2020 Customer Awards: Airbnb - Best-in-Class: Community

2020 Customer Awards: Airbnb - Best-in-Class: Community








Company: Airbnb

Company background: Founded in 2008, Airbnb is one of the world’s premier online marketplace companies. Based in San Francisco, California, United States, Airbnb offer accommodation and local tourism experiences.

Contact: Anna Wu

Title: Community Lead, Airbnb

Related URLs:

Kudos Category: Best-in-Class: Community

1. Describe your community(s) and how you decided to start a community or grow/change it? (user request, Khoros suggestion, internal idea, etc.).


Airbnb exists to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere. From day 1, our hosts have been central to us achieving this mission. From the early days when our founders would share hosting tips at meetups in their own small apartment, to now, where we have a community of 4 million hosts around the world. Making personal connections through community has always been, and will always be, core to our business.


A host meetup in Rome - 2019A host meetup in Rome - 2019


The Airbnb Community Center is now 5 years old and has grown to almost 1 million members. The community is truly global, with 8 fully managed language communities and a further 3 languages supported by a blog.


The team is led by Anna Wu from Airbnb, supported by a 12 strong Community Management team from Standing on Giants. The Standing on Giants Community team is led by Lizzie Hipkins. The Khoros Success Service team dedicated to the Community Center is led by Dennis Lacar. He leads a team of 5+, with Tripp Bishop as Principle Web Engineer.


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Over the last year, we have focussed our efforts with the Khoros team to significantly improve the community experience. We wanted the online community to inspire and enhance the real-world experience of hosting with Airbnb and create an even more inclusive and exciting space for hosts to learn from each other, connect and get inspired. 

Our core initiatives this year have, therefore, focused on two areas:


  • Encourage and enable more personal and meaningful connections in the Community Center.
  • Create the most engaging community experience possible, with frictionless access to content and discussions that will help members host better.

2. Tell us about how you made it happen? Did you stage it first? Who got an early look? How did you drive adoption? Did you get executive buy-in? Did you have any key iterations?


Encouraging more Personal and Meaningful Connections


Unique Usernames

We worked with Khoros to retro-fit unique usernames for all our users, a huge task with nearly 1 million members! This was a significant piece of work with many iterations and involvement from both Khoros and Airbnb engineering teams. The result now means that members can tag and connect with each other directly. This was an essential improvement as part of our goal to encourage connection and collaboration between hosts.


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New Direct Message System  

We worked with Khoros in the beta stage of DMv3, creating a messaging system that is reliable and user friendly. The new system enables community managers to communicate far more effectively 1-1 with members as well as encouraging easy private interaction between members themselves (a frequent request from members).  


A particular highlight was the threaded replies which enables conversations to happen in one place rather than starting a new message each time. We integrated the new system in April 2020 and it was instantly enjoyed by members. More efficient 1:1 communication has helped us surface more insights and feedback, allowing us to make improvements and fixes faster. 


Creating the most Engaging Community Experience Possible


New Community Homepage (in 9 Languages!)

With 9 different community languages, that’s a lot of new text strings! We worked with Khoros to implement a new homepage design. Bringing the boards on to the homepage and providing more opportunities to highlight member content via additional feature boxes.



old community homepage.jpg



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The new homepage creates a more unified experience across Airbnb digital channels and gives our members quicker access to the content and discussions they need. It also encourages connection and collaboration from first entry into the community with the discussion boards front and centre. 


Member feedback has been very positive as can be seen below:


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New Member Profile Pages

We received feedback from members that they would like a richer profile page. They wanted all the posts they create in one place, to be able to see more than 20 actions on their profile page, and see what content they have given kudos to in the past. We worked with Khoros to create this profile page for them, leveraging many existing out-of-the-box features. The more in-depth experience our members had asked for can be seen below. 


Profile page desktop old.png



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Members were enthusiastic about the update:


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How to Host Series

As part of our commitment to help our members host better, we wanted to create an inspirational home for our top hosting content. We worked with Khoros to create a custom page for our ‘How to Host Series’: A content hub with video, articles and guides from our hosts that achieved some record viewing numbers.


'How to Host' Series Homepage'How to Host' Series Homepage


Rich guides to highlight co-created Airbnb and host content, including video:


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Host Q&A

The Community Center has always been a central place for us to gather key questions from members. This year, we were able to further integrate our in-person Q&A sessions with the Community Center. We worked with Khoros to update the custom page to host live Q&A videos and rich content.  This section of the community gives hosts, wherever they are in the world, access to our series of Q&As with senior leaders, encouraging an open conversation about the joys and challenges of hosting.


The Host Q&A Custom HomepageThe Host Q&A Custom Homepage


 Host Q&A recap page giving a rich experience to other members:


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2020 Platform TuneUp

Last but not least, we worked with the Khoros team to undertake a wholesale TuneUp of the Community Center. This included a number of specific initiatives with excellent results. We share these in section 3. 

3. What were the results? Tell us how it impacted your customer experience or the outcomes you seek as a business. Please include metrics if possible.


Our core business result is that hosts who are members of our community earn, on average, 2.5x more on Airbnb. This equates to millions of dollars of added value for both hosts and Airbnb.

This is obviously fantastic but we don’t want to under-sell the importance of the emotional rewards from our community activity. Our Community Center is a place where people across the world have made new friends who share their passion for hosting. One member described it as ‘like finding a family.’ This kind of brand love is key to our growth as a business.



2019 was the Community Center's best year yet:


- Membership grew by 30% to 881,018

- 337,303 active members

- 285,961  posts

- 31,574,071 page views


The ‘How To Host’ Series which we worked closely with Khoros on achieved record numbers:


- 240K pageviews

- 170k unique visitors

- 700+ comments 

- 1.1k kudos


Overall Pageview Growth

Over 1/3rd of the Community’s lifetime page views came in the last 12 months - a testament to the improvements made by the Khoros, Airbnb and Standing on Giants teams. 


First Global Community Hospitality Festival

We launched an online community event ‘The Festival of Hospitality’. This celebrated the great experience community members provide to their guests every single day, through a series of insightful posts.  All posts were translated across all our languages, creating a truly global celebration of hosting in the Community Center. 



  • 168 translated pieces of great UGC
  • 1 community video


2020 Community Platform TuneUp

We worked with Khoros to do an audit of the Community Center’s performance and find ways to make the platform run more efficiently. We were able to identify many areas of improvements and were successful in improving the overall performance of the Community Center through a number of backend foundational improvements:


  1. Transition to AWS: 27% in Page View load time, and 23% in App Server response time
  2. Removal of the Sprinklr integration: 200% in App Server resources
  3. Improvements to the external Python data extraction script: 70% in response time (Messages) and 56% in response time (Users)
  4. Code base refactor and clean-up: 43% reduction in REST call overhead


The impact led to a reduction of page load times by 40%+ …here are some details:


  • Community Center landing page: 45% improvement
  • Forum Page: 59% improvement 
  • Message lists: 63% improvement
  • Category page: 91% improvement
  • Forum topic page: 81% improvement

We are incredibly proud of the results achieved in collaboration with Khoros and we can’t wait to continue giving our hosts the community experience they deserve.


This custom designed map was gifted out to our top contributors as a thank you for their efforts to help other hosts in the Community Center after a fantastic year!This custom designed map was gifted out to our top contributors as a thank you for their efforts to help other hosts in the Community Center after a fantastic year!





It looks soo good and friendly!