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In Newest Stunt, Airbnb Lists the ‘Up’ Home. It Floats.


The smooth mansion within the hills overlooking Las Vegas might have been featured on MTV’s “Cribs.” However the spotlight of Aubrey Garza’s weekend keep there wasn’t the palatial rooms or the marble fire. It was assembly her Airbnb host: Christina Aguilera.

“It simply felt like a dream,” Ms. Garza, 26, mentioned. When she was rising up, her bed room was embellished with posters of the pop star. Ms. Garza had nabbed one of many “once-in-a-lifetime” promotional stays that Airbnb has often listed in recent times.

The favored, if uncommon, listings have included not solely personal hangouts with celebrities but additionally stays in a Barbie mansion modeled on the one from the hit film and a reproduction of Shrek’s swamp dwelling within the Scottish Highlands.

On Wednesday, Airbnb introduced that it was increasing stunt promotions like these beneath a brand new everlasting class referred to as “Icons,” that includes uncommon and bold partnerships with manufacturers and celebrities

At a information convention in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s chief govt, launched the inaugural slate of Icons listings.

It was headlined by a reproduction of the floating home from “Up,” the 2009 animated Pixar movie, balloons and all. With the assistance of a large crane, the home shall be suspended excessive within the air over the New Mexico desert.

Requested whether or not the home, which doesn’t seem like related to the bottom by pipes or wiring, had plumbing and electrical energy, the corporate mentioned it was “absolutely practical.” Requested for particulars, the corporate mentioned the home ”is related to a generator and different utilities that shall be disconnected and reconnected earlier than and after flying.”

Different listings embody a recreation of the mansion from the “X-Males ‘97” cartoon, constructed to look two-dimensional.

Just a few individuals have been capable of keep in Airbnb’s earlier fantastical listings, however the firm mentioned it anticipated roughly 4,000 prospects to guide stays in Icons listings in 2024.

One other 10 listings are slated to go up by the top of the yr. Reserving durations will fluctuate. Dates for the “Up” home are open by mid-September.

With Icons, Airbnb is hoping to capitalize on the success that earlier listings have achieved as promotional instruments, ready-made for Instagram selfies and crowd pleasing headlines, Mr. Chesky mentioned. (Sure, we fell for it.)

He pointed to the success of Airbnb’s collaboration with Mattel final summer season, which introduced the Malibu DreamHouse to life forward of the discharge of the blockbuster “Barbie” movie. The excitement different manufacturers.

“I believe what they’ve seen is that these prior Icons have change into cultural sensations, fairly actually,” Mr. Chesky mentioned in a cellphone interview.

The Barbie itemizing obtained two to 3 occasions as a lot press protection than when Airbnb went public in 2020, Mr. Chesky mentioned. The Shrek Swamp itemizing was seen on the platform greater than 200 million occasions.

For an indication of what prospects can anticipate, the keep two-night keep that Ms. Garza gained by submitting a reserving request for the Las Vegas mansion (“Hosted by Christina,” in response to the itemizing) earlier this yr provides a clue.

Ms. Garza, her older sister and two mates chatted with Ms. Aguilera over drinks and dinner inside an ornate mansion with glass partitions and excessive ceilings, an infinity pool with stylish deck chairs, a lofty balcony with sweeping views of town, pink accented furnishings match for a ladies weekend getaway. (The lodging was free; all Ms. Garza needed to pay for was the flight there.)

For Airbnb, the payoff is in sustaining relevance and concurrently producing a dependable stream of constructive consideration that may assist counter the unfavorable press reviews it has confronted over hidden prices, hidden cameras and the disruptive results that short-term leases can have on communities

“Most individuals solely ever open our app a few times a yr, and we’ve obtained to battle to verify they consider us each single yr,” Mr. Chesky mentioned in a cellphone interview. “So this retains us high of thoughts and culturally related.”

Airbnb hopes the undertaking will assist with worldwide markets as effectively. One of many listings introduced Wednesday is a weeklong keep aboard a tour bus with Feid, a Colombian reggaeton artist fashionable in Latin America. One other contains an in a single day keep in India hosted by the Bollywood star Janhvi Kapoor.

Although Mr. Chesky expects Icons listings to attract hundreds of company, that determine represents a minuscule share of Airbnb’s 150 million customers. Nonetheless, he mentioned, the class represents the way forward for Airbnb.

“So this in of itself will not be a stand-alone enterprise, nevertheless it’s extra than simply any advertising and marketing promotion,” he mentioned. “It’s a gateway to Airbnb changing into greater than a spot to remain.”



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