New Airbnb Ads Ramp Up Hotel Feud, Embrace Families, Pets, and South Korean Travelers

Uvika Wahi

New Airbnb Ads Ramp Up Hotel Feud, Embrace Families, Pets, and South Korean Travelers

Fresh off the press are two sets of commercials that press on Airbnb’s audacious intent to once again position itself as a prime alternative to traditional hotels, with a particular focus on the forthcoming 2024 Olympics in Paris. Additionally, the company is casting its net wider to capture the Korean travel market, marking one notable shift from their previous locale-specific campaigns.

Let’s delve deeper into these commercials’ objectives, scrutinizing the intent behind each campaign, the music selection, and the specific Airbnb listings and destinations featured. 

Commercial Intent

Airbnb’s latest campaigns are designed to cater to different demographics while reinforcing the brand’s unique proposition in the travel and hospitality industry.

Reviving a Familiar, Ongoing Narrative: Airbnb Vs. Hotels

The marketing strategy of Airbnb, which places it in direct competition with hotels, is a well-calculated move. There’s an ongoing debate online about the ‘hotel lobby’ (with the American Hotel & Lodging Association often specifically mentioned) and its influence in advocating for regulations that restrict short-term rentals.

Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s CEO, has openly acknowledged this tension. When asked by Skift CEO Rafat Ali if the hotel lobby played a role in the enactment of New York City’s recent Local Law 18 — a regulation that significantly impacted the city’s short-term rental supply — Chesky responded, “Obviously they wouldn’t tell me how much they were involved. But I have to believe that they were absolutely at the table.”

Furthermore, Airbnb recently posted an update stating, “Since the implementation of the new rules, hotel prices are at an all-time high,” suggesting that the restrictions on short-term rentals have allowed hotels to increase their prices, further underscoring the competitive dynamics between Airbnb and the traditional hotel industry.

The first set of commercials builds upon Airbnb’s previous campaign from August 2023, where it argued that their offerings foster a more intimate, communal experience compared to traditional hotels. 

The latest ads released within the last week continue this narrative, but with a fresh perspective.

How Friendly is Pet-Friendly

One such commercial titled ‘Get an Airbnb that’s friendly for everyone’ highlights Airbnb’s pet-friendly accommodations, and takes a jab at the often restrictive pet policies found in many hotels. This ad speaks directly to pet owners, a demographic that values flexibility and inclusivity when traveling.

Traveling With Kids?

Meanwhile, ‘Bedtime’ targets families with children, emphasizing the freedom and flexibility that Airbnb accommodations offer, especially when it comes to setting bedtime routines – a luxury often elusive in hotel settings.

The Paris Connection

Significantly, ‘Bedtime’ is set in Paris, the host city for the 2024 Olympics. This strategic choice underscores Airbnb’s proactive efforts to bolster its presence in Paris, amidst heightened activity in the short-term rental market and evolving regulations.

Seizing the Korean Market Momentum

Airbnb’s second set of commercials, approximately three months old, reflects a concerted effort to capture the burgeoning Korean traveler market. South Korea is among the platform’s fastest-growing markets globally, and Airbnb is also playing to the demographic shift in travel preferences post-pandemic.

Korean Outbound Travelers: A Growing Demographic

Just like its Brazilian parallel from August last year, the Korean-targeted ads adopt a language-first approach, with titles, descriptions, and songs all in Korean. However, this time they shift to featuring international destinations, such as Indonesia and the United States, suggesting a keen focus on engaging with South Korea’s highly mobile outbound travelers.

The decision to showcase international allure aligns with the fact that South Korea recorded over 20 million departures in 2023, as recorded by KOSIS, the Korean Statistical Information Service. For reference, South Korea’s population is a little under 52 million. These commercials suggest that hosts can benefit by catering to the needs of this highly mobile group of travelers.

A Truly Pet-Friendly Experience: “Get an Airbnb that’s friendly for everyone” commercial

The commercial underscores the brand’s appeal to pet owners, a demographic often underserved by traditional hotels.

The commercial opens with a man and his dog in a hotel lobby. The dog tries to run towards the elevator, but the doors close, illustrating the unwelcoming environment that some hotels can present for pets.

The scene then transitions to an Airbnb property featuring a garden where the dog is shown frolicking freely. This stark contrast between the two environments highlights the flexibility and inclusivity of Airbnb accommodations for pets.

The voiceover, delivered with a touch of skepticism, states: “Just because a hotel says it’s dog-friendly doesn’t mean a dog will find it very friendly. Get an Airbnb that’s friendly for everyone.”

The commercial strategically targets pet owners who value the freedom and comfort of their pets when traveling, differentiating itself from hotels that may have restrictive pet policies.

The ad also communicates the idea that Airbnb hosts understand and cater to the unique needs of their guests, including those traveling with pets. This aligns with Airbnb’s broader mission of fostering a sense of community and belonging, extending even to four-legged family members.

Text from the video description on Youtube: If you’re traveling with your dog, why stay at a dog-friendly hotel when you could stay at an Airbnb that’s actually dog-friendly?

Choose Your Own Bedtime: “Bedtime” commercial

The ad begins with a couple and their child in a hotel room, their clothes suddenly transforming to match the child’s pajamas. This transformation symbolizes the couple’s enforced adaptation to their child’s bedtime routine, due to the limited space in a hotel room.

The scene then transitions to an Airbnb property. Here, the child is seen sleeping peacefully in a separate room, while the parents enjoy time together in the living area. They watch fireworks over the Eiffel Tower from their window; a scene that suggests not just the privacy, but also the unique experiences that Airbnb can offer.

This commercial targets families, emphasizing the additional space and privacy that Airbnb properties often provide compared to hotel rooms. By highlighting the ability to maintain separate sleep schedules for adults and children, Airbnb positions itself as a more flexible and convenient accommodation option for family vacations.

Moreover, the choice of setting — an Airbnb property overlooking the Eiffel Tower — showcases the unique and memorable experiences that guests can enjoy when they choose Airbnb.

Text from the video description on Youtube: “If you’re traveling with your kid, why share their bedtime in a hotel room, when you could have some time for yourself in an Airbnb?”

Which song is in Airbnb’s ‘Bedtime’ Commercial?

The commercial uses the song ‘Les Champs-Elysées’ by Pomplamoose and John Schroeder, adding a touch of French flair that complements the visual narrative.

We’ll Always Have Paris

The intentional choice of Paris as the setting for the “Bedtime” commercial carries strategic significance, as France has long since been a hotspot in the short-term rental market, with only the United States boasting more Airbnb listings. 

The upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics mean that the city is an even more coveted destination. The anticipation of increased tourism and bookings, driven by the Olympic Games, sets the stage for heightened short-term rental activity. As everyone seeks a piece of Paris, Airbnb’s strategic move to showcase the city in its commercial aligns with the platform’s efforts to capitalize on the surge in demand. 

Whether it’s by promoting private rooms, recruiting occasional hosts, or navigating potential regulatory challenges, Airbnb is positioning itself to play a central role in the bustling short-term rental scene unfolding in the City of Light. The choice of Paris as a backdrop, therefore, serves as a nod to both the current market dynamics and the future influx of travelers drawn to the Olympic spectacle.

Creating Unforgettable Experiences: “영원한 친구 | 멋진 수영장 카테고리” (Forever Friends | Amazing Pools Category)

Photographer: Vivian Kim

This commercial unfolds as more than just a girls’ weekend trip; it’s a multi-generational family retreat. Vivian Kim, accompanied by her mother, aunts, and cousins, opts for ‘Harmony House’ in Indonesia, featuring a stunning swimming pool. Set against the backdrop of the tropical rainforest near the Ayung River in Bali, the family experiences a blend of rest, communication, and recharging amidst the tranquil atmosphere of Bali Island. The nautilus-shaped swimming pool becomes a focal point for leisurely moments, fostering connection and laughter as they enjoy mask packs together.

What is the link to the Airbnb listing?

Entire home in Kecamatan Abiansemal, Indonesia

What is the song on the 2024 Airbnb commercial titled Forever Friends | Amazing Pools category?

The choice of the track “Forever Friends” by Nami complements the sentimental tone of the commercial. The music enhances the emotional resonance of the family bonding experience, creating a memorable atmosphere that goes beyond the visual narrative.

“영원한 친구 | 멋진 수영장 카테고리” paints a vivid picture of a family escape, highlighting the transformative power of an Airbnb stay.

Finding Bliss: “행복의 나라로 | 캠핑장 카테고리” (Translation: To the land of happiness | Camping Category)

Photographer: Aysia Stieb

Photographer Aysia and her friend Noah embark on a quest for a nature-friendly weekend getaway. Heading west with Aysia’s dog, Goa, they choose to camp in a tranquil canvas tent situated on the edge of Zion National Park. The scenes depict the serenity of the desert landscape, capturing the essence of their healing trip immersed in the great outdoors. The nights unfold with a backdrop of silence, accompanied by the soothing sight of the moon rising.

What is the link to the Airbnb listing?

Tent in Kanab, Utah, United States

What is the song on the 2024 Airbnb commercial titled To the land of happiness | Camping Category?

The track “To the land of happiness” by Han Dae-su sets the tone for this outdoor adventure. The music, with its uplifting and rhythmic qualities, complements the visuals and enhances the sense of joy and contentment associated with the camping experience.

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