How Airbnb Converted Its Live Experiences Platform to Virtual

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Consumer engagement through experiences is in a state of transition. In a recent chat with Mastercard Global CMO Raja Rajamannar, the executive revealed that its “Priceless Experiences” platform is adapting to social distancing mandates brought on by the coronavirus by offering virtual experiences within the home. He also asserted that digital complements to experiences are here to stay. As the world adjusts to the lack of face-to-face interaction, marketers are complementing just what that might like.

Enter Airbnb, which stepped up its virtual engagement by converting its live experiences platform into an online portal offering classes and tours conducted by hosts live through Zoom. Event Marketer sampled two of the program’s highly-rated experiences, a “Guided Sheep Meditation” and “Coffee Masterclass.” Here are a few takeaways for marketers seeking to follow in Airbnb’s footsteps.

Prioritize the Pre-Experience

For the both of the experiences, pre-event messaging set expectations for attendees, who were asked to bring something to the group to share and spark interactions. A care package shipped to attendees’ homes ahead of time would have made the experience even better.

Host Leadership Is Important

To make virtual attendees feel truly “connected,” lean on the host of the experience to unify the group while making each person feel like a true participant. Think introductions, encouraging questions and ice breakers integrated throughout.

Rely on Storytelling

Marketers need to rethink the experience as a whole. Even though it’s a virtual event without physical spaces, the experience should still have a clear visual narrative and guide attendees through different activities, whether it’s a Zoom waiting room or offering varied camera angles to choose from.

For a deeper dive into the Airbnb experiences, including the role that sound played in the virtual activities, read more in Event Marketer.


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