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: https://community.withairbnb.com/ 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 - 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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
Members were enthusiastic about the update:
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
Rich guides to highlight co-created Airbnb and host content, including video:
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 Homepage
Host Q&A recap page giving a rich experience to other members:
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:
Transition to AWS: 27% in Page View load time, and 23% in App Server response time
Removal of the Sprinklr integration: 200% in App Server resources
Improvements to the external Python data extraction script: 70% in response time (Messages) and 56% in response time (Users)
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!
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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 offers accommodation and local tourism experiences. Contact: Anna Wu Title: Community Lead, Airbnb
Related URLs: https://community.withairbnb.com/ Kudos Category: Keep Calm and Carry On 1. How did your team shift your existing strategy to better engage customers during a crisis?
How do you respond as a travel company when no one in the world can travel?
This period has certainly been the most challenging time in Airbnb’s history. Nearly overnight, our guests were unable to travel, our income disappeared and our hosts’ businesses were under threat.
From a strategy perspective, we knew we needed to do two things:
Support our hosts through this incredibly challenging time.
Make a meaningful contribution to the world’s recovery from COVID-19.
The Community objectives therefore shifted to support these two key priorities:
Create opportunities and spaces for our hosts to stay connected with Airbnb and each other. We needed to prioritise helping them navigate new types of business, best practises and tackling the loneliness and isolation that global lockdown brought.
Support our hosts to safely execute ‘frontline stays’ - our global initiative to house 100,000 health workers who needed to stay away from their families.
2. What operational processes did you create or change to respond in a time of crisis?
Honesty and Transparency
First and foremost, we knew that we had to make extra effort to communicate clearly with our hosts. We made senior stakeholders more visible in the Community Center. We had an honest conversation about the challenges our business was facing and engaged in dialogue about how we could best support hosts. Our CEO Brian Chesky engaged in direct dialogue with hosts to communicate key support, actions and policy updates.
Aisling, global head of customer support, made herself visible in the community to communicate the unprecedented challenges we were facing. Whilst we were expecting a lot of negativity in the community, this post received some very positive responses.
A Dedicated Group for Frontline Stays
We set ourselves the goal of housing 100,000 health workers globally. Our hosts rose to the challenge but needed to:
Consider donating their space or reducing their price.
Learn about important, safety related qualification criteria.
Use best practises for the personal safety of guests and themselves.
With these new complexities, this group was essential to have the timely, supportive and rich dialogue our hosts needed. Those involved could connect with others who were going through the same thing and could celebrate great hosting stories together with us.
Specific COVID-19 Discussion Boards
We opened up three new boards in the English, French & German Communities to provide a dedicated space for hosts to focus on COVID discussions. As you can imagine we were flooded with COVID conversations, questions and worry from hosts. By doing this we were able to centralise all COVID - related questions and discussions, ensuring swift and accurate responses, as well as ensure other areas of the community were free for other relevant content and engagement.
Supporting Hosts Through Online Listening Sessions
We introduced frequent listening sessions to come back to hosts on concerns or questions they had asked in the community. The sessions were also a great way to have honest discussions about how hosts were feeling in relation to our product and policy updates related to COVID-19 and also propose future ideas. With so much changing on a daily basis across the world, it was important we updated hosts regularly and gave them the opportunity to connect with their fellow hosts.
Social Meetups to Tackle Loneliness and Isolation
We introduced weekly socials throughout lockdown. Many of our members had raised their fears over being isolated and lonely, so we wanted to use the great spirit of our community to tackle this. We had a weekly theme and were never short of content! From silly hats, to crafting to one host holding an online cookalong class! These are now continuing on a bi-weekly basis going forward.
During the most significant phase of global lockdown, we started a content series called Discover. Hosts have created guides in the CC highlighting their local area, sharing photos and little hidden gems. It was a great way for members to feel like they were traveling and learning about new places when travel wasn’t possible. and it is also a great way to attract new guests at the next available opportunity.
3. What success metrics did you use to determine if your shifts in strategy and process had the desired outcomes? What were those quantifiable outcomes?
Our primary success metric was our goal of housing 100,000 health workers safely to tackle COVID-19. We are thrilled to report that we reached this target in less than two weeks thanks to our amazing host community.
Overall Community Metrics
We are proud that our community has weathered the storm of COVID-19. With hosting on hold, we expected a significant drop in traffic but Q2 results still showed meaningful levels of activity.
Page views: 4.5m
New members: 24k
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Company: O2 UK Company background: O2 UK is a telecommunications services provider in the United Kingdom, owned by Telefónica, headquartered in Slough, England. With 34 million customers as of February 2020, O2 is the second largest UK mobile network operator. Contact: Robert Fawkes Title: Head of Brand and Communications, Standing on Giants Related URLs: https://community.o2.co.uk/ 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.). Now 8 years old, the O2 community is at the heart of our customer-led business strategy, which has seen the company ranked as the best utility and telecoms provider in the UK for customer service in 2019 by ‘Which?’. As well as providing excellent customer support, the community provides a supportive space to drive positive engagement with the brand through on and off-topic discussion, product development focus groups and ‘surprise and delight’ promotions. We have a core group of Super Users, nurtured by our community management approach, who work with other members to provide thousands of answers annually, which in turn provide millions of solutions for our customers. The team is headed up by Colin Heyworth at O2, with a supporting team of 3 community managers from Standing on Giants. The Community Management team is led by Marjo Hallapera. Our Khoros team is led by Gus Navarro and Justin Bogocionkas. In the last year, our focus has been in two areas: Continue to deliver exceptional customer support benefits through the community. Further integrate the community with the business across key areas such as crisis management, product development and customer feedback. 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? Connected Car Trials As part of our commitment to integrate our community with other areas of the O2 business, we conducted a community trial of our new ‘Connected Car product.’ This involved significant internal education and collaboration between the community and product teams. The trial involved three different private member groups testing features on a weekly basis. Aura Development In 2019, we launched Aura, a new voice assistant for customers. A focus group was formed from community volunteers, hosted in a private group. The product team was able to work with the community through a dedicated space to gather feedback, test scenarios and further develop the product before commercial launch. Crisis Management The community is now a principal support channel to operational areas in crisis (network outage, scam messaging, launch issues) pushing wider public messages and creating landing spaces to support customers and members in understanding issues and situations without going through the standard channels. Crisis Management is focussed in a single thread to create a central point of truth and avoid strain on multiple channels. Escalations A fully robust set of escalation processes means that any query that comes in that can’t be handled by the members has a route to resolution through various channels that will get a response within 24hrs (in most cases) this helps to drive customer satisfaction and is a clear influencer to NPS. NPS NPS is a key KPI for the O2 business so driving positive engagement with the brand is key and the community provides a platform to do this whether through care resolution, Surprise & Delight, Promotional giveaways, Competitions or just a space to engage with other users around the brand. 2019 took this to a new level giving tickets away to venues, signed rugby shirts, and started using surprise & delight with our members. Feedback The community isn’t just about issues we also have a regular feed of positive interactions that get feedback into the relevant business areas – this helps to increase the business engagement with the community (raising awareness) but also helps to drive that NPS score and increase our pot of promoters. 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. Deflection impact Our key business result. In 2019, the community generated £3m+ ($3.9m+) in customer support deflection costs as calculated by Khoros. Overall Community results 15,464 members 77,132 posts 11,205,417 community page views. Engagement +10% growth in replies +7.5% growth in posts -6.1% reduction in response time NPS NPS for community visitors rose 4 points to 40% in 2019. Our top monthly NPS performance was 47%. Member Feedback The above results significantly impact our business for the better but we wouldn’t want to ignore the amazing benefits of the unstructured feedback and connection our community provides. Our community is a place where people have made lifelong friends with people they may have never met otherwise. We have a group of advocates who know as much about our business as our own employees. This kind of brand benefit is hard to quantify with metrics, but we’d like to share a few comments from members below: “Hi, there are so many good parts about this community. Guides, reviews, advice etc etc. Everyone is very friendly and give constructive replies to the posts too. So many forums are well, lets just say, less than helpful with replies. This community has always been very constructive, it gives great advice for everything, so much so it's always my first port of call before I would phone or use the customer service chat. I would use the forum for any advice even off topic advice as it is so helpful :)” “@Marjo Thank you for welcoming me to O2 Community...! Why am I joining the community? Well...! First, I think everyone should, the community is a fountain of knowledge that can help everyone to answer all questions we may have regarding O2 or even more. Secondly, we may be frustrated with O2 the way they may handle our mobile problems (we all make mistakes) the community will definitely alleviate these frustrations and put smiles in our faces... Thirdly, it will be fun and enjoyable to be able to help others in return. Fourth, wait and see what happens next... All the best to everyone” “What is memorable about this community for me is how I was welcomed into the fold. It makes this place feel like an old favorite jumper that no matter how long has passed in between wearing it, it's always just as comfy. I can pop in here when I'm having a tough time, if I'm looking to chat or if I'm feeling helpful and see a question asked that I know the answer to, I can try to help others who are stuck. Recently when my old Dad died I got lots of support on these boards, it was both supportive and heartwarming. I'll always be grateful for that. All in all, O2 community rocks!! 🙌 ”
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