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Reimagining the Travel Planning Experience

An easier, more helpful way to travel

As a passionate traveler who enjoys to explore the world of its numerous options, I wanted to explore how an existing travel planning platform could be improved to suit users' needs. I chose Airbnb in mind because I really enjoy using the brand and its mission. I decided to research and look into the target users to seek improvements that could be made to enhance the Airbnb experience.

Role:

Duration:

Lead UX Designer (Passion Project)

2 weeks

Discovery and Research

Who is Airbnb

Airbnb is an online marketplace platform that rents out homestay accommodations for prospective guests across the globe. It provides a unique service that allows travelers to essentially find the home-like experience in a place far away from home.

It's one of the largest and most famous platforms for homestay rentals used by millions everyday through their app or through their webpage platforms. As such, it's vital for the business to present good UX design to ensure it's customers can obtain proper lodging - one of the most important asset to all people. 

Topic Research

Below is a compilation of information regarding Airbnb's activities which speaks volumes of the brand's worldwide presence. 

  • There are currently over 4+ million Airbnb hosts worldwide and 6+ million active listings on the platform

  • Airbnb has more than 150 million worldwide users that have booked over 1 billion stays

  • The average cost for an Airbnb in North America is $163 per night

  • It takes users an average of 11 minutes and 31 seconds when booking a stay on the Airbnb app

  • It’s estimated that Airbnb now has a 20+% market share of the vacation rental industry

With these metrics, I've gained important insight in terms of the scale and focus that my redesign has to cater towards.

Discovery and Research

User Interviews

I began my process by conducting a survey of 36 users to gain insight about their travel behaviors and preferences as well as their experiences with travel websites and apps. Below are some details of the key insights.

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Alongside this, I also surveyed about their specific behaviors and identify pain points. There were a multitude of opinions and preferences across the board, below is a compilation of some of the most common insights among the interviewees.

"I listen to my friends' opinions on destinations"

"I like having the local experience."

"Prioritizing activities on a trip is difficult."

"I like knowing where activities are in relation to my stay."

"I don't like to waste time while traveling"

Define and Ideate

Heuristic Evaluation

I conducted a heuristic evaluation to determine which features on the current website users find intuitive and enjoyable alongside that which they don't appreciate or might negatively impact their experiences. I also had some of the interviewees' input when determining the Heuristics of certain features or functions. Below are some of the glaring pitfalls of the current design.

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Need to slide through 12 categories to find 1

No other filters other than dates and guests

Experiences are not available in all cities

Key Takeaways:

The current Airbnb design needs to improve on its filtering and categorization as it's one of the biggest common pain points echoed with a lot of user. As finding options are one of the most important aspects for users to successfully complete their tasks on the platform, improving in these factors would significantly improve the platform's usability. 

Below are some opinions voiced by users:

"I don't like that I have to slide through all 12 categories to select the one I would like to see"

"I wish experiences were offered in more cities."

I want to know how long activities last so I know how to plan and make the most out of my day."

"Price is a big factor for me in deciding if an activity or lodging is worth it. So filtering by price would be really useful."

Define and Ideate

Persona

I combined my earlier research with data on existing space tourists in order to create a persona representative of the target market.

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Define and Ideate

Identifying Features

I prioritized the pain points based on its importance to the user as well as its importance to Airbnb. The attributions on the importance to Airbnb are based on the analysis of their business goals and design page.

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I included the features comparing "Most Important to Airbnb" and "Most Important to User" as my target MVP

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Airbnb's Logo is about creating community

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There are a lot of overlapping interests between the company and users

Define and Ideate

Discovering the Problem and Solution

Problem

Travelers need a way to easily plan out their vacations and include the major activities they want to do, including having a "local" experience, guided by locals themselves. Airbnb already has such as feature, but many users are unaware. Users are also heavily influenced by their friends' opinions, so they want to be able to see where their friends have visited.

Solution

By redesigning the experiences page with added filters and recommendations by friends, users will be able to quickly discover available experiences that fit their needs and trip details. The success of the redesign will be based on an increased number of Experiences booking as well as an increase in hosts offering particular experiences in their area.

It should also clearly communicate the clear Airbnb ethos at all time.

Design and Develop

Wireframes

Based on the research and from Airbnb's present design patterns, I narrowed down my solutions for a prototype. I had the users from the earlier research to test and refine the procedure. The result and insights are as follows: 

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1) "I was confused by the slider since it doesn't slide."

2) "I was confused by the multi - day filter. Selecting it is fine, but the description underneath was confusing."

3) "I don't understand what some of these icons on the experience page mean."

4) "I wish the 'see dates' (CTA button) was locked so I wouldn't have to scroll down."

Design and Develop

Improvement and Finalizing

I changed my wireframes accordingly and created composites out of them. I tested out the composites on the previous users, improving based on the feedback in each version. I conducted two more trials and concluded with an overall satisfied and successful experience from all the users. 

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Final Thoughts

Closing Reflections

The Next Steps

This project was an exciting and fun experiment that as equally as interesting and it was insightful. One of the biggest takeaways I've learned from this project is sometimes the biggest pain points are the simplest things that are also incredibly vital in determining a good or bad experience. Overall, I feel like this project was successful in tackling some of the basic features of Airbnb.

 

For future steps, I'd like to explore on the following:

  • Strategize marketing campaigns to promote more experiences

  • Find ways to create some sort of partnership or sponsored programs with highly rated experiences.

  • Expand on improving other aspects of the Airbnb service, such as Customer Assistance, Account Recovery, Notifications, and Preferences. A brief look into these aspects shows a very simple design that could be improved to have the same quality as some of the more popular features.

  • Have an opportunity to showcase my findings and ideas to the company.

Thanks for Reading!

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