G2 (Group 2) – Airbnb

Hello Class! Our group has chosen to analyse Airbnb. Here’s a background of the company and why we would like to do work on Airbnb as our project.

Background and Analysis of Organization: Airbnb

Airbnb is an online platform that provides an avenue for people to book cheap, comfortable and homely accommodations. There are more than 2 million available listings in 34,000 cities in over 151 countries with an estimated net worth of $30 billion.

airbnb_logo_detail

Airbnb offers users the chance to share experiences with the rest of the Airbnb community and the world by sharing their homes and experiences with each other. Instead of staying in an expensive and impersonal hotel rooms, guests have the opportunity to live in a home filled with personality and memories, and the chance to interact with their local hosts. As co-founder, Brian Chesky said, “At the end of the day… you’re getting a sense of belonging.”

Airbnb has a very strong presence on many of the largest social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Their current social media strategy focuses largely on content marketing. The majority of their posts are aesthetic and scenic photographs of various Airbnb destinations featuring satisfied customers. Airbnb also uses social media to engage its community through ‘social media challenges’ whereby users are encouraged to share stories about their creative acts of hospitality.

The target group that we will be focusing on for this project will be tech-savvy millennials, people who use the internet generally to get around their daily routine and also hobbies like travel. These are also social media savvy people. The general age group of our target group would be approximately 20-30 years’ old.

Research Question

How can Airbnb use social media to rebuild their reputation amongst current and potential customers?

As Airbnb has been growing steadily, so has the number of cases about safety issues. Extensive media coverage of such cases has adversely impacted their reputation due to the perceived poor handling of said issues. Airbnb has also received a lot of public flak over the past few years regarding the way their safety measures are implemented, and how they respond to customer complaints regarding safety breaches. This has strained their relationship with the current Airbnb community and has made potentials customers hesitant about using their services.

Hence, we have decided to base our project on how Airbnb can improve its social media strategy to pull ahead of the competition and recoup its losses. The possible reasons for the above are a lack of variety of marketing content, inefficient utilisation of existing platforms and untimely responses to customers. We believe that social media is a highly effective way to expand its market share, appeal to a wider audience, and build up a strong, loyal brand community that ensures its long-term sustainability.

Value of Study:

As Airbnb is an online platform that works on the principle of the Sharing Economy, their presence is dominantly (and limited to) the digital space, i.e. their main way of communicating to their customers is via social media. Hence, a research study with a focal point on reassuring customers on their reputation is of immediate concern to Airbnb and their success as a business.

Objective 1: Find out how to maximise the efficiency of their various communication channels.

Objective 2: Build an involved and engaged community of informed users.

Method:

We will be using carrying out and/or collecting quantitative and qualitative data for our research study. Using the information collected, we will then develop suggestions on how Airbnb can enhance its social media strategy.

1) Analysis and Evaluation of Airbnb’s Current Social Media Strategy

We will be tracking two aspects that affect the aforementioned:

  • Their management of their current social media accounts: Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and Youtube regarding how do they communicate with customers about safety concerns on social media platforms
  • The analysis of two of their largest competitors: Couchsurfing.com and Expedia.

2) Analysis based on Secondary and Primary  Research

Firstly, we will be conducting secondary research using Synthesio and other Sentiment Analysis tools such as SocialMention.com to conduct sentiment analysis regarding the general feeling people have regarding Airbnb. This allows us to better understand what drives consumer interests so that we can better tailor our recommendations to maximize impact. For primary research, to back up our findings from secondary research, we will be conducting a survey to gather a sample population’s impression of Airbnb and its reputation. We will also be using data collected using the Synthesio platform in Week 5’s class as well as other Sentiment Analysis tools/websites (such as SocialMention.com) to gather the overall impression of Airbnb.

Conclusion

Our final deliverable for Airbnb will be a detailed social media campaign on the safety of users. The aim of this campaign will be to educate users on how to be responsible guests as well as hosting tips and also to reassure hosts of the safety of their homes with Airbnb. This safety campaign will be delivered in an enticing and engaging manner, much like Airbnb’s current style of content marketing. This is to deliver critical information to our target audience in a way that will make it easier to absorb and makes full use of the unique characteristics of social media while keeping in mind the changing ways people consume information in this digital age.

By Apurva, Jyot, Maika. (G2)