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The travel industry is as a competitive space as any other sector in India. People just no more want to see beautiful pictures of places and means to reach there. They want to know experiences of people who have visited those places and indulge in stories, which lure them to visit the attractions. Brands are looking at means to capture consumer attention in the tough competitive travel industry. Therefore, content plays an important role in connecting to the consumers and only the most creative and distinctive content can cut through the noise.

Varun Raina

“Content marketing is a patient game, but definitely acts a vital tool in contributing to build the brand narrative,” said Varun Raina, Marketing Manager at Airbnb, the community-driven hospitality company.

Mentioning a few golden rules of content marketing that Airbnb keeps in mind while undertaking the content marketing route, Raina said, “The golden rule of content marketing is to optimise your content for engagement with your target audience, personalise the experience, capture audience attention in their moment of interest at preferred medium of content consumption, and be sure to retarget users who have already visited your website or product for successful conversions.”

In April 2017, Airbnb, launched its marketing campaign in India ‘Live There’, designed to encourage people to change the way they experience the world around them. In line with its vision to make travel magical, Airbnb partnered with MTV India to curate the #LiveThere online contest in September last year. Through this contest, Airbnb invited three lucky winners for a trip of their lifetime to explore the vibrancy of Milan, London and Thailand like locals in the company of popular icons Anusha Dandekar, Radhika Apte and Nikhil Chinappa. As a result, the winners got an opportunity to stay in stunning Airbnb homes with these celebrities in Thailand, London and Milan and their experiences and adventures were captured in a series of videos.

The response for this campaign was overwhelming and received several entries from across geographies. #InMilan featured Anusha Dandekar where she discovered the hidden fashion hubs in Milan, #InThailand featured Nikhil Chinapa where they explored the breath-taking locales of Bangkok and #InLondon featured Radhika Apte where they had immersed themselves in the vivacity of London’s art and culture. Till now, all three videos have received a phenomenal response and have garnered over 3.2M+, 1.7M+ and 1.6M+ views, respectively, and continue to inspire travellers across the world to break away from the ordinary and travel differently.

  1. #InMilan with @VJAnusha

Facebook  - 3.2 Million+ views // 42'k+ Engagements

Twitter - 302'k Views // 500+ Engagements

  1. #InThailand with @nikhilchinapa

Facebook  - 1.7 Million+ views // 46'k+ Engagements

Twitter - 228'k Views // 400+ Engagements

  1. #InLondon with @Radhika_Apte

Facebook  - 1.6 Million+ views // 23'k+ Engagements

Twitter - 154'k Views // 200+ Engagements

Airbnb uses a lot of social media influencers to create and disseminate engaging and impactful content through them. Raina said, “We at Airbnb feel that today’s youth holds a strong connection with the social media influencers, especially the celebrities they follow and love, as well as with the media they consume. Needless to say, their aspirations and desires are often inspired by trends that their favourite personalities set. We see this as an opportunity to connect with our audience and enable them to resonate with our philosophy, through popular culture and by collaborating with famous personalities who associate with Airbnb.”

For the brand’s recent launch of Goa Insider’s guidebook, Airbnb had collaborated with leading lifestyle social media influencers and celebrities like MissMalini, Rohan Joshi (@mojorojo), Mandira Bedi, Rochelle Rao, Kritika Khurana (@thatbohogirl), Sukhneet Wadhwa (@mscocoqueen), etc. to build a stronger connection with their followers who are actually the potential Airbnb travellers. These influencers got an access to view Goa through the Airbnb lens – which they further amplified on their respective platforms.

For Airbnb, the core insight for the brand’s content marketing strategy is understanding the cultural nuisances and local dynamics of the key markets and create content that brings together the hosts and the guests listed on the platform.

Raina ended, “What most brands fail to realise is that in today's day and age the consumers don't just buy a product. Instead, they buy into a complete brand promise which extends beyond a mere functional utility to the end user and impacts the larger ecosystem in a progressive and positive way. Airbnb being a platform that thrives on the power of community believes in using this insight in all our content strategies by showcasing how our product brings together the hosts and guests listed on our platform.”

Founded in 2008, Airbnb is a global travel community that offers magical end-to-end trips, including where you stay, what you do and the people you meet. Airbnb leverages technology to economically empower millions of people around the world to unlock and monetise their spaces, passions and talents to become hospitality entrepreneurs. Airbnb’s accommodation marketplace offers access to millions of places to stay in more than 191 countries, from apartments and villas to castles, treehouses and B&Bs.