How Airbnb will empower communities to turn their neighbourhoods into tourist hotspots at The Drum’s Do It Day 2016

Sharing accommodation brand Airbnb will look to implement a new app on Do It Day (10 November) in order to shine a light on off-the-beaten-track locations that could benefit from a tourism boost.

For a brand that had one of the more straightforward challenges (on paper at least), Airbnb’s groups were faced with balancing ambition with pragmatism more readily than some of the others. Tasked with coming up with a “toolkit” hosts could use to transform their local neighbourhoods into tourist hotspots, both teams toiled with how far they could push a brief, that Airbnb has said if the final idea is good enough, it could form a permanent part of its marketing mix.

After discussion, planning and pitching it came down to two ideas that Airbnb’s brand marketer Jeanne Salvanès had to pick between. However, this was easier said than done given both teams had gone to great lengths to ensure their ideas empowered hosts to champion their own neighbourhoods but also focused on a social, local and mobile activation, as advised during a brief that lasted a lot longer than some of the others.

Such was the scope of the challenge that Salvanès and her colleagues were peppered with questions from both sides, each searching for a killer insight that could give them a competitive edge.

Having those insights aided both teams as they attempted to work out how to motivate hosts to help their communities rather than just wait for guests to come to them. It makes the fact that team one could come up with a winning idea even more impressive. Pitched as a ‘trusted local guide for guests, created by hosts,’ the ‘Local Gems’ app won over Airbnb on the day. All content on the app is powered by the community, with the idea being that hosts are recommending places in their local area to convince guests to spend more there.

Of the winning idea, Salvanès said it was a “hyper-local, community-driven and scaleable guidebook that could eventually drive footfall to local businesses and local communities”.

Winning team: Samantha Hibbard-Daniels, account director at Kitcatt Nohr, Becky Stuart, insight and planning manager at Ear to the Ground, Alistair Tweedie, senior digital designer at The Drum, Lauren Holden, project consultant at Reading Room, Millie-Mae Twort, account manager at Rapp.