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Airbnb vies for more of users’ time through content-driven features

Airbnb wants to become a comprehensive travel content destination by adding city guidebooks to the application while also unveiling a new matching system and an international campaign as it looks to lengthen users’ time on the platform.

The home rental service introduced a new method of connecting users with neighborhoods and homes that match their preferences and interests, as well as Guidebooks to help travelers get a broader feel for the location. As content is becoming a key part of retail, Airbnb is hoping to become a mobile destination for all things travel-related and drive rental sales.

“We are living in very dynamic times and as a consequence, marketers need to ensure that the experiences people have with their marketing and utilities are personal, fresh and relevant,” said Michael Becker, managing partner at mCordis. “The experiences should be offered with the maximum amount of efficiency, the least about of friction.

“Airbnb is doing just this,” he said. “They are streamlining the experience people have with their stay by providing recommendations, points of interest, insider tips and more based on an individual’s preferences.

“They are taking a leadership role in connected marketing by being of service to the individual.”

Living in Airbnb
The new Guidebooks within the Airbnb app are giving travelers an inside look at what it is like to live in the city they are visiting, rather than the traditional tourist attractions. The idea is to transform their travel experience, and hopefully drive rentals in the process.

For instance, users who are likely to be interested in visiting Paris will see a prompt to view a guidebook for the city. The guidebook lists a wide range of off-the-beaten-path things to do, the best bars, restaurants and attractions that are not tourist traps.

The Guidebooks will serve a bevy of targeted insider tips that from the entire city to a specific block, based on users’ preferences.

The app update also means that Airbnb will be able to target users more specifically based on preferences and will learn over time as the user searches for more rentals. For instance, if a user is searching for rentals in urban areas often, the app will be more likely to serve his or her rentals in city-like areas.

Being able to target consumers in the new way can significantly drive sales for Airbnb. The more exposure users get to rentals they are likely to be interested in, the more likely they are to rent.

Airbnb is attempting to forge a new way of thinking about travel with its new advertising campaign that shares 15 and 30 second spots on television, mobile and digital that urges consumers to live in the city their visiting instead of taking the standard tourist route.

Airbnb mobile efforts
The hospitality brand also recently further personalized the mobile and online experience for hosts via a slew of features, including competitive pricing and hosting toolkits (see more).

When Airbnb set out earlier last summer to create an Apple Watch app, it initially tried to simply port over its iOS app but quickly discovered this did not provide the best-possible user experience (see more).

“These updates may not initially drive new sales, but they may certainly help drive the adoption of the service and repeat sales,” Mr. Becker said. “People may learn to trust Airbnb as a go-to service not just meeting their accommodations needs but also for helping them optimize and personalize their experiences.”