With Infographic, Airbnb Turns Boring Facts Into Masterful Marketing

The company has experienced meteoric growth over the last year, fueled by global expansion. And they're good at telling the story.

A company’s annual report is a go-to reference when sizing up a company’s health and prospects. All those facts and figures arranged in black-and-white tables also make up the perfect cure for insomnia. Why do corporate documents have to be so boring? They don’t, as the info-data genius Nick Felton revealed in 2005, when he began issuing his own highly personalized form of annual reports chock full of biographical details presented with design gusto. (You may recall that Felton is also responsible for inspiring Facebook’s new Timeline format.) It took a few years, but companies are finally catching on to the idea of leavening snooze-inducing data with exciting colorful graphics and easy-to-read figures.

The latest to jump on the Felton bandwagon: Airbnb, which comprises a global network of local renters providing alternates to pricey hotel rooms. The big news here—rendered in eye-catching red—is that the three-year-old company is celebrating its 5 millionth nightly booking (4 million of which were made in the last year alone). That meteoric growth has a lot to do with its global expansion: 75% of its business now involves an international guest, host, or both—a fine argument for opening six new offices in major international cities by March 2012.

[Click to view larger.]

That’s all well and good from a business perspective, but Airbnb also spotlights the personal stories of their hosts, who have used their rental proceeds to cover everything from their children’s college tuition and helping their parents retire to bagging their corporate jobs to chase their pie-in-the-sky dreams. Those narratives go straight to the heart of the new sharing economy, which, rather than producing things we don’t really need, emphasizes the value of the stuff we already have.

[Infographic by Kelli Anderson]

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  • Rodney KillBill Onanga

    That awsome so much so that they put the wrong flag over Paris in the section our offices, they should have put the french flag wich is blue-white-red but they put the red-whte-green wich is the Italian flag. So busy on the design taht they missed that details. The french won't be happy about it. Except that it's really good, so are their numbers, 4 millions more users in 1 year that pretty cool.

  • L S Notter

     Ha! You were so busy on your post you missed the details of spelling awesome,white, which, that, French correctly.

  • j-mo

    Look again, it's clearly blue compared to the green on the Italian flag right next to it.

  • The Anti-pedantic league!

    The location of the French position is a little off but the flags are correct. You do realise that the map was for design purposes and not to be used as an actual map? Are you sat this minute in Italy looking for the Eiffel tower? I wish you the best of luck, maybe use airbnb for the night to find a room? :)

    This looks good:

  • Clynton Taylor

    Great stuff Belinda. I just used Airbnb to find a good place to stay for for an upcoming business trip to Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress. So much easier and more fun than Kayak, Google Maps to find a good place at a great price!

  • yukayours

    Seriously, masterminds. Great business model, affordable, and endless possibilities. Definitely going to use this on my next trip.

  • Anne Richardson

    Yeah, Kelli’s work IS amazing. And no mention of her in the article at al! That's really too bad. It's easy to think Felton did the infographics, unless you saw the link at the bottom of the article. 

    Her paper record player was featured on FastCo…