Airbnb wants a piece of the ‘Stories’ success

Brace yourselves, 10-second video generation. Another ‘Stories’ feature this way comes. Source: Shutterstock.

SNAPCHAT must’ve done something right by pioneering the “Stories” feature in 2013, considering how it snowballed into an avalanche of companies implementing similar, if not exactly the same features.

You may remember Instagram first announcing “Stories” in 2016. This was followed by WhatsApp, Facebook, and Skype. Clearly, they’re not the first. And they won’t be the last.

Airbnb has just launched “Stories” on its app this week, a feature we all know too well.

Currently, it’s being tested among a small group of users. Like all the other social media story formats you’re familiar with, its purpose is to serve as an outlet for users to share photos and videos.

Why does Airbnb feel that we need yet another “Stories” feature?

Perhaps the company has taken note of the creative, engaging shift in visual storytelling and is trying to relate to the 10-second video generation better. After all, Airbnb is essentially a travel platform and a big part of travel is capturing memories through the camera lens.

Or maybe it’s living up to the promise of becoming an all-round holiday planner, booker, flyer, and accommodator. Airbnb already has the platform and the users, so why not make the best out of it and benefit the people who are on it?

How many ‘Stories’ features can you juggle? Source: Shutterstock.

And how will “Stories” benefit Airbnb?

According to social media agency Block Party, the number of accounts that created or viewed a story on Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Facebook rose 842 percent between 2016 and 2017, reaching more than 970 million accounts.

To date, over 820 million accounts use “Stories” every day across Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Facebook.

If the success of the other social media platforms are anything to go by, Airbnb will likely see an increase in downloads, which will translate into sign ups.

For those who have already signed up with Airbnb, this may encourage them to use the app more and not just as and when needed for bookings.

A quick glance at how Airbnb’s ‘Stories’ feature works. Source: Airbnb.

With enough people using “Stories”, it will allow Airbnb to collect the material and use it to give other users ideas of places to see and things to do

“Keep captions to one to two sentences. Write about why you thought that moment was interesting. Feel free to write tips about that place as well – these are super useful to people viewing your story,” Airbnb wrote in the FAQ.

In other words, it’s an easy way to market destinations.

After all, the company did roll out Experiences in 2016, a service that offers users activities hosted by locals and in some cases, intimate concerts hosted by the artist themselves.

The service is on track to book one million Experiences for the second quarter in a row. It’s expected to be profitable by the end of 2019.

Sounds like a win-win situation for both Airbnb and its users.

That having said, how users are planning to juggle between “Stories” on a handful of apps remains to be seen.