Value Proposition Design for Airbnb
Product inception of Airbnb has always fascinated me as the intuitive response to couch sharing with strangers in most people’s mind is met with resistance. I thus wanted to go back to the drawing board and see what thoughts would have gone through the founders’ mind while conceptualizing this product. While this whole exercise was illuminating, I was particularly excited by two key insights
First, while the customer job and gains could have easily led to the birth of Airbnb, the success of the service is primarily hinged on Airbnb’s ability to remove the pain point of lack of trust. If these pain relievers didn’t exist this product could have suffered from the problem akin to “market for lemon” . Airbnb’s ability to guarantee quality and safety, has solved the problem of information asymmetry and ensures that guests and host trust the service. The ability to leave reviews and rate hosts and guests also protects against the problems of guest damages and poor host services. Therefore, writing down all three facets of consumer proposition allows for a holistic product development that not only solves a need but also creates environment necessary for eliminating potential risks to the product success.
Second, the new product feature of “local activities” that one can do in a new city is a major unexpected or surprise gain for guests. Given local experience is one of the key reasons guests (customer gain) choose Airbnb, it is not to far fetched to assume that a guest would also want to experience local activities. Thus, building on the gains and analyzing it from a few different angles could also throw out ideas to expand the product offerings.