Role: Brand Strategy | Innovation Strategy
Airbnb completely shook the hospitality industry by giving homeowners the ability to lend their home or a private room to a traveler for a price that is generally cheaper than the average hotel. The platform has also granted tired Google Chrome browsers around the world a much needed break. People no longer need to have 20 open tabs to find the best rate on a place to stay. Moving forward, what is another facet of the travel industry that Airbnb could reinvent?
Airbnb has over 4 million listings on the web and only 10% of Airbnb's bookings were for business travel.
Create a physical space for a brand that only exists online.
Millennial business travelers do not have access to high profile airport lounges in this stage of their career.
Have Airbnb draw a line in the sand and welcome any traveler regardless of their travel status.
Once we knew that business travel was an opportunity for Airbnb, we found that millennials who are emerging in their career field for the first time are now traveling for business but mixing in their own personal travel aspirations. However, when traveling for work by air with their more established coworkers, they didn’t have access to the premier travel lounges like their peers. We conducted a competitive audit of airport lounges around the world and found that most the luxurious part of the lounge experience was being in a bubble away from all of the airport commotion. Through a mix of quant + qual, we uncovered how hectic the travel process is for this new group of business professionals. We learned about overcrowded areas, cramped seating, loud noises, and of course the lack of adequate wall plugs which makes the travel process miserable.
Airport Lounge Audit
Using secondary research and having one-on-one interviews with airport lounge users we concluded these spaces give passengers a space to breathe, but they weren’t a place to relax like you would at home.
Create an oasis within the airport for all travelers.
Airport travelers feel overwhelmed by the chaos of the travel journey
What are we going to do about it?
We created the Airbnb Cloud Lounge. Airbnb’s airport lounge is targeted to young business professionals but open to anyone traveling in accordance with Airbnb’s mission to “belong anywhere.” The Cloud Lounge will be located in one of the busiest airports in the world where Airbnb would benefit from constant foot traffic and exposure, the Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta. The Airbnb Cloud lounge will feature meeting rooms, a bar area, sleep pods, plush seating, and showers for weary travelers. The Airbnb Cloud Lounge is an open, inviting space that is not exclusive to those who have a certain type of credit card or those who have accumulated an amount of miles. This space is for those who need a break from the airport turmoil and yearn to enjoy the entire travel process. Travel is more than the destination, it's about the journey. To help bring the Airbnb Cloud Lounge to life we developed a set of design rules for guidance on how to make the space come to life.
Have an inviting look and a comfortable feel
The space must be consistent with the at-home style of Airbnb’s listings and brand
Must be economically priced and affordable
Have functional essentials but relaxed amenities
WHy will this be Successful?
Moving into the airport lounge segment does not shift Airbnb outside of its core competencies. Airbnb is a company that allows you to belong anywhere and that is what travelers want when traveling. There is no need for travelers to be confined by the uncomfortable tight spaces that they are currently offered. Airport lounges are antiquated illusions of luxury reserved for the wealthy and Airbnb positions themselves in a way that could disrupt this segment. This is not a space that is a signal for status but a home-like reminder for when you are on the way.