"Airbnb is shaping the future of the travel industry," according to digital marketing experts Econsultancy.


It's hard to argue against that statement, with a recent equity round valuing the San Francisco-based company at $30 billion (£24.7bn).

But what is it that makes Airbnb "one of the most inspirational and progressive brands in the world"?

Econsultancy contributor Paul Rouke has attempted to boil down what it is that makes Airbnb such a raging success in the travel industry – which we've distilled even further:

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1. It's aspirational

For those that can afford it, Airbnb offers the chance to stay in some aspirational, unique homes. It's already got one up on its hotel rivals. Airbnb knows this is its unique selling point, so really plays on the fact that it can offer travellers the opportunity to 'live' in the places they want to visit, making their stay more than just a holiday.

Clever use of evocative text ("Your home, everywhere") and imagery sees Airbnb connect with visitors "on a more personable level than any travel agency website I have been on," says Rouke.

2. It's built on trust

As the recent 'Airbnb: Dream or Nightmare?' documentary on Channel 4 highlighted, Airbnb isn't without its problems. However, given that its entire model is built on trust, this isn't a great surprise is it?

Airbnb puts its trust in people to rent their properties ethically on the platform, who, in turn, put their trust in travellers to leave the property as they found it. Meanwhile, travellers have to trust that the property they're renting will live up to expectation.

Ultimately, it is the reviews – for both the host and the traveller – that hold it all together.

3. It suits all budgets

Whatever your budget, you can guarantee that Airbnb will host a property that doesn't exceed your upper limit. The website comes into its own for families looking to book a trip away in the school holidays – helping them save "hundreds of pounds", compared to traditional channels, according to Rouke.

4. It's personable

Anybody who has used Airbnb will know that, 99% of the time, upon arriving at a property, they'll be a note with instructions on where to find things, or a welcome message with the words "help yourself to food and drink" written on it.

That's not something you will often find at a hotel, but should it be more commonplace for hotels to offer something for free? And we're not just talking Wi-Fi.

5. It's innovative

What other companies are offering the opportunity to 'live like a local'? Also, how that's interpreted is in the eye of the beholder: they might see 'living like a local' as a stay in a flat for a night, a week in a castle, or a month in a villa.

The possibilities are vast – much more so than a night in a 'standard double bed room' or a 'superior double bed room'.

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Airbnb has also perfected its digital experience, with Rouke claiming its app, in particular, has a design and user experience that is "quite simply beautiful". After all, in this day and age, a brand simply can't be called 'revolutionary' without a fitting digital presence. To find out how you can enhance your own digital presence, contact us today.