Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Want to go on a boat ride but like staying indoors? Find out how this company combined both! [Thursday: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

October 12, 2023

Miles Everson’s The Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson:

If you’re searching for engaging and unconventional marketing strategies to establish a unique connection with your target audience, consider delving into the world of guerrilla marketing.

This type of marketing breaks free from the constraints of traditional advertising, allowing you to elevate your promotional efforts and create a lasting impression on your target market.

Today, we will learn about a company that combined relaxation and adventure in one guerrilla marketing campaign. 

Read more to learn how this stunt generated buzz in the hospitality industry. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing 

Airbnb is a global online marketplace and hospitality service that connects travelers with various accommodations. The business offers different lodging options, from apartments and homes to treehouses and castles. 

Established in 2008, Airbnb has transformed the way people travel, providing opportunities for both hosts to rent out their properties and guests to find personalized stays in destinations worldwide.

So, to highlight its focus on providing unique accommodation experiences, the company conducted a standout marketing stunt: 

A floating house!

Photo from Time

In March 2015, Airbnb launched an eye-catching marketing campaign featuring a fully furnished houseboat on London’s River Thames. This was in support of new home-sharing rules in London that permit homeowners to legally and more profitably share their residences on platforms like Airbnb for a limited number of days per month. 

Additionally, one of the goals of this campaign was to create a memorable staycation experience for guests.

Setting Adrift on the Thames: A Unique Airbnb Experience
Airbnb’s floating house was moored near the Tower Bridge. This distinctive houseboat allowed guests to stay in a comfortable setting with breathtaking views of London.

To make the campaign reach a global audience, Airbnb invited bloggers, journalists, and social media influencers to experience the floating house firsthand. These influencers were also invited to the #FloatingHouseParty, a standout event that further amplified the campaign’s impact. 

The party brought together a diverse audience, including celebrities and travel enthusiasts, and generated extensive social media coverage. 

Photo from Hello!

Various news media outlets such as The Guardian, The Independent, and Business Insider featured the marketing stunt, creating a buzz that reached different parts of the world. 

Now, you might be wondering: 

“How were non-celebrities and non-influencers able to book a stay at the Airbnb floating house?” 

To successfully book the floating house, participants had to join the “Night At Floating House” contest through the Airbnb website and share their compelling reasons for wanting to stay at the houseboat. 

The contest lasted from May 18 to 20, 2015. The most compelling entry was selected as the winner, granting the sender and 3 guests with him/her the opportunity to enjoy a night at the floating house. 

The contest effectively engaged Airbnb’s audiences and contributed to the campaign’s success in generating new platform users. 

The floating house campaign lasted from May 18 to 23, 2015.  

Did Airbnb’s Floating House guerrilla marketing stunt work?

Here are the results of the campaign: 

  • During the promotional period, the campaign drove 73,500 visitors to Airbnb’s landing page, indicating a significant spike in user interest and engagement.
  • Approximately 10,000 new users joined the Airbnb platform during the campaign, signifying its effectiveness in attracting a fresh user base.
  • The campaign generated a massive social media buzz with 200 million social media impressions. The floating house engaged influencers, bloggers, journalists, and the general public who then shared their experiences online, contributing to the campaign’s reach.
  • 38% of the participants in the “Night At Floating House” competition were first-time Airbnb users. This demonstrated the campaign’s ability to introduce new individuals to the platform.

Great job, Airbnb! These campaign results show how guerilla marketing helps drive engagement, attract new users, and create significant social media buzz for different brands!


What can we learn from Airbnb’s guerrilla marketing strategy?

The floating house campaign shows that thinking outside the box and creating memorable experiences is a great way to get people’s attention and make them remember a brand. 

Additionally, the campaign highlighted the benefits of partnering with influencers and celebrities in reaching more people and leaving a lasting positive impression in their minds.  

We hope you enjoyed today’s guerrilla marketing topic!

Remember: With unique concepts, strategic partnerships, and a memorable user experience, your brand can make a BIG splash in the market!

What’s your next bold move in marketing?

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Thursday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
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