COVID-19 forced Airbnb to rethink its product offerings; here’s some of what it came up with
The coronavirus has decimated the travel industry, and Airbnb, the home rental company that appeared unstoppable not so long ago, has not been spared.
We talked with Airbnb's chief design officer, Alex Schleifer, to learn more about what's been changing behind the scenes, and how. Our chat has been edited lightly for length and clarity.
TC: Airbnb's home page is suddenly very focused on three things — online experiences, monthly stays and what you're calling "frontline," which is an area for hosts to offer housing to healthcare staff and first responders. What was that design process like and how long did it take?
AS: Our team mapped it out in under three weeks. There were a couple hundred employees working on the project at any point in time — people from ops, products, localization, design, policy, engineering. It's a complex operation (here); everything we need to do needs to be done in 60 languages. Because of the scale of everything we do, the idea is often the easiest piece.