This month, Airbnb joins in a great and growing French tradition: the celebration of people-powered neighborhoods.
La fête des voisins, or Neighbors Day, started in Paris as a day of gatherings between neighbors in multifamily buildings to help residents foster a greater sense of community. The gatherings spread beyond buildings to Parisian neighborhoods, beyond Paris to all of France, and even beyond France.
On May 25, European neighbors will come together, connect and reject the pull of devices, cultural and political differences, and other forces driving people’s increasing isolation from one another.
While the American poet Robert Frost wrote that “good fences make good neighbors,” the human experience makes clear that such nimbyism is wrong-headed. Only through positive people-to-people engagement beginning with neighbors reaching out across fences to create human connections do communities truly become strong.
Having sprung up in the birthplace of the Enlightenment philosophy that championed a social contract grounded in people-to-people connection, la fête des voisins is a testament to how faith in the power of belonging leads to stronger communities, one neighborhood at a time.
This May, Airbnb too will celebrate the neighborhood, devoting the month to spotlighting how hosts and guests engage in healthy travel that supports local businesses and helps local communities thrive.
From the moment humans walked out of the Olduvai Gorge through our first step on the moon, travel in all its forms has helped advance the human condition. Migration populated the planet. Immigration has spread economic prosperity. Innovation has expanded our horizons. Integration has forged closer ties. Exploration will perpetuate the species.
And the building block for travel is neighborhood-level connection.
Today, more than 250 Airbnb-supported host clubs around the world engage with local businesses and organize volunteer activities.
Three in four guests stay on Airbnb to explore a specific neighborhood. Nine in 10 like how we help them stay in non-traditional tourist areas. Globally, 44 percent of what guests spent while traveling on Airbnb in 2017 was spent in the neighborhoods where they stayed, at the local cafes, restaurants and shops that are a neighborhood’s heart and soul.
Our month-long spotlight on the neighborhood will of course start in Paris. Join us as we then travel the world celebrating the communities that define our local experience, from France to the Caribbean, from Rio to London and Windsor, and in every city where Airbnb has offices as we give back to our own neighborhoods during our annual Week for Good.
May marks the debut of our monthly campaigns to drive meaningful conversations around the powerful impact Airbnb’s people-powered, community-based platform can have on the world. June will bring “connecting across differences,” weaving together events and announcements on the importance of belonging anywhere and an open versus a closed society.
Liberté, égalité, fraternité.
Chris Lehane, Global Head of Policy & Communications