We live in a fast-paced digital world. As companies grow, their products need to grow too. In this process of evolving, many companies face new challenges. In this case study blog, we will decode the problems faced by Airbnb users and how IIDE students came up with a possible solution that can be adopted by Airbnb.
Let’s start with the most basic question: What is Airbnb?
Airbnb is one of the biggest startups in the world. It’s an online lodging and stays aggregator. It has changed the travelling experience by leveraging technology and crowdsourcing lodging facilities. It gives the option for people to put part or whole of their properties as lodging and earn income from it, whereas the customers enjoy a homelike stay away from home.
The company was founded by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk when they rented out a mattress in their house to offset the cost of living in San Francisco. They knew they had hit upon a good idea and it could be scaled up. Since then, the company has changed the world and is today valued at more than $31 billion.
As Airbnb scaled up across the globe, it started facing problems. The following presentation by our students will explore the problems faced by the company and viable solutions that can be proposed.
As a part of the training ethos of IIDE, we believe in training our students by tackling real-world problems.
The students here work on several projects to get hands-on experience of working in the industry. They learn how to think from the user’s perspective as well as the brand’s perspective while coming up with viable solutions to business problems in this digital era.
4 of our students- Shailaja Shah, Suhas Kenjoor, Harshal Sahani & Anushka Agarwal took up the problems faced by users on Airbnb and tried to find how the experience could be improved. Read on to find out more about it.
But before we dive into the problem and solution, let’s take a look at Airbnb’s customer demographics and perception.
Airbnb User Consumer Behaviour
Airbnb has maximum users in the age group of 19-25 years, followed by people in the age group of 36-40 years.
Here’s the breakdown of the Airbnb users travelling habits:
32% travel with friends,
30% travel with family,
20% of total users are solo travellers and
18% travel for work purposes.
Maximum people using the platform are Freelancers or working professionals. Students also form a significant chunk of users followed by people who are unemployed and are looking for affordable accommodation.
Now that we understand the customer market, target audience and perceptions, lets now begin working on understanding the problems.
Airbnb Consumer Experience Analysis
Our students did a public survey to gain more knowledge about the deficiency of Airbnb services. They found that:
- Pictures of properties are not updated and hence people see old pictures while booking. These pictures are different from the actual state of the property.
- Low maintenance of the properties by both hosts and the AirBnB
- The location filter needs constant re-adjustment in the app.
- Hosts do not respond to complaints
- Refunds are hard to get in case of an unpleasant stay
Based on this,
Our students prepared the “Point of View” or PoV statement. It helps in visualising the problem faced by the customers’ point of view.
A group of 5 friends, planning a fun trip
Find a place online which is reliable
They have been tricked into a place with staged pictures once before and want to have personal and financial safety.
After identifying the issue, let us now look at the process of solution creation followed by our students.
Creating a Solution: The Process
To understand a problem, we need to be in the shoes of the one who is facing it.
For that, you need to know the size of the shoe!
So to condense the problem into a simple question or shoe size, our students used a How Might We (HMW) statement for the same. HMW statements are a goal visualisation tool. Their HMW statement was, “how might we show the genuineness of AirBnB properties?”
Having found the main goal of the solution, let us now look at the potential customers we will be serving with the solution.
1. Buyer Persona
A Buyer Persona is a mix of attitudes, habits, aspirations and frustrations. The following is the buyer persona created by our student team:
The consumer is named Shrushti Vyas, who is 25 years old and works as a Freelance Content Writer. She is Unorganised, creative, hardworking and Inquisitive. She wants to travel at least twice a year and wants to start her travel blog. She is a digital netizen who is active on all popular social media platforms. Due to her previous bad experiences, she finds it tough to trust people or platforms like Airbnb.
Our students had a lot of brainstorming sessions and narrowed down the ideas to provide the following:
- Give a more realistic feel of the property in the selection process.
- Verify picture and amenity details initially and then have a regular expiry date for pictures. After expiry, the host will have to upload new pictures again.
- Narrow down the location filter for better accuracy.
The ideal solution would have Virtual reality + Set validity period for pictures + Narrowed filters.
The student team has named their solution as “Virtuo360”. It is an expansion of the regulation of properties listed on Airbnb through the means of using 360-degree pictures and giving the customers a true feeling of the properties they will stay in.
Click here to download the Airbnb design case study
Let’s see what it is and how it works!
- Hosts will upload panoramic images and add descriptions for the images as well
- Through these images, we will be creating the virtual walkthrough
- The images will be updated every 3 months
- An AI system scans all media and deletes anything that does not adhere to the guidelines.
Now the solution is created, let us now begin to design the user experience!
Creating a Mood Board
Having a mood board helps the designers to create the look and feel of the solution. So, our students came up with the following mood board for Virtuo 360
Wireframe and Prototype
After deciding the colours, theme and general aesthetic of the solution, the next step is to create the blueprint (wireframe design) and Prototype (HiFi design).
Once they were happy with it, they proceeded to build a hi-fi of their app prototype.
You can have a look at the video on the top to understand how it looks and functions.
Airbnb Marketing Strategy
Any solution is incomplete without marketing it to make people aware of it. Our students also design some marketing creatives to ensure that the consumers knew about this new feature.
a. Email Marketing
They created some sample email designs that can be used in emails to existing customers.
b. Landing Page/ Website Portal
This feature will also be promoted to website visitors.
c. Push Notifications/ App-based Marketing
Push notifications will be sent to all the users who have the app installed on their devices.
d. Social Media Marketing
No marketing strategy is complete without Social Media Marketing. Social Media users will get sponsored ads that showcase this feature.
Airbnb is a market leader when it comes to online rentals and their rapid expansion and reach is unparalleled. Due to the scale and expansion, their system of regulating as well as making sure the houses on offer are genuine, without checking physically has become a necessity.
Customer satisfaction will be negatively affected if AirBnB does not make efforts to showcase the current state of properties to people. Our students came up with the perfect solution of “Virtuo 360” that is beneficial to both, the brand as well as the consumers. By adding 360 pictures the platform users receive a better view of the rooms and can trust what they see.
This is a great example of a product-service upgrade to improve by adding regulatory and standardisation practices. Executed with simple to use and nice to look at the design, the Virtuo 360 will be a game-changer.
For learning to make business-driven and good looking design, join us at IIDE and let us train you to be career-ready.
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