Arrive as a guest, leave as a friend.
As it hits mass market, Airbnb is changing.
Eight years ago, when Airbnb first started, early adopters were like "digital hitchhikers" – willing to risk going to the other side of the planet, staying in a stranger's home, who they met through the internet. These were trusting people, open to trying new things, exploring new cultures, and meeting new people.
As Airbnb grows, there are proportionally fewer early adopters, and more users in the early/late majority. This means there are fewer "digital hitchhikers", and more people who are just after cheap accomodation.
On the supply side, commercial companies are seeking to exploit the exciting platform by putting their properties on Airbnb, detracting from the original host-guest relationship. If it continues to grow like this, Airbnb will lose it's unique selling point, and stray away from their aim, "Belong anywhere".
The Ideal Stay
Airbnb Stories is based around the "ideal" stay, from guest, host and Airbnb perspectives. The experience is designed to shift conversations from being purely practical (where will you leave the keys?, what time are you checking in?, was the apartment clean? etc.) to being more conversational, in order to build more trusting relationships. It does this through two new UI steps, the Interests Filter and Airbnb Stories (1. and 5. above).
Find a host with similar interests...
When searching for a property, enter your interests to filter the search results by hosts that share similar interests. This aims to spark a more interesting conversation with the host, in addition to the important details. It gives them shared ground to talk about, despite possible cultural and language barriers. For those that like meeting totally different people, entering interests is optional, so they can leave it to chance.
Spark a conversation...
Photo by Thomas Szynkiewicz.
Arrive as a guest...
Photo by Jim Ellwanger.
Leave as a friend...
Photo by Paul Stocker.
Share your Stories.
After reviewing the property, guests can choose to share their Stories. They can connect Facebook or Instagram to grab a few photos of places they went, people they met, food they ate. Then they can add captions and tags to each image.
These form Airbnb Stories, which go on the property listing, forming a collection of personal experiences around the listing, which acts as a guest book for the digital age.
Stories also go on guests' profiles, so hosts can get to know potential guests better.
Photo by Artform Canada.
The interests filter helps more people to 'belong anywhere'.
People love to share stories about travelling. Airbnb could harness that desire, and strengthen their online community of explorers.