Airbnb shorts – crowdsourcing inspiration

Arooj    June 10, 2018

Airbnb is a US based company that operates an online marketplace that allows people to lease or rent short term lodging place at an affordable price. The dwellings range from holiday cottages, hotel rooms and hostel beds to home stays and apartments. The company doesn’t own any real estate, rather it earns by charging a service fee in return for providing this online platform where customers can connect with the hosts.

The company has nearly 5 million lodging listings in 81,000 cities and 191+ countries and has 300 million+ guest arrivals at all time.[1]

Airbnb had a difficult end to year 2013 because of a trademark infringement lawsuit from a competitor. However, they came back with another marketing campaign that embedded the concept of user generated content within a contest to create excitement about the brand.

The campaign

One of the aspects that makes airbnb special is the array of hosts who rent out their accommodations and are very passionate about their homes. The campaign named ‘Airbnb shorts’ called on these hosts to create a 15 second long video showcasing a local spot that they’d love to share with the world. It was a win-win situation for everyone,

  • The hosts got to share their passion for their hometowns with the world.
  • The travelers got an idea about not only the place but also about the host and a promise of a personalized experience abroad.
  • For Airbnb, this campaign resulted in creation of a series of personalized videos highlighting the deep insider knowledge provided by their worldwide network of hosts. Also, these videos were a good addition to Airbnb’s arsenal of multimedia products.

The campaign called for airbnb hosts to submit a 15 secs video showcasing their favorite spot in their city. They were required to post that on instagram with #airbnbshorts and the city name along with turning their account to public. The winner was promised airfare to London including a voucher for $500 per night at an airbnb listing, a video camera and a ticket to the Shorts workshop put on by the Sundance institute.


The contest was open for under two weeks and the search results show that nearly 950 videos were tagged with #airbnbshorts. The use of instagram for this campaign meant that the brand not only received the video windfall but also got social media bonanza due to the hashtag penetration.

Airbnb announced the winner on their facebook page that had more followers than any of their social media accounts, thus funneling the traffic from their instagram.

Lessons for Others

The success of this campaign demonstrates that the social media enthusiasts are passionate about creating content and that is not just limited to photographs.

If the prize matches the efforts involved into creating a particular content, the users will be up for it. As was in case of this contest by Airbnb.

Besides, usage of a suitable hashtag to track the entries in addition to publicly announcing and sharing the winning entry not only satisfies the public curiosity but also emphasizes the transparency factor.

Organization: Airbnb
Industry: Hospitality services, online marketplace
Name of Organization Contact: Brian Chesky, CEO

Authored by: Arooj Prem

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


  1. Airbnb press room. (2018, June 10). Retrieved from
  2. May, Kevin. (2013, December 27). HomeAway urges Airbnb to admit bad judgement over Birdhouse ad. [blog post] Retrieved from
  3. Macarthy. Andrew,  Instagram Video Contest Ideas: Airbnb’s video shorts competition success. [blog post] Retrieved from on June 10, 2018.
  4. Brennan. Morgan, (2011, September 6). The Most Amazing And Absurd Places For Rent. [blog post]. Retrieved from
  5. Travel Tech, (2014, February 1). Airbnb Shorts Video Contest  [blog post]. Retrieved from
  6. Davila. Gordana, (2014, February 7). Airbnb Picks Winner of Airbnb Shorts [blog post]. Retrieved from