Airbnb marketing communication mix as a framework explains how the global lodging company uses individual elements of marketing communication mix. Elements of marketing communication mix according to this framework consist of print and media advertising, sales promotion, events and experiences, public relations, direct marketing and personal selling. The patterns of use of these elements by Airbnb is explained below.
Airbnb Print and Media Advertising
Despite the purely online nature of its business model, Airbnb uses print and media advertising extensively. The accommodation and experience marketplace launched Airbnb Magazine in May 2017 distributed in the U.S., with the exception of a small number of copies that will be available for sale in London priced at USD 3,99. Airbnb magazine is a highly dynamic print media platform that responds to the interests of the company’s target customer segment. It has been noted that if Airbnb “algorithms see that users are increasingly searching for ‘Paris’, it notifies the magazine’s editorial staff to whip up a story or two on the French capital.”
It has also been speculated that the global hospitality service brokerage company has plans to create its own TV shows in order to encourage people to travel more. As a starting point “Airbnb has reportedly worked on a TV show called Home for Apple’s new TV Plus subscription service; the show focuses on unearthing unique living spaces around the world and the people who reside there”
Although Airbnb did not use celebrity endorsements up to date, the global rental and experiences platform effectively uses the use of its services by celebrities as a part of its marketing strategy. For example, the lodging company promotes luxury mansions and villas where celebrities such as Arianna Grande, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Channing Tatum have stayed using Airbnb.
Viral marketing is also used by Airbnb as one of the integral parts of its marketing strategy. Specific viral marketing campaigns such as “We Accept”, “Vice Experiences”, “Marnie the Dog” and “Live There” can be mentioned as examples for most successful Airbnb viral videos.
Airbnb uses the following sales promotions techniques either directly or indirectly. Indirect usage of sales promotions techniques involves efforts by the global hospitality service brokerage company to guide and assist its hosts to use these techniques.
- Discounts. Airbnb offers discounts indirectly. In other words, the accommodation and experience marketplace does not offer discounts to its hosts or guests for its service fee, but it has required functionalities in place to allow hosts to offer discounts to guests for quiet periods of time.
- Free gifts. The global rental and experiences platform occasionally sends free gifts to some hosts. These include a wide range of inexpensive items such as notebooks, socks with Airbnb logo on them, kitchen towel etc. Some hosts also receive smoke detectors free of charge.
- Loyalty program. Airbnb grants Superhost badge to hosts that receive positive feedbacks from their guests and do not cancel reservation for the last 12 months. Benefits offered to Superhosts include USD 100 coupon that can be used for Airbnb travel and faster access to Airbnb customer services.
At the same time, the global lodging company has no loyalty program for guests. Airbnb has discussed launching a loyalty program for guests in the past but it has yet to get off the ground.
Airbnb Inc. Report contains a full analysis of Airbnb marketing communication mix and Airbnb marketing strategy in general. The report illustrates the application of the major analytical strategic frameworks in business studies such as SWOT, PESTEL, Porter’s Five Forces, Value Chain analysis, Ansoff Matrix and McKinsey 7S Model on Airbnb. Moreover, the report contains analyses of Airbnb leadership, organizational structure and organizational culture. The report also comprises discussions of Airbnb business strategy, ecosystem and addresses issues of corporate social responsibility.
 Trachtenberg, J.A. (2017) “Airbnb Teams With Hearst on Magazine Guided by Travel Site’s Data” The Wall Street Journal, Available at: https://www.wsj.com/articles/airbnb-teams-with-hearst-on-magazine-guided-by-travel-sites-data-1493892000
 Airbnb, Uber, Facebook… why are tech giants venturing into print? (2019) The Renewable Materials Company, Available at: https://www.storaenso.com/en/newsroom/news/2019/6/why-are-tech-giants-venturing-into-print
 Statt, N. (2019) “Airbnb wants to create TV shows to convince people to travel more” The Verge, Available at: https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/24/18514907/airbnb-original-video-tv-studio-travel-marketing