A design concept for Airbnb that allows you to book a venue for an event.
Timeline: 2 weeks. Role: Problem analysis, User Research, Prototype, and Testing. Deliverables: Research, Interviews, Testing, Mid-fidelity Prototype.
Assignment create a product/services for Airbnb.
Airbnb is one of the most popular services used to book travel. But I had a few questions to begin my research.
Who actually uses Airbnb and who won't?
Is Airbnb used by those who are older or younger?
Does income play into whether someone would want to stay at someone's home over a hotel?
What can Airbnb offer to appeal to someone with a larger income?
I wasn't sure who my user was quite yet, or what they needed/wanted. So my only criteria to begin with was that they were individuals in a higher income bracket.
I did 1-1 interviews with 3 people, all of similar income bracket. I asked them all questions relating to their travel habits including: budget, accommodation preferences, and technology. .
Owner of Boutique Antique Stores 48 yrs old $100-150k Income Married
Project Manager/Business Analyst 32 yrs old $100-150k Income Engaged
Product Designer 30 yrs old $100-150k Income Engaged
All three had overlapping and opposite ways they booked travel, why they travelled, and how they decided to travel. I realized that my target audience for Airbnb wouldn't be someone like Joel. He has preferences of the comfort of a hotel versus the adventure of staying in someone's home. So I would focus on professionals of the $75-150K bracket in their late 20's and 30's, like Lynn and Ken.
The other insight I gained while interviewing Ken was his comment about travelling for special occasions, interestingly it was also true for Lynn. Both worked long hours and didn't have the most flexible schedule, so travel was treated as sacred, for special occasions.
With my insights I surveyed about 30 people. 45% had attended or thrown a destination event. Also worth noting, no one wanted to deal with the planning involved for a destination event.
Through our findings we created a User Persona to direct our choices within the experience we were making.
"I want to do something special to commemorate me starting my thirties. I just have no time to plan it myself. Couldn't hurt to throw in a vacation while I'm at it."
Ezra Cortado 24 year old Medical Residency Student / Lives in Seattle, WA/ Income $85k
Ezra has been working hard since she got promoted to a mid-level Art director position a few months back. She hasn't spend much time with her friends, family or partner and her 30th birthday is soon approaching. She's been so busy she keeps putting it off. She dreams of doing something really special to commemorate her leaving her twenties into the realm of "adulthood".
Needs:Get time off of work for a vacation. Rent a space that has all of her needs for a party.
Wants:Have a destination 30th birthday that feels special, a break from her everyday.
Goals: To have an efficiently planned and special 30th birthday.
In order to prove my hypothesis that destination event bookings was a unique value proposition, I did research on some of Airbnb's direct and indirect competitors.
VRBO is short for Vacation Rental By Owner, and as the name implies, it specializes in vacation rentals of all types: houses, apartments, condos, villas, etc.
HomeAway is mainly individuals or property management companies that create listings on their website for guests seeking vacation rental.
Event venues that you can search, discover and book all on EventUp. find the unique venue you want for the perfect event
VRBO and Home Away like Airbnb, rented private property owned by individuals, but neither were offered properties for event bookings. While EventUp does book venues for events and parties, it only books commercial venues and not private residences. It appeared that no other service existed with the unique value proposition of booking private residences specifically for special events.
With my concept proven to be unique, I refined my findings to hone in on my direction.
AirBnb was designed to achieve an escape from our busy lives of cubicles, meetings, and emails and instead to travel to the destination getaway we keep using as our laptop wallpaper. We observed that our product or service isn't meeting the needs of the busy, overworked Millennial professionals.Particularly their need to associate travel with special events or accomplishment such as "destination" weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, which is causing a missed opportunity for higher profits for our business. How might we improve AirBnb so that our customers are successful based on these: the number of new sign ups for new service, number of bookings, and amount of positive ratings from those who have tried it.
With my concept proven to be unique, I refined my findings to hone in on the direction for my user's experience. I visually mapped out how a user's experience for could look like through a User Journey Map. I also started deciding what kind of task flow I wanted to test for my user.
User Journey Map
Sees featured video on Airbnb Homepage
A video for Airbnb venue is featured prominently on homepage. Ezra watches it and learns about the new service.
Decides to try to make a new booking
After seeing the video she decides to explore the options available in the new service and attempt to start a search for a birthday venue.
Filters search results
While searching she sees she can filter by location, date, and other standard filters Airbnb offers. She notices the filters available for the new venue service and check off the ones she needs. She needs Bar service, Tables/chairs, catering, and decor.
Sees filtered results
She looks through the number of options left and is pleasantly surprised there's many possibilities for her to have book for her birthday within her search criteria.
Explores a single listing
She sees a listing that she likes and looks at the information offered. The pictures, reviews, and ammenities assure her this is the perfect place to book her birthday.
Successfully books Airbnb Venue
She decides to book the venue. She gets an email confirmation with further instructions, details she and the host can discuss. Ezra is happy her party venue is booked and she can now focus on actually enjoying it.
With my testing plan in place I began to start testing users with my prototypes.
I had the 9 users attempt to learn and make a booking for an Airbnb venue. Using their feedback I continued to refine the experience.
Beginning with a paper prototype, I tested two versions, before creating a digital experience.
The video were successful and getting people to understand the offerings of the new service. The filters helped users to see how the criteria to really understand how the concept of the service worked in practice. Many were excited by this kind of offering.
With further feedback, I'd like to mock up a UI style guide and make refinements to the current mid-fidelity mock up and the experience.