Melding old school publishing expertise with new school content generation, Airbnb is launching a new magazine with Hearst—aptly titled Airbnb Magazine.
The first issue is 32 pages filled with content from Airbnb hosts and devoted to Los Angeles with topics such as “how to navigate LA,” profiles of Airbnb Superhosts, spotlights on select LA neighborhoods and profiles of Airbnb Trips (tours and activities) in the city.
Hearst CCO Joanna Coles, who introduced the magazine at last week’s Airbnb Open in Los Angeles along with Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, has been working with Airbnb on the pub for the past 18 months.
“What it does, unlike any other magazine out there, is that it taps into the expertise of you guys,” Coles told Airbnb hosts at the launch event. “Everything in it is sourced from hosts and regular travelers.”
Only three advertisers appear in the printed magazine—all Airbnb Open partners: Delta Air Lines, the film La La Land and American Express.
The news follows Airbnb’s recent add-on of a Trips feature, an in-depth holiday service enabling consumers to go on a variety of excursions.
Coles said Hearst will produce two more full issues of the magazine, which she hopes will grace “every coffee table” of every Airbnb host. “Everything in it is sourced from hosts and regular travelers to LA,” she noted. “It’s not news around a new hotel opening. It’s real information for the world of Airbnb.” There will be a digital component to the publication as well.
Coles insists Airbnbmag isn’t a travel magazine, which distances it from Airbnb’s 2014 Pineapple magazine. Pineapple was published just once, and at 128 pages focused on London, Seoul, and San Francisco, with 18,000 copies distributed to Airbnb hosts and available at newsstands.
“It’s clear that Airbnb is pursuing a content marketing approach that has evolved significantly from its first attempt in 2014,” points out Skift. “Airbnbmag, like its predecessor Pineapple, is meant to serve as a coffee table magazine, or the Airbnb version of the in-room hotel magazine, or the marketing copy that travel agent consortia often publish for their members.”