Hosting takes effort. Managing reservation requests, cleaning, home maintenance, and engaging with guests can be time consuming. And your time is valuable, so the tools you need to host should be quick to find and simple to use.
We’ve heard from the host community that the Airbnb website hasn’t always made finding and using certain tools as easy as they could be. You told us that organization and naming was inconsistent between your phone and desktop computer. You told us that the calendar was hard to find but that things you never used were cluttering up the screen. And you told us it’s confusing when you’re hosting on Airbnb and you see features for travelers on your screen, instead of seeing what you need as a host.
We heard you! And over the coming weeks, you’ll see changes on the website based on your feedback. Over the past few months we’ve asked hundreds of hosts about how they use our website and what could be improved. We’ve built prototypes of many different solutions and invited hosts to use them and give feedback. Here are some of the changes you’ve inspired:
- Navigation is now consistent whether you’re on your phone or your computer
- Key hosting features and tools like messaging and calendar are more accessible
- Hosts who also travel on Airbnb can now switch between hosting and traveling modes
Here’s a sneak peek at how we worked with hosts to come up with the changes, and what we learned:
Discovering your priorities using card sorting
To understand how hosts think about their tasks, we invited a number of San Francisco hosts into our offices. We printed out about 40 cards, each with a hosting task written on it. Things like “updating the calendar,” “responding to a guest’s question,” and “visiting the Community Center.” We asked each host to sort these cards into groups that made sense to them. We also asked them to rank these groups by order of importance.
When we analyzed the results, we learned about what features and tasks matter most to you. Most important are the tasks hosts do every day such as responding to messages and updating the calendar. The next most important tasks are those that boost the guest experience. These include reviews, ratings, and gathering hospitality tips. Then come the features that create connection between hosts such as the Community Center.
Hearing from a broad sample of hosts through surveys
To get feedback from the broader host community before making any changes, we created an online survey to ask hosts to do a similar grouping exercise. Analyzing the data from this survey helped us settle on the four most important task categories: 1) Messages, 2) Calendar, 3) Listings, and 4) Stats.
There was a clear need for a homepage, or dashboard, to keep track of urgent tasks and notifications. And while they matter, things like account management, Community Center, and help ranked as less essential to your core hosting needs, so we’ve given them lower priority in the new design.
Optimizing the design through prototyping
With the data we collected from you, we set about designing a simplified site. To make the website more consistent with the mobile app, we decided to separate the hosting and traveling sections of the site. This allowed us to simplify the navigation on both sides. Next we moved the main task categories to the top left of the screen so they’re easier to find. And your less frequently used tools are now in a menu behind your profile photo in the top right.
To ensure the new design actually makes things easier to find, we built a prototype of the site and invited hosts to try it out. We refined the designs based on their experiences, and now it’s ready for you to try! Now when you sign in on Airbnb.com you can click on your profile photo in the top right and choose “switch to hosting.” The site will remember your setting so next time you visit you’ll return to the setting you’ve chosen: hosting or traveling. Once you switch to hosting, you’ll see your hosting dashboard with links to the most important hosting tasks shown across the top of the screen. We’re still rolling out this change, so if you don’t see it yet, you will soon!
We hope these changes make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for and get on with the tasks—and joys—of hosting.
Tell us what you think of the changes. Join the conversation in the Community Center.