Airbnb CMO on ditching performance marketing

The company's marketing boss on why it shifted its strategy so dramatically and how it’s confident it has now found a winning long-term formula

Aug 28, 2023

Pre-pandemic, Airbnb’s marketing strategy was primarily performance-driven, with much of the brand’s marketing budget dedicated to digital advertising. But when the pandemic flipped the business on its head, performance marketing wasn’t delivering what the brand needed.

Key takeaways

  • As Airbnb was growing, pre-pandemic, it was losing its differentiation. There were a lot of competing options for travelers out there and Airbnb … was losing its uniqueness;
  • Coming out of the pandemic, the decision was to focus on the core business and to focus on creating experiences, creating features and creating a product … to differentiate itself – and then to use brand to actually communicate and teach people what those differences are;
  • The company started to use brand not just to advertise its values and what it is about - it also wanted to use brand to help explain what these features are and how they make for a different experience.

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