Airbnb Now Wants to Disrupt Business Travel, Debuting Work-Friendly Digital Tools and New Ads


It’s running out-of-home in key markets and a ton of online video

If you’re a travel-and-expense accountant, you might be seeing a lot of Airbnb receipts in the coming months—if you haven’t already, that is. According to the home-sharing platform, 250,000 companies in more than 230 countries have used it for work-related accommodations.

Now, Airbnb wants more of that market—a lot more. So, it’s launching its first campaign aimed at business travelers, a multimedia endeavor that includes plenty of online video as well as out-of-home ads in locales with many on-the-go professionals like Chicago, Boston, New York and Portland, Ore. The campaign, which will run until June 25, entails the services of creative shop TBWA\Chiat\Day and Publicis-owned media agency Starcom.

“We know your first priority is to crush that pitch meeting, but you also want to explore a city,” according to an Airbnb blog post. “Living and working like a local doesn’t have to come at the expense of convenience.”

The San Francisco-based company also just upgraded its digital properties to include search-filtering tools that render only listings designated as “business travel ready,” meaning the apartments and houses are ready at the drop of a hat, conveniently located near business districts and offer reliable Wi-Fi and laptop-­friendly workspace. People need to register with their work email addresses to try the new search function.

It builds on features the site debuted in 2016, including booking tools that let multiple employees in a company manage reservations while offering self check-in and business-friendly receipts.

Starting Wednesday, the new campaign will include video and display ads on the following potpourri of news and lifestyle sites: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fast Company, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, GQ, Wired, Golf Digest, New Yorker, Pitchfork, Vice, Time, NPR, Bleacher Report, CNET, Yahoo and AOL.

Print ads will appear in Fortune, Forbes, The New Yorker, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg Businessweek and Money magazine.

It will be fascinating to see whether the company can take a bigger chunk of the market away from the likes of Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, Westin, Holiday Inn Express, Ramada Inn and Red Roof Inn. According to a recent Fortune story, Airbnb internally expects to generate as much as $3.5 billion a year by 2020.

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Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine is technology editor of Adweek.

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