Airbnb Sustainability Project

My UX Capstone class was tasked by Ryan Scott, design lead at Airbnb, to come up with ideas to make Airbnb more environmentally sustainable. We were split into three kinds of teams: guest, host, and corporate. Our group of four including Erin Anderson, Brynne Hollasch, Jasmine Schubert and myself, were assigned to the corporate side. This meant that we had to find ways to make Airbnb more eco-friendly on a corporate level. We decided that encouraging people to volunteer within their communities or ones that they are visiting was a great way to incentivize positive change.

By expanding on Airbnb’s current Experience infrastructure, we created a way for people to volunteer their time to help nonprofits dedicated to helping our environment. We were given full access to Airbnb's private branding guidelines. You can view the full case study and presentation here.

Full Case Study

Airbnb Computer mockup


The challenge of addressing sustainability on a corporate level was at first very abstract and difficult to approach. We started with affinity mapping, where we did some rapid-fire brainstorming.

We then took our best ideas and did some in-depth corporate sustainability research.At that point, we regrouped and started narrowing down our best ideas. We continued to move forward with user-journeys and ‘How might we’s’ to select our top three ideas.

Image of brainstorming with sticky notes
Image of brainstorming with user journeys


We originally started exploring ways to incentivize employees to use more sustainable methods of transport. After updating Ryan on our direction with transportation, he informed us that Airbnb already did most, if not all, of what we were proposing. We realized that sustainable transportation options/incentives did not need attention from us.

After taking some time to reflect and brainstorm on our own, we all came together and worked off of this idea: using ad money to fund sustainable initiatives. From this idea we branched off into finding how Airbnb can support communities through environmentally focused volunteer experiences.

Pain Points

From our research, we discovered that Airbnb already does something called Social Impact Experiences, though we found some pain points with the existing programs through user research.

- These experiences are difficult to find
- There’s no filter for it on the experiences tab
- They cost money
- Yes the money is donated, but there’s no option for users to just volunteer their time

Eco Experiences

Our final outcome lead to creating what we are calling Eco Experiences, a new way for people to support the communities that Airbnb operates in. Guests donate their time as opposed to their money. This gives guests the opportunity to get out and help their communities at no monetary cost to them.

Hosts can reach a wider audience and make a bigger impact by making volunteer experiences more accessible to all. In order to get more people hosting and volunteering for these experiences, we also created a campaign to advertise this addition to Airbnb Experiences.

Simplified cartoon showing person searching for experiences

The Product

Iphone Mockup

Airbnb Integration

Integrating the product into the Airbnb design guidelines was the final step. I created a full scale prototype of user journeys for both the host and guest. We were given full access to Airbnb Cereal (Airbnb Typeface) and color codes. This was the most exciting part of the project for myself.

You can view the full prototypes here if you would like.

Guest User Journey
Host User Journey

instagram mockup
Facebook Mockup

Social Media Campaign

Our team then created possible looks as social media posts. Here are a couple of what the ads may look like.

We also created a full video ad you can view in the case study listed at the top.