According to Morgan Stanley, Airbnb will account for 6% of the total lodging industry by 2020. With Airbnb’s unique peer-to-peer model of local hosts offering their homes up, they are dominating the travel industry. Travelers looking for an authentic stay in a new location are flocking to Airbnb. They’ve immediately created a loyal customer base and continue to build it out at a rapid rate. But how are they retaining these customers? With a brilliant implementation of a few key marketing strategies, they’ve set themselves miles ahead of their competitors.
“Platforms like Airbnb have absolutely restricted growth in hotel rental rates in major markets, specifically in gateway cities and seasonal tourist markets.” -Colin Bogar, Forbes Real Estate Correspondent
Airbnb is not just offering a place to stay, now they’re offering new unique experiences for their customers. Even more so now that they are partnering with restaurants, activities, etc. to enhance their time. While you can definitely use a hotel concierge or travel agent to help you plan experiences, being able to just click and select activities is much more convenient and user-friendly.
Airbnb knows that people aren’t huge fans of jumping on the phone with concierge these days. They made it quick and easy to find an experience perfect for you without having to call and explain your needs and desires to another person and then rely on the said person to find an experience that suits you. By doing so, they’re the one-stop-shop for the consumer, thus creating retention.
Airbnb has one of the most user-friendly sites and apps for travel. With an updated algorithm to give you personalized recommendations, users can go to the app knowing Airbnb is going to make an awesome suggestion just for them based on their behaviors and interests. Personalization is such a key part of emotional loyalty, so much so that consumers are now expecting brands to predict their preferences in the future.
But it’s not just the suggestions that make users want to visit, but the design of the site itself. It’s simplistic and easy to use whether you’re on a laptop or your phone. The clean design makes finding the perfect destination and experiences a breeze. With bold photos in a grid-style layout, it’s easy to scroll on through to see what speaks to each user. Great UX/UI regardless of the platform submits greatly to the customer experience and Airbnb’s omni-channel strategy overall.
One thing I love most about Airbnb is the community aspect. Every time I have used it, I’ve met amazing people from all over the globe. When staying in a hotel you lose a lot of the authenticity people crave. That’s where Airbnb really stands out from the rest of the travel industry. With local hosts offering their homes, giving travelers suggestions, and offering unique experiences away from the norm; it’s no secret Airbnb is a community-first company.
The community aspect that has been built by Airbnb is unlike any other peer-to-peer model. There is a unique trust and bond between traveler and host and that’s exactly what has users saying, “this is better than any hotel I’ve stayed in.” Once a traveler has experienced that community feel, they’ve become a lifetime client. I know I personally haven’t used a hotel since I started using Airbnb.
This closeness also ties into their user generated content as the Airbnb Community also submits the photos used on the site, making everything that much more appealing. When someone books a room or an experience, they can see what others experienced rather than what a marketing team has decided to showcase.
People are known for trusting their friends’ recommendations and when users are generating content on a regular basis, it makes the trust of the host, experience, and Airbnb in general elevate. Due to the community aspect, users feel like they can trust other user reviews, recommendations, and photos to influence their decision on what to stay and do.
It’s no secret that hotels can get costly. Airbnb is known for being a cheaper option. You can easily find places to stay for under $50 a night. Call me crazy but most hotels I’ve seen that offer rates that low are not always of the highest quality. The inexpensive way to travel is what helps users continue to do so. With more money in their pocket, travelers utilize more experiences and travel more often.
And on the other side of the spectrum, it allows more high-end clientele to up the price point and have an amazing customer experience at a beautiful mansion in Bel-Air or a bungalow in Costa Rica! So regarding price, it really has something for every budget.
Airbnb has a fantastic refer-a-friend program and they advertise it very well in the app and online. It shows how much money you can save and I want free money! Offering a way that travelers can earn money is a great way to keep users coming back. The more friends they refer, the more cash they make and the more they can use the services. And in doing so, they’re building their community base even larger.
Airbnb has thought of everything to ensure customer loyalty and it starts with the users. By creating a unique experience and building it back into their program, they are able to holistically build a loyal customer base with its core brand messaging. Wondering how you can integrate your story into your loyalty program? Talk to Annex Cloud.
By implementing great rewards and building emotional brand loyalty through organic storytelling, Airbnb was able to generate a community above all else. By understanding what matters most to both hosts and travelers, AirBnB surpasses others in catering to their ideal consumers. If you’ve been struggling with your customer retention, it’s time we talk. Annex Cloud can help you work out a great loyalty strategy to keep customers returning for years to come.