A prototyped concept
This past summer, I was lucky enough to travel internationally to eight countries (Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, India) and stay in more than a dozen Airbnbs along the way. During my travel planning, I repetitively booked Airbnbs and flights one after another and really wished both processes were integrated together more seamlessly.
I was also intrigued by Brian Chesky’s tweets last year about redesigning the flying experience:
Coupled with some of Brian’s main ideas in this podcast and the recent launch of Airbnb Experiences and Restaurants, it seemed pretty clear to me that Airbnb’s long-term vision is to control the entire end-to-end traveling experience from arrival to departure. Maybe one day Airbnb will operate its own airline, but in the meantime I think helping guests book flights alongside their home accommodations is a more immediate first step.
Most of my brainstorming involved thinking about what I personally looked for when booking Airbnbs and flights on separate sites and how combining the process could be more efficient, as well as lead to other concrete advantages. I also asked some friends with similar traveling experiences about their travel planning and any problems they usually run into.
By the end, I narrowed down on the following ideas that would provide guests value beyond just speeding up the two-fold process:
- Airbnb could provide a smarter selection of homes and flights. For example, homes that are closer to an airport or airport transit could be prioritized over homes that would require an expensive Uber ride to get to. In addition, Airbnb could suggest flights that align with the check-in or check out policies of homes to minimize the the amount of time carrying luggage around.
- Having access to a guest’s flight information could improve communication between guests and hosts, since Airbnb could automatically notify a host about late check-ins by tracking flight delays.
- Guests could use one app for all their travel bookings — flights, homes, things to do via Experiences, and places to eat via Restaurants.
To get started on designing what I thought booking flights could look like on Airbnb, I took dozens of screenshots from Airbnb’s current iOS app and used design patterns from existing screens to stay inline with Airbnb’s style.
After creating and tweaking the new screens with the help of Sketch Mirror, I decided to learn some of the fundamentals behind Framer Flows to get a more intuitive feel for where these screens would exist in the current app. Luckily, it was super easy to import my existing Sketch file into Framer and add transitions between all the screens:
I’m pretty happy with the way the final Framer prototype turned out. It was an interesting feature to think about and one that I hope Airbnb adds before I book my next trip. Most of my assumptions in the process of building this centered around my personal and my friends’ experiences, so I’m curious what decisions Airbnb makes after interviewing hundreds of users. Furthermore, I’m trying to get better at this, so any feedback is appreciated. Thank you!