Mariah, Beyoncé and Las Vegas showman: how Airbnb spun on Instagram before it became fashionable

Airbnb’s rental service started moving on Instagram before everyone knew the word “influencer,” Bloomberg writes. 

The agency told how cooperation with the stars turned a young startup into a luxury brand and how it is going to use it in anticipation of an IPO.

Airbnb’s rental service, which is getting ready for an IPO next year, was one of the pioneers of a new type of marketing, providing celebrities with free accommodation in mansions in exchange for mentioning on Instagram. 

Airbnb started using this strategy “even before most people knew who the influencer was”, and achieved “crazy success” for a young startup, Bloomberg writes. 

The agency first spoke about the details of a marketing campaign for a service. Airbnb itself refused to talk about cooperation with the stars.

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More details:

Airbnb began working with stars in 2015, writes Bloomberg. At that time, the company did not have a budget for traditional advertising collaboration with the stars, said Jonathan Mildenhall, who from 2014 to 2018 worked as Airbnb’s marketing director. One of the founders and CEO of the company, Brian Chesky, came up with a non-standard move — he suggested contacting the owner of the Beacher’s Madhouse in Las Vegas, Jeff Beecher, who was known for his friendship with many celebrities. Cesky instructed to find out if Beecher really knew the stars who visited his place.

The Beacher’s Madhouse club became famous in the mid-2000s, thanks in large part to the vaudeville, which became its hallmark. Newspapers wrote that the club was visited by Justin Bieber, Bradley Cooper, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mick Jagger, and Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas even celebrated their birthdays there. Thus, Jeff Beecher was exactly the person Airbnb needed, Bloomberg notes. In 2015, the company hired him as a consultant.


The first star Beecher brought to Airbnb was singer Mariah Carey. In July 2015, she spent a week in an apartment with Airbnb in Malibu, which cost $ 10,000 a night. The performer shared her impressions on Instagram, and the media drew attention to this by releasing news with a mention of the startup. Subsequently, Carey at least twice recommended the service in social networks. “Relations with Mariah have become a legend for Airbnb,” comments Mildenhall.

Successful experience with Carey has shown that collaboration with stars may not have a financial component, recalls Mildenhall. Beecher helped make this interaction informal: Airbnb did not conclude any contracts with celebrities, did not transfer money from hand to hand, and provided free rental housing. “It wasn’t like this when they say to you:“ Carry this bag and I will pay you $ 10,000. ” If they liked, if they had a positive experience, then they talked about it on their social networks, ”Mildenhall emphasizes.


Since 2015, Airbnb has collaborated with approximately 65 celebrities, providing them with free housing. In particular, Beecher helped the company interest the model Kendall Jenner, who stayed in a mansion on the Turks and Caicos Islands with 23 bedrooms worth $ 50 million.In February 2018, singer Britney Spears celebrated Valentine’s Day in a villa in Malibu, where one night costs $ 6,000. The Jonas Brothers group celebrated Christmas at a New York town house where there was a pool with a waterfall.

Perhaps the biggest advertising success of Airbnb was the recall of singer Beyonce, who she left on social networks after speaking at the Super Bowl. After relaxing in a luxurious mansion in California, she wrote: “It was a super weekend with Airbnb.”

In this way, Beyoncé and Mariah Carey helped turn Airbnb into a luxury brand, Bloomberg writes. This status is a key element of the company’s strategy, which needs to convince investors that it really costs $ 31 billion.

The partnership between Airbnb and Beecher ended in 2018. But while working with Airbnb, technology startups have become an important part of the showman’s business. He is now known to the stars as a person with connections in Silicon Valley, writes Bloomberg. According to Beecher, he is currently working with 10 startups, including Wheels Labs, an electric bike rental service.

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