Airbnb opens $10 million fund to build wild rentals
The Future. Airbnb is launching a $10 million fund to give 100 hosts the resources to build crazy, eye-popping rentals that can go viral on the platform and get people booking — whether they’re in popular vacation destinations or not. If the OMG! Fund investment can multiply its return, Airbnb may make a habit of subsidizing the imaginations of hosts all over the world.
Home as destination
Fast Company reports that Airbnb wants to pay you to make a house people just have to stay at.
- It’s launching the OMG! Fund — a grant program that will give a total of $10 million to hosts to build “100 of the craziest and most unique property ideas.”
- Proposals will be judged by architect Koichi Takada, designer Iris Apfel, Airbnb VP of experiential creative product Bruce Vaughn, and super-host Kirstie Wolf.
- Submissions for the $100,000 grants are open until July 22.
All of the finished homes will be available to book on the OMG! category with other crazy listings like a flying saucer in the U.K., a yellow submarine in New Zealand, and a hobbit hole in Tennessee. The one limitation is that winners won’t be able to list their homes on any other rental platforms for a year.
Airbnb’s OMG! Fund is a perfect marketing ploy for the company’s shift from being focused on providing rentals to desired destinations to making rentals the desired destination. As major cities like New York, Rome, and Paris become impacted by tourism (and rife with stricter regulations on short-term rentals), CEO Brian Chesky is navigating the company toward a future where people focus on renting cool places… no matter where in the world they are.
This shift was accompanied earlier this year by a big redesign to Airbnb’s website, where OMG! listings get prime real estate. As Fast Company’s Mark Wilson notes, with “a mere $10 million investment — the price of a single big ad campaign — Airbnb’s hosts will produce 100 more of these properties worldwide.” Nice.