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Experiential story-telling from Airbnb at Sundance Festival

By Joss Davidge

What’s the first thing you do when you meet up with friends after returning from a holiday? You tell them all about it!

You share the story about how you ended up discovering a great local restaurant by accident, or how you got completely and utterly lost. But most of all, you share recollections of the interesting people that you met along the way.

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At this year’s Sundance Festival, Airbnb launched an experiential installation – one that celebrated the huge power of storytelling.

The ‘Airbnb Haus’ pop-up featured three interactive spaces which encouraged people to ‘celebrate a world of stories’ and share their own tales in highly engaging and creative ways.

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One of the most popular installations in the Haus was ‘Local Murmurs’. Here Airbnb encouraged visitors to share the tall tales, juicy secrets and local legends from their hometown by texting them in to a special number. These stories were then printed on 12 colourful mini-printers and displayed around the room for everyone to read.  

For another, Airbnb teamed up with Shared Studios to offer visitors the chance to connect with strangers across the world. Stepping into enclosed ‘portals’ Airbnb used immersive audio and visual technology to ‘transport’ people to either Cuba, Mexico and Iran where they could meet and talk to a local character in real time.

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Equally popular was the ‘Adobe Pillow Talk’ photo station. Inspired by the thoughts and dreams that people have when lying in bed, the station encouraged visitors to lie on a bed and a photo was taken by a camera set up directly above them. Framed by a stained Polaroid-style border, people were encouraged to share these photos on social media with the tag line ‘dreaming where I want to go next’.

With #AirbnbSundance featuring everywhere, the storytelling continued online and the experience was elongated as visitors shared their experiences of the Airbnb Haus across social media.

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Airbnb has previously proven itself to be an expert at creating engaging experiential campaigns. One year on from their excellent 2015 Sundance Festival installation, they have yet again come up with an engaging and highly memorable brand experience.  

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