Moving In…And Fast
Airbnb is already well-established in disrupting hotels, now it’s online travel agencies and even local tour operators. Next, it might be transportation. The company has continued to make splashes and the same remained true at Airbnb Open with the recent announcement of Trips. According to Airbnb, Trips “shifts focus to making the entire trip easy and magical and opens up [the] concept of hosting, empowering people to share their interests, hobbies and passions.” Essentially, they are using their global community of people to come up with local experiences to provide guests staying with one of the over 650,000 Airbnb hosts.
The concept of creating unique, local experiences for award winners or incentive groups is not new to companies like Creative Group; however, the sheer magnitude of an online database like Airbnb is bringing “unprecedented access to local passions and interests” to the everyday traveler. That being said, the undertaking is not without its challenges. The company has already begun addressing a common drawback to staying at Airbnb properties; staying with a host who isn’t particularly invested in helping to positively influence the guest experience. And while they maintain a feedback and review system for quality assurance, it’s indeed more difficult to be a phenomenal tour guide than to provide clean sheets and towels in a spare room.
Any designer of experiences knows that it can take multiple iterations to create a magical and impactful event; not to mention the logistical challenges and safety components to ensure time and money well-spent.
So what can meeting architects and experience designers learn from the real draw behind Airbnb’s Trips, to continue to stay ahead of the game?
- Authorship – People want to “write” their own experiences. There is something about participating in an inherently personal activity that makes it so much more meaningful. Naturally, when a participant feels they are co-creating their experience, it will become more impactful and more memorable. Try designing a “Create Your Own Adventure” experience, with different tracks or activity zones.
- Community Creation – Listed as one of our top trends earlier this year, people are wired to be social and create connections. In fact, most people attend meetings and events simply to network. Meeting technology as well as social media have increasingly become more important in starting conversations among attendees before the event, during and after it ends. Online communities and mobile apps help keep the conversation going, increase collaboration and promote social sharing though photos and posts.
- Transformation – A true experience is transformative for participants. It might be subtle or drastic. The transformation comes about when people experience something new, something that will add to their existence or give them a new perspective. Airbnb’s vision is to “transform people’s lives,” but meetings and events already have the opportunity to do this every day.
- Localization – Another one of our trends; authentic and local experiences add to the appeal of any destination and really capitalizing on that will make the experience more impactful. Having the right connections is particularly useful here. Deep and longstanding relationships have afforded us the ability to offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. For example, we organized a recording session for an incentive group at Abbey Road Studios in London and an exclusive performance by the Vatican Choir (in the Vatican) that literally moved people to tears.
What are you doing to transform people’s lives and create impactful experiences?