P2P rental pioneer Airbnb has announced a new direction and a fresh look at an international event broadcast live from the original Airbnb apartment.
The event, which was widely promoted to community stakeholders, called "valued community members," while leaving only some subtle indications of what the event concerns. Airbnb also announced the event on Dribble, with an animated GIF of brand- and UX-related images, suggesting that the broadcast would cover a brand direction update.
Tnooz has covered the rumored expansion into the tours and activities sector before - and it turns out that this announcement had nothing to do with expanding into T&A.
After a series of personal stories from hosts and guests - "Everyone in our community has had amazing stories that maybe you weren't expecting," said Chesky - the true announcement was made. It's the push to create a fully branded experiecne for the sharing economy, a symbol that lives outside of any one brand and allows people to "belong anywhere."
That symbol is called a Bélo, and it's this:
And translates into this full brand look:
Here's how Chesky positions the concept:
What is the unifying idea of Airbnb? What would it be if we were to communicate this to the world? We had an aha moment. We realized that what Airbnb is about was staring at us right in the face. This whole time we were talking about Airbnb as a way to get a house - when in fact it was a way to get a home. A house is a space, a home is where you belong. What Airbnb is about at its core is belonging, when you feel bigger than yourself.
At Airbnb, we imagine a world where you can belong anywhere. When outsiders view Airbnb I'm not sure they see belonging as much as they still see rooms. If we are going to be understood as a brand, we need to communicated this idea of belonging to the world.
As we had that insight, we realized that we needed to come up with a universal symbol of belonging. Finally, it's a way to give this meaning. Imagine one day when you can live in a world when all the doors are unlocked to you. This can be on a product or good, so you know that the object can be shared.
This is the idea of a world where you can belong anywhere. This is an idea that is universal, and we hope that wherever you see it, you will know that you are not alone.
In a bid towards virality and traction, the company has made it possible for the community to customize content using the symbol as well - and yes, that includes customized merchandise.
In addition to the new brand, the entire Airbnb experience has been reimagined. From the website to the apps, the entire product experience has been tweaked.
The homepage will also now include a community section and a discovery section, where users can explore some ideas of where to go and stay via the Airbnb network.
The listing pages look pretty similar on the search side, and then offer larger photos of each listing.
Neighborhoods get a revamp, with a more engaging host guidebook, in addition to a new host interface and real-time calendar availability for guests.
Mobile is updated with an edge-to-edge image experience that also adds a swipe gesture to browse through places. Mobile also includes a prompt for "Need a room tonight?"
The tweaks seem targeted at making it simpler and quicker to book a place while also reducing the time needed for hosts to manage a listing.
There were around 13,000 people from 78 countries tuned in throughout the time of the broadcast.
NB: Author is an Airbnb host.