Cannes: Airbnb wants to open platform to creatives

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 21 June 2016

Airbnb is inviting creatives across the globe to use it as a platform to build out experiences, according to CEO Brian Chesky.

Chesky, who founded the space-sharing community in 2008, was speaking on the evolution of the Airbnb brand. Given the power of the community it has, Chesky says he sees Airbnb as a “platform” and believes there is an opportunity to use it to “unleash the creativity of people all over the world”.

An example of this at work was a campaign with The Art Institute of Chicago, which saw Van Gogh’s iconic bedroom painting turned into a real world suite, available to rent through Airbnb.

“What we want to do is turn this into a platform and we want to invite any creative or brand to create something like the Van Gogh piece,” Chesky says.

“The reason I think the Van Gogh piece was so successful is that people want to have an intimate connection with brands. There is almost nothing more intimate than to sleep in someone’s home.

“It was one of the most popular things we’ve ever done and we just wanted to up open it up.”

The other area of growth that Chesky envisions for Airbnb is building out its remit to include an “end-to-end” experience, meaning consumers won’t just rent a home, but a whole community.

He says the challenge with travel is that visitors never experience places the way locals do, and that Airbnb is looking at ways to address it.

“Imagine you travel on Airbnb and you don’t just get a home you get a whole community. This is a really intimate way in which you can experience that. I don’t think Airbnb is about providing a place for people to sleep, I think that we’re supplying the means to connect people.

“Homes is where it is starting, but I think going forward we want to look at that end-to-end journey.”

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