IKEA, Taco Bell, and Oscar Mayer Have a New Marketing Tactic to Target Millennials: Sleepovers

This weekend, a few lucky individuals will sleep in a hotdog on wheels, thanks to Oscar Mayer. In July, the hot dog maker owned by Kraft Heinz listed its iconic Wienermobile, a 27-foot-long van shaped like a hotdog, on Airbnb for $136 a night. The Wienermobile will be available for three nights only and will be parked in close proximity to Lollapalooza, the music festival now happening in Chicago.

In recent years, brands have discovered that Airbnb is more than just a home-sharing service; it can be a particularly effective marketing tool. Like Oscar Mayer’s Wienermobile, which counts more than 22,000 consumer interactions on social media since the start of its campaign, IKEA has pitched its showroom to overnight guests. Even businesses not known for bedroom furniture like Taco Bell have offered to let customers sleepover.

Some of these nightly stays are awarded through contests that people must enter to win, while others are available to anyone willing to pay. And while this strategy tends to be deployed by bigger companies, a brand need not be massive to benefit, says Jeffery Carr, a marketing and entrepreneurship professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

“The Wienermobile is just such an iconic thing. Everyone knows about it, even if you’ve never seen one on the street,” says Carr. But really, he adds: “It comes down to the uniqueness of the experience that the brand can offer.”

Take for example, the short-lived one-room hotel from the Venice, California-based bedding and towels maker, Parachute. The penthouse space, which the company pitched for $600 a night, also doubled as a testing studio to try out new lines. While this particular room wasn’t on offer through Airbnb, the idea was the same.

Here are some of the more unusual ways businesses have used Airbnb as a marketing tool:

A Night with the Mona Lisa

Airbnb and the Louvre announced a contest this past April in which one winner landed a night’s stay at the Louvre Museum at the end of the month. After a personal tour, the winning couple–a man and woman from Newcastle, Englandwere wined and dined near famous art works including Leonardo DaVinci’s Mona Lisa and the ancient Greek statue the Venus de Milo. They slept under a replica of the Louvre’s famous glass pyramid, designed to commemorate the structure’s 30th anniversary. This lucky pair was chosen from a pool of 182,000 applicants. The release, billed as a partnership between Airbnb and the Louvre, was widely covered in the press and a promotional YouTube video of the event has been viewed more than 130,000 times.

Tacos, Tacos, Tacos!

Taco Bell recently announced the launch of its pop-up hotel in Palm Springs, which sold out in two minutes when it became available June 27. This wasn’t the Mexican food chain’s first foray in hospitality, however; Taco Bell teamed up with Airbnb in 2016 for a contest in which one lucky winner and three guests could sleep over in one of its stores in Ontario, Canada. The “SteakCation,” as the company called it, was named for the Steak Doubledilla, a new menu item launched around the same time. The experience included a private dinner, snacks, entertainment and games, a private Taco Bell Butler, and a continental breakfast in the morning. Though the contest was only open to Canadian residents, it received international media attention from taco fans everywhere.

LEGO Lodging

In 2017, LEGO offered one lucky family a visit to the iconic LEGO house in Billund, Denmark. The winners received a one-night stay in the 129,000 square-foot hotel–which is made with approximately 25 million bricks–with meals and activities included. The stunt was a hit: Airbnb received more than 24,000 application submissions from hopeful LEGO fans.

The Potato Pad

In April, Airbnb unveiled an unusual listing available for booking in Boise, Idaho: a studio in the shape of a giant potato that goes for $200 a night. The Idaho Potato Commission originally made the potato in 2012 to commemorate its 75th anniversary. The 6-ton fake vegetable did several cross-country turns on the back of a semi-truck before settling down in its current locale, a 400-acre farm. Former tour spokesperson Kristie Wolfe designed the one-bedroom home. While the vacation home has received plenty of positive press, it’s unclear how well the potato has been booking, as Wolfe could not be reached in time for publication.

By: Lizabeth Frohwein Editorial Intern,



Source: IKEA, Taco Bell, and Oscar Mayer Have a New Marketing Tactic to Target Millennials: Sleepovers


It’s Not About Ideas. Do What Amazon, Netflix, Uber And AirBnb Did, Head For A Blue Ocean

In this July 1, 2014 photo, Dollar Shave Club CEO and co-founder Michael Dubin poses for photos at the company's headquarters in Venice, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

If you want to become an entrepreneur but don’t know where to start, relax. It’s not about ideas, it’s about understanding and researching current industries that have not innovated their products or services and have a large customer market. If you think about what Netflix, Amazon, Uber and AirBnb did, you can clearly see, they created nothing new in terms of products. So, what did they do? They changed the “game” in an industry that was not being innovative and was ripe for disruption. In other words, they headed for a “blue ocean” made famous by management thought leaders W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne in their perennial bestseller, Blue Ocean Strategy.

Blue Ocean Strategy is an approach that challenges everything that you thought you knew about the requirements for entrepreneurial success. Blue Ocean Strategy can be summarized in a nutshell: the best way to beat the competition is to make the competition irrelevant. Imagine that the marketplace is comprised of two sorts of oceans: red oceans and blue oceans.

To discover an elusive blue ocean, Kim and Mauborgne recommend that businesses consider what they call the Four Actions Framework to reconstruct buyer value elements in crafting a new innovation wave. The framework poses four key questions:

  • Raise: What factors should be raised well above the industry’s standard?
  • Reduce: What factors were a result of competing against other industries and can be reduced?
  • Eliminate: Which factors that the industry has long competed on should be eliminated?
  • Create: Which factors should be created that the industry has never offered?

If you think about it, lets review what these market leaders did with Blue Ocean Strategy in mind. Amazon did not build bookstores but built an enterprise infrastructure to have access to one million book titles and competed well with Borders and Barnes & Noble. Netflix did not use stores in their business model to compete with Blockbuster; instead they focused on customer service. Uber did not even try to buy cars and compete with the independent taxi companies, they created a mobile app. AirBnb does not own homes or hotels, instead they redefined the travel experience by uniting existing property owners onto a common easy-to-use platform.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, third from left, takes a photograph as he attends the opening bell ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange, as his company makes its initial public offering, Friday, May 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, third from left, takes a photograph as he attends the opening bell ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange, as his company makes its initial public offering, Friday, May 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)


Existing marketplaces with lots of competitors live in crowded, shark-ridden red oceans. Red oceans are characterized by multiple firms offering similar products competing mostly on price. Think Target versus Wal-Mart, Sony versus Samsung.  Meanwhile, blue oceans are characterized by untapped market space, demand creation, and the opportunity for highly profitable growth.

In recent years, Dollar Shave Club took on Gillette by offering subscription-based access to razors at a better cost and service. As a potential entrepreneur, just examine large industries or product lines and see if customers are happy with their current choices. Wherever you find customers are not ecstatic, dig deeper. A few years back, Chobani did the same thing to yogurt by offering Greek yogurt, more protein and less sugar. None of these examples showcase a completely new, never heard of before product. But all these companies either innovated the current product in the marketplace or they offered a simple innovation or twist to the business model for their company. In almost every case, the customer is happier with the new company or product. That means they were dissatisfied before these companies came along.

If you want to get a jumpstart on surfacing an opportunity, pay attention to something new you see (craft beer, organic pet food, cloud storage, etc.) and do some research.  Or go to places where you can observe people: malls, airports, universities and just walk around. See what people are doing and not doing. Don’t look for anything in particular, just observe. Another option is to walk through Target or Wal-Mart and slowly walk up and down the aisles. Look for current products that seem over priced or they don’t exactly make the customer ecstatic. Then research how big that industry category actually is. If it’s billions, keep going. Run a few of your best “opportunities” through the Blue Ocean Strategy framework of raise, reduce, eliminate and create.

The founders of Skullcandy did something similar by walking through Target to spot their earphone opportunity. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to solve a problem in a big marketplace. To spot a problem, go looking. Once you find some problems, use Blue Ocean Strategy to innovate a solution and perhaps you will create a billion dollar company.

You can read more about what Bernhard has to say on his website and follow him here on his Linked In

I am the Director at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, San Diego State University. I oversee all of the center’s undergraduate and graduate experiential programs.

Source: It’s Not About Ideas. Do What Amazon, Netflix, Uber And AirBnb Did, Head For A Blue Ocean.

Crypto gift card platform Bitrefill has just added support for Airbnb

Crypto gift card platform Bitrefill has just added support for Airbnb. When users pay in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash or Dogecoin, they can buy a gift card for the online home rental giant.The vouchers are paid in denominations of $25, $50 and $100.

How to Pay for Airbnb and Uber with Rewards Points – Johnny Jet


Airbnb and Uber are two of the most popular and semi-unconventional travel services for those that don’t want to spend the extra money on a regular hotel room or taxi fare. The one problem is that while you can earn points by paying for your reservations with a credit card, it can be difficult to redeem your rewards points. This guide will help show you how to pay for Airbnb and Uber with rewards points.


There are a couple different ways to help pay for your Airbnb purchases.

EDIT: You can longer directly link your Airbnb account with Amex Membership Rewards

American Express

If you have an American Express credit card that earns Membership Rewards, you can redeem those points directly through Airbnb at 0.7 points per dollar. This means a $100 stay would cost approximately 14,285 Amex points. While it’s nice to have the option of directly redeeming your points for a full or partial payment, the better deal with Amex is to redeem your points for an Airbnb gift card.

You may also be able to redeem your points for 1 cent each (1,000 points=$1) for an Airbnb gift card of $100 or $250. For a $100 gift card, you will only need 10,000 points to redeem a gift card instead of $14,285 point by redeeming directly from Airbnb. As a forewarning, Amex doesn’t always offer these gift cards.

Statement Credit

Another option is to pay for your Airbnb stay with a rewards credit card that gives you a statement credit for travel purchases. Two examples are the (currently unavailable) Barclaycard Arrival Plus or Capital One Venture cards. You will have pay for the Airbnb statement with your qualifying credit card, because the credit cards count Airbnb stays as a travel purchase, you can redeem your points for your stay. With this method, redeeming 10,000 points will give you a $100 travel reimbursement credit. The Arrival Plus also gives you a 5% rebate on all miles redeemed, and you 120 days from your purchase to make the redemption.


Uber is a little more flexible when it comes to redeeming points than Airbnb.

American Express

Once again, American Express has a direct relationship with Uber. By opting into their special offer, you can earn 2 points for every $1 spent on Uber fares and you can also redeem your Membership Rewards points at 1-cent-apiece. This means a $50 Uber ride would cost 5,000 Amex Membership Rewards points.

Capital One Quicksilver

If you own the Capital One Quicksilver card, you also have the opportunity to earn a $15 Uber credit after paying for your first 9 rides with your Quicksilver card. You will need to link your card on the Capital One website to take advantage of this offer. Plus, you earn 1.5% on every purchase.

Statement Credits

Once again, another flexible way to pay for your Uber rides is with a statement credit from a travel rewards credit card. Most Uber rides won’t cost $100, but a possible way around this limit is to buy Uber gift cards through the United MileagePlus (over $100) X App. 

Starwood Starpoints

You can’t redeem Starwood Starpoints for Uber rides, but, you can earn bonus SPG points and that might be more valuable as a free hotel night could be more valuable than a free taxi ride.

By linking your SPG & Uber accounts, you earn 2 Starpoint for every $1 spent on Uber rides during a Starwood stay & 1 Starpoint for non-stay rides. This can also be in addition to earning the 2 points on an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points like the American Express Premier Gold Rewards card.

Is it possible to pay for Airbnb and Uber with rewards points?

After reading this article, you have realized that the easiest way to pay for Airbnb and Uber with rewards points is by having an American Express Membership Rewards credit card, or through a statement credit from a qualifying travel rewards credit card.




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