#LiveThere: How Airbnb went global on their way to redefining the tourism industry.


Airbnb, in 2015, was growing steadily off the back of their most recent campaign Never a stranger. Co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky and CMO Jonathan Mildenhall have always been ambitious fellows though, and were setting their sights higher. They wanted to create a truly global campaign.

While Airbnb’s brand awareness was on the rise, it was still lagging behind their competitors’, and consideration wasn’t keeping pace either. The key moving forward was to find a way to scale the business to realize its incredible potential without it losing its soul:

How could they reach to a broader audience while still connecting with the thrill-seeking millennials and avant-garde travelers who got them where they are?

How would they appeal to different demographics without altering their core values?

Well, history tells us that millions of increasingly curious, forward-thinking travelers were all ears, as the tendency to explore and experience each place in a more authentic fashion was quickly becoming a global trend.

Credit: Airbnb

Don’t go there. Live there. Even if it’s just for a night.

It is in the back of a car in Shanghai, during a candid conversation between Chesky and Mildenhall that the brilliant idea behind the #LiveThere campaign was born.

“You know what, Brian? I don’t think it’s that complicated. Every single traveller we interview tells us the same thing — that travelling on Airbnb enables them to live like a local. I feel confident that ‘living like a local’ is the most fertile proposition for our brand.”

“I don’t buy it. There has to be something bigger. Jonathan, how many places have you lived in your life?”

“Only five?” He asked. “And how many places have you visited?”

“Oh, that’s harder to answer — I have easily been to more than 60 countries because I spent so much of my time at Coca-Cola travelling overseas.”

“I truly believe that, if in all of those 60 countries, you had stayed in Airbnbs, you would have told me that you had lived in more than 60 places, not just five. If we get this right, we can inspire people to actually LIVE anywhere in the world, even if just or one night.” (Jonathan Mildenhall on prweek.com)

The Live There campaign video received 11 million views on Facebook, 56000 likes and 5200 comments.

Breaking conventions

Going to the same places, standing in the same queues, having a checklist of things to do and leaving with a feeling you hadn’t quite experienced the city… Sound familiar?

                                      86% of their global users said so

What Chesky and Mildenhall wanted to stress from then on, is that staying in an Airbnb meant you got to stay in a real neighborhood, in a real home, with a real local host showing you around. A real taste of what it’s like to live there, really. Can you guess what the keyword is here? Good.

“When you stay on Airbnb, you have your own home. Make your bed. Cook. You know, do the stuff you normally do.”

Millions of people from all walks of life connected with that vision and seemingly couldn’t wait to get rid of their selfie sticks, avoid the crowds and dodge tourist traps.

What about me, you ask? Well, I never owned a selfie stick.

A global success

The Live There campaign delivered great results, so much so that Airbnb broke through their annual goals by mid-year in 2016.


This campaign has it all. It is insightful, has a persuasive yet simple pitch delivered lightheartedly.

Shouldn’t we all live in our dream cities? I do… or do I?

Thanks for reading!