How Airbnb’s New York Ad Campaign Worked

Marketing Campaigns in NYC

Airbnb are one of my favorite startup companies. I have rented my apartment in Shanghai, and stayed in rented rooms in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Montreal, and New York and the experience has always been top notch.

One of the surprises when I arrived in New York was the lack of airbnb listings in the city. Soon enough I found out that the room sharing business had met resistance from the local government and specifically the hotel business.

In an attempt to garner support from locals in the city and to increase general awareness, airbnb have run an extensive campaign in the city. Let’s take a look at some of the marketing they had in place.

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The image above is one of many ads dotted around the city, primarily on the subway systems.

The Advertisment: New Yorkers agree: Airbnb is great for New York City.

The Call to Action: The call to action here is not incredibly strong, as this campaign seems to be more based around awareness. Airbnb wants people to understand that it brings value to New York and the people of the city. If people really want to get involved and learn more they can visit, but the site almost seems of minor importance to the message. According to this article, 66% of New Yorkers have never heard of the service, and the goal for these advertisements is to reduce that number.

The Landing Page: Since the campaign was launched in June 2014, the landing page has changed, but currently there is a form to sign a petition alongside a 30 second video of Carol and her experience as an airbnb host.

As with all airbnb materials, the landing page is well designed, and has a clear CTA [petition form]. The video is an easy-to-consume piece of media to further demonstrate the value airbnb brings.

As you show your support, you are then brought into the mini-site airbnbnyc, which for me has some really compelling information.

What really sold the campaign for me was the data showing that 82% of airbnb properties are located outside of traditional tourist zones. As hotels are the biggest opponents to airbnb in the city, these statistics show that the startup is not directly pulling tourist dollars away from the main hotels. For the city as a whole, the economic value of tourism is being distributed more evenly amongst

The End Goal for Airbnb: Airbnb is looking to build awareness for the value that it brings to the city in order to fight the legislation that is halting it’s progress in the city – and their campaign is clearly communicating that.

Let’s just hope the people of New York support their efforts to get this apartment sharing economy back up on it’s feet.

This post is sponsored by VinSocial’s virtual wine tasting for businesses


If you have any thoughts about the airbnb campaign, simply add them into the comments or tweet at @rosscranwell



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