Airbnb has got to be kidding right? The company’s just launched its much-hyped Trips product in Australia (three components: Places, Experiences, Homes) with an early focus on the Sydney market. The sales pitch is all about living like a local – and yet the first thing you see when you visit the Places page on its Australian website is an ad for men’s grooming in Los Angeles:

Screengrab - Airbnb Places

The Experiences page is no better. Maybe that’s because they’ve only signed up less than 20 experiences/activities (market leader Viator has more than 300):

Screengrab - Airbnb experiences 2

There’s not a single Sydney experience there. At first glance, they’re all from the United States, which of course is where Airbnb is based, both physically and mentally, it  would appear.

Even the Trips splash page hasn’t been localised for the Australian launch. Nothing local here:

Screengrab - Airbnb Trips

What’s that about?

Here we have a global company with enormous cash reserves and expertise that cannot do as it says: live like a local.

Instead, it’s behaving like a typical global corporate. Eh, we’ve tested this in the US and it’s all good.

Well, it’s not.

This has echoes of the failed colonisation approach trialled and abandoned by the US online travel agencies when they first entered new markets.

Why? Because it does not work.

Also it’s not good enough in that it’s slack, unprofessional and disrespectful.

Hey but it’s cost-effective.

Seriously, how hard can it be – with the resources at its disposal – for Airbnb to develop some relevant, market specific splash pages?

Rhetorical question, we know it’s not hard at all – if you could be bothered to do it right rather than just relying on the cachet of being Airbnb.

Not a great start for a a product described by the company as “the most significant development in Airbnb’s eight-year history”.

It says Trips is a booking platform that “offers amazing homes, authentic local experiences, tips, social events and recommendations from local insiders”.

Sydney is one of Airbnb’s top 10 markets with 22,000 accommodation listings with the US, UK, Singapore, China and Malaysia its major international source markets.

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