Airbnb Wants You to See America’s Still Great, but Lesser-Known, Outdoors

The Mojave Desert and two other national parks will be featured in a campaign with the National Park Foundation

The Mojave National Preserve is among the less traveled national parks. Joshua Sortino/Unsplash
Headshot of Ryan Barwick

As if anyone needed an excuse to get out into the wilderness this summer, Airbnb has set its sights on the outdoors, launching a campaign alongside the National Park Foundation, the charitable arm of the National Park Service.

Exactly 104 years since President Woodrow Wilson signed the act formally creating the National Park Service, Airbnb and the agency are expanding the home rental brand’s “Go Near” campaign, first launched in June, which encourages travelers to look in their own backyards for a getaway.

The move will be encouraging already eager Airbnb travelers to get back out there. Although not immune to the Covid-19 pandemic—revenue fell nearly 67% in Q2, and the brand cut nearly 25% of its staff as well as slashing its marketing budget—it has since seen bookings rebound, especially at domestic drive-to destinations.

And it doesn’t get more socially distanced than the Mojave National Preserve, among one of the three national parks that Airbnb is highlighting in the campaign (the others are the North Cascades National Park in Washington state and the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River in New York and Pennsylvania). The three parks have their own landing page on Airbnb’s platform, each with a list of nearby short-term rental options.

“We’re grateful to Airbnb for supporting national parks and reminding people about the many opportunities there are to explore locally,” said Stefanie Mathew, svp of corporate partnerships at the National Park Foundation in a statement. “You don’t have to look far to experience nature, culture and adventure through national parks.”

The decision to work specifically with these parks was intentional. The service’s most popular destinations like the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone National Park saw a collective 15.1 million visitors in 2019 and don’t need the help—they’ve seen visits soar since the first thawing of lockdown orders in early summer. By comparison, in 2018, the Mojave National Preserve saw only 787,404 visitors. (The National Park Service manages 418 sites around the country, so there are plenty more to explore as well.)

“Through our partnership with the National Park Foundation, we are lifting the veil over three specific less-traveled parks, connecting our guests to places they may not have otherwise thought to discover and driving tourism’s economic engine into even more communities,” said Chris Lehane, svp for global public policy and communications at Airbnb. 

@RyanBarwick Ryan is a brand reporter covering travel, mobility and sports marketing.