Airbnb sits as the most popular lodging and house renting website in the world with over 600,000 listings in 33,000 cities and 192 countries.
Founded just 6 years ago, the site has quickly grown targeting travellers looking for hotel alternatives by renting out someone’s room or entire house for the duration of their stay in a city. To date, it’s difficult to know exactly how much funding they’ve raised but it’s over $700 million. Their last round of funding valued the company at approximately $10b and this round closed just a couple of months ago.
Needless to say, they are now geared with lots of investors and for that reason, I’m sure you can guess the certain future of a company in this position. Sell. Not now of course, but at some point investors want to get their return. In 2013, Airbnb made $250 million in revenue – so not bad for a 6 year old start up. The website charges between 6-12% to the person booking and a further 3% to the home owner – so the business model is sound, scalable and pretty well thought out.
Interestingly enough, at $10b valuation, Airbnb is value higher than a significant amount of hotel chains that it is competing against. Compared to other tech companies with recent valuations, it sits as one of the highest.
Needless to say, a rebrand for the company was long overdue. The’d been using the same brand since they launched in 07/08 and it just didn’t speak ‘innovative tech start up looking to rule the world’ anymore.
London agency Design Studio designed the new logo described as something everyone can draw. The stylised “A” , lovingly named “Bélo” represents ‘people’, ‘places’ and ‘love’. Airbnb (in a similar play to Apple of the 80’s), hired ex Coca-Cola’s Jonathon Mildenhall as the new CMO and as all good new CMO’s do, it was decided to to rebrand in order to help transition the company from start up to professional and international.
“What Air bnb is about at its core is belonging” said Mildenhall when describing the new brand.
There’s been plenty of backlash around what others think the logo looks like (no comment here) as well as speculation around repairing a tarnished reputation around the company’s legalities of hiring out apartments and homes. Some feel that it’s push for authenticity feels much less authentic when it’s valued at $10b and it’s now a corporate entity looking to rule the world just like the others.
Tto their credit they haven’t just updated the logo. They’ve written an entire story around this and whether you love it or hate it, at least they’re committed. Members of the design team lodged in different listings around the world as ‘research’ – I love when designers do research like that. See below for just some of the roll out of this new brand.