Delightful Arrival










This prototype was developed as a part of a course I was taking with IDEOU in Human-Centred Service Design.

How might we make check-in experience for Airbnb in Melbourne more delightful especially for families travelling with kids?

I am particularly interested in this service because travel can be such a highly stressful situation. Especially when we’re on vacation, we just want to relax and enjoy and hoping that nothing goes wrong (which they often do). I used to be quite a relaxed person about my travel, but now since I have a son, I am more concerned about how everything goes in my travel and I started to become more pedantic about every aspect of it. That’s why I’m interested to see how I can craft delightful moments in hospitality especially for families.

Elaine (37yo)

Elaine is a mother of two, Ethan (3yo) and Ella (1yo), who lives in Melbourne and work part time at an accounting company. She and her husband, Roy, enjoy travelling as a family. Elaine values efficiency, family time and personalised service.

When she travels with the family, most of the time she will rent a room through Airbnb because she can choose a kid-friendly space. She also loves Airbnb because she can does everything from booking to communicating with her host on her mobile.

Primarily what she needs when they are traveling as a family is a family-friendly host and space, efficient check-in and check-out and flexibility because it can be quite hard to have a strict schedule when travelling with kids.

The research involves observation and interview.

I got the opportunity to observe one of the staff members from a host assistance service in Melbourne.

And practically followed him around for the day…

Conducted a short interview about his experience in hosting, what challenges he has, what he thinks of his customers etc.

These are post-it notes from the interview. While interviewing I tried to jot down as many points as I can. The interview was also recorded so I can review it again just in case I’m trying to find some information that I missed.

Customer Journey

Some of the most important moments are marked with a star:

  • Secure booking, start communicating with host about check-in
    First impression matters! How quickly the host responds, is the host communicating well about any instructions for checking in, does the host give any tips about the city, can the host assist with special request for family traveling with kids such as providing a cot or high chair?
  • Start packing, getting the kids ready, go to the airport
    There is a lot of uncertainty, anxious feeling in getting ready for a trip, especially with young children. A small assurance from the host about their confirmed accommodation or a tip of how to get there will help ease the anxiousness of a traveler.
  • Arrive in Melbourne, go to Airbnb, check-in
    Face-to-face moment with host is important. Everyone these days demand a high standard and personalized service, so it is a question whether Airbnb host can provide such service.
  • Prepare to check-out, communicate with host for procedure
    Clarity in check-out process will help guest to plan ahead and checking out on time.
  • Checking out, leave key in the room
    From our interview with a host, he never meet the guest when checking-out and just ask the guest to leave the key in the room. This means there is no last impression for the stay.

Marked with is important for Operational, is for value and U is for uniqueness.

That moment between arriving in a city and trying to check-in can be very stressful.

Why is it important?

  • Guest these days demand personalised service.
  • Guest are tired and anxious, especially if they don’t know what to expect when coming to a city.
  • I imagine most of Airbnb hosts doesn’t work full time as a host (although some does) so they can’t spend much time to craft personalised service to guest.
  • What if there is a third-party app that is smart enough to build a personalised itinerary for travellers by aggregating information from different platforms (e.g. Airbnb, Google Maps, flight status etc) and user-input information to build a user profile and recommend relevant travel itinerary.
  • Travellers don’t want to waste any time.
  • Lack of family-friendly city guides for traveling families.

My envisioned service is to create an app, which can craft a personalised itinerary for guest, especially from the moment they arrive in a city until they check-in to an Airbnb. Guest will be able to create a profile of their needs and interest so the app can suggest relevant places, things to do, transportation method etc. Host will be able to get an update for her guest’s status (by consent), offer guest complimentary services such as free coffee at a local’s favourite cafe, etc.


I tried to create a quick wireframe of such app to especially to check the flow.



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