KPCB Design Challenge

Benjamin Stanfield
5 min readFeb 1, 2017

Casper & Airbnb Partnership · Feature Design

The home rental service Airbnb and mattress retailer Casper have, objectively, very little in common. However, a partnership between the two may have an interesting and mutually beneficial result. I decided to approach this with a blend of product and design, creating a sort of business-plan/pitch for how a collaboration like this would look. Over the past few years, I’ve designed many projects for both school, work, and pleasure. Of those projects, the ones for which I have felt the most passion and on which I have received the best feedback have been far and away those with the greatest purpose. So, rather than focus on one small feature, I decided to take a step back, looking at an Airbnb/Casper partnership, and looking at that partnership from four perspectives.

Moving forward, I’ll explain the features I’ve designed through four personas:

Elena, an Airbnb user interested in the company’s Experiences—excursions designed and led by local hosts—, will help us understand the first feature I have designed:

Feature 1

Elena is a Los Angeles local. She’s looking for a cool, weekend Airbnb getaway with her boyfriend, but isn’t sure where to start. She visits the website and sees a new promotion running on the front page with mattress-maker Casper.

Airbnb’s homepage, reimagined with a new “promoted Experience” feature: The Casper Dream Experience.

Elena is interested in the Dream Experience and clicks on this new feature. Essentially, it’s a collage of Experiences already found on Airbnb, but ones that are typically too far apart and too exhausting to cover in just one day. Casper solves this by providing the guest with a special Camper, equipped with a full Casper bed and small kitchen and table—just big enough to take on a short road trip!

With the release of Airbnb’s new Experiences—excursions designed and led by local Hosts—guests of the rental site can now go on small, several hour activities and return home. But I thought that this was a bit against what Airbnb has always done: offer a place to live. An Airbnb home is an oasis in the midst of a crazy new city, a vacation stop, or a 3-day weekend. This is where I thought Casper could bridge this gap, and the design showed above is how I did it. After taking the trip, Clara has spent several nights on a Casper mattress and tried Airbnb’s new Experiences.

Feature 2

Hanna is looking to make a bit of extra money on the side and decides to put her spare bedroom on Airbnb. However, the bed in the spare bedroom has several broken springs and stains soaked through it. She finds that Airbnb is now offering Casper mattresses to Hosts at a discount:

Adding this new feature to Airbnb’s *Host Assist* puts more than smart locks in the hands of Hosts.

Hanna receives the discounted Casper mattress and puts her first listing up on Airbnb! Now, the public side of this new Casper feature is enabled. Hanna receives a “Golden Shut-eye” badge on her Airbnb listing page, notifying potential guests of her excellent sleeping conditions, courtesy of Casper. Here is an example of what a Host’s page might look like with this badge:

Tom, traveling on business, sees this new badge on Airbnb and decides to choose a Host with a Casper bed, looking for a way to cure his nights of bad sleep while away from his comfy bed at home.

The new Casper “Golden Shut-eye” badge is a filterable feature, as are the badges currently offered on Airbnb, like Superhosts and Instant Bookings.

Feature 3

Matt is interested in a new mattress. He’s looking at Casper’s site, but isn’t quite sure if it’s right for him. But he is intrigued by the company’s partnership with Airbnb, and is interested in going on a short trip anyway:

This is the final avenue through which the Casper & Airbnb collaboration can be reached—one where the customer starts at Casper and ends up at Airbnb. This satisfies both the need to try out a new mattress (without spending $1000+ and clearing space in one’s own home), and interaction with the Airbnb platform. That interaction can happen through staying at a Host’s home with a Casper bed OR embarking on the Casper Dream Experience.

Ultimately, this collaboration might not be the most economically viable—in fact, it’s probably a logistical nightmare and generally a confusing concept. But I enjoyed intertwining two brands that have incredible character and personality… two brands that I wouldn’t be surprised to see collaborating sometime in the near future. I also enjoyed its complexities and logistical headaches! That’s probably what made designing this so fun—it’s weird and different. Perhaps I didn’t follow the prompt verbatim, but I hope you have as much fun reading through this as I had creating it.