The Secret Ingredient Behind Airbnb’s Massive Success

home builder photography

The Secret Ingredient Behind Airbnb’s Massive Success

We love the concept of Airbnb. According to Wikipedia, Airbnb is:

…a website for people to list, find, and rent lodging. It has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries.

It’s also valuated at 20 Billion Dollars.

Everything wasn’t always positive for this group. In fact, there was a time in 2008 when they struggled to secure $30,000 of funding for their startup.

For Airbnb to succeed, they had to meet two conditions:

  1. They had to attract listings.
  2. They had to convert those listings into rentals/bookings.

Unfortunately, people who were posting weren’t getting conversions and people who were looking for accommodations weren’t inspired to log on, because the inventory was so low. Low engagement = low revenue = NO INVESTORS.

By stroke of luck, they (the founders) attracted Y Combinator’s Paul Graham to invest in their venture who (amongst many other things) began pushing the need for improved photography. Augmented with many other initiatives, this small (but critical) modification substantially impacted conversions and the appeal of "gig style" travel accommodations.

There are so many parallels between a listing on Airbnb and MLS. Whether for rent or for sale, the goal of listings with beautiful photography is to help a site visitor visualize themselves living in this space. It should trigger emotions of safety and comfort.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The quality of the pictures influences the words that it represents.

As a key partner to Calgary’s Top Realtors, when we photograph a location, we establish what words and feelings we are trying to inspire and then shoot from that perspective. Our first person philosophy means that when our work reaches our clients, it already has the confidence of a prospective visitor.

Let’s talk. Contact us below.


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We switched to Calgary Photos about three months ago and are extremely pleased with the results. All of our listings including high end listings are selling very quickly. We had a 1.3 million dollar acreage sell in just 9 days for almost full asking price to out of town buyers that had only viewed the photographs online at the time the offer was written. The professionalism of the photographers and quality of the photographs are second to none. If you are looking for excellent results Calgary Photos are your go to photographers.

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Robert & Diana McIntyre - The ItsSold.ca Team

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