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New branding at Airbnb supports new direction


Branding emphasises new core tenant of “belonging”

Airbnb announced new branding a few weeks ago that includes a new logo as well as a redesigned website and upgraded mobile apps. The moves are a shift from focusing on the types of lodging available on the website, typically unique structures such as treehouses and castles, to a focus on the people within the Airbnb community, explains Euromonitor’s analyst insight posted this week.

The rebranding aims to position Airbnb as a lifestyle brand to enable the company to broaden its product portfolio beyond lodging services. Given the harsh reaction to the logo, though, it remains to be seen if the new branding will be enough support the company’s new direction.

“Belonging” is the keyword. The company’s founders and first Airbnb guest revealed the new branding in an online presentation that featured many stories about Airbnb’s community, emphasising the company’s new core tenant of “belonging.”

“Belonging is based upon four key themes of people, places, love and Airbnb, which influenced the new symbol as part of the new company logo. The new symbol is called “Bélo” and is simple so that anyone can recreate it.

CEO Brian Chesky thinks the symbol may become a “universal symbol of sharing”, displayed by many different businesses, such as restaurants.

Airbnb also updated its online presence, airbnb.com, to reflect the new brand and logo. The website’s main architecture remained the same after a significant update in 2013, so the changes were mostly aesthetic, focused on a new typography and a heavier emphasis on visuals.

Scrolling down the page shows a personalised section displaying cities and hosts that are recommended based on the user’s location. For example, a user in San Francisco would see local getaways such as Lake Tahoe and Portland. This is followed by a section for Airbnb news and a section for postings from the Airbnb community.

But like the website, the mobile applications did not experience significant changes – the functions of booking, listing management and other features are the same. According to the company’s update release, the new applications have “richer colours and more vibrant photography inspired by Airbnb experiences all around the world”.


[image courtesy Airbnb]


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