- Airbnb is renting out the Chicago-area house from the original "Home Alone" for one night on Dec. 12, according to an announcement. The move follows the release of streaming sequel "Home Sweet Home Alone" on Disney+ last month.
- A booking for up to four guests opens Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. EST for $25 through the home-sharing platform, with Airbnb emphasizing that the promotion is not a contest. Those who secure a spot will spend an evening with actor Devin Ratray, who originally depicted Buzz McCallister, the bully older brother of protagonist Kevin, and engage in activities related to the film.
- In another sign that home-sharing sites are returning to the pre-pandemic trend of organizing experiential stunts, vacation-rental site Vacasa has partnered with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to offer a stay at the Grinch's cave on "Mt. Crumpit" — in reality, a remote property outside of Boulder, Utah. Bookings open today (Dec. 3) for a stay between Dec. 13 - 23 that runs $19.57 per night excluding a local lodging tax, a figure reflecting the 1957 release date of the children's book classic.
Airbnb and Vacasa are drawing on beloved pop culture holiday touchstones to stoke consumer interest in themed getaways this season as holiday travel returns for some. The tactic reflects how marketing around in-person experiences has started to resurface after going quiet last year due to the pandemic, though safety concerns remain a priority.
Guests and on-site Airbnb staff are expected to adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and the home-sharing site's own safety protocols, which include mask-wearing and practicing social distancing. Vacasa is playing up the Grinch's reclusive qualities by tucking its rental away on a stony mountain.
An announcement written from the POV of the grouchy Dr. Seuss creation notes that travelers should bring a car that's "at least a crossover or larger" to access the carved-out, multilevel cave on "1957 Mt. Crumpit Dr." Guests are also strongly encouraged to bring their own food and beverages due to the remoteness of the location. The spot has no internet or cable, either, and largely leaves consumers to make their own fun. The 5,700 square-foot abode comes with goods like "roastable beast" and "Who-pudding," as well as a Grinch-themed coffee machine, organ and green furry pants.
Conversely, the one-night "Home Alone" tie-in is loaded with activities inspired by events from the film — guests can interact with a tarantula, for instance — and promotes an appearance by Ratray reprising his role as Buzz. Other activities on tap include setting booby traps like the ones Kevin devises to trip up a pair of burglars, a candlelit dinner of Chicago deep dish pizza and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and a screening of "Home Sweet Home Alone."
A report in Nieman Lab picked apart the particulars of the activation, noting that there's no kitchen access — though the listing says "You'll have the house to yourself" — and raising questions over how much of the agenda is mandatory. None of the activities are required, while guests will have access to Kevin and Buzz's quarters of the house, a spokesperson told Marketing Dive over email.
Other home-sharing companies have brought back their experiential strategies with an eye on providing consumers an opportunity to unplug and indulge in their hobbies. As part of a partnership with Hasbro, Vrbo in September decked out a lakeside mansion with branding and gear from the toy marketer's Nerf line. The 12-bedroom estate on Grand Lake O' the Cherokees in Oklahoma accommodated up to 30 people and showcased Nerf-themed bedding, décor and a training station.
Clarification: This story has been updated after an Airbnb spokesperson provided additional details on the particulars of the "Home Alone" rental experience.