- Airbnb is launching a print magazine titled Airbnb Magazine in a partnership with Hearst, according to reporting by Adweek.
- Hearst Chief Content Officer Joanna Coles has been working with Airbnb for the past 18 months to prepare the publication. The first issue, which was shared at the Airbnb Open event in Los Angeles, is 32 pages and filled with content from Airbnb hosts.
- Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said two more issues are coming next year, and that there will be an online component to the publication. Airbnb previously tried its hand at print with a magazine called Pineapple in 2014.
Airbnb is smartly leveraging its popularity to expand beyond the digital home sharing industry. Last week, the company announced a Trips feature for its mobile app in a pivot toward becoming a one-stop travel planner rather than simply a means to rent a room for the night.
A print magazine shows that Airbnb might be attempting to transform into a full-fledged lifestyle brand as well. Running a personal print title is a luxury not many businesses can afford in the digital age, but a co-sign from a publisher as large as Hearst suggests the venture might have legs. Given how seriously Airbnb has started to factor into the travel market, the magazine presents potentially rich opportunities for advertisers in the space.
While Airbnb Mag is more likely an objet d'art than a provider of serious journalism — Coles said the publication will ideally be seen on coffee tables and nightstands — it shows a digital-first brand taking an interesting risk on a decidedly non-digital product, similar to how Snapchat has started to produce goofy hardware as an extension of its offerings.