How I created a dashboard for faster searching on Airbnb — The Power of Tableau Dashboard

Ellie Wang
Mar 25 · 7 min read

Direct link to my dashboard for you to plan your trip to Seattle!

If you are planning your first trip to Seattle, or know little about Seattle but always have it on your bucket list like me, your first step of finally starting to plan may be opening Airbnb, typing in Seattle in the search box, and ending up with not knowing how to choose from 300+ nice looking, comfy, homely rentals.

I have no clue about which area I should choose to stay in, how much per night I should expect to be reasonable, and what choices I should make to make me look SMART when I share my trip with my friends. If you have the same feeling of irritation when using an apparently well-designed rental search web page, you are not alone. It’s not because there is anything wrong with the website’s UX design, it’s because it doesn’t help to compare the popularity among regions, provide an overview of room type and average price, or tell you what moth to visit is cheaper.

It expects you have a clear idea of what you are looking for, and what filters you will apply for search. For travelers like me who have no time to do any research or comparison on location and price but are still hoping to plan a perfect trip with an ideal stay, killing hours of time on Airbnb is perfectly normal. With the hope of being abnormal efficient and organized this time spent on planning for my bucket list to Seattle, I used the historical data from Airbnb to create a customized dashboard on Tableau to target my ideal rental. Let’s see if this can help me save hours of time on searching and encouraging my boyfriend to join my spontaneous trip.

Components on My Dashboard

Here it is, an overview of my dashboard that is going to help me focus on a group of rentals I will most likely be satisfied with. I put a total of 5 joined and interactive components on the dashboard based on my preference for traveling. Starting from the top left plot chart and follow the order from left to right, top to down, I can narrow down the rentals I will be interested in and show them on the map at the right bottom. A bonus thanks to Tableau, is that I can easily click on the spot and it will direct me to the rental’s webpage on Airbnb. Let’s take a look at how it works step by step!

Step One: Choose a Popular and Active Region to Stay

Thinking of Seattle, I always pictured myself enjoying brunch in Pike Place Market, having a coffee from the first Starbucks, and looking down at the city from the top of Space Needle. (I bet you are thinking she really doesn’t know anything about Seattle.) With no idea which residential neighborhood would be a good fit, I decided to go with what most people picked. On the X-axis, it tells me how popular the region is by the number of reviews of the rentals in it. On the Y-axis, it tells me how many different rentals I can choose from. Based on this plot chart, I decided to choose Capitol Hill because it has the second most choices. It is lower than Downtown, where I usually avoid and it looks pretty popular among all as well. So I clicked on it and all the other charts on the dashboard have changed to show their updated information for Capitol Hill.

Step Two: Choose a Room Type

Choosing a room type is essential to me because I really need a quiet and personal space to relax after a tiring day even when traveling. Surprisingly, the amount of the entire home or apartment counts for a big part of the rentals in this region, where I thought the more popular a place, the smaller the rental space will be in supply. However, I was planning a short trip with only my boyfriend. An entire home or apartment may be too fancy for us. A private room, ideally with its own bathroom or a shared but neat bathroom, is acceptable. So I decided to choose a private room for now. Again, as I clicked on it, all the following charts presented the information based on this filter.

Step Three: Be Aware of Minimum Stay Constraint

From my previous experience, I noticed there is a constraint on minimum stays on certain rentals. I might miss some pretty good rentals only because I choose to stay one or two days less. Besides, staying longer may save you money when the price per night is much lower. From this bar chart, I can tell that staying more than seven nights can give me a competitively low price. That made me interested in planning a long holiday in Seattle! Unfortunately, a long vacation is a luxury to me this year, so a maximum of five days is good enough. I decided to narrow down to rentals that have only a one-day minimum since they are lower in average price per night. In addition to the bars, there is a reference line for a clear clue as to what is the average price among all rentals.

Step Four: Choose a Good Time

Choosing a good time to visit a city can be complicated. It can be based on your available schedule, the weather, or a special event you want to participate in that affects your choice. Unusually by this time, I really don’t want to put off this plan anymore, I free my thoughts concerning the above conditions and consider only my budget. As you can tell from the line chart showing the average price by month, the later I go on this trip in the upcoming five months, the higher my budget will need to be on rentals. Mostly the reason for the price change is due to demand as you can see from the bars showing popularity. So I decided to give my boyfriend a month to plan for our perfect trip, (Yes, after spending so much effort finding us a perfect rental, he should be responsible for the rest of the planning, right?) and we head to Seattle in May!

Final Step: There you go! Your Perfect Rental

After four easy steps of filtering, I narrowed my search to these rentals shown on the map. Moreover, I can keep narrowing down by filtering the price range. As I rest the pointer over a highlighted spot, I can see a help text appear with the average price, the name of the owner, the description of the rental, and most useful of all, a URL to the webpage of that rental. Finally, I spotlight on a private room with a lot of space, a private bath, and with the price as low as $64 per night! Now let’s see if what I find on its webpage meets my expectation.

Awesome! The room looks spacious, cozy, and neat. The host is a verified Superhost by Airbnb and has received much feedback that I can refer to. The recommendation of things to do near this rental includes my checklist and so much more. (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/19638498)

Final Words: The dashboard is The Most Valuable when it Caters to your Needs

Tableau has so many great functions and choices of visualization that can help create a nice looking and smart dashboard. But when it comes to what benefit we can get from reading or searching on a dashboard, it always comes to the key question: what are the things you care most about and can you find them from it? I had many years of experience utilizing Tableau at work for the demonstrating business matrix, and I will say this is the first time I have had so much fun doing it. Because this time the benefit of it did not go to my boss, but to my finally about to come on a true trip to Seattle!

Here you go, the direct link to my dashboard for you to plan your spontaneous trip to Seattle! https://public.tableau.com/profile/ellie.wang#!/vizhome/Hsing-Yi-Wang_Seattle_Airbnb/FindYourIdealPlacetoStayinSeattle

Ellie Wang

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The passion for data comes from making the world better from my effort!

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