Top of the month: Airbnb and Waterstones grab headlines with sleepover

The PR and marketing team at Airbnb was quick to spot an opportunity after a Texan tourist, David Willis, became locked inside a branch of bookstore chain Waterstones near Trafalgar Square.

Waterstones: teamed up with Airbnb for its "Night At..." initiative
Waterstones: teamed up with Airbnb for its "Night At..." initiative

Willis’ tweets about his after-hours predicament were retweeted by more than 7,000 people, some of the natural target audience for the international accommodation-sharing business.

The Airbnb team encouraged Waterstones to use the blunder to its advantage by hosting a sleepover for people who would love to spend a night in a bookshop.

It fitted perfectly with the US company’s latest initiative, Night At …, which aims to unlock places around the world where it has never previously been possible to stay.

Waterstones launched a competition through Airbnb that gave ten lucky bookworms free rein to wander around its giant Piccadilly store in London before falling asleep inside – on condition that they would be released in the morning.

What is more, Weetabix, Innocent Smoothies, Teapigs and Graze joined in the fun by providing a midnight feast and breakfast the following day.

This left Waterstones off the hook and Airbnb benefitting from extensive media coverage of its quirky initiative.

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