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Airbnb's creative platform push

News, 18 July 2016

CANNES: Airbnb, the digital service which lets people rent accommodation from their peers across the globe, is seeking to develop a creative "platform" that delivers unique experiences with brands, agencies and other similar partners.

Brian Chesky, Airbnb's CEO, drilled down into this subject during a session held at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

More specifically, he discussed how the firm is tapping into the kind of communal spirit that drives its business to attract new partners – such as brands, agencies and other creatively-minded operators.

"I think one of the powers of our community is that we can be a platform; we can unleash the creativity of people all over the world," he said. (For more details of the company's approach, read Warc's exclusive report: Airbnb seeks out new brand partnerships.)

In achieving this aim, Airbnb has launched a dedicated website – nightat.withairbnb.com – through which potential partners can submit their proposals for providing distinct accommodation experiences.

"We want to open this up to any creative person that wants to be able to take it to wherever they want to go and do some really interesting things," said Chesky.

As evidence of this idea in action, he cited a tie-up between Airbnb and the Art Institute of Chicago earlier this year, which allowed consumers to stay in a life-size recreation of the bedroom of Vincent van Gogh, the Dutch artist.

This initiative promoted an Art Institute of Chicago exhibition that brought together van Gogh's three paintings of his bedroom and it helped generate media attention, consumer buzz and record opening weekend ticket sales.

"This is one of the most popular things that we ever did, and we just really opened it up. I think what the Art Institute of Chicago did here is such a great example of some of the great things that are possible," said Chesky.

"The reason I think the van Gogh piece was so successful was because people want to have an intimate connection to a brand. There is almost nothing more intimate than to sleep in someone's home or sleeping in a space.

"What we're doing, and what we want to open up, is we want to turn this into a platform. So we're calling it the 'A Night At' platform. And any creative agency [or] any brand will be able to do something like the van Gogh piece."

Data sourced from Warc