airbnb Whips Up Entusiasm at Conference for Its Super-Hosts

Airbnb expo attracts company’s most loyal hosts

From SF Gate, November 21, 2014

Airbnb hosts are a fanatically loyal bunch, rivaling Trekkies and Apple fanboys in their devotion.

Some of the most loyal converged on Fort Mason on Friday for Airbnb Open, a three-day conference sponsored by the San Francisco company, which lets users rent their homes to travelers.

The event — which attracted about 1,500 hosts from 40 countries — was part pep rally, part informational session on cleaning rooms for rent and, most importantly, making visitors feel at home.

“This is a global movement and it’s all about you,” said Chip Conley, founder of the Joie de Vivre hotel chain and now Airbnb hospitality guru. “You can feel the connection with each other; feel the infectious nature of the home-sharing movement.”

It’s no accident that Conley and Airbnb head of community Douglas Atkins have written books on cultivating cult-like brand followings. The event seemed carefully calibrated to motivate hosts to live and breathe such Airbnb mantras as “democratize hospitality,” create “global intimacy” and “sharing is caring.”