How Airbnb's marketing genius started the flywheel

CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky on listening to users, making Airbnb integrated into the news

Lessons learned from entrepreneur by Bambi Francisco Roizen
August 1, 2011
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The press is having a field day on Airbnb's behalf these days, given the pillaging of one of its customer's homes. While the coverage is deserved (and Airbnb could offer up a better solution and response), it's getting to be a bit overblown, given that the unfortunate incident could have just as likely happened on any other rental site.

But ironically, Airbnb is not one to shy away from being the press. In fact, Airbnb methodically thought to be part of it. When it comes to undesrtanding press, this team knows how to take advantage of its marketing power.

One of the ways Airbnb tapped into the media was to find stories and events in the news that they could somehow be part of.

"We looked for high-profile events," said Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of Airbnb, in a recent interview. So, in the summer of 2008, the team focused on the Democratic National Convention and helping to house the many visitors to Denver. By doing so, they were becoming relevant to a significant story. They weren't the news, but they were piggybacking on the news.

How do you leverage the news? Figure out how you can be integrated into the conversation, said Brian.

"All we did, is to become part of the story."

Watch the rest of the interview for more on Brian's views on marketing, the press, and his lessons learned as an entrepreneur.

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