Airbnb Marketing: Understanding the Vacation Rental Success

image of a phone displaying numerous houses available for rent in Airbnb

When you think of booking or renting platforms, Airbnb is probably one of the first ones that comes to mind. The company managed to create a solid brand that people worldwide use when looking for quality places and experiences when traveling to foreign regions.

A lot of this fame comes from the highly effective Airbnb marketing strategies created throughout the multiple platforms where you can find the brand, whether on social media channels or other digital marketing alternatives. If you have ever wondered how the company managed to become the preferred choice when booking or finding a place to stay, you have come to the right place.

Here, we will unveil the digital marketing strategies used by Airbnb to reach such powerful status in the travel industry and what you can do to reach the same results with your own marketing strategy. Whether you want to do content marketing, PPC campaigns, or any type of advertisement, make sure to take a look at each aspect below to see how they apply to your business and take your marketing efforts to the next level. Here’s everything you need to know:

How Did Airbnb Start?

image of a phone on top of a map displaying Airbnb's logo

To understand Airbnb’s success, it is essential to go back in time and know where the entire Airbnb brand began its history. It wasn’t always the biggest platform in this segment, and it took years for Airbnb’s platform to reach such a state, so here’s how it started:

The idea made its first steps when Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky struggled to earn enough money and pay rent. That said, they decided to put the loft’s empty space for rental, turning it into a loading space for members attending a design conference in San Francisco.

The space would feature an air mattress and homemade breakfast to attract guests and help them gather the needed money. With such a strategy, they created the concept of “air bed and breakfast,” later known as Airbnb. 

Later on, the two Airbnb partners decided to expand operations and develop their own platform to attract potential guests and hosts. This created a successful business model that, in a short time, became one of the most valuable companies in this target market.

This disruptive solution took its first steps as a consolidated company in 2008, when Airbnb launched. It was a very innovative idea and quickly became an alternative to traditional hotels when people visited other regions.

The 7Ps of Airbnb Marketing Mix

image showing the four main elements of a marketing mix along with the Airbnb logo in the middle

Analyzing and understanding the 4Ps of a company’s marketing mix is one of the most crucial steps when creating a promotion strategy or developing ad campaigns. Still, Airbnb’s marketing strategy and way of working are a little different.

Instead of the traditional 4Ps, here we have 7, and we will explain each one of them to you. Pay close attention to each of these items to understand how they contribute to the consistent Airbnb marketing strategy that took the brand to such a level of influence and preference. Here are the 7Ps and what each one of them means:


illustration of a person filling a checklist of products

Like any other brand, the marketing mix usually starts with the product. In Airbnb’s case, the product could be defined as providing personalized accommodations for people traveling and visiting other countries and territories.

Unlike traditional hotels, Airbnb listings feature unique experiences beyond just a room with a bed to sleep in. You can find a treehouse or even underground accommodations to make your next vacation unforgettable in every aspect.

Moreover, the platform features more than just accommodations for guests. Airbnb collaborated with numerous touring companies to provide a variety of activities and experiences in the countries where it operates, including scuba diving on beaches, hiking in the mountains, and many other options. This increased the retention of prospective guests and made the online platform an even better choice for travelers of all kinds.


illustration of a building for rent with a price tag in it

Airbnb’s pricing strategy is very competitive and appealing to a target audience that doesn’t want to spend the enormous charges that traditional hotels usually have. It provides a more affordable option and lets the local hosts decide on the price they want to charge for their accommodations. 

The platform has become the first pick for travelers looking for a way to save money on their trips. It has also encouraged users to set affordable prices for guests, creating a system that helps both parties. All these factors together make the Airbnb listing one of the best options if you’re looking for authentic experiences without spending thousands of dollars.

Hosts also have an automatic tool that analyzes factors of their accommodation, such as location, seasonality, and many others, to suggest the optimal price they can charge for the place. They’re free to put the suggested price or choose their own.


image showing the Airbnb app and some of the tabs in the app

Airbnb offers a mobile app and a website that guests and hosts can connect to and search for all the information they need. The website features a very responsive and easy-to-use interface that takes the user experience to the next level.

Airbnb hosts and guests can contact each other directly from the platform and talk about the property listed, along with many other features. This way, the company dismisses the need for other tools to complete the renting process and the community members can easily reach each other. 

The platform allowed Airbnb to expand its operations to several countries, and according to RubyHome, over 220 countries already feature private rooms and other accommodation services from the company. The company is also constantly improving its website and app, adding unique features and updates to gather new users and reach new audiences.


illustration of a hotel with vacant rooms

Airbnb doesn’t have only one content marketing strategy. It is constantly developing new ways of making the platform and its services known to more users. They also feature a variety of marketing channels that go beyond the app and website where the sales process happens.

You can find the rental business doing influencer marketing, paid ad campaigns, using their social media accounts to advertise their experiences, and many other things.

However, one of the most important promotion techniques they use is their user-generated content. Paying for a rental property on an online platform requires a lot of trust, and there’s no better way to generate that than through word of mouth and reviews from other users. Using content produced by other users who had a good experience with the platform effectively convinces new users to try it.

This works for potential hosts and guests, expanding the customer base in every aspect and helping the platform offer an unforgettable experience that fits the potential travelers. These inspiring stories are not the platform’s only marketing content but are surely one of the most important ones.


illustration of a host at the door greeting a guest

Here’s where it starts to differentiate from a classic 4Ps marketing mix. Another crucial point of Airbnb’s tactics is the people on the platform. This part of the mix features three main parties that should be considered:

  • Platform employees
  • Guests
  • Hosts

These three groups are indispensable for the platform to continue operating. Each requires different strategies and focus when advertising or providing the best experience possible. 

New hosts are indispensable for the platform to continue providing the best experience for those using it and ensuring guests find accommodations that fit their needs and expectations. Gathering people from new cultures and places who are willing to provide a space for travelers helps the platform expand its operations and encourages more guests to try the experiences provided.

On the other hand, guests are responsible for generating revenue for the business owners, employees, and hosts providing a space. The strategies need to be planned, considering each group’s pain points and particularities. This way, you ensure the best results when marketing to your audiences.


illustration of a hand holding a magnifying glass and picking between multiple houses

Next, we have the process. This part of the marketing mix refers to the user experience and the overall path the user has to follow, whether to book a place or sign up their place for short-term rentals.

Airbnb’s objective is to make this process as simple and intuitive as possible, making each step quick and straightforward. This way, the customers are more likely to complete the tasks and actually complete the sales funnel.

The experience impacts how people think of your brand and its overall popularity, so it is important to always listen to your audience and try to improve it to match the criteria. This can be applied to customer support that the hosts need to have and how clear your information is listed, for example. 

Airbnb deals with people from different cultures and backgrounds, so using a universal language that everyone can easily understand is important to making the process user-friendly. The company needs to reflect this aspect every time it provides its services in a new city or country.

Physical Evidence

picture from a city in Europe along with a hand holding a paper with Airbnb's logo

Lastly, we have the physical evidence. It might seem weird to consider Airbnb’s physical aspects since it’s an online platform, but it actually makes sense.

The physical evidence here is the experiences and rooms the hosts set for the travelers. Using this in the marketing mix is a creative way to generate emotional connection and content that puts the platform ahead of all competitors regarding preference and popularity.

These tangible aspects help reinforce the brand’s values and objectives, constantly innovating and providing the best user experience possible. This is an excellent example of how an online brand can also use tangible features to promote its platform and raise awareness.

Something as simple as a letter or a treat to the guests can drastically impact how the community sees and engages with Airbnb. The company knows that and continually seeks ways to maximize people’s satisfaction and experiences.

Airbnb Marketing Strategies

image showing the main values that compose Airbnb

Now, we will dive deeper into each of Airbnb’s most common marketing strategies to stay on top of everyone’s mind when it comes to booking hotels and houses. Make sure to look at each one to understand how these tactics and options help reinforce the brand’s presence in everyone’s life.

Doing this will also help you generate insights and ideas for your own business. Some of these tactics can be used regardless of your industry, making them perfect for optimizing metrics and results. Here are the main strategies Airbnb uses when developing a marketing campaign: 

Social Media Marketing

example of user-generated marketing with multiple posts from Airbnb

Using social media might be the most common digital marketing strategy nowadays, and there’s a reason why these platforms have such an essential space in a company’s life. Along with having extremely low costs to produce and maintain, the social media strategy is one of the most versatile actions you can take. You can create content that goes from an image to feature on your business page to a video ad to generate engagement.

Airbnb uses numerous social media platforms to share a variety of content, including new places you can rent throughout the world and information regarding the company’s services. The formats also vary, and the brand shares all kinds of assets, including pictures, text ads, and even video content, such as short video clips of places. They also mix organic and paid results when using Twitter or any other ad space.

Along with the traditional posts on the platforms, you can also find sponsored ads regarding places to rent based on destinations you searched for and other factors. In the three examples above, you can see that. Each one of them features a different place for rent on the platform with a small text describing the experience of visiting that place and featuring a quick link so you can access their web page. 

Email Marketing

image showing an email sent by Airbnb with numerous destination suggestions for traveling

This is the kind of industry where email marketing is highly effective and one of the most used techniques. Featuring ads on Facebook and search results pages might be great investments, but sending marketing emails still holds some of the best conversion numbers you can find. The best part is that it is also one of the cheapest kinds of campaigns you can run.

It is common to see Airbnb sending their users suggestions of places to stay and experiences they can book in different countries and regions. In the example above, you can see an email showing multiple famous tourist destinations with available accommodations from the company. The platform also improves the user experience of these ads by featuring a quick link that takes the users directly to the website and shows the best options available in these places.

Creating these ads is very cheap for the company and can be extremely effective, especially if you feature eye-catching images from the regions you’re advertising the rooms. Mayple says that email marketing has a conversion rate of up to 12%, which might not look like a lot but is an expressive number, especially considering the ROI. The website also states that every dollar spent on this kind of advertisement generates up to $40 for the company, which is the biggest return on investment you can have in traditional digital marketing.

Search Engine Optimization

image showing keywords related to airbnb on a search engine tool

Paid advertisement is a good investment, but we can’t forget about the organic part of your business. Airbnb also invests in its organic users, and through its SEO efforts, it enhances its website rank and gets a better position on Google.

If you’re looking for hotels or experiences in a specific country, there’s a fair chance that Airbnb will be one of the first results to pop up on your screen. This happens thanks to their constant efforts to improve their content and stay ahead of competitors.

From their responsive website, which provides a good experience, to the blog posts and content creation aligned with the main keywords their audience searches for, everything is carefully planned for the best performance in search engines. This helps build trust among users and makes them consider you the first option when looking for accommodations in other countries.

SEO is an integral part of any business and has several advantages over PPC. SEO is long-lasting, and even though you stop investing in it, it will take time before you notice the decrease in your ad rank. On the other hand, with paid advertisements, once you stop paying, you automatically get removed from the ad spaces in which you were inserted.

Consider this aspect when planning your marketing strategies. Always invest in search engine optimization, as organic results are also vital to business health.

Pay-Per-Click Ads

Pay-per-click might have disadvantages, but it doesn’t mean Airbnb doesn’t use them as well to promote the platform. It is one of the best digital marketing strategies for generating results quickly and making your business known to more audiences.

Airbnb invests in simple search ads with straightforward communication and catchy CTAs to convince people to access the website and navigate the options. Thanks to precise audience and keyword research, they know precisely how to reach the target audience. Since they can use the exact keywords from their organic efforts, it becomes an even better investment that works for both tactics.

Along with traditional search ads, Airbnb also produces video ads for organic and paid purposes. One of the brand’s main strengths is its vision for emotional content and touching storytelling, which it explores in its videos.

Whether it’s an ad before a video on YouTube or a video for their channel, they manage to tell stories about real people and generate a connection between users and the brand that will perpetuate for a long time.


In the example above, you can see Airbnb doing search ad campaigns for rental opportunities in Chicago. Whether you’re searching for places to stay in Chicago or experiences that you can enjoy there, Airbnb will be one of the top options thanks to the paid efforts of the brand.

This can be great for giving you an extra boost when it comes to website visitors and revenue gathered, especially during the summer season and other special dates. These are the times when people are looking for a destination for their next trip, and appearing at the top of the page through an ad can be the perfect way to make them choose your platform for this task.

User-Generated Content

social media post from Airbnb showing one of the homes for rental

User-generated content is such a powerful tool and one of the best if you want your users to trust your platform. Airbnb uses people’s memorable experiences and positive feedback to generate content to promote their platform and accommodations where these users stay.

It’s a very cheap way to market your platform and has a powerful impact on how people see your services. As mentioned, generating trust and connection is not easy, and seeing other people’s positive experiences helps achieve these objectives.

There are several ways a business can benefit from these tactics, but it needs to be done correctly. It needs to look organic and natural, not something the platform paid the users to do or say.

Once you nail these aspects, your user-generated content will gather numerous positive results. This doesn’t apply to every industry and type of product, but it is something to watch when developing your digital marketing strategy.

For example, in the picture above, Airbnb posted promoting accommodation in New Zealand. To do this, they created a text about the house available on their platform and used a photo taken by one of the guests who booked the house.

Out-of-Home Marketing

image of an outdoor in Madrid showing a welcome message from Airbnb

The travel industry is full of out-of-home (OOH) ads, whether because they still catch people’s attention when walking through the streets or driving or because of their effectiveness and conversion rates. Airbnb also does this kind of advertisement, being a tremendous offline solution if you don’t want to do only online marketing.

The cool thing about Airbnb’s OOH efforts is that they can be found everywhere, from outdoors in Spain to posters in Japan. This reinforces the brand’s presence in the countries and makes people want to check out the opportunities available on the platform.

It also helps gather new hosts who see the possibility of renting a space in exchange for extra income. This is a great marketing strategy that can yield numerous relevant metrics.

However, OOH is not the most straightforward marketing technique and has some tricky aspects. One of them is that it can be really hard to track its effectiveness, as you can’t precisely measure how many people saw your ad and what results it actually brought to your business. Another aspect to remember is that the place where you’ll put the ad must be carefully considered and planned.

In the example above, the ad was positioned on one of the main roads from Madrid, Spain. It is a greetings panel from Airbnb, so it makes sense that the company decided to position it in one of the city’s main entrances, increasing the effectiveness of the message and catching the attention of everyone passing through it.

Want to Advertise Like Airbnb

image from GamerSEO showing the services provided by the company

Reaching the same success as Airbnb is not something easy, but with a good marketing strategy and a lot of effort, it is far from impossible. Whether in the traveling industry or any other, marketing your business is the best way to gather more customers and have better results overall. We are here to help you with this task.

At GamerSEO, we have experienced professionals with years of experience transforming dreams into reality. No matter what your business needs are, we ensure the best results in the most efficient time, whether you want a complete business plan or just a little help with your strategy.

Good marketing is the key to a healthy and successful business. Join us, and let’s start creating the best strategy together.

Conclusion on Airbnb Marketing

The stories of numerous companies are inspirations of how simple ideas can turn into big businesses and generate enormous success. Airbnb is one of the most expressive examples of this case. An idea of two friends needing money created a business model that gathered millions of users worldwide. This might sound like something coming straight from a movie or cheap inspirational story, but it is the reality and is more common than you might think.

Of course, reaching this level requires lots of effort and can take years, even decades, and a solid marketing strategy is your biggest ally in this fight. Airbnb also noticed that and started investing in multiple methods to ensure the platform would grow worldwide, becoming the world’s biggest company in this industry.

We showed you how the entrepreneurs did that and their main strategies to reach such numbers, but now it’s time for you to see how this can help your business. Analyze every aspect above, and you’ll gather insights on how these strategies can help take your company to the next level.

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