain all necessary materials and fully bring the idea to fruition?

Please describe the one-of-a-kind space you will create. For Example, a ‘Liveable giant donut in the desert.’ 40 character limit, including spaces (approximately 10 words).

Describe where it will be located, the inspiration behind it, and what’s special about it. For example: is it an unusual shape or style; is it a surprising place for an overnight stay; is it inspired by everyday objects, etc. 1,500 character limit, including spaces (approximately 400 words).

Tell us about yourself. Feel free to share more information about your design, construction or hosting background. 300 character limit, including spaces (approximately 60 words).

Airbnb OMG! Fund: Selection criteria (how to win)

The potential winners will be chosen based on the criteria set out below. There are weights for each criterion. For instance, 40 points of 100 go to how crazy the idea and 10 points to how environmentally friendly it is.

40%: Crazy. Unique. Extraordinary

Evaluation of this element includes but is not limited to, the location of the Space, creativity, and uniqueness of the design.

  • Is Entrant’s proposed Space something Airbnb has never seen before?
  • Is Entrant’s proposed Space a new/innovative spin on an existing space?
  • Is Entrant’s proposed Space taking something that isn’t traditionally livable and making it a place to stay?
  • Does Entrant’s proposed Space incorporate one-of-a-kind and unique design elements and characteristics?
  • Does Entrant’s proposed Space incorporate an unusual and/or surprising shape or style?
  • Is Entrant’s proposed Space inspired by everyday objects, animals, or places that are easily recognizable and interesting; and/or
  • Does Entrant’s proposed Space include an interior design that reflects the exterior design aesthetic (e.g., if the exterior resembles a potato, then the interior design includes walls that look like potato starch).

40%: Feasibility

Evaluation of this element includes, but is not limited to, whether the design is financially and/or logistically feasible, and whether the project is reasonably likely to be completed within the required timeframe and proposed budget.

  • Can the Entrant create the Space in 9 months or less?
  • Can the Entrant demonstrate they can legally obtain any permits and permissions necessary to create the Space?
  • Can the Entrant demonstrate they own or have the right to use the property where the Space is located?
  • Can the Entrant demonstrate they have permission to build on the property?
  • Can the Entrant demonstrate it has any intellectual property rights (i.e., copyrights, trademarks, patents, etc.) necessary to create the Space?
  • Is the Entrant’s proposed Space in a suitable location and will it be eligible for listing as a short-term rental?
  • Is the Entrant’s proposed location inherently safe for people to visit (e.g., not on the edge of a cliff)?
  • Does the Entrant have a proposed budget for the creation of the Space?

10%: Sustainability

Evaluation of this element includes, but is not limited to, the design’s incorporation of environmentally sustainable attributes and consideration of offsetting environmental concerns.

  • Will the Entrant’s design for the Space use sustainable material?
  • Does Entrant’s proposed Space incorporate environmentally conscious and sustainable elements (green roof, garden, etc.)?
  • Will the Entrant’s design for the Space use clean energy?

10% Immersive Experiences

Evaluation of this element includes the overall guest experience that is created through this design.

  • Will guest stays at the Entrant’s Space offer a unique experience?
  • Are there elements of the decor that make the Entrant’s Space feel immersive?

Airbnb OMG! Fund: the judgests

Iris Apfel
A leading figure in both fashion and interior design, Iris’ influential thinking has inspired designers for decades.

Kristie Wolfe
Kristie has created some of Airbnb’s craziest listings, including two treehouses, a fairytale-style home and, yes, a potato hotel.

Koichi Takada
An award-winning architect based in Sydney, Koichi designs emotive spaces inspired by the natural world.

Bruce Vaughn
As the VP of Experiential at Airbnb, Bruce oversees the creation of inventive and immersive guest experiences

Airbnb OMG! Fund rules: the fine print

Airbnb’s goal is to get more unique and loyal listings on its platform and have them open to guest bookings. This is why the contest rules specify that:

  • Winners will be limited to using the prize for the sole purposes of designing, remodeling, and/or constructing the space.
  • Upon its completion, they agree to make the space available on the Airbnb platform.
  • Winners agree not to list the space on any short-term rental market platform or service, other than the Airbnb platform, for a period of 12 months following the inial listing of the space on Airbnb.

For more information, you can go to:

airbnb.com/omgfund

airbnb.com/d/omgfund_apply

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Rental Scale-Up

Thibault is the founder of Rental Scale-Up. He owns vacation rentals in St. Barths and Bali. He also leads innovative projects for companies within the vacation rental industry. Feel free to reach out to Thibaut Masson on Linkedin.

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