Boost Social Connection for Airbnb
Post-Pandemic new life style meets Airbnb's business vision
The pandemic led to 41.8% of the U.S. workforce shifting to remote work in 2020. This change sparked a 49% increase in U.S. digital nomads, rising from 7.3 million to 10.9 million. Globally, the trend is growing, with predictions of up to a billion digital nomads worldwide by 2035.
Potential expansion to serve new remote work market.
Strategically position Airbnb in evolving global mobility landscape.
Airbnb Passport: Log, Connect, and Dive into Destination Communities
Passport Profile to Connect
- Travel Buddy Matching: Easily connect with like-minded travelers for shared experiences.
- Traveler Social Profile: Personalized profile highlighting your travel interests and preferences
Trip Journals: Documenting Adventures & Fostering Travel Communities
- Journey Documentation: Record every aspect of your travels, from photos to personal reflections.
- Guide Creation: Transform your experiences into a guide for fellow travelers.
Destination based group chat
- Connect with Travelers & Locals: Easily meet fellow travelers and local residents at your next destination.
- Enjoy Community Experiences: Immerse yourself in the vibrant community life of your travel spots.
- Cultural Exchange & Networking: Engage in cultural exchanges and build your global network.
Transforming an abstract idea into a design question
Digital Nomads values community and culture exploration
Secondary research Insights:
- Local Area Information that are authentic or from locals
- Connecting Travelers at the Same Destination During the Same Time Period
- Dedicated workspace both within or outside the listing
4 structured interview for airbnb user who traveled over 1 month while working
The aim is to understand Airbnb stakeholders' unique needs and pinpoint actionable solutions for addressing their concerns.
"Workspaces in Airbnbs are hit or miss. I need consistency for remote work."
"The Airbnb listing said 'close to nature,' but I wasn't expecting it to be so remote and disconnected from other amenities."
"Split stays are a hassle. Multiple check-ins and check-outs in a week need to be simplified."
Summarized Common Painpoints
- No Place to work in new city. (finding space in random coffee shop with wifi is difficult)
- Can not invite coworker to airbnb to work (need personal privacy).
- Not really knowing the destination and especially the area where the airbnb is located.
Competitors values community and human connection
I summarized above product including Airbnb into 3 major directions. And clearly discovered that Airbnb's competitor is providing more than just place to stay. They also provide a community and human connection to travelers.
How to expand Airbnb's existing services?
I used affinity diagrams to organize findings and compared them to Airbnb's existing features. This revealed three main areas where user needs and goals weren't being met by the platform.
How I choose the current solution from 3 Different Explorations
01 WeWork Collaboration for stable co-working space
With the consideration providing a stable proposed a shared living and workspace travel plan with WeWork, inspired by the shared economy model.
However, this solution lack of feasibility and business outcome
02 Airbnb Hub as co-living/working solution
Airbnb working hub in popular destinations to build a location based Airbnb community where people can work and meet.
However, I revisited the idea, identifying the business cost would be too high and service can be limited.
03 Change in design directions after speaking with 7 user
I discovered I had overly emphasized workspace without aligning with Airbnb's business model. However, creating standalone workspaces doesn't fit Airbnb's current model. This insight shifted my focus towards fostering community for travelers.
Revisit User Needs
Through revisiting research results and previous founding. I then summarized the pain points and needs from both traveler and hosts/locals.
- Meet new friends at the destination.
- Meet with locals, make friends with locals.
- Get more real information about listing, and the local environments.
- Record their trips, explore other's trip and seek for tips and ideas for their destinations.
- Promote their listing, or "experiences" services.
- Make friends with travelers, get more exposure.
Revised Design Goal
How Might we Integrate a service within Airbnb to cater to digital nomads, promoting community and enriching user's social experiences across various locations?
Goal 1 : Building Travel Community
User connecting with locals through location based chat group
User can choose to join location based chat group to connect with people
Traveler trip journal as a bond to build community
User can edit trip journal and sharing trip journal in the Airbnb community
Goal 2 : Building Human Connection
Traveler passport as profile for people to explore and make friends during travel
Every Airbnb user will have their own traveler passport to be used for social connection
Using "Passport" as the traveler's social Profile. And then creating a Connection page to promote listing reviews, traveler profile and local's services. Building a "destination" based community for people to explore living options and make friends with each other at their next trip destination.
Align with Airbnb's Design System
Learning and Utilizing Airbnb's Design Guideline
Through researching online and observation from Airbnb's web and mobile application. I re-presented Airbnb Design System. So that my design meet Airbnb's standard and brand.
Design + Iteration
Major design decisions made to increase social connections
01 Promoting Cognitive Efficiency and Affordance
❌ Users faced challenges with completing the blank sections;
✅ Creating an instructed step-by-step onboarding experience that are more interact active, thus reducing mental effort
02 Enhancing User Interaction via Strategic Information Layout
❌ Users find the profile difficult to scroll
❌ Lack of user iteraction and user feels boring to view
✅ Iterate the passport design to contain more useful information for social connection as travelers to make connections.
Airbnb Connect: The Ultimate Location-Based Networking Hub for Travelers to Share Posts, Reviews, and Experiences
Airbnb Connect is a social page that contained 4 types of post for user to connect with locals and other travelers.
01 Verified reviews provide authentic information to users
02 Airbnb Experience promotion for more business opportunity
03 Travel Journal for community building
04 Traveler Passport to Engaging with Fellow Travelers
Future Development for Responsive Web App
A mobile first design prototype that allow further development into responsive web application. I made modification to the web application design due to the reconsideration for user habits and needs when browsing online.
Contribution from Diversed Voices
Business Strategy in Brainstorming:
I've prioritized stakeholder preferences in workspace solutions, but neglected business considerations like collaborations with WeWork or Airbnb hubs. Future plans include integrating business aspects at the wireframing stage.
User-Centric Design Balance:
Focused on identifying and addressing real user pain points, while balancing their requests with professional design decisions. Emphasized the importance of informed choices based on in-depth research.
Innovative Solution Development:
Employed divergent thinking, drawing inspiration from dating apps to create a 'traveler passport' concept, showcasing the effectiveness of unconventional approaches in solution generation.