6 PR takeaways from the success of AirBnB

The company’s humble beginnings—an air mattress and breakfast for $80 a night—proved to be the box spring upon which the global business was built. Savvy messaging helped, of course.

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Airbnb PR lessons

Airbnb has become a household name mainly through its PR and marketing practices.

Its core service, online reservations for short-term rentals, isn’t unique. Others, such as VBO.com, HomeAway and even Craigslist, post short-term rentals. Instead, Airbnb become top of mind through PR.

Here are six key elements of Airbnb’s success:

1. A foundation story. The story of a company’s foundation provides a key PR message. Struggling to pay their rent, roommates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia rented out their San Francisco apartment to designers visiting for a business conference. The roommates then created a simple website, airbedandbreakfast.com, and offered airbeds and a homemade breakfast for $80 a night. After their first three guests, they really realized their possibilities. The foundation story of how they turned a mattress into a multibillion-dollar business provides an example other entrepreneurs can use to reach their own target audience.

Lesson: An interesting foundation story woven into PR and promotions accents distinctiveness, builds credibility and sticks in the memory.

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