“The core invention of Airbnb is trust,” said Jonathan Mildenhall, Airbnb’s Chief Marketing Officer, on day two of the Airbnb Open in Paris.

At that time, I didn’t know how these words would resonate with me the entire day. But for the moment, let’s go back to the beginning of Day 2.

Once more, I rushed to the morning Airbnb Open Keynotes and arrived in the middle of Marie Kondo’s presentation. I had read her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and loved her quirky enthusiasm for keeping items in our home that give us joy.

You can view Marie’s presentation below.

Next up, Varsha Rao, Airbnb’s Head of Global Operations, who spoke about the ways travel has become:

  • The 2nd largest global industry

  • Is expected to outpace GLOBAL GDP

  • 1 billion trips take place each year internationally

Varsha talked about the great diversity of guests you may host through Airbnb:

  • Guests from China

    • Largest outbound travel

    • 50% growth through 2020

  • Guests on Vacation

    • A 50 million person market

    • 1 in 4 stayed in a condo or vacation home

    • Families want the comfort of their home while on vacation

  • Guests traveling for Business

    • $445 million spent on business trips annually

    • Bleisure – mixing business trip with leisure – “At home on the road”

Have you seen their Airbnb’s specific business travel site and requirements for hosts?


Airbnb Business Travel

As a host, you must have the following amenities to be considered “Business Travel Ready:”

  • Wireless Internet

  • Laptop-friendly workspace

  • 24-hour check-in (this could be a lockbox, doorman, keyless entry or similar 24-hour access)

  • A smoke detector

  • A carbon monoxide detector

  • Essentials (toilet paper, clean towels, and fresh linens)

  • An iron

  • Hangers

  • A hair dryer

  • Shampoo

You can find more hosting information at:

Airbnb – What Makes a Listing Travel Ready

Next, Jonathan Mildenhall, Airbnb’s Chief Marketing Officer, arrived on the stage with contagious enthusiasm and joy. We were all dancing to Whitney Houston’s, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” a great way to start his amazing presentation about all the marketing and advertising Airbnb has been doing for 2015.

Here is my video of the start of Jonathan’s presentation:

Image from Skift

Image from Skift


Jonathan’s goal is a 10% increase of brand awareness for Airbnb. He told us that they passed this mark in some countries but not in the United States.

He mentioned Airbnb’s “uncomfortable truth,” that Airbnb is unknown and when presented with the premise, people usually say:

  • Are you crazy?

  • Aren’t you scared?

  • Don’t you worry that people are going to steal from you?

Even after over 5 years as a host, I get these kinds of questions, and I’m still surprised when people don’t know about Airbnb. I speak about hosting everywhere and to everyone. I’m fun that way.

Then off I went for an afternoon of adventures:

  • Lunch

  • My phone decided to swim

  • Conversations with hosts

I went to a session and here are some of my notes:

  • Do one renovation or improvement after each checkout

  • Your prices should reflect the upgrade

  • Create crates of joy

    • Families with kids – a box with toys, books, crayons, etc.

    • Business – a box with pens, pads, surge protectors, maybe adapters (good for everyone)

    • Romance – champagne glasses, flowers, etc.

During the afternoon keynote, we heard from Michael and Debbie Campbell, the senior nomads, a retired couple who have travelled the world using Airbnb.

Alain de Botton also spoke about “why we must travel,” and you can read an Airbnb post about his presentation when you click on his name. He gave us got his book “The New Art of Travel” with Brian Chesky's foreword, as a gift. Thanks Alain and Airbnb!

Douglas Atkin, Airbnb Global Head of Community, presented the path of a traveler: how someone feels invincible when staying at a hotel to feeling braver, more adventurous, and more spontaneous when staying at an Airbnb. “How to Belong Anywhere.” which is Airbnb’s marketing.


Lastly, we heard once again from Brian Chesky. He gave us details of his parents’ trip to Paris, and how they went from being travelers to belonging. He spoke of how the French hosts took his parents under their wing, showing them an amazing time in Paris and creating a memorable vacation and experience.


Then off I went to Day 2 of my presentation, of which you can view the first 5 minutes below.


After my presentation, the NY and NJ group got together under the AO sign to take photos of our time in Paris.  


As always, Happy Hosting!

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