Airbnb: Africa Travel Summit

The Brief

The Africa Travel Summit (ATS) was a three-day event that took place in Langa, Cape Town, from 11 to 13 September and was organised by Airbnb to further the dialogue around inclusive and sustainable tourism in Africa, and as part of the $1-million commitment that the company made to promote and support community-led tourism projects in Africa.

Irvine Partners was tasked with securing a media partner, shortlisting candidates for the media panel, inviting media to the event, securing interviews for Airbnb Head of Public Policy, Chris Lehane, with major news outlets and generating pre-, during and post-event coverage.


Our Approach

  • We released Airbnb’s latest economic impact report alongside the summit so the media would have an attractive data story about Airbnb to tie into the ATS.
  • We partnered with international media agency AFP to ensure widespread international coverage and local news agency ANA to secure regional coverage.
  • We crafted over a dozen individual media angles from the event targeted at specific news outlets, based on their area of focus and what their readership would find interesting. These targeted stories proved incredibly attractive to media ̶ from data-heavy stories for international news agencies, to stories of community upliftment for local community newspapers.
  • We leveraged our relationships with a diverse range of media to secure their attendance at the event resulting in the summit being relevant across multiple media beats ensuring a diversity of content.

The Result

Irvine partners generated 118 pieces of coverage in 19 different countries for the ATS. Highlights included CNBC Africa, KFM, Fin24, Business Ghana, Business Day Nigeria, the Namibia Economist, CGTN and SAFM.

By creating specific angles that would be of interest to specific news outlets, we were able to highlight Airbnb’s commitment to Africa in a tangible way, overriding the media’s usual scepticism of corporate lip service with events of this nature.

The publicity generated for the ATS bore fruit for months thereafter, sparking extensive media enquiries about Airbnb’s investment into Africa, off the back of releasing the report to coincide with the event.

There was also an additional media angle leveraged by Irvine Partners which focused on another side of Airbnb in the coverage generated: to add to their already established image as the premier home-sharing platform, we positioned Airbnb as a company that cares about sustainable tourism and making a difference in the lives of both hosts and guests.


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