AIRBNB Hosted Walks

Taking a stroll around town like a local

Hosted Walks, a mobile site from Airbnb, connected tourists to locally-based Airbnb hosts and their vast library of local insights – guiding tourists on host-led tours that point out all the local gems around them.

AIRBNB Hosted Walks

The Ask

Airbnb has a powerful brand connecting travelers all over the globe. Central to what makes Airbnb different is its mobile app, connecting people on the go with hosts who offer pleasant places to stay. The app delivers on this promise by being relevant and insightful at the moment of a consumer’s intent.

To extend its brand, Airbnb conceived of Hosted Walks, powered by Google. Hosted Walks would launch by featuring Manhattan. Famous for its diversity and history, it is less renowned for providing last minute visitors much in the way of guidance.

Airbnb Hosted Walks provided visitors with step-by-step directions to interesting places—each within walking distance of their host’s home. As they tour, pop-ups would offer recordings. Hosts would point out hotspots and hideaways, sharing personal highlights or history.

Ultimately, Hosted Walks would connect guests and hosts on a new level. But could Hosted Walks turn a place like Manhattan—teeming with sights and sounds—into a neighborhood you can comfortably explore on your phone?

Airbnb Adweek Campaign

The Build

Airbnb partnered with Google for Hosted Walks. The goal was to launch the app at Adweek, an event akin to the Oscars in the world of advertising. Approaching Mayven with the project, there was one hitch.

Adweek was three weeks away.

Mayven dove into architecting the mobile-responsive web application, preparing to handle hits from all of New York City. Slow load times would not be an option during AdWeek.

Airbnb and Google at Adweek

The app needed to scale to thousands of concurrent users across NYC. Responsive design also was a must-have. Built with a PHP/Laravel backend, the front-end consists of JavaScript and HTML. Google Cloud CDN service made sure the app would scale without lags or crashing.

The user interface focused on simplicity, incorporating Airbnb’s style guide, and consisted of CSS, JavaScript, and HTML. The partners worked intently on the user experience as they pioneered how to marry Airbnb and Google Maps with the interactive content from the hosts.

The Win

Three weeks later, Adweek swarmed with 90,000 attendees. Airbnb, Google, and Mayven were ready. The Airbnb Hosted Walks app had been architected, tested, and passed Google’s testing rigors on time.

In three weeks, the concept of Hosted Walks was a reality and a highlight of Adweek. Coverage included Adweek Magazine and The Associated Press. Adding to the excitement, actress Sarah Jessica Parker made a cameo on Hosted Walks.

What favorite places did the star of “Sex & The City” share on her tour?

Shoe shopping, of course.

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