Better Marketing


How Airbnb Won Customers by Offering a Free Night at the Louvre

A campaign that paid off big time

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Bharat Patil on Unsplash

“You don’t want to pitch a tent and live inside the Louvre. You want to check it out, appreciate it, and move somewhere else.” — John Oates

Little did he know what Airbnb had in mind.

What would you do if you possessed all the cash in the world and could spend it in any way you like? Would you embark on a journey to a beautiful island? Would you buy a sea-facing apartment with a stunning view? Would you travel the world?

Well, all of them are possible with the right amount of money. However, there is one irreplaceable experience — a night at the Musée du Louvre. A dream for most art aficionados was turned into reality thanks to Airbnb. Airbnb opened the doors to its customers to experience a night at this monumental masterpiece for… free. That’s right. Free.

The Glittering Itinerary

If you were jealous of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s night in the Louvre in their “Apesh*t” video, listen up and listen up good.

On April 30 of last year, Airbnb and the Louvre were hosting a lucky pair of guests for one unforgettable night among the masterpieces to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Louvre Pyramid. The itinerary was nothing short of amazing. Here’s what it looked like.

As the sun sets in Paris, the winning couple would make their way to the museum, only to be greeted by an art historian, who took them on a bespoke tour, like those previously given to the Obamas, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z.

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Airbnb

Once they discovered the museum’s wonders, the couple enjoyed an aperitif beside the Mona Lisa, all without any other visitors pushing past them for a better selfie angle. Trust me, having been there before, it’s not the best place to be in.

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Airbnb

After that, they were welcomed for a “supper with Venus.” The winning couple were invited to an exquisite seat by the Venus de Milo, where an individual chef prepared a vibrant menu motivated by love and appeal, in honour of this magnificent goddess.

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Airbnb

Think it’s done? Think again. The winning couple were then escorted to Napoleon’s chambers, where they unwound while listening to a live performance. Yes, you heard right. There was a personal acoustic performance to conclude this amazing experience.

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Airbnb

To finally end the night, the winning couple also slumbered inside the glass pyramid for what promised to be a masterpiece of a sleepover, and early next morning, they were dealt a Parisian breakfast in bed.

Can you sign me up already?

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Airbnb

The Process

You might think the process for such an opportunity may be long and gruesome. However, it was pretty simple. All you needed to do was answer a simple question, in less than 800 words, on Airbnb’s website: “Why would you be the Mona Lisa’s perfect guest?” The best response to this question would score you this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The contest was part of Airbnb’s ongoing “Night At…” series, in which people could sign up for the chance to win trips to spend a night at various locations. Prior to the Louvre, there was a night at a shark aquarium, a night at Dracula’s castle, and a night at the Lego House. No offense, but the Louvre really takes it up a notch.

To learn more about this incredible offering, take a look at their ad campaign here:

Source: Youtube

The Result

The night of April 30 was an exceptional night for Daniela and her boyfriend Adam, a young couple from Newcastle in Great Britain.

She was chosen from over 182,000 applicants from all over the world, over a quarter of which were from France. Daniela is a fine arts student with a speciality in easel painting. A jury of art experts decided that Daniela’s answers were “fresh and creative.”

So, what was her answer?

“I wrote about offering a drink to Mona Lisa, to ask her about Leonardo…We would also share a spritz, because she never had a chance to taste one.”

She didn’t think her response would actually win.

Well, it clearly did.

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Airbnb

Marketing Implications

The campaign was created and executed by the marketing powerhouse Amplify. The campaign exceeded all previous benchmarks and was the most successful “Night At…” instalment to date. Thanks to this campaign, the Louvre, last year, welcomed more than ten million visitors for the first time, making it the most visited museum in the world.

For the Louvre, it offers a way to arouse the interest of a target segment that is becoming increasingly disinterested in art and culture venuesyouth. They are pursuing an approach through a number of digital products. For example, it ordered the creation of a YouTube campaign to raise its profile on this platform, which is very popular among its target audience.

It comes as no surprise now that Beyoncé and Jay-Z filmed their music video “Apesh*t” among works in the Louvre. Given the huge influence of these musicians in the world of art, it served as an excellent opportunity for the Parisian museum to increase visitor numbers and reach out to target audiences that hardly ever go to museums these days. The video even led to the creation of a visitor trail named after them, which can be found on the museum’s website.

For Airbnb, it has once again demonstrated its ability to adapt and partner with a brick-and-mortar establishment, to create an experience in line with its brand and positioning. It abandoned its comfort zone to come face to face with the general public and the world. It also generated visibility among a target segment that may not be previously familiar with renting accommodation to private individuals.

There is a growing trend towards co-branding partnerships between 100% digital players and brick-and-mortar establishments (and vice versa). To further highlight their promise and positioning, the creation of original and memorable experiences is the way to go. Above all, Airbnb attracts a sizeable segment of the youth demographic from around the world, which works in favour of their client and partner. The brand has truly come a long way in becoming a specialist in creating original customer experiences.

Key Takeaways

Personally, I believe that Airbnb really sets the tone when they say, “Airbnb — Belong Anywhere.” By launching a co-branding campaign with the Louvre, they highlight their positioning in the market, which is to make people feel like they belong anywhere. The idea is to generate an extraordinary customer experience by making any place comfortable and feel like home. Over the years, Airbnb has become something of a benchmark when it comes to original co-branding.

The co-branding partnership also creates value by modernising the image of the museum, which is able to work with a pure e-player while also remaining true to its image. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for the museum to develop its digital strategy and presence, an objective in line with the need to arouse the interest of a younger target audience.

This whole experiential marketing campaign makes its customers say:

“Let’s fall in louvre again.”

Written by

An MBA grad student writing about business, marketing, strategies, experiences, and other ideas from life | Find my words at

By Better Marketing

Our map to the marketing world. An occasional newsletter highlighting the best stories, tips, and tools to become a better marketer.  Take a look

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Thanks to Niklas Göke

Marketing advice and case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and efficiently.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store