Increasing Retention by re-imagining the Hosting experience at Airbnb

Conversational User Interface

Conversational AI for Hosts
This projects was a research work done at CMU to reimagine the future user experiences at Airbnb as we navigate into the next era of computing.
I started with defining the user group by studying the service blueprint, understanding the user flow and current experiences at Airbnb, finding new opportunity areas where Conversational AI can fit into. Simultaneously I researched to understand the technology & its limitations, to use voice as a design material & conducting iterative voice scripts and prototypes.
Airbnb, Conceptual
2 months, 2022
User Research
Design Ideation
Physical Prototype
Journey Maps
Voice Prototype
in brief

Hosts can leverage Generative AI for easy listing & managing of their properties on the Airbnb Platform & get feedback.

Hosts need to list their properties on the Airbnb Platform using a long manual process. They are in rush & do not possess the marketing skills to do it in the best way possible. Generative AI makes it easy to do marketing & do listing in the best way possible.
"The listed rate for the property is $131/night, yet the Host asserts it should be $171/night. Upon contacting Airbnb Customer Service, they declared that it's Hosts responsibility to correctly list the amount" - Airbnb Guest
proposed design

A Conversational interface for Hosts

Generative AI to enhance the experience for Hosts, prototyped using VoiceFlow

Absence of Airbnb Hosts leads to confusion and dissatisfaction among Guests.

Hosting on Airbnb can be demanding, especially for hosts who manage multiple listings or have other personal or professional commitments. It requires time and effort to handle bookings, inquiries, guest interactions, cleaning, and overall management of the hosting process.

Major identified issues:

Property Listing

Hosts suffer from correctly listing & updating their preferences.

Hosting Experience

Some Guests need constant attention, especially in urgent situations.


Hosts need regular feedback to know Guest's preferences.
"The project was open ended and I defined a direction that I would take to find user problems to solve using this technology".
Understand the technology & its limitations.
Find key stakeholder's & their problems.
Map the User Journeys & business opportunities.
design thinking

What problems can Conversational AI solve ?

Rather than the traditional design process, I followed upside down process, where I investigated how Conversational AI technology can add value to the lives of Airbnb customers.
Image showcasing the upside down design process followed in the project.
identifying users

"To identify the key stakeholders, I decided to create a stakeholder map and their relationships"

Stakeholder Map helped us to identify 'Hosts' as the customer and its impact. My research dealt into looking into possibilities of engaging AI experiences for multiple stakeholders, To narrow down the scope, I decided to focus on the Guest & the Host experience.
journey mapping

"I mapped the AI opportunities at every touch point for Guests & Hosts"

To identify the seamless user experience, I created a journey map & mapped the opportunity at each touch point. Later, I decided to focus on the "Arriving & Staying" zone.
voice prototype

I tested multiple happy path edge cases with ChatGPT to map the conversations on VoiceFlow

Working session sketches and notes for the happy path scripting. The process to check the edge cases and breakpoints using ChatGPT was helpful before the user testing sessions and saved us alot of time.
other opportunities

A Conversational interface for Guests

A virtual agent that utilizes generative ai to enhance living experience for Guests. Prototyped with VoiceFlow

Learnings & Failures

It is the intuitiveness and clarity of the solution that drives the product. Some projects start with clarity of the solution instead of problem.
It is hard to discuss futuristic ideas with target audience if the fidelity of the solution is not correct. I learnt through the project that it was initially difficult for the Hosts to understand our idea, but after watching the video, they could imagine themselves into the situations where this can be useful to them.
How to balance engineering effort vs innovation? In order to test the viability of the idea, I did a social test and posted it on Linkedin to see how Linkedin audience would react to it, and if it is hard to imagine such a solution.