Airbnb recently announced that they will be a sponsor for the NYC Marathon taking place in November. One of the most prestigious road races in the world, the marathon brings thousands of runners and their families to the Big Apple each year.
Why is this noteworthy? Airbnb is entangled in a fierce battle with the city and state of NY on the legality of home sharing. Associating its brand with one of the city’s marquee events sends a clear message to legislators. Airbnb does’t plan to back down from the spotlight anytime soon.
According to Airbnb, last year more than 10,000 runners stayed in Airbnb rentals when traveling to New York for the race. Despite the legal issues, Airbnb plans on blowing that number out of the water this Fall. This all comes on the heels of an aggressive subway marketing campaign throughout the 5 boroughs.
“We know Airbnb hosts will open their doors and welcome runners who can’t wait to have an authentic New York experience during this incredible event,” the company wrote in an email to its New York members.
Time will tell if this is a worthwhile monetary investment for the company. No word on exactly how much Airbnb spent for the deal but previous marquee sponsors have paid upwards of $3 million for top billing.
But the real value here is in keeping “top of mind” awareness in a city where home sharing is a hot-button topic. Airbnb made similar moves with their South By Southwest initiatives in Austin, and their headlining sponsorship of San Francisco’s pride event last month.
Perhaps all press is good press but we’ll see if a few signs along the marathon course will drive any change from legislators. Let’s revisit this one in November…
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vobios/60575987