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Will Airbnb’s celebrity strategy pay off?

Airbnb’s ambassador strategy is clear: Hollywood stars offering once-in-a-lifetime trips to their properties and smiling about it across social media. Neat publicity for the stars – maybe there’s a movie to sell or new-age product to promote in Gwyneth’s case – and massive publicity for the Airbnb brand. It’s not every day a mega star lists their property for rent. Perhaps the cost-of-living crisis is biting harder than we thought.

It's a notable strategy switch for Airbnb. In the past, it has focused on hosts by giving them an idea of how much they could earn by renting a room or their entire property. Airbnb also prioritises referrals by asking current hosts to refer new ones – and rewarding both in the process if it turns into a fresh listing.

By directly appealing to people who might book, Airbnb appears to be showcasing its evolution from a hosting platform to a guest one. With total active listings recently passing 7 million and Airbnb implementing tools to keep nightly rates down, the San Francisco OTA giant clearly feels confident enough to focus on the guest market rather than the host one.

The question is – how will this affect hosts in the long-term? Data released by AirDNA recently suggests listings on the site have a shelf life. But where are those listings going? Are hosts becoming more savvy and offering direct booking options? It will be interesting to see where this trend takes us over the next few years.

Are Airbnb switching to challenge, Expedia and Tripadvisor more comprehensively? Let’s wait and see.


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