HomeAway, an online vacation rental marketplace, held a contest that gave winners the opportunity to spend a night in an apartment the company built in the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
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HomeAway Co-Founder Brian Sharples explained how the idea for the contest came about.
“It all started about a year ago when we decided to sponsor the Euro Cup, which is kind of like the World Cup but just for Europe. It’s actually quite a bit bigger than the Super Bowl; There are about 8.1 million viewers for this thing. So after we secured that sponsorship, the marketing team was kicking around ideas for a promotion around it and said, ‘why don’t we build an apartment in the Eiffel Tower?’” Sharples told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.
Sharples said the apartment was built in only two days.
“I didn’t think they could pull it off, but they did pull it off. In the last 48 hours they have built a stunning apartment. It has two bedrooms, showers, dining room, big screen television and it’s a third of a mile in the sky,” said Sharples.
Contestants entered the contest by answering the question, “What would you do if the HomeAway Eiffel Tower Apartment was all yours for a night?” And the company received 150,000 entries in response.
“Yes, just in a few weeks. And we limited the number of characters so we didn’t have to read too many volumes and volumes of essays,” Sharples said.
The contest could have a big impact on the company’s effort to take on competitors such as Airbnb.
“We thought it was going to be very big from a PR perspective, but we didn’t know how big. It turns out there is so much romance tied up with the Eiffel Tower, that it’s become a much bigger international story than we thought. I saw a report last week that just the media alone around this has generated something like five billion views and hundreds of millions of impressions, so this is big,” said Sharples.