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Brief Published: 8 Sep 2014

Ikea + Airbnb: Try Before You Buy


Building on its reputation for quirky promotional events, Swedish furniture retailer Ikea teamed up with US lodging rental site Airbnb to host an in-store sleepover for three families at its Tempe outlet in Sydney, Australia.

The premise was centred around giving the participants advice on how to make their homes more "guest ready" for Airbnb-ers, and allowing them to test the recommended products. This trades on the growing retail trend for 'edutainment' – concepts that educate consumers in addition to providing entertainment (see The Rise of Edutainment for more).

The group spent the evening together in a communal kitchen/dining area, where the parents received tips on clearing space and preparing for guests from highly rated Sydney-based Airbnb host, Claire Ferguson. Working alongside Ikea's in-house décor experts, she created three themed rooms in-store for each family to stay in that could be replicated at home: 'Rustic', 'Modern Elegance' and 'Inner-City Living'. Meanwhile, the children enjoyed a playroom with toys and games before retiring to their private quarters.

Guests only had to pay Airbnb's $11 AUD booking fee, for which they received accommodation, meals and bed sheets. Participant Brigid O'Connor commented: "The weirdest part is it didn't even feel like a shop. It was just like a really beautiful hotel room."

It's not the first time Ikea has dabbled in overnight hospitality. See Retail Sleepovers and Ikea's Reality Retail Theatre for more.

For more on the growing benefit of try-before-you buy retail experiences and store designs that also function as active research and development test beds, see Product Playgrounds in the Power of Play Industry Trend, and Product Hubs: Experimentation & Co-Creation in the Future of the Store Industry Trend. See also Nike's Try-Before-You-Buy Pop-Up, Droog's Try-Before-You-Buy Apartment, and Try-Before-You-Buy Retail by Gu.