Bloomberg

Beyoncé, Mariah Carey helped turn Airbnb into a luxury brand

Airbnb's celebrity marketing program, the details of which haven't been previously reported, started before most people knew what an influencer was. Foto: Bloomberg photo by Andrew Harrer

For one week in the summer of 2015, consumers of celebrity gossip news couldn't escape Mariah Carey's trip to Malibu, California. Her stay at an Airbnb there, which she chronicled on Instagram, made headline writers swoon. It was covered in TMZ ("Mariah Carey: I USED AIRBNB… For My Sick Malibu Rental"), Page Six ("Inside Mariah Carey's $10K-a-night Airbnb rental") and PopSugar ("Mariah Carey's $10,000-a-Night Airbnb Is the Ultimate Fantasy," along with a slideshow).

But the pop star didn't just happen to see the listing idly scrolling through the app. Carey was a test run of what would become a wildly successful celebrity marketing campaign for a young, scrappy startup. Airbnb Inc. covered the cost of the Malibu stay, and it was just the beginning. The company had relationships with about 65 celebrities and went on to provide free lodging for several of the world's biggest stars, including Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé...

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