Airbnb embarks on Puerto Rico promotional campaign
SAN JUAN – While at Airbnb headquarters in San Francisco, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and the co-founder and CEO of lodging marketplace Airbnb, Brian Chesky, announced Thursday a partnership to drive tourism to the island after Hurricane Maria.
As part of the partnership, Airbnb launched the “Experiences” platform, which involves unique activities designed by local hosts. In addition, during the next three months, the company will donate the total fees charged for reservations made in Puerto Rico to organizations such as All Hands and Hearts, a nonprofit with a network of volunteer groups dedicated to disaster recovery.
According to the online company, there are already nearly 50 Experiences across the island, such as a sailing experience at sunset in San Juan Bay, hiking in a nature reserve in the mountains and touring San Juan’s nightlife with a local musician.
The online hospitality company and the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. will launch a marketing campaign to promote the island as well, led by Airbnb’s Office of Healthy Tourism. It will also organize events in New York and Florida to promote the new projects.
“Puerto Rico has long been a top destination for travelers looking to experience its rich culture, beautiful scenery, and incredible hospitality,” Chesky said in a release after the announcement. “Its determination in the face of such daunting challenges has amazed and inspired us, and we look forward to working with these important partners to unlock the magic of the Island for more travelers from around the world and empower Puerto Rico’s businesses and people to build an even stronger travel industry than before the hurricane.”
“The future looks promising for the tourism sector of Puerto Rico,” Rosselló added. “Taking advantage of the power of the Airbnb platform gives us the opportunity to increase the visibility of the Island as a travel destination, making it more sustainable and diverse. Likewise, this initiative allows more residents to benefit from the economic opportunities offered by tourism.”
The partnership with the Tourism Co. is Airbnb’s Office of Healthy Tourism’sfirst, and will focus on market destinations on the island with a campaign will include a site on Airbnb’s platform “dedicated to inspire travel to Puerto Rico, an email marketing campaign driving interest to local and authentic experiences on the Island; and a social media campaign highlighting the region to Airbnb’s global community of travelers,” according to the release.
Through its Voluntary Collection Agreement in August with the government of Puerto Rico, Airbnb has remitted $1.6 million in taxes to the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC) to help promote tourism on the island, the government said.
In an interview with Time after the meeting, the governor said: “My aspiration in this rebuilding process is that Puerto Rico can become a blank canvas for innovation. A lot of funds are going to come to Puerto Rico for the rebuilding, and it presents a unique opportunity to build smarter and get the best innovators in the world to come and showcase what they have to do – in areas of energy, transportation, overall technology infrastructure, the housing side. What we are doing over here is making sure all the stakeholders know that Puerto Rico is not only open for business but has this unique opportunity to showcase models that they might have on paper or a small scale.”