Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Airbnb got free online advertising and made BILLIONS! What was their secret to success? FYO!

January 30, 2020

Thursdays: FYO! Find You Optimization

Airbnb is one of the world’s biggest (and trusted) marketplaces, with more than half a billion users worldwide.

7 million unique accommodations…

40,000 authentic activities and experiences…

…all by local hosts from different countries.

If you like to travel around the world, you have come across Airbnb at least once.

Airbnb promotes tourism in all the 220+ countries and regions that use it. It’s the go-to app that most people around the world use to promote their listings for travelers to stay in, as well as activities and experiences they can facilitate with reasonable prices.

Singapore, Japan, Italy, Norway, Kenya…

From the snowy to the tropical parts of the world, they have friendly, trustworthy, and fun hosts who are excited to offer their space, time, and energy to make sure that travelers get the most authentic cultural experiences in their hometowns.

How were they able to achieve this while addressing other people’s worries and fears of having to trust strangers?

An example is the verification process. All of the users of Airbnb are asked to provide a scanned copy of a verified ID, along with other information needed for verification, security, and accountability.

But given all of Airbnb’s efforts to keep the community safe, did their target consumers find the setting comfortable enough to pay and stay with strangers?

Not everyone is comfortable doing this.

What was it that made people want to try the listings on their platform in the succeeding years, making their business model successful?


That’s right. People trusted and relied on reviews by other users. The more there were, the better.

People check out reviews before they purchase or avail anything.

Good reviews, bad reviews—both give Airbnb users insights into the experience or listing they want to try, helping them gauge whether it’s something that fits into their travel preferences.

It provides an extra layer of assurance that’s highly needed in this kind of transaction.

It provides credibility and proof.

Airbnb gave its users the chance to leave reviews for hosts and guests. This helped other users lessen, if not eliminate, the fear or worry by doing their own reconnaissance before making any decisions.

How have reviews played a big part in Airbnb’s success?

As of 2014, they had about 10 million guests and 550,000 property listings around the world.

That same year, they had a…

$10 billion US valuation

—worth way more than big hospitality players like Hyatt and Wyndham!

Investors saw how valuable and profit generating the platform was that in seven funding rounds, Airbnb received $776.4 million US.

—Y Combinator, Sequoia Capital, Keith Rabois, Andreessen Horowitz, Ashton Kutcher, Founders Fund, and TPG Growth

The numbers show how Airbnb’s “growth story” was a good one.

Reviews create brand loyalty not only for the listings or hosts but also the brand as a whole. People find it to be a very important feature.

The more people there are that are loyal to the brand, the more the company grows.

Airbnb is an online marketplace, so imagine how much there is about them on the internet.

Online reviews boost SEO too!

The more people write and post about them on just the platform itself, the more their business ranks higher on search engine results.

Reviews are basically free content and advertising from your consumers.

You just need to make sure that you get good ones as much as possible!

Fulfill your brand’s promise and make sure your customers are satisfied. If you deliver what you promised, then bad reviews shouldn’t be an issue.


Like Airbnb, are you ready to take your business or brand to the next level and utilize the power of REVIEWS?

Garnering good reviews is one of many tactics of FYO, Find You Optimization. Airbnb provides us a great example of how we need to think beyond SEO and into FYO.

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué
Thursdays: FYO! Find You Optimization

Why should you stop thinking SEO and start thinking FYO?

We’re not saying that you should abandon Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Don’t get us wrong, we know for a fact that this is something very important, especially in today’s digital marketing age.

The internet landscape is vast, and a world of its own. You would really need to distinguish yourself and make your brand/company/website known and easily searchable.

Better yet, at the top of page one for Top Results on Google or any other search engine.

SEO is important but relying on SEO alone in getting your brand “out there” doesn’t leave enough room for creativity.

How can we look at this from a different and better perspective?

Let’s say you have it in the bag! You and your team are experts in SEO. Awesome. But did you ever wonder what else you could do to push it further and give your SEO skills a boost?

FYO! Find You Optimization!

You need your target audience to FIND YOU—your brand, product, service, or offering. This is SEO plus other tools that increase visibility online (and offline).

Every Thursday, we publish content on how you can get your target market to find you, beyond the typical “type and search.” There are other things you can do along with your SEO to give your online advertising process a boost.

Try considering other tactics beyond it—WOMO (Word Of Mouth Optimization), RO (Referral Optimization), and “All-Other-Means-Of-Getting-Your-Target-Market-To-Find-You” Optimization (AOMOGYTMTFY, if you’d like a long acronym).

Part of a great marketing strategy is knowing how to adapt new methods and make use of different types of marketing and promotion that best fit your business goals and which give you the results you want.

Hope you’ve found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s FYO!


Kyle Yu and Joel Litman
Head of Marketing & President and CEO
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
Powered by Valens Research

This content is used with permission from The I Institute and The Business Builder Daily.

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