Earlier this year, Airbnb launched its new Categories feature, displaying specially-selected properties in 50 groups such as “Amazing pools,” “Countryside,” “Beachfront,” “Luxe,” and “Off-the-grid.” Perhaps the most notable of these categories is “OMG!”, which features the most unusual and jaw-dropping listings, such as repurposed buses, helicopters, cranes, grain silos, and windmills. There are also homes in caves, homes made entirely of glass, homes that look like hobbit holes or beehives, and others that defy simple explanation, such as a yellow submarine grounded in a New Zealand forest or a suburban English townhouse with a giant shark sculpture embedded in the roof.
To encourage more hosts to add their creative (and often outlandish) property ideas to this eclectic collection, Airbnb launched a $10-million "OMG! Fund" in June. Tens of thousands of talented applicants vied for funding, with 100 winners from 23 countries each awarded up to $100,000 to help make their designs a reality, with guests hopefully able to book as early as next year.
- Some of the winners include a giant cereal box, oversized avocados and flowerpots, an adobe dinosaur skull, a remote Swedish lighthouse, and a pig-shaped building covered in flowers and grass (appropriately located at the Central Texas Pig Rescue). Perhaps less endearing yet still visually stunning are designs featuring recycled tires and replica nuclear missiles.
- The submissions were judged by an expert panel composed of designers and architects, along with Airbnb Superhost Kristie Wolfe, whose Big Idaho Potato Hotel is among the most popular in the OMG! Category.
- Many of the submissions were designed with sustainability in mind – 7,931 featured solar panels. Treehouses were also popular (1,214 submissions), as were mushroom-inspired designs (509 submissions). Fruit, wine, and music were also popular design inspirations, according to Airbnb.