MY FIRST AIRBNB OPEN
I turned a number in late 2014, which was across the time that Airbnb was gaining notable momentum. In early 2015 I turned the self-proclaimed “Airbnb Expert,” so once I discovered concerning the annual worldwide gathering of Airbnb hosts, generally known as “Airbnb Open,” I needed to attend. The event happened in Paris, which options over 78,000 lively listings on Airbnb, beating London (with 47,000 listings) by an extended shot. While I absolutely adore the Metropolis of Amour, the thought of being there as a single and newly divorced lady made it troublesome to convince myself to go. Furthermore, the thought of having to spend some huge cash to be cooped up in a germ-infested airplane for 12 hours was not helping issues.
Through the time that I was considering enduring the brutal cross-Atlantic flight, I spent various hours on-line looking to study what it could be wish to attend the Airbnb event. I used to be dissatisfied that each one I managed to seek out have been some information articles and pictures of folks that I was unfamiliar with conducting shows. Back then, the Airbnb Group Middle didn’t exist and I could not find one single private account from an Airbnb host who had attended the occasion the previous yr. Based mostly on my frustrations and this void, I decided to put in writing about my first Airbnb Open to help others who may be considering attending the subsequent magical gathering of the kindest and most hospitable individuals you’ll ever meet.
November 2016 marked the third and largest gathering of Airbnb hosts from all over the world. The first humble gathering of 400 or so individuals befell in 2013 at Airbnb’s head workplace in San Francisco. The event was an off-the-cuff affair, where hosts might easily mingle and chat with the founders and Airbnb employees. The first “official” Airbnb Open was held in 2014 (additionally in San Francisco) and attracted about 1,500 hosts. As I discussed, Airbnb Open 2015 passed off in Paris, boasting 6000 attendees. This yr a whopping 15,000 tickets have been bought!
Since I reside in Los Angeles, California, I was thrilled to study that our city was chosen for the location of Airbnb Open 2016. I used to be also honored to be asked to conduct a presentation on how you can build a personal Airbnb model, with the writer of Get Paid For Your Pad, Jasper Ribbers. Jasper’s e-book ranks primary on Amazon when looking the phrase “Airbnb.”
The occasion was scheduled November 17 – 19, in downtown LA.
PRE-EVENT: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2016
Presenters, referred to as “Host Educators,” were given the prospect to register at a personal perform the night time earlier than the event commenced. It was good to not only avoid the huge registration strains the subsequent day, however to additionally meet so most of the Airbnb-related people who I had grow to be conscious of in my position because the Airbnb Skilled, but had by no means seen, not to mention met. We arrived within the night at the Sample Bar in Downtown LA. Upon registering on the funky watering gap, Host Educators have been issued photograph ID to put on around their neck and a techno bracelet that allowed attendees to share their contact information by simply pushing in the midst of the button until it lit up. The data was then easily retrieved on a delegated Airbnb Open online portal. These gizmos additionally blinked colored lights to the beat of the music performed at first of all the massive shows, adding to the hip pageantry all through the event. Additionally they served to subtly, if not unconsciously, remind us of a few of Airbnb’s core brand values – we are all collectively, all of us belong and we’re all one.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2016
I arrived at the Orpheum Theatre at 9:00 AM, the place most of the major Airbnb Open shows have been being held. Once I obtained out of my Uber, I was surprised by the huge line of individuals and all of the buzzing concerning the “big announcement” Airbnb founder Brian Chesky was about to make. Since I read each single online article about Airbnb, I had a reasonably good concept what the announcement was more likely to be about.
The founders (from left to right) Nate Blecharczk, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky took to the stage to virtually deafening applause and shrill whistles. Nate welcomed the gang, shared a number of words and then handed things over to Joe who talked about how thrilled the whole staff is with the expansion of Airbnb and the way appreciative all of them have been about how many people attended Airbnb Open 2016. Joe then introduced Brian, in what felt like Apple’s Steve Wozniak introducing Steve Jobs.
Whereas the trio likens themselves to 3 equal sides of a triangle, with unique and complementary expertise, it’s clear that Brian has reached more notable rockstar-like status. When he was introduced, Brian had to give the excited crowd a few minutes to calm down. When watching him on stage, it’s no shock that Brian is a large fan of the Apple brand and seems to have taken a web page or two from their late founder’s folksy yet spellbinding presentation expertise. He spoke concerning the progress of Airbnb very similar to Jobs as soon as did when he launched the subsequent nice Apple product. However what makes Chesky unique (and positively totally different from Jobs) is his willingness to be weak on stage. This willingness served to steadily reinforce Airbnb’s core model worth of “belonging” with the gang. As a lot because the audience embraced him, Brian embraced us all right again.
As he walked the gang via the extremely profitable “Live There” marketing campaign, he unveiled Airbnb’s “World of Trips” platform to unimaginable fanfare.
This video provides you a way of what it was wish to be in the viewers in the course of the announcement.
As Brian explains, “World of Trips puts homes, experiences, and places together in one place.”
Experiences are probably the most notable offering on the new Airbnb app. Experiences permit travelers to ebook an area exercise, guided by an area individual. Customers can select from either “multi-day immersions” or “single-day experiences.” During his presentation, Brian showcased one Expertise referred to as “Shooting Stars,” where an experience seeker can discover ways to, “capture the real stars of Los Angeles with astrophotographer, Martin Cohen.” Friends begin the Experience by enjoying cocktails at his photograph studio near Malibu seashore and then study the fundamentals of “photographing the heavens” from his mountainside residence in Malibu. This three-day Experience is priced like most choices on the new Airbnb platform, at beneath $200.
The subsequent offering is “Places,” which features guided tours by locals of places that you simply gained’t find in virtually any guidebook, similar to a Bohemian Hangouts, Tattoo Outlets or All Issues Drag. For those who favor to only wander round an area, you should use Airbnb’s new Audio Information that permits you to take heed to a guided tour of areas which might be often outdoors the standard vacationer traps. One neat function for Audio Information users is that the map of the world you’re touring is dotted with comments from locals. Quickly Airbnb users will even be capable of make restaurant reservations by means of the Airbnb app!
The brand new initiatives at the moment are obtainable in 12 cities, together with London, Paris, Havana, San Francisco, Capetown, Florence, Miami, Tokyo, and LA, to call some. Brian introduced that Airbnb plans on being in over 50 cities by the top of 2017, with the objective of being around the globe in the next 5 years. I’ve little question, now that the genie is out of the bottle, Airbnb will achieve these aims and more.
Under is an instance of few Experiences provided on Airbnb.
The video under is the Airbnb production of Brian Chesky’s complete presentation. When you’d like to select up the place my video leaves off, forward to 14:14. You could have observed the Flights and Providers icons above in the image on stage with Brian and the app icons; while he didn’t go into detail about these offerings, he did categorical that they are greater than on Airbnb’s radar and are being developed. Little question we’ll be hearing extra about these initiatives on the subsequent International Airbnb Open, which I predict will take place in London, England. Rumor has it that Airbnb may be considering doing quite a few smaller gatherings all over the world in 2017 and won’t have one other worldwide gathering until sometime in 2018.
As I exited the theatre, it dawned on me that Airbnb was not only changing the best way individuals take into consideration travel (by encouraging them to expertise “authentic travel” via “living like a local”), very similar to Apple, they are now really changing the best way individuals reside all over the world. It additionally occurred to me that as government authorities scramble to concurrently try and stifle Airbnb, – whereas making an attempt to stick their greedy arms in the Airbnb pie – the introduction of Experiences (and all the other new initiatives) shifts Airbnb right into a galactic progress price that may only end in placing coverage makers within the perpetual position of enjoying catch up.
Under is the Airbnb Open 2016 map. This helps offer you an concept of the set up that Airbnb known as “Festival of Hosting.”
After I left Brian Chesky’s presentation, I ended by the world that was handing out Airbnb swag luggage, which had been unavailable during our pre-registration.
As I walked by way of the compound, I came across the well-traveled picket Airbnb emblem that I had seen in so many pictures. Since I was carrying a couple of extra pounds (that’s “stones” for anyone from the UK and “kilograms” to the rest of the world) on my body than I wish to have, I prevented having my photograph taken at the occasion. The subsequent time I’m at an Airbnb event that features this picket emblem, I hope to be in ship-shape and can get my photograph with the brand then. In the meantime, I snapped this pic of two comfortable Airbnb Open goers.
Since I still had the calls for of my profession to attend to, I headed to an enormous restaurant referred to as Clifton’s, which Airbnb had commandeered for the occasion.
I had heard that Airbnb had kindly designated a whole flooring of the huge and awe-inspiring eatery, for Super Hosts. With my Super Host pin proudly displayed on my jacket lapel, I settled into a chair, threw open my laptop computer and commenced to compensate for my work for the remainder of the day.
After that I packed up and headed house to work once more into the wee hours to make amends for the work I didn’t get finished in the course of the day.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2016
There were so many Airbnb Open talks that I needed to attend, however my work demands (along with this annoying little thing referred to as “sleep”) prevented me from attending every thing I needed to see at Airbnb Open. I used to be notably dissatisfied that I didn’t get the prospect to see Chip Conley, Head of International Hospitality and Technique for Airbnb, not to point out hospitality entrepreneur, writer, speaker, philanthropist, visionary and throughout superb individual. The closest I might get to listening to Chip converse was attending the Elizabeth Gilbert speak. Lots of you’ve got possible heard concerning the Eat, Pray, Love writer. I didn’t know a lot about her, but I knew that Chip significantly respected and valued her, in order that was sufficient for me.
Her presentation was scheduled right before mine and couldn’t have been higher timed as a result of I walked out of her speak feeling utterly empowered and related to what matters. She describes her “religion” as a mixture of aware dwelling and a continuing quest for authenticity – most notably her personal. It ought to have been obvious to me, but as Elizabeth Gilbert was talking I noticed that a lot of what she was talking about dovetailed with Airbnb’s brand messaging about “authenticity,” and thus her speak served to help one among Airbnb’s brand attributes. One factor that makes nice manufacturers great is how they look at and think about every little thing, proper right down to the best element. As an unabashed advertising geek, I used to be completely giddy at the considering behind all of it.
On the best way out of the Orpheum Theatre, I picked up a complimentary copy of her new ebook, titled Massive Magic. This coming vacation would be the first Christmas in over a decade that I have put my foot down and insisted on not working throughout. Despite the fact that I cringe a bit (okay, lots) on the thought of being the quintessential sounding 50+ divorcee lady, snuggled up with my dog, a blanket, a cup of tea and an Elizabeth Gilbert self-help guide, I completely can’t wait to do so! Heck, I’d even really, actually go loopy and sleep for an entire eight hours on a couple of nights.
I went straight from the Elizabeth Gilbert speak to the Pattern Bar, the place our presentation was being held. Once I arrived there an hour before the presentation a line was already forming. Forty-five minutes later, the line went right around the block. It turned out that we might easily have crammed the room 3 occasions over and sadly needed to flip away most people who lined up to see our presentation. Many even requested the organizer to cross alongside their contact information to us and requested if we might attain out to them after, which we made certain to do.
The organizers needed us to face and current from the floor, however we thought sitting on the bar can be extra enjoyable. My co-presenter started the presentation welcoming everyone to the “Airbnb Yoga Session,” which is why our legs have been cross and why I and the viewers have been laughing.
Our occasion was very nicely acquired, with many hosts approaching Jasper and me afterward to precise that they felt they acquired a number of value from our presentation, which we have been really happy to hear.
After the event, Jasper and I have been additionally both approached by many people like us, who either had an “Airbnb sideline” or a business that focused the Airbnb audience. In this photograph, from left to proper is David Ordal from Everbooked, which is a web-based service I personally use to help my Airbnb listings rank greater in search findings. Then there’s me (If I didn’t need to show the blokes so much I might not have added this photograph, because it solely jogs my memory of the extra weight I’m carrying. That’s okay, it will provide you with one thing to match to whenever you see me at my preventing weight at subsequent yr’s Airbnb!). Subsequent is my presentation co-presenter, Jasper Ribber, adopted by Danny Papineau from Quebec, Canada, founder of Airbnb Secrets and techniques.
This photograph was taken at Clifton’s, just after we all enjoyed the prospect to have lunch collectively. I used to be not used to being around other rabid Airbnb enterprise model aficionados, so it was great fun to yammer with individuals who have been equally within the find out about Airbnb.
The event was held in the Los Angeles theater district, which is peppered with these majestic beauties, which have been all constructed just after the Gilded Age. It was such a deal with to absorb the varied stage shows from the plush pink seats in these magnificent theaters. The three major theaters, included the Orpheum Theatre, the Los Angeles Theatre and the Palace Downtown.
As a lot as I beloved the Airbnb Open website, I used to be perplexed by the heartbreaking amount of homelessness which spanned blocks from simply outdoors the sting of the occasion space. Someone I met at Airbnb Open mentioned that he went for a run in the morning around the website and was shocked by the quantity of destitute individuals he noticed. LA’s average climate is a part of the rationale we’ve got so much homelessness. In any case, it’s rather a lot easier being homeless in Los Angeles in January than it might be in a chilly metropolis like New York or Chicago as an example. The opposite cause is America’s lack of mental health assets and medical care.
I used to be thrilled to study that Airbnb donated $38,000 USD to the Centrepoint Younger and Homeless Helpline in the UK.
In the future, I hope that Airbnb will think about making homelessness their number one charitable focus because the company is within the enterprise of sheltering individuals and since homelessness has turn into such a problem all over the world. I know that the Airbnb group would recognize figuring out that a number of the company’s earnings, in small part went to serving to to get individuals off the streets and into a pleasant heat and cozy bed of their very own.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19 2016
Leading up to and through Airbnb Open, attendees might access the complete schedule of event activities on a dedicated occasion web site. Event-goers might undergo the schedule and “favorite” a presentation or workshop that they needed to attend. The system would then create a personal agenda based mostly on the consumer’s alternatives, that they might check with on their cellular gadget. For many who still recognize newspaper, the location was properly populated with every day occasion papers that offered event schedules, occasion descriptions and other occasion particulars. One of the coveted shows on the schedule was, “Q & A With The Founders.”
Aside from not discovering a husband at Airbnb Open, this presentation was my solely disappointment. The host, seen to the left of the founders, advised the viewers that Airbnb had invited attendees to submit questions which then is perhaps chosen for this stage presentation. As an individual quite plugged into Airbnb, I should have missed that memo. Once I heard the questions asked, it appeared to me that no one else seemed to have acquired the memo both. For example, the host (who was very pretty) asked questions like, “When did you first have a feeling of belonging?” Don’t get me flawed, I take pleasure in a bit Kumbaya as a lot next Airbnb host, however I might wager that there were many other questions that the audience wished had been requested that weren’t.
Given how individuals all but stomp over one another to get into the theatre for this presentation, I don’t assume I as alone in considering that there can be a chance for viewers members to ask the founders query, on what I imagined can be numerous microphones arrange all through the theatre isles. Had they finished this, I feel the viewers would have made a fair deeper reference to the founders. I also don’t assume I’m alone in feeling that this presentation made the founders appear scared of interacting with Airbnb hosts. As an extremely loyal individual, it’s troublesome for me to say one thing unfavourable a few brand I’m so related with. But in the identify of being authentic and within the perception that my observations and feelings are shared by others, I hope this suggestions may change a future Q&A With The Founders.
When the presentation ended, Nate, Joe and the host left the stage, however Brian Chesky made his solution to the front of the stage to shake a couple of palms. Since I was sitting in the third row, I was capable of make my approach to the stage before safety reduce individuals off.
In life, I feel it’s so necessary to be grateful. I additionally assume it’s essential to make a acutely aware effort to share our gratitude with these we recognize. I simply had to inform Brian Chesky how a lot I recognize his efforts and to thank him for changing my life.
As I waited while others met him, I was shut enough to have the ability to take heed to Brian converse with the individuals he was greeting and was impressed by what a gracious individual he is. I all the time say, “The fish rots from the head.” Because of this no matter is at the prime, moves to the remaining. Since Brian and his companions are all sort individuals at heart, kindness is core to the Airbnb brand. The rule in advertising is that the chief embodies the brand and Brian undoubtedly does that in spades.
In my hand, I held an envelope sized card (rack playing cards for you advertising people studying this) that featured my Airbnb Skilled bio. These cards got here in useful once I met somebody at Airbnb Open who often started our dialog with asking how I turned the Airbnb Professional and what I do in that position. Quite than telling my spiel time and again, I might give them a card so that we might use the restricted time we had between attending shows to talk about other things. Most hosts often asked me for ideas attracting extra booking. The card also got here in useful once I met Airbnb brass — I took up much less of their time and didn’t hold others from ready longer to say howdy. And, if they needed to study extra about me later that they had a simple means to take action.
While I’m pretty good at taking pictures when the digital camera is pointed away from me, I never apply taking selfies. I used to be glad I had the prospect to snap this photograph of my first meeting with Brian Chesky, however I wanted I had Kim Kardashian like expertise in doing so. Regardless that each our heads are minimize off, I’m grateful I used to be capable of seize the moment.
One other presentation I’m so glad I used to be capable of attend was Brand Evangelist and Chief Advertising Officer for Airbnb, Jonathan Mildenhall’s speak concerning the Airbnb brand and the future of Airbnb advertising. The mixture of somebody of Mildenhall’s stature, talking concerning the advertising of a brand I am keen on, was virtually too much to bear.
Jonathan started his profession within the promoting world in 1990 when he turned an Account Supervisor on the world-renowned ad company, McCann Erickson. By 2000 he was Managing Director at TBWA London, earlier than leaving to attend Harvard Business Faculty. In 2006 he turned Vice-President for international advertising, Senior VP for advertising and design for Coca-Cola (I feel that’s the longest title I’ve ever seen!). Then in 2014 he joined Airbnb and describes his mandate for the corporate as serving to to “reach an audacious goal: that one day, all 7.5 billion people will feel they can be trusting and open up their homes.”
This yr he was honored by being named as one in every of OUTstanding’s LGBT Prime 10 executives.
Mildenhall spoke about Airbnb’s love of my three favourite brands, Apple, Disney &#zero38; Coke, and how these iconic three have influenced Airbnb’s advertising. Be still my heart!
Airbnb and Mildenhall work TBWAChiatDay, which was formerly often known as Chiat/Day, the company who famously produced so most of the iconic advert campaigns for Apple, including the 1984 Assume Totally different marketing campaign. Chiat/Day additionally replaced David Ogilvy as the primary position on my top-ten record of all-time favorite promoting businesses. I might write an entire other weblog about Jonathan’s presentation however given how long you will have been studying this (for those of you still hanging in there), I’ll leap to the top.
Jonathan ended his speech with an invite to anyone within the audience interested by assembly him to go over to the Bunker, spelled BNKR on the map (which was oh really easy for texting “Meet me at BNKR” – They thought of the whole lot!). Then he invited hosts to submit their tales to the 2016 Airbnb Story contest, where the first prize winner will take residence $12,000 USD!
I arrived on the BNKR, which featured locations to take a seat like you see in the photograph above. The area also featured actual tents with chairs, lights and tables in them that appeared like they came off the set of M.A.S.H. — that’s an previous TV show for any millennials still studying this. While I was waiting for Jonathan to arrive, I sat down in one of many many cozy armchairs obtainable in the pop-up hang around and submitted a narrative. The contest ends December 16, 2016, with winners announced in January 2017. I’ll hold you posted.
While pounding away at my keyboard, I overheard someone talking concerning the protester who stormed the stage during Ashton Kutcher’s presentation with Brian Chesky. Once I started posting because the Airbnb Skilled, I made a decision to keep away from discussing politics and overly contentious issues on any of my online platforms. That’s why when somebody tweeted @TheAirbnbExpert my friends are actually feeling protected with Trump as President. Trusting he’ll hold us all “safe and secure,” all I responded was “I hope you are right!” That’s why I gained’t share my views right here concerning the protester. I needed to share this tidbit to provide readers an concept that sudden issues occur at Airbnb Open. Another instance is that Airbnb 2015 in Paris occurred in the course of the collection of coordinated terrorist attacks. Airbnb’s response to the attacks was to cancel most of the shows to be able to turn their attention to securing free housing to those in need following the tragedy.
After I submitted my story to the competition, I glanced across the corner to see a swarm of enthusiastic hosts surrounding Jonathan Mildenhall, who had simply arrived. I watched as he listened attentively to each individual and stated goodbye to every of them by giving them and Airbnb t-shirt identical to the one he was sporting. When the road thinned I stated hiya. Since my mother is from the same a part of England Jonathan grew up in, we chatted about that for a bit after which I shared how grateful I’m that Airbnb is sensible enough to rent individuals like him and Chip Conley. In any case, a model steeped in “authenticity” individuals could not develop if the executives have been egomaniacs. All Airbnb executives I met are exceptionally professional as well as humble and fantastic individuals.
After I left the BNKR, I met up with Jasper Ribbers to attend the Bélo Awards. CBS Late Late speak present host, James Corden was the Master of Ceremonies at the black-tie affair which was attended by celebrities comparable to Mariah Carey, Dancing With the Stars – Julianna Hough, Kelly Osbourne and more.
The awards show included super-fun-to-watch dance numbers, along with plenty of laughter at James Corden’s humor (that’s “humour” for the individuals from the commonwealth studying this).
Airbnb is all about stories, so it was nice to observe the videos concerning the award recipients before the winners took to the stage to simply accept their award.
Proper earlier than the awards, I used to be just a few rows back from where founder Nate Blecharczk was sitting together with his household. Since considered one of my quests in attending Airbnb Open was to voice my thoughts concerning the Airbnb referral code coverage, I decided to stop the opportunity to speak to Nate about it.
I launched myself and asked if he would mind if I shared a priority. When he graciously agreed, I explained that with over 100 million Airbnb customers, yet solely 38% model awareness in the USA, it’s difficult to understand why Airbnb does not permit Airbnb customers to ever publish their referral voucher code on-line (social, blog, website, and so forth), since doing so solely leads to adding new Airbnb customers. While it’s true that folks do it, the rule forbids it completely.
I’ll be writing extra about this specific challenge in a future weblog, so I gained’t make this one even long that it already is. Once I thanked Nate for his time, he thanked me for sharing my concern and stated he’d “look into it.”
The climate was splendid for the outside and superbly lit Airbnb/Maroon 5 Live performance that closed out Airbnb Open, instantly following the Bélo Awards. The surprise of all the event was a guest look by Woman Gaga, who took to the stage to carry out her brand new single, “Million Reasons” as well as“Joanne” and “Bad Romance.” Gaga and her “Born this Way” inclusive angle was another good fit for the model that states, “At the heart of our mission is the idea that people are fundamentally good and every community is a place where you can belong.” ~ Amen
To get one other sense of what it was wish to experience Airbnb Open, take a look at Airbnb’s recap video under.