Last week, Downtown LA belonged to Airbnb. The whole Broadway turned into Airbnb’s annual host festival — a celebration of hospitality and humanity. This event is the brainchild of Chip Conley and best described as a baby of “Burning Man, TED and Sundance Film”
Airbnb’s “Belong” bracelet
At the end of the company’s Belo Award (to recognize top hosts from its global community), attendees received a bracelet engraved with one word “BELONG”.
(For those less familiar, Airbnb’s mantra is “belong anywhere” with the logo Belo signifies “universal belonging”. )
It is more than a bracelet.
It comes with words from the 3 founders.
To create a world where we all belong,
it starts with human kindness.
As a host, you practice this each and every day.
Wear this bracelet as a way of saying,
‘I believe in unity, equality, and acceptance for everyone.’
As I read through the script, I felt as if my yoga teacher were talking to me during Shavasana at the end of every yoga practice.
I am a devoted Yogi, so my views might be biased. In Yoga practice, we often Om together, during which you feel a deep connection with everyone in the room regardless if you know them or not.
As I read through this script from Airbnb founders, I wonder who on a different part of the world (Airbnb is in 191+ countries) is reading at the same time.
As 5000+ attendees (the most hospitable and passionate people on this planet) departed for home after Airbnb’s annual celebration, they brought home the fond moments and new friendships. This bracelet is a physical reminder of memories and a sense of belonging.
Is Airbnb creating a new Yoga Tribe?
As a marketing professional, I admire and study Airbnb’s branding and marketing. This “belong” bracelet is a physical marketing object. In some way, Airbnb Open ended on Saturday 11/19 in LA, but it was also the beginning of a lifelong sense of belonging and connection.
Looking at the whole gift bag Airbnb gave to attendees, it reminds me of the yoga community — the stylish s’well water bottle that almost all yogis possess, the symbol “OLA” which reminds me of “Ojai” near Santa Barbara. A post card that says “Lots of LOVE, from LA”.
Yoga community is about “love” “kindness” and living with intentions. To me, the Airbnb Open experience was designed with an intention to create belonging, love and kindness, just like Yoga.
Is Airbnb creating a new Yoga tribe where its members have a strong follow? (think about yogis’ obsession with lululemon/alo outfits,the tribal blankets, kombuchas, detox juice and acai bowls)
Thomas Friedman says there are 3 types of jobs — with hand, with head and with heart. Airbnb believes that “Hosts can disrupt robots” and “everything Airbnb does is powered by human”.
This is not a typical tech company’s value proposition — such as efficiency and speed. That’s why this annual host festival is so important to Airbnb. For Nike, the heroes are athletes, but for airbnb, the heroes are the hosts.
Brian Chesky says “Airbnb is not about booking or traveling , but about bringing people together and give them a sense of belonging.”
When you bring together the most hospital people on this planet on a sub-conscious level beyond material, it is like creating a new religion. As I read out the script again, I feel that universal vibration of “om” and perhaps “Belong is the new om” that makes the world feel smaller and more connected.
Views are my own.