Airbnb to help lure tourists for PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games

Airbnb has inked a deal with the organising committee of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 to offer accommodation options for travellers visiting Gangwon, a province in South Korea, during the Games.

As an official supporter of the Games, Airbnb will also promote tourist attractions in Gangwon province on their website and mobile app. While Airbnb declined to reveal the monetary value of the deal, Airbnb's spokesperson said in a statement to Marketing that the agreement allows it to use the official PyeongChang 2018 logo on the Airbnb platform and marketing materials in South Korea. The company is also listed as an official supporter on the PyeongChang 2018 site.

The agreement comes after Airbnb signed another deal with the Gangwon province in early 2017 to offer lodging and promotional support to prepare for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, according to an Airbnb blog post. Recently, Airbnb also announced it will be investing US$2 million through 2020 to support and promote innovative and inclusive tourism projects throughout Asia Pacific.

According to Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb co-founder, CSO and chairman of China, the funds will be made available to organisations including destination marketing organisations, non-profit agencies, NGOs and community social groups, that require financial support for innovative tourism projects. This is in line with its vision to strengthen communities through healthy tourism and empower hospitality entrepreneurs across the region.

In a separate conversation with Marketing, Airbnb’s country manager of Southeast Asia, Hong Kong & Taiwan, Robin Kwok, said Asia Pacific is the company’s fastest growing region in terms of inbound travel year-over-year, with 14.6 million travellers in 2016 and a 177% growth for Asia alone, compared to last year. As such, the region is no doubt of importance for the brand.

“We are delighted to welcome Airbnb into our list of Games sponsors. I would like to thank them for helping us show the world the wide selection of accommodation on offer for spectators coming to enjoy the amazing sports action and our hospitality," Eom Changwang, PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee general director of marketing bureau, said.

“With the eyes of the world focused on PyeongChang, our community is stepping up and providing guests with unique and local travel experiences. We want to work together with more cities to democratise the benefits of big events and extend their benefits to regular people who share their homes to help make ends meet," Chris Lehane, head of global policy and public affairs, said.

In October, Airbnb's CMO Jonathan Mildenhall announced his departure weeks after appointing Wieden+Kennedy as its global creative agency. Mildenhall said he would continue to work for the brand as a consultant while recruitment firm Spencer Stuart helps the company hunt for a replacement. In the interim, he assisted Wieden+Kennedy with the on-going tasks.

While the departure of a CMO can signal instability in the eye of agency, Airbnb told Wall Street Journal  that Wieden+Kennedy will remain as its agency, adding that its chief executive Brian Chesky was “deeply involved” in the selection.