Airbnb is one of my favorite examples of customer-centric disruption. They’ve gotten it right, and the proof is in the pudding. Airbnb has doubled in size every year since 2014, and taken the travel industry by storm – all without owning a single property.
What is their secret to success? In August 2017, I had the opportunity to speak with Desirree Madison-Biggs, their head of CX Design and Improvement Programs. In addition to recording an interview, Desirree also gave me a tour of their headquarters in San Francisco, California.
Airbnb has embedded their core values into everything that they do, and have created a culture that is deeply customer/host/employee-centric. The mantra of “belong anywhere” was omnipresent at Airbnb HQ, and for a new visitor, one of the most tangible examples was the physical space.
At HQ, employees literally belong anywhere. Teams don’t sit in permanently assigned areas, but rather move freely around the offices and work where it suits them. Whether that means a quiet space to concentrate or a communal work area for collaboration, the Airbnb office is an environment where employees don’t lay claim to a specific space, but belong to something much bigger.
This immersion in the world of customers / hosts keeps the end user top-of-mind. Access to customer feedback data enables employees to see the impact of their contributions.
The employee experience within the physical work space was just the tip of the iceberg. Desirree also discussed how the company’s values are embedded in their talent acquisition process, community engagement, and ongoing experience innovation.