Airbnb tries to build a gobal brand through sponsorship with Olympics

Before going public in 2020, Airbnb signed a nine-years global sponsorship deal with the International Olympic Committee (ICO) aims to supporting the Olympics to be ‘the most inclusive, accessible and sustainable yet’. Airbnb, as a new partner, falls into the category of ‘unique accommodation products and unique experiences service’.

Apart from providing local accommodation, Airbnb partners with ICO to launch the ‘Airbnb Olympian Experiences’ that will support the athlete directly and promote the sports activity at the same time. The Airbnb Olympian Experiences including training with olympic athletes and touring the city with them. In the Olympian Experience platform, athletes who are interested can become the host of the experience and create revenue stream.

Airbnb logo – Olympic Rings

Supporting the Sustainability Objectives

According to Airbnb, in 2016, 85,000 Rio Olympics visitors creates £30m for the host and saves the carbon emissions and material waste as Airbnb provides accommodation equivalent of 257 hotels. In the agreement with ICO, Airbnb highlights how it contribute to the sustainability objectives of Olympics. For the Olympic Game organizers and shareholders, Airbnb provides local accommodation that reduce the need of massive construction of new accommadation and thus cut down the costs. This partnership also promotes the sustainable travel option that emphasizing the economical empowerment and sustainability.

Creating Multilateral Cooperation and Mutual Benefit

Airbnb aims to create a three-win situation that creates a new industry standard. For the hosts, they are provided with opportunity to earn extra income through providing accommodation. For the spectators, Airbnb offers more economical and homely accommodations that give them a chance to experience the local culture. For the city, Airbnb represents the sustainable initiatives that accommodate the visitors in a more environmental friendly way.

“A Reputational Boost”: Rebuilding Trust and Image

Rosie Spinks points out that, Airbnb makes a wise choice as the event “both aligns with the brand’s ethos and will be a boon for its bottom line as it aims to go public in 2020.” Through this global partnership, Airbnb has join the list of global partners alongside with coca-cola and Alibaba.

Airbnb’s message of ‘creating a world where anyone can belong anywhere’ is in accord with the Olympic spirits of cooperation that brings people together. This partnership also restore its brand image in some extent after recent waves of negative press release as five people died in a shooting in a party hosted in a mansion booked through Airbnb.


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3 Responses to Airbnb tries to build a gobal brand through sponsorship with Olympics

  1. Iris Chen says:

    I really like the idea of Airbnb partnering with ICO. However, I can’t help but wonder how it’s going to go. During an Olympic event, there will surely be an unusual amount of visitors coming from everywhere, especially internationally. From a consumer standpoint, I find myself more comfortable staying at hotels that offer standardized services when I visit new countries. Airbnb proudly brands the local community experience as opposed to the traditional touristy agenda. However, visitors who travel for the Olympics are certainly expecting tourist experiences.
    Another concern comes from PR during Olympic events. With so many visitors, there will surely be safety concerns. If people are unfamiliar with the city they are staying at, they might encounter dangerous situations. If there should be accidents, Airbnb will have to deal with the consequences.
    Although this collaboration seems innovative and beneficial for the brand, it may be argued that the initiative goes against what Airbnb offers the market.

    • xiayuyan says:

      I totally agree with your concern as I have the same worry too when I first read the news. I think this partnership might temporarily ease Airbnb’s reputation dilemma and help it regain some trustworthiness. But in the long run, unlike other Olympics partners like Coca-cola, Airbnb has to deliver something real and substantial to fulfill the promise it made in the partnership agreement. And unfortunately, the promise it made is not easy to achieve and I am following up how Airbnb going to address the safety concern and propose a practical plan for accommodation during the Olympic Games.

  2. simonemody says:

    In my opinion, the partnership between Air BnB and the International Olympic Committee is a genius idea on paper, it has the potential to both reduce as well as mitigate a number of the issues that both Iris and Xiayuyan have mentioned above in the comments. However, again as they both mentioned in the comments above the reality of the situation seems to be a disaster. In addition to the point previously brought up, I think there are a few more issues given the model would be successful. One such issue would be the gigantic influx of tourists who are entering this space, these tourists would be living in residential areas that are designated for locals of the city and while this is an already prevailing issue the severe increase due to the Olympics would create a complete nuisance ranging from small things all the way up to massive inconveniences hence, completely alienating the fact that these local communities’ sentiments need to be thoroughly looked at and taken into consideration. And would Air BnB be willing to the minimum of compensating these locals for the inconvenience caused

    Additionally, there may be low availability of Air BnB’s as well because locals themselves may want to stay in to watch and witness the Olympics in their city which is rather grand deal in itself.

    Thanks for sharing!

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