Early this morning, I got an email from Martin urging me to check out Airbnb. “You won’t recognize it anymore,” he exclaimed in an email. Hmph. I just used Airbnb last night to confirm some online reservations for one of our two property listings on Airbnb. There’s no way the website changed overnight. WRONG.
Take a look at Airbnb’s site, and everything visual has changed. Gone is the bright blue color scheme, puffy scripted A logo, and so much more. It is replaced with a coral red color scheme, a new website structure, and a logo that is being described as everything from a twisted paperclip, male and female genitals, and a trademark offense. Basically, reactions are mixed and are largely in the shock/negative arena so far. Smooth, Airbnb.
But I’ve had such amazing experiences both hosting and being hosted on Airbnb that I couldn’t let these visual offenses deaden my loyalty to the world’s largest hospitality sharing community. This, combined with an inspiring Ted Talk by Simon Sinek that I viewed this morning led me to dig deeper into Airbnb’s website, searching for anything that might explain their extreme rebranding move. What I found astounded me and reaffirmed that my faith in Airbnb shouldn’t waver. In essence, the rebranding represents Airbnb’s recognition that their business services and successes reach far beyond hospitality and tourism; they have the power to create a whole new community and movement, and that is what the rebranding is all about.
I explain my thoughts further in a LinkedIn long form post that I published this afternoon. Since being published about 6 hours ago, it has garnered over 7,000 views and 34 comments; the comments are largely positive, although many continue to call out the oddities behind the new logo. Take a look, and let me know in the comments what your thoughts are. Is Airbnb’s rebranding move genius, or a potentially fatal mistake?