Back in 2015, Airbnb was new to China (they didn't even have a Chinese name), and the sharing economy was still a strange idea to most Chinese consumers. To localize Airbnb in China was not only a business challenge, but more a cultural one.
It was clear that Airbnb had a very limited understanding of the booming tourists market in China, and knowing who these travelers are was the crucial first step. Following this customer-centric thinking, we came up with the strategy below:
1) identify the market segments, dive deep into the travel behaviors of different cohorts
2) pinpoint the gaps between the mindsets that travlers had and the ones that Airbnb embodies (sharing experiences, belong everywhere)
3) design marketing and product solutions that fit each cohorts accordingly
In practice, we divided the month into four phases:
Using the results from the cluster analysis, we spoke to Chinese travelers that are representative of that segments to learn about their thoughts, feelings, and reasoning at every step of an outbound trip. These hours of recordings and were then converted to post-its and ended up on user journey maps.
As an aspiring product designer back in 2015, I also proposed ideas to localize the product to suit outbound Chinese travelers better. For example, since outbound Chinese tourists usually traveled as a family unit, with the kid(s) organizing the trip, one scenario that came up frequently was the need to find apartments that have rooms with different criteria (the parents usually have different requirements than the kids). I, therefore, proposed to add a filter to achieve that.