In 2016, Airbnb’s founders handed us the keys to a rarely-updated, single-page blog called the Airbnb Newsroom. Over the course of five years, we transformed the Airbnb Newsroom into Airbnb News, a singular destination where press and users alike could instantly access Airbnb's latest announcements, product launches, and editorial content.
From a core group of four team members in the San Francisco HQ, we grew to dozens in offices around the globe. We localized the site for 16 different regions and languages, and our monthly visitor count grew from hundreds to hundreds of thousands. After a few years of building the site from the ground up, our content creation and publishing process ran like a well-oiled machine — so much so, that our system was formalized as the company standard for publishing editorial.
Designing Airbnb News was a monumental effort on both the front and the back end. The site’s core audience was press seeking the latest updates, images, and quotes, but we still wanted our content to broadly appeal to the general public. Our resulting home page presented stories in a compelling way for both audiences. We published branded content that appealed to everyday users (like the top 10 travel destinations for the upcoming year) with functionality streamlined for journalists (like sorting stories by category or linking a full press kit package at the end of each article).
Building the back end was equally challenging. We developed and operated the site fully from Wordpress, but our primary user base were PR folks with minimal design or development experience. To ensure a consistent, high-quality aesthetic, we built a variety of story templates that gave our team the freedom to plug in content like photos, videos, slideshows, or even interactive infographics, without lifting a finger to design layouts.
Growing Airbnb News also meant expanding our horizons with our content. We of course published news on product releases and company announcements, but we also wrote travel trend pieces based on company data, gathered knowledge from the Airbnb community on how to elevate hospitality, and launched once-in-a-lifetime experiences like an overnight stay in the Louvre or a hangout at Scottie Pippen’s house.
Always cognizant that journalists were our primary audience, we designed our secondary pages to make the most important info easily accessible, like the company’s booking data or a page solely dedicated to company-approved media assets.
Airbnb News proved to be such a triumph for our global PR team that we translated the site into 16 additional regions/languages to better serve our offices around the world. Each regional Airbnb News site now runs independently with their own dedicated newsroom team who creates content tailored to their local markets.