BE A HOST
Airbnb is an online community and marketplace that brings people together – those who want to list and those who want to book accommodations. From apartments to condos, houses to villas, castles, and estates, Airbnb listings run the full gamut. For travelers, it means a world of more lodging options at different price points and for people with extra space it means a new source of income. It’s all very new and exciting, but it can also be a bit controversial and confusing depending on your perspective.
WELCOME TO OMAHA
When Warren Buffet went on record in 2014 saying that Omaha needed more lodging options for his annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting, he went on to single out Airbnb as an emerging alternative to traditional hotel bookings. Airbnb took notice and went to work developing an outreach and awareness program in Omaha.
A COLLABORATION WAS BORN
Airbnb’s internal team contracted an influencer outreach marketing firm, San Francisco-based MKM Creative. MKM then brought in The New BLK as a partner for our experiential marketing chops and our expertise in the local market. The blended team worked hand-in-hand over the course of several months.
THE GAME PLAN
Recruited and manage a dynamic team of smart, outgoing individuals to work events around the city that would reach our target audience and engage prospective hosts in a dialogue about Airbnb. Events ranged from drop-ins with a complimentary coffee cart at local tech companies to a weekend crafts show to a St. Patrick’s Day concert.
The centerpiece of the campaign, however, was a pop-up store in Omaha’s Old Market. We procured the space, planned the layout, and managed our brand ambassadors who staffed the store. The space was laid out to feel like a living room, with comfortable seating, funky urban décor, a crowdsourced photo mural, and iMacs for going through the Airbnb signup process. Since the concept was new to many Omahans, our brand ambassadors were there to answer questions and provide one-on-one consultation. The pop-up shop also served as an event space for several community events we held throughout the campaign.
In addition to our real world activities, we also kept the conversation rolling on social media via local influencers with large followings on Facebook and Twitter.
This was a story of reach, engagement, and buzz. At the close of the campaign, we had tripled the total number of active Airbnb listings in the Omaha area. That number exceeded the campaign goal by 18%. We reached 1,874 people in the real world via one-to-one introductions and rich engagements, exceeding our goals by 44%. Online, our reach was amplified via 624,817 digital impressions across blogs, local news sources, and social media. All of this momentum led to three local TV news stations running stories on the campaign.