Storytelling is a powerful tool of communication. Take a peek into how Airbnb has successfully used storytelling in their marketing strategy.
Airbnb is an online forum that connects hosts with travelers. Hosts list their space, either a whole property or part of a property, on the site. While travelers search these listings and book a unique stay in any of the available accommodations all around the world. At first thought this might give a person pause; the concept of staying in stranger’s house is a bit odd if not unsettling. An imaginative mind can concoct a myriad of horrible scenarios that can befall the unlucky traveler. However, Airbnb uses two techniques that help to avert a customer’s initial hesitations.
Airbnb has successfully used storytelling in their marketing strategy.
Stories from the Airbnb Community is a section of the company’s site that underscores the experiences of both their guests and their hosts. It is a compilation of personal anecdotes from their users, serving as brief snapshot into their lives. For example, “Airbnb Stories” features a man named Michael. Michael is New Yorker living in Astoria. He is a host on Airbnb who rents out his apartment to travelers. In this short piece, Michael discusses how he started running marathons, and how running helps him feel connected him to his deceased father.
“Personal accounts help forge emotional connections between the various and diverse people using Airbnb.”
The narrative is not only written, but it is also integrated into a video which makes the story even more personal and interactive. People who use Airbnb feel like they can get to know Michael, as well as other users, through these stories. These personal accounts help forge emotional connections between the various and diverse people using Airbnb.
Books Before Boxing is one experience offered by Airbnb.
Short Films
In addition to “Stories from the Airbnb Community”, the company has also released a number of short films that highlight their mantra, “belong anywhere”. First was Birdbnb; a five minute film that showcased birdhouses built in the image of Airbnb homes. Second was Wall and Chain which told the heartening tale of Airbnb guests Catherine and Jörg. Catherine was taking a trip to Berlin with her father, Jörg, who was traveling to the city for the first time since working as a guard during the height of the Cold War. She wanted to show him how the city had changed and what it had become. a vibrant metropolitan. However it was who they met at their Airbnb that would alter Jörg’s life. (It is a lovely tale whose ending we will not spoil).
These films fused emotion and experience with the Airbnb brand, which further established the company as a platform for transformative travel experience.
Final Takeaway
What Airbnb has so elegantly accomplished through their marketing strategy, is to build a community based brand. Their users share their experiences among the community and in turn they, along with their collective stories, become the brand. This digital storytelling emphasizes the people and the places that differentiate Airbnb.

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