Airbnb – the home sharing app that lets travellers save on hotel prices by renting privately – is looking at original video content as a way of enticing would-be customers to travel more, according to Reuters.
Four people in the know told the site that this is something that Airbnb is toying with for around three years now. Three of the sources highlighted that this is the brainchild of the company’s chief executive Brian Chesky, who sees it as important for the brand, whether it makes people book more rooms through the site or not.
One source told Reuters that he “likes big splashy things”, while another said his mentality is “Let’s do films, because we want to be travel-everything.”
But it’s not just films: one source says that it could be mini-series, documentaries and other shows featuring Airbnb venues, travelers and hosts.
“We’re very much in the R&D phase here,” Chris Leane, Airbnb’s policy and communications executive told Reuters. “It’s not just limited to video. It could be audible. It could be physical. The more we put content out there, the more you’re going to bring people to the platform.”
It’s certainly a bold plan. Original content doesn’t come cheap – especially if the plan involves creating your own studio as one of the sources suggested was possible. While it’s possible content could be profitable in its own right, there’s no guarantee it would push people into booking more rooms through Airbnb.
Branding is also tricky: too much and people think they’re watching a glorified advert, too little and the company loses the main benefit of creating the content. Still, holiday rentals is a super-competitive industry, and if Airbnb has the resources to stand out from the crowd, then it could ultimately be a gamble worth taking.
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