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The Local Culture of

Process Book

Cosette Saliba

SCAD - Methods of Contextual Research Eliška Skarolková ∙ Erin Legan ∙ Fernando Loza ∙ Maarsel Atallah

Pranav Ranawat

“The American dream, what we were taught was grow up, own a car, own a house. I think that dream’s completely changing. We were taught to keep up with the Joneses. Now we’re sharing with the Joneses.” -Brian Chesky

Itinerary (Table of Contents)

BOOK TRAVEL Glossary | Ethnography Contextual Research | The Research Plan

PACK + TRIP PREP Secondary Research | Background

Connections | Value flow map



Modes Used | Stakeholders THE LAST HOORAH - “THE EVENT” TAKEOFF


Primary Research | Observation Places + People (Interviews) | Cultural Probes Survey (neighbors) | Insights/Challenges

CHECK-IN Concepts | Affinity Mapping

LANDING HOME Transcripts) | Appendix

Book Travel

Glossary AIRBNB Peer-to-peer online marketplace and homestay network that enables people to list or rent short-term lodging in residential properties, with the cost of such accommodation set by the property owner. STVR (SHORT TERM VACATION RENTAL) Renting out of a furnished apartment, house, or professionally managed resortcondominium complex on a temporary basis to tourists as an alternative to a hotel.

HOMESHARING An arrangement by which two or more unrelated people share a dwelling within which each retains a private space. GUESTS A person who is invited to visit the home of or take part in a function organized by another. HOSTS A person who receives or entertains other people as guests.



A commercial establishment that provides lodging, food, etc. for travelers; small hotel.

Areas of land are divided by appropriate authorities into zones within which various uses are permitted.

HOTEL A commercial establishment offering lodging to travelers and sometimes to permanent residents, and often having restaurants, meeting room, stores, etc., that are available to the general public. B&B (BED AND BREAKFAST) An accommodation offered by an inn, hotel, or especially a privatehome, consisting of a room for the night and breakfast the next morning for one inclusive price.

SHARING ECONOMY Is a hybrid market model which refers to peer-to-peer-based sharing of access to goods and services. CO-HOST A joint host; a trusted friend or family member responsible for a host’s property while he/she is away.


What is it? “Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 191 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.”


Contextual Research Connecting to others is one of our deepest desires as humans. Connecting to others not only anchors us in who we are, but it also makes us feel like we belong. One of the ways we, as people, allow for belonging is through the experiences we walk through which connect us to others. Thus, in order to better understand the ethnographic aspect of these interactions, we chose to study the local culture of Airbnb in Savannah. The idea of Airbnb worldwide has been received in various individuals with hesitation as well as acceptance. The reason for this is that Airbnb is based on an entire system of trust - the host must trust the guest and the guest must trust the host. This idea of sharing is part of a bigger idea entitled the sharing economy, where individuals are borrowing or trading goods instead of actually buying them. This concept is widely trending and has become an integral aspect of the economy. Due to this we aimed to find Airbnb’s voice and presence not only in the sharing economy, but in Savannah as well.

This process book will highlight the basics of ethnography as applied to our area of study. The book breaks down the tools used to find the voice of Airbnb as well as the voice of the user overall. As the world shifts to an economy of sharing, we were interested in the process, possibilities and people around what makes Airbnb happen. become an integral aspect of the economy. Due to this we aimed to find Airbnb’s voice and presence not only in the sharing economy, but in Savannah as well. This process book will highlight the basics of ethnography as applied to our area of study. The book breaks down the tools used to find the voice of Airbnb as well as the voice of the user overall. As the world shifts to an economy of sharing, we were interested in the process, possibilities and people around what makes Airbnb happen. users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.”

Research Map

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Sept. 13 - 18

Sept. 19 - 25

Sept. 26 - Oct. 02

Oct. 03 - 09

Oct. 10 - 16


Secondary Research Initial

Continuous Research Observation


Primary Research Interviews Analysis

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Oct. 17 - 23

Oct. 24 - 30

Oct. 31 - Nov. 06

Nov. 07 - 13

Nov. 14 - 20

Secondary Research Continuous Research

Analysis Insights

Concepts / Prototyping Explore Concepts F. Solutions Prototyping

Offerings Presentation

Pack + Trip Prep Travel

Secondary Research Secondary research data was collected and organized through a series of modes with the aim of creating visual summaries of our findings. Each mode showed the data in a different way so that later in the process we could create connections as well as compare the elements, stakeholders, trends and other key members.


Background of Airbnb

Listings around the world


Over + 2,000,000 housing/ room listing.

Airbnb is present over 191 countries

Total of guest


Has + 60,000 guest around the world.

Over + 34,000 around the world.


Top 9 Competitors Worldwide

Indirect competitors


Booking platforms


Airbnb offices around the world

S. Francisco Austin S. Monica

New York



Global Issues

Racism Has been one of the top issues in Airbnb, to level that Airbnb had to create an extreme policy about their zero telorance for racism and the fact you can get excluded from Airbnb if you perform a racist act. A company that surged because of racism was Noirbnb, which provides a safe travel and protection for the black community.

City taxes Airbnb host must to pay the generic hotel/ motel taxes because they are consider an accomadation and business. Some host consider this does not apply to them because the service they are providing is different to the one as hotels.

Evicting tenants Tenants saw the opportunity that subleasing your apartment in Airbnb helps you pay your rent , bills and receive an extra income although this was not notified to the landlords of their building. Since the landlords saw the profits tenants are making (which is more than the rent they are paying), not receiving any benefits from it and having no control of who is in the apartment or not took the choice of evicting them.

Zone restrictions Since Airbnb has had a fast growth cities as limiting the areas where you are allowed to rent you house or a room of it. Airbnb has become an alternative for people to be to pay their bills but because of this restriction some host would not be able to keep providing or even start this service.

Guest behavoirs In some Airbnb listings, guest have been having uncontrolled and destructive behavoir that have caused damages, mess and broken parts of the homes they had booked.

Long-term rentals A lot of people have shown their worries with the decreasing of long term rentals stock, supposely this was provok by Airbnb since hosts/tenants/landloards know that they will obtain more money by doing short term rentals than long term rentals.

Hotels Airbnb has become a “top competitor” against the hotel industry, so hotels have been demanding that hosts should pay the same taxes they are paying since they are providing the same type of service, accomadation. This norm actually has been implemented to Airbnb host and other short term services.

Airbnb Solutions

No discrimination policy “The Airbnb community is committed to building a world where people from every background feel welcome and respected, no matter how far they have traveled from home. This commitment rests on two foundational principles that apply both to Airbnb’s hosts and guests: inclusion and respect.� - Airbnb

Host Protection Insurance The Host Protection Insurance is a program that provides primary coverage for Airbnb hosts and landlords, as additional insureds, in over 15 countries. The program protects against liability claims up to $1 million USD that occur in a listing, or on an Airbnb property, during a stay.

Sharing city program Airbnb helps impulses internal tourism, helps guests to have the live like a local experience and promotes locals to offer their services and establishments to travelers.

Airbnb Action Airbnb action is a program that was created during the Great Recession to help people around the world use their home to generate supplemental income. The typical middleincome host in the United States can earn the equivalent of a 14 percent annual raise sharing only the home in which they live at a time when economic inequality is a major challenge.

Airbnb friendly program The Airbnb Friendly Buildings Program provides in an organized way to manage home sharing and it also helps bring in and retain tenants and buyers. Most current Airbnb hosts rent out primary residences, and the Airbnb Friendly Buildings Program is intended to support hosts who share the home in which they live.

Donates to local communities Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where people can feel like they belong anywhere they go and we proudly support refugees as they integrate into new communities around the world.

The local culture of Airbnb in Savannah

Savannah is No.1 Destination Highest % of HomesWish Listed in the US.

No.3 Destination Highest % of Homes Wish Listed in Globally.

Source: Airbnb (2015) “Top Wish Listed destinations... the world�

One of the best cities for Airbnb in the US

Worst Best Source: R Street Institute (2016)


Amount of rentals

Competitors in Savannah

703 Active Airbnb rentals

Hotels, bed & breakfast, booking platforms for short term rentals, and local short term rentals like and


Issues and regulations

Shared Rooms 1%



Private Rooms



Entire Place

Amount of active host 269 Active Hosts 96 Multiple Listing Hosts


1) Hotels considered that Airbnb was playing in an unfair playfield because they weren’t paying the hotel/motel taxes as all other accomodations. 2) Neighbors complained about the noise, parking issues, and invasion of property from some guests that stayed in short term rentals and the decreasion of long term housing stock. 3) The recollection of taxes has been a problem since some people would list their houses illegally and there is not a guarantee that the person is submitting the full amount of taxes payment. 4) About 45 cease and desist notices were sent out late last year by the zoning administrator to Savannahians who were renting out properties in neighborhoods where commercial use was not allowed.

Vijay Kumar discusses various design modes in 101 Design Methods that we applied to our data. The modes used are:

Trends Matrix

Innovation Sourcebook

Past and present trends were laid out to

We used this method to help find and

foresee which trends were constant, which trends were changing and which might be futuristic within Airbnb. Trends in technology, culture, and process were used to create a matrix comprised of past, present, and future trends.

organize successful examples of offerings, organizations and people. We created a chart comparing Airbnb and competitors in the areas of attributes, description,


and stakeholders.

Intent Statement

We used this planning tool used to understand the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in Airbnb.

We created an intent statement to capture the key aspects and vision of Airbnb. This helped build on the initial point of view to guide the innovation efforts.

Convergence Map

The statement also created a great framework for the work that was to follow.

We used this method to show how areas of Airbnb overlap and how new behaviors emerge because of this dynamic. These visualizations show the overlapping areas and how these areas are fertile ground for innovation opportunities.

Competitors-Complementors Map We used this method to compare Airbnb with various organizations in the lodging industry and how they interact or compete with one another. These visualizations chart Airbnb and its competitors to key business dimensions such as pricing, model of payment, strengths, and special fees.

Buzz Report The “buzz” that goes on around the world is a good source of inspiration for innovation opportunities. We used the buzz report to collect information about regular changes and have a broad understanding of what is significant in regards to Airbnb.

Trend Matrix

Sharing Econo.



Sharing for free barter system.



Business/ Economy



Renting for money.

Sharing for free. Sharing for money and renting for money.

More of sharing economy.

Non Applicable.

Newspapers, books and Ads.

Social Media Internet.

New technology to support this economy.

Most of the population mutual distribution.

Small market institutional power.


Huge market.

Sharing is the norm.



Last Century

Moderate value on ownership. High value on ownership. Efficency, inconvenience, No awareness. distributed power, saving & Risky owning = Status making money and  peer to peer marketplace.

Pro consumerism. Joys of ownership.

Not a concern

Not a concern.

Small/moderate awareness. Trust/ Leess is virtuous. Share common values. Connectivity & belonging. Empowerment. Openess/Humanness.

Environmental pressures. Sharing of underused assets.

Minimal value on ownership.

Full awarness.

More environmental pressures.




- Unique opportunities for travelers.

- People lack confidence and safety.

- Diversity in housing options.

- Causing rental prices to go up.

- Clear business model.

- Trust between strangers.

- Insurance for hosts.

- Easily copied data.

- Local experience.

- Neighbors.

- Celebrities use it.

- Zoning.

- Real feedback.

- Racism.

- Lower prices. - Branding.



- Tourism/ old buildings

- High and growing costs.

- Savannah is number 1 on wish list.

- Local regulations.

- #3 worldwide wish-listed.

- Competitors.

- Local city partnering.

- Illegal listing.

- Expanding.

- Hotels.

Convergence Map

Local Regulations

- Neighbors complain.

- Number of occupants.

- Zoning.

- Residential districts.

- Crime.

Psycology - The science of the mind. - Body language.

- Business license. - Hostess city. - Tourism. - Zoning.

- Trust/Fear. - Legal/ Illegal - Homeowners. - Money making. - Emotional contagion. - Unfair playing field.

- Connection and Similarities.

- Taxes.

- Testimonials and friendship. - Post experience. - Desire.

Sharing Economy - Collaborative consumption. - Collaboration. - Ownership.

Competitors-Complementors Map


Coach Surfing





Model of payment

Model of payment


Per booking. Pricing



Host is charged a 3%.

No charge fees.

$349/yearly (Homeaway varies)

Special Fees:

Special Fees:

Special Fees:

Special Fees:

Special Fees:

Special Fees:

Sometimes charges cleaning fee, pet fee and guest services. 6% to 12% and sometimes taxes.

Special Fees:

US$20 for verification, becomes annual fee.

Fee based on the total booking price.

Any damages are paid by guest.

Doesn’t charge extra fees.

Flat 12% booking fee for guests (Cleaning and pet fee).

Booking fees are slightly higher than price per night. Best for: 100% free insurance policy and 150 euro must be settled between hosts and guests.

Best for:

Best for: Free stay.

Best for: Ensures the host and the guest plus has automatic insurance programs at no cost.

Infrequent rental, year round rentals, and no need to spend much time on listing.

Innovation Sourcebook





Global community and social networking platform providing members to stay in each other´s homes for free, meet other travelers or search for events or tips in a city

Free accomodation for travelers. Connect people around the world. Allows people around the world. Allows users to fill profiles and add references.

Employees (small group) 10 million users.

Sharing rides from point A to point B. Connect people around the world. Allows users to fill profiles, add references and rate driving skills.

Employees and users.

Car sharing carpooling“, platform providing members to share their journeys and splitting the fuel expenses, secondary meeting other travelers to have a chat while long driving

Car rental enabling short time and instant rental all over the world.

Car rental by hour or day. Worldwide access. Allows to reserve car. App for instant access.

Safe trips, cheap trips, Online transportation company enabling drivers to use their owns car and passengers submit a „taxi“ request with a smart phone app

An online community connecting travelers through groups and events at a certain location

Airbnb concept supporting black travelers and fighting against racism

Reviews of accommodations, food and experience around the world, aiming travelers

A public benefit corporation providing finance force that betters the health and wellbeing of individuals, animals and environment by users donating and providing them by accommodation in hotels as a reward

The world‘s most popular language learning platform supporting diversity and community learn

and premium trips. Online payment (app), carpooling.

Groups of common interests. Calendar of events. Common interests. Projects. Free.

Peer to peet accomodation. Awareness against racism. Sharing experience and culture.

Reviews. Promoting of hotels, restaurants etc. Tourism. Browser, searching for places to visit

Provides with hotel booking. Donates causes in need. Blog. Connect people and enhances kindness

Lessons. Encouraging with members. Grades. Connect people. Duolingo for schools

Employees, partners (Ford, JetBlue)and users.

Employees (international offices),partners and users (drivers, riders)

Members (180 countries and NYC based.

Employees and users.

Employees, local advertising clients and reviewers.

Employees, sponsors, partners hotels and users.

Employees, users (online) and clients (schools).

Intent Statement

Intent statement: Strengthen the bond between Airbnb and Savannah. Improving the local regulations in the city to please the majority. Utilize the Savannah’s tourist image to promote Airbnb



Savannah #1 on Airbnb wish listTourism

Unknown visitors. Social Security City Council. Neighbors Taxes.

Problems Lack of knowledge of Airbnb locations. Limitation of Airbnb in Savannah. Bad behaviour from visitors. Local Regulations.

Intentions Promote Savannah as #1 Airbnb’s dream location. Make a stronger bond between locals and Airbnb visitors

Customers Hosts. Guests. Savannah. Neighbors.

Needs Better regulations. Empower relationship with neighbors.

Aspirations Define Airbnb areas by interests. Promote Airbnb + Savannah. Improve actual regulations. Regulations for visitors.

Added Values Trust. Sharing. Empathy. Collaboration.

Buzz Report

Airbnb faces fresh crackdown in Barcelona Website: Posted Sep 19, 2016 by Natasha Lomas Airbnb is facing a further squeeze on its activities in Barcelona, the Catalonian capital that’s hugely popular with tourists — ramping up tension with local communities dealing with inflating rents and rowdy behavior by visitors facilitated by the rapid rise of sharingeconomy platforms. The city has been trying to crack down on illegal tourist rentals for some time, with the incoming mayor Ada Colau putting a temporary cap on the number of new registrations for rentals last year — a moratorium that was extended this summer. It is not currently possible to legally get a license for a new holiday rental in Barcelona.

Why everyone is cracking down on Airbnb Website: Posted June 23, 2016 by Heather Kelly Critics of sites like Airbnb have long claimed that the services remove affordable housing from the market by turning rentable apartments into unofficial year-round hotels. A drop in supply can mean higher rents for remaining apartments. Hotel industry groups are also upset at the loss of revenue. But Airbnb claims its site primarily offers an “economic lifeline” to help residents pay their bills, rent or a mortgage.

Airbnb helps you afford your rent Airbnb app helps you calculate how much you it would help you afford your rent.

Airbnb guests spend $4.5 billions Website: Posted October, 20 2016 Three-quarters of Airbnb listings are located beyond traditional tourist hotspots, local businesses that traditionally have not benefitted from tourism and hospitality are able to do so. We know from our latest annual survey that Airbnb guests spend the greatest portion of their money while traveling on eating out, compared to other expenses such as shopping, transportation and leisure. This report provides data on Airbnb guest spending in restaurants in a series of communities within the past 12 months.

Airbnb’s head of global operations has left the company Website: Posted Oct. 11, 2016 by Biz Carson. Airbnb’s head of global operations, Varsha Rao, has left the company after three years, Business Insider has learned. Rao joined the home-sharing site in 2013, when it was valued at just $2.7 billion, and has been leading its global push. Today, Airbnb is valued at $30 billion, and its services are available in 191 countries around the globe.

San Francisco Banned Short-Term Rentals. Now Some Airbnb Users Are Threatened With Eviction Website: Posted April 16, 2014 The City Planning Department is now investigating around 85 people for using shortterm rental sites. Those facing eviction usually only have 72 hours to comply. Like Katz, Lisa Weitekamp and Chad Selph received an eviction notice for hosting Airbnb users for just three nights last October. Fortunately, for these two, after they explained their situation to their landlord and promised to stop hosting, the eviction was dropped.This report provides data on Airbnb guest spending in restaurants in a series of communities within the past 12 months.

Airbnb’s Diverse Newsletter Website: Constant newsletter and information The complete team had subscribe with all Airbnb’s newsletters to kept updated with all the new changes and expansion of Airbnb.

Stakeholders Map





Tourism Depart. Zoning Depart.

City Council


Depart. Revenue Neighborhood Association

Association representatives



Non owner based Owner based

Research questions

After secondary research had been conducted, we generated numerous research questions by gathering all data and analyzing through team brainstorming sessions.

Initial Questions: What is Airbnb? What does Airbnb do? What is Airbnb’s role in Savannah? Who are the players for Airbnb in Savannah? Where are the Airbnb’s in Savannah located? What is the competition for Airbnb in Savannah?


Primary Research Models Primary research was collected in order to better understand who the players within Airbnb are and in order to have a deeper look into individuals. The modes used in this process were trend matrix, SWOT, convergence map, CompetitorsComplementors Map, Innovation Sourcebook, Intent Statement and Buzz Report with each mode contributing to our connections in a different way. This process allowed us to further explore and gain insight into Airbnb in Savannah specifically.

People + Places (Interviews)

Marija Bumgarner - Tourism Coordinator Shane Corbin - Zoning Administrator Tom Bolton - Zoning Inspector Lorie Odom - Zoning Inspector Kevin Klinkenberg - Executive Director of the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority Melinda D. Allen - President, Savannah Downtown Neighborhood Assn Dusty Church - Tybee Vacation Rentals Melissa Vanderburg - Host and owner of David S. Moses - Complex Director of PR & Communications THE WESTIN SAVANNAH HARBOR GOLF RESORT & SPA Cindy Landolt - Revenue Director Bill Durrence - Alderman District 2 Gabriela Velez - Airbnb Guest Jason Combs - Host Jonathan - Host Rabo - Host Richard - Host Vicky - Host of Laura’s Cottage Virginia Mobley – President of Thomas Neighborhood Association Elizabeth Wells - Savannah’s Bed and Breakfast

Questions per Stakeholder

Zoning Who are you? What do you do?

Revenue Department

How does the zoning work?


Who defines the zones for the city?

Who are you?

What is the purpose of dividing the city into zones?

What do you do?

Have the zones change over the years? How did they change? What would are the proper reasons for eventual change of the zones? What was/is the reason for changing the zones in the city? How does zoning affect citizens? How does zoning affect businesses? Can a citizen of Savannah put a request/ suggestion for zoning reconsideration for any reason? What is the relation between the zoning department and STVR? How were they defined? What is zoning really controlling for stvr? If you are not in a mixed floor use area, can you still apply for a certificate? What is the process for approbation? What do you check to know if a house is allowed? Are the zones divided by type, like loudy, quite, familiar, parties? Is there a way to do it? How we can use zoning to the advantage of the residents of the city to ensure that we don’t have an overabundance of this particular use?

What does the revenue department do? How is this department related to the STVR? What were the reasons to make the owners of STVR pay taxes? Do you think this levels the playfield between STVR and hotels? How was their reaction when they were noticed that they have to pay taxes? Have you received any type of complains from the STVR owners because of this? Since the decision was made What taxes does the STVR owners pay? Total % in the year? What taxes does the hotels pay? Total % in the year? The STVR from the city Visit Savannah, also pay taxes? Do the bed and breakfasts and Inns pay the same taxes? Is this the biggest income for the city? Or is there another one like tourism? What happens with those taxes that come from the hotel industry, stvr…? If you could change something about the presence or regulations about STVR with amagic wand what would you do?

Neighbours Who are you? What do you do? How big is your association and how do you work together to solve issues? Is there any particular issue/topic that your association has been focusing on the most recently? Have the issues/topic the association focuses on changed or developed somehow over the years? If something has changed - why do you think it has? What was the solution or reason? What is your relationship with the city council? Could you describe us how do you communicate and how do you work on issues together? What is the biggest issue that Savannah is facing and that should be improved? What are the issues in neighborhoods? What should be improved? How? Do you know airbnb? Do you know what are the STVR? How do you feel, as a neighbor and as a local, about airbnb and other STVR? What’s your perception? What do you think is the impact of Airbnb and other STVR in the city? Positive and negative. Is there something positive that you feel these STVR are giving to the city? Is there some type of concern about the STVR in Savannah from the neighbors? Are there complaints about the STVR from neighbors? What are the most common?

Have you perceived changes in the city or neighborhoods because of the STVR? How does STVR affect crime? (If they mention that it does) Do you know the local regulations for STVR? Are they clear? Do you know the reasons of why the city decided to regulate the STVR? How was the city and the neighborhoods before the regulations? How it is now? Do you think the ordinance was a good decision? Do you have any ideas or suggestions to improve the actual regulations? Are you a neighbor of a STVR? or do you know someone that has told you their experience? Have you ever used Airbnb, VRBO, or any other STVR platform while traveling? How was your experience? What is your preference for accommodations? Hotel? Imagine that you had a magic wand that could change anything about the city, what would you change?

Host Could you tell us in several sentences about your general experience with Airbnb? Could you tell us in several sentences about your general experience with Airbnb in Savannah? Why and When did you start rent your house? What did it take you? have you ever had any kind of problem or struggle using Airbnb? How often do you they receive guests? Do you have employees/people that work with you to help you with house(s)? What do you think it is that brings people to Savannah? Does the “haunted city” theme attracts guests? Can you tell, from the people that you have met thanks to you hosting them, why these people chose Airbnb over other types of accomodation? Is there any general pattern you might have experienced with hosts in Savannah? How is the behaviour your guests usually have? What do you do when hosts come to check in to your house? What informations you give them? How does the check in look like? In what things do you use the money obtained from airbnb? (House improvement, rent, personal stuff, etc) How do your neighbours feel about Airbnb?

What do you think or how do you feel about the short-term rentals regulations in Savannah? How does it work here? Has this changed/developed anyhow over the years that you use airbnb? How do you feel about the zone restrictions in Savannah for short-term vacational rentals? Is there an Airbnb Ambassador for Savannah? Do Airbnb hosts communicate with the HQ of the company? Do you have experience hosting in different cities/countries? Do you have an experience from the other side - being a guest? Is there any pattern you might have observed while being a guest? Imagine that you have a magic tool that could change anything about Airbnb, what would you change? Imagine that you have a magic tool that could change anything about Savannah, what would you change?

Bed & Breakfast How do you feel about Airbnb in Savannah? How does it affect your business? In your words, which would be the big difference between a Bed And Breakfast/ Inns and Airbnb? Why you think or don’t think Airbnb should pay taxes? Should it be the same amount?

Do you provide any complimentary breakfast or special to customers? How do you feel about the hotel industry today? How do you feel being one of the top ten bed and breakfast? Has taxes changed over time? Have the regulations changed?

What is your advantage over Airbnb?

If you had a magic stick that could change anything about Airbnb, your business or

Are you a property-owner?

savannah itself ... what would it change?

How do you advertise your company? In which Platforms?

Do you receive any benefits for paying taxes?

Does help you in any way?

Which kind of place do you recommend tourist?

How do you manage with the city/tourism council? Do you have a special treatment?

Do you have any kind of partnership between local business or city council?

Which is your highest season? Why is that?

Have you ever tried Airbnb?

Which is your demographic?

As a host or Guest?

How is your relationship with guests?

How was your experience?

How you would describe the relationship between your guest and employees?

As a personal point of view, when you travel which accommodation you prefer?

How can you improve your revenue? Did the hurricane affected your property/ business? Which type of visitors you generally receive? Short term, long term, business, family, love ... Do you have meetings with other people of your business?

Cultural Probes

Airbnb Cardboard House: We design a cardboard house with quotes representing the opinion of different persons about airbnb and vacation rentals in Savannah, GA. The house served as a suggestions mailbox where citizens can write their opinions in a piece of paper and introduce them inside the house.

Savannah Local Flavor: We set a white canvas outside an artsy shop where locals could draw and write what they think makes Savannah beautiful, and what would they change about it.

Airbnb Stories: We set a recording camera inside an establishment with the sign “Airbnb Stories� and we encourage guests to tell us about their experiences, good or bad, about airbnb.

Survey (Neighbors)

How do you feel about short term rentals here?

Have you ever thought of renting your place on Airbnb?

Positive 6

Yes 9

Negative 2

No 4

Mixed feelings 6

How do you think short term rentals are affecting the city? Positively or negatively?

Have you ever had any problems with short term rentals here? Yes 2 No 12

How do you feel about Airbnb in Savannah? Love it 6 Mixed feelings 5 It’s horrible 2

Positively 10 Negative 5

Can you think of any suggestions to fix short term rentals problems or improve it? Don’t know enough about the politics of it 4 City needs to get more control 5 ZONING 2

Insights of cultural probes

Airbnb is a fair zoning concern regarding increased parking Some regulations/permissions should be practical Awesome because I was homeless, but filmed showering They bring people and money into the city Willing to try it but the concept of staying at someone’s house is weird, staying at a friends house/hostel. I think corporations are taking advantage of the format and making rent too expensive Miraculous, get out of comfort zone more often!

Rentals are good, they are a plus for savannah Loved ability to reserve a place with short notice Haven’t stayed at Airbnb yet but looking forward to on my next trip I like it, used in London. Cheapest choice. Friend was host so I got a discount. LOVE Airbnb. Driving properties price up, getting hard to find properties; Landlords can get More money 20% more for a regular place since Airbnb is in Savannah

Fun opportunity to experience new places for cheap

Nobody can afford to live here

Used multiple times, like meeting new people

It’s your property, do what you want with it

Land + Check-In

Analysis Following the primarily research, we moved into concepts analysis in order to break down our ideas further. We affinitized our previous observations and data to form concept groundings to better understanding generalized opinions of stakeholders. From there we made connections in order to move forwards with our ideas towards offerings for our stakeholders.

First concept

As an experiment we individually brainstormed and sketched some very first ideas that were poping up during the process until now. We wanted to see what ideas we can come up with before the analysis itself and planned to do more concepts aftterwards. After ideating individually we met with our team, we put all the concepts together and we invited people to look at them, give us a feedback and vote for what they like.

Data extracting

After taking a moment sketching and creating for a while we jumped straight into analysis. We extracted quotes, insides, data and observations from all our interviews, surveys, observations, even secondary research. We transcripted them on yellow post its so they were ready for further step. Together we gathered around 800 quotes and insights.

Affinity mapping

We took all our data and started grouping them together with those that we found matching or anyhow interesting. We use spontaneity and an inner sense, we matched our data together in anyway we felt they match or any way we felt they work together. We believed that our data will guide us and they did! We did several rounds grouping them again and again. Our first rounds were completely quiet so we only used our own senses and didn‘t discus anything. The latter rounds were with discussions as we were gettinh more and more familiar with the content and as new perspectives were starting to open.

“Grouping yellow data, creating blue insights”.

After several long long runs of grouping the data together multiple times, we made the final grouping round and started analysing them. We talked for hours and hours to write a “blue insights� which were detailed descriptions of what the yellow data tell us. We were narrowing our data and making them to make sense when put together in groups.

Visualization of Blue Post Its

Local Complaints Airbnb Benefits Taxes Take care of Savannah Hidden Agenda

Process Lack of community

Reestructing Taxes Audience Illegal Zoning

Owner based

Airbnb Experience Tourism

# Blue Post it P/Bubble 10









Blue Post it Categories We are not competitors Strangers Parking Problems Property Price Going down Property Price Going Up. Unclear Laws Live like a local.

Airbnb Website Reevaluate Ordinance City vs Airbnb Concetration in Downtown Airbnb helping people Fear of the STVR Increase Unity Density

Hotels Availability of Rooms I don’t use Airbnb Customized Solutions

Hotel Thoughts Use a different Platform Hostels Multiple Housing

History Cycle Competitros Different Cities Loss of Residents Regulation Process Racism Common Ground Solutions + Problems than Benefits

Host and Friends Airbnb Partnership Crime Bed and Breakfasts

“Grouping blue insights, Creating pink insights”.

When we had all our data analysed in the first round we did the same process again now with the „Blue Insides“. We grouped them, talked for hours about them and then analysed them in the groups together to create „Pink Insides“ that cover all the „yellow data“ from our research and their subtitles described by the blue post its. Now we created the „pink“ titles of our research data and were ready for the next step - making solutions out of them.

Visualization of Pink Post Its






3 4



36 35

6 7





32 31





12 13

28 14

27 15

26 16

25 24

17 23






1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 29 40


After the analysis of the insights we looked back at our first concepts to see how relevant they are. We matched them with our problems. Do we have a solution for each problem? We sat again, continued the ideation, created new and updated concepts and grouped reviewed everything several times while grouping and matching concepts and data in

Connecting Pink Post Its to Concepts.


Solar City Program Samara Design Studio Airbnb + Uber/Lyft Implementing local aspects of city Partnering with local business

Airbnb online system (booking, pricing, listing, rating, etc.); scan for online dummy accounts *not for Savannah stakeholders

Airbnb for disaster management Providing shelter for those in need *possibly not for stakeholders


Keep eye on density to avoid destroying local communities


Airbnb sponsored spacial use for business, work, individual use, portion of the day, etc.



Finding solutions together with Stakeholders and the city

using SCAD students, artists, people from Historic Preservation to preserve abandoned houses



Welcome kit with tips and story of the house upon arrival of guest

Increased safety/authority around the city



Recommendations from locals including businesses, maps, places to visit, interactive map etc. for guests



Simplifying the online application process/clarity

Label all STVR for local/ city knowledge and for guests; Airbnb section of the city



Meet up spot for travelers and people who want to know more

Solutions to neighbor complaints through helpline and a strike system



Airbnb for hotels, hostels, schools, dorms, and cheap stay



Informing neighbors, regulations



Working with communities and local lawmakers to develop home sharing rules

Airbnb volunteers in community



Connecting like-minded individuals that want the same things in life/people to be with

For guests/hosts; providing bikes and digital barcode system


Distribution throughout various neighborhoods


Should be present/near, accountability in that


Promoting Airbnb in local places for expansion Airbnb preferred



Connecting hosts and people that have common interests; mandatory city ambassadors

Perform services to pay less





























Airbnb online system (booking, pricing, listing, rating, etc.); scan for online dummy accounts *not for Savannah stakeholders

Increased safety/authority around the city




AIRBNB SPONSORSHIP Airbnb for hotels, hostels, schools, dorms, and cheap stay



Airbnb sponsored spacial use for business, work, individual use, portion of the day, etc.

Solar City Program Samara Design Studio Airbnb + Uber/Lyft Implementing local aspects of city Partnering with local business




Informing neighbors, regulations




Recommendations from locals including businesses, maps, places to visit, interactive map etc. for guests

Finding solutions together with Stakeholders and the city

NEIGHBOR COMPLAINTS Solutions to neighbor complaints through helpline and a strike system


Maintenance association, partnering

Promoting Airbnb in local places for expansion Airbnb preferred

Airbnb for disaster management Providing shelter for those in need *possibly not for stakeholders


Keep eye on density to avoid destroying local communities



LEARN guests that come to the city


Meet up spot for travelers and people who want to know more


using SCAD students, artists, people from Historic Preservation to preserve abandoned houses


Maintenance association, partnering


Airbnb volunteers in community


Perform services to pay less


Distribution throughout various neighborhoods



CITY Landlord Friendly Program


Welcome kit with tips and story of the house upon arrival of guest


Label all STVR for local/ city knowledge and for guests; Airbnb section of the city


Working with communities and local lawmakers to develop home sharing rules


For guests/hosts; providing bikes and digital barcode system


Should be present/near, accountability in that


Connecting like-minded individuals that want the same things in life/people to be with


Connecting hosts and people that have common interests; mandatory city ambassadors


Simplifying the online application process/clarity

Value Flow map

This map describes the flow if the value between different stakeholders. We used this tool to visualize relationship and to identify a potential which relationships don‘t work and if there could be a potential for new ones. We can clearly see that there is a gap between the two sides of the graph - the Airbnb with its hosts and guests and local businesses (small caffees, bars, small shops, etc.) and hotels with its guests on the other side with touristic businesses (expensive restaurants, bars, etc.) and the city itself. How might we build new connections where they are lacking? How can we use the existing connections?

Value Map

Airbnb guests

Airbnb hosts


Local business

Like each other Don’t like each other Money Reputation


Touristic business


City Council

Hotel guests

Explore the Local City

Offerings During the development stage of our research, Airbnb shifted from a lodging company to a tourism company thus releasing new partnerships and ideas for Airbnb as a company. Coincidentally, some of our research and ideas lined up with the first set of proposals revealed by the company at the Airbnb Open LA. This gave us the confidence to move forward with our ideas as well as affirmed us that we’re thinking in a similar pattern as Airbnb. These solutions were launched on November 18, 2016. Here we are going to share Airbnb new features and solutions.

Airbnb new features

The unplanned trip

Map of local businesses and places

This is exactly how we called the concept. And it’s exactly what Airbnb named their new feature. Our concept consisted of an online planner that every Airbnb guest have on their platform. The guest can add their events on the planner and Airbnb would help them discover other events around them

Introducing a map that has local businesses helps guests live the local experience and helps small local businesses grow. Now this feature is also available on Airbnb.

through a pop up notification system.

Savannah collaborates with Airbnb to put Savannah on the map. We want Savannah to be the early adopter of these innovations, especially that it’s the number one wishlisted city on Airbnb.

Workshops & events We learned from our data that guests love the local experiences and learning new things from their hosts and the community. So we thought that a page on would be a great idea to display workshops and events by locals, hosts and maybe also guests who want to give back to the community and share their expertise. In LA open, Airbnb announced the new feature called experiences

Neighbors helping hosts We came up with a solution of neighbors helping hosts with managing the property and helping the aguests when the host is not available. According to our data, that would help reduce complaints from neighbors because they get to know the people coming to their neighborhoodand it enables them to have a cut of the profit. Airbnb announced this feature and called it co-host.

Airbnb introduced all of these new features but only in some cities. We hope the city of

Provide bikes for guests Savannah is a cycling friendly city and it doesn’t have parking spaces for everyone. Some hosts offer bikes for their guests, but they’re not many. we want to encourage that by including Bikes in the amenities section on Airbnb. Airbnb decided to add this feature and they announced it in LA Open. We can add to this feature a bike sharing program between the Airbnb community in Savannah.

Solutions we didn’t present

Search by host

Ride sharing

Personalized profile on Airbnb of hosts depending on interests and what activities they can present for their guests.

For guests needing rides from the airport, they can check out hosts in the city on the Airbnb application and see who’s available for a ride home.

Guests can search by host, or customize their profile and Airbnb will match them with the right host.

Also, the application can show guests and hosts going to places in the city, the beach for example, and they can join them for the activity.

Better preview for hosts To encourage more trust, we came up with an idea to have video previews and 360 pictures of houses. Guest will check videos of the experience of the hosts with previous guests, they will see 360 degree pictures of the house and they will check video reviews that are much more humane than text reviews.

Tour with a local Local tour guides who will help guests learn about the hidden gems, visit the small authentic places and practice the language with them. These are not professional tour guides but local people and students. Guests can search for different types of guides depending on their interests and what they want to experience in the city.

Activities with other Airbnb guests Guests get notifications of what other guests are doing, go meet them and tour together, share a meal, enjoy the local experience. Also guests can send notifications for other guests to join.

The Big Adventure

Solutions For our offerings, we moved to our final solutions. We narrowed down 12 ideas to 7 final solutions to then prevent to our stakeholders. We evaluated all solutions based on which of our ideas best reflected our research as well as best benefitted each stakeholder.

Solution 1: Clear terms

Issues addressed: Confusion between accommodation terms. External investors that don’t live in the city and don’t care about the properties are buying multiple houses to rent. People renting rooms in their residential properties are known as bed & breakfasts and Inns, creating confusion between these types of accommodations. Vacation Rentals are taking affordable housing off the market for citizens. When a vacation rental does not have an on-site manager guests do not received a complete local experience, and sometimes they get out of control affecting the neighbors. Complete neighborhood blocks transformed into vacation rentals.

Stakeholders Involved: Hosts City Accommodations Neighbors


Vacation Rentals

Redefining and adding specifications and limitations for each type of accommodation, plus the introduction of the term “Homesharing” in order to create clearer and simpler terms for citizens.

Accommodation for transient guests where, in exchange for compensation, a residential dwelling unit is provided for lodging for a period of no more than 30 consecutive days. Such use may include an on-site manager (manager living in the city) or off-site manager (manager not living in the city).

Bed and Breakfast Accommodation for transient guests with 1 to 5 guest rooms with guest common areas, such as a living, a dining room and a garden or backyard. Owners typically live on the property and prepare breakfast in the morning which is generally offered as part of the price.

Inn Accommodation for transient guests with more than 8 rooms that offers breakfast and dinner. This type of accommodation is owneroperated or manager-operated, and often the Innkeeper or manager will also live at the property. They are small hotel.

On-site manager specifications: A person living within the city cannot have more than 20% of the allowed STVR’s specified per neighborhood. If the host/ manager has more than 5 vacation rental, he or she is required to have a co-host per each 5 dwelling units. Understanding by the term of co-host, a person living near the 5 units rented that can take care of the house and the guests. Off-site manager specifications: A person not living within the city cannot rent more than one residential dwelling. Home Sharing Residential dwelling unit containing not more than 4 sleeping rooms that is used and/or advertised for rent for transient occupancy by guests, while at least one of the primary residents lives on-site throughout the visitor’s stay.

Solution 2: Customized Expansion

Issues addressed: Tourism is concentrated in only one area of the city. Only few people can rent or share their dwelling units due the current zoning ordinance. Downtown off-street parking has decreased due the increase of vacation rentals. Tourists having bad experiences because of crime or “bad” neighborhoods can become bad publicity for the city. Complete neighborhood blocks transformed into vacation rentals. Neighbors with families worried about strangers walking around the streets where their children play.

Stakeholders Involved: Hosts City Neighbors Guest

Solution: Creating a customized expansion of the current zoning for Vacation Rentals and Home Sharing’s based on a study that takes into consideration the following criteria

From the study carried out each neighborhood will have different regulations according to its needs and actual context, these regulations include:

for each neighborhood: •

Limit on number of STVR per neighborhood.


Parking spaces

Limit of Homesharing per neighborhood


Parking lots available for tourists.

Local businesses

Crime rate.

Since every neighborhood in Savannah is different, one solution do not fits all. Hypothetical examples: Neighborhood 1 Study Results

Neighborhood 2 Study Results

Mostly Residential




Calm and quiet.

Trendy and active

Limited parking lots

Available Parking



Neighborhood 1 Regulations

Neighborhood 2 Regulations

0 Vacation rentals allowed

18 vacation rentals allowed

Unlimited Homesharing

Unlimited Homesharing

Not suitable for travelers with cars

23 parking spaces, suitable for travelers with cars.

Airbnb Involved:

Hypothetical example:

This study will not only help the city to know each neighborhood better and to regulate the number of vacation rentals and home sharing, but also will help the city to be placed into “Airbnb Neighborhoods” page, which shows featured neighborhoods with their description, suggested activities and labels.

A group of friends are coming to Savannah, GA for a bachelorette party, they want to have fun and have their own house so they can prepare breakfast for the future bride. They can select the “Party Trip” in the filters, and Airbnb will redirect them to a neighborhood in Savannah where they can be loud without affecting the neighbors, and where it’s full of young people and pubs.

We are suggesting that Airbnb can include inside its filters the following purposes of trip options, so when a traveler chooses his/her purpose of trip, Airbnb will redirect the user and show him/her the ideal neighborhoods for her vacations.

Purpose of trip: Romance •

New Life


Solo Traveling



Party Trip

City Break


Solution 3: Reestructuring Taxes

Issues addressed: Hosts are confused because they are paying a hotel/motel tax without being one. Neighborhoods are not getting the benefits  from the taxes. Self-reported tax process based on trust, the revenue department doesn’t has the security of receiving the right amount of taxes from hosts. People renting their houses for only a few weekends during the year have to pay the complete hotel/motel tax.

Stakeholders Involved: Hosts City Neighbors Accommodations


Change the name

New Exemption

To avoid confusion with the term hotel/ motel tax between vacation rentals and home sharing owners, were are proposing to change the name of the tax to “Lodging Tax” which involves all types of accommodations that provide this service to travelers.

For people renting their houses for a few weekends during the year it is not fair for them to pay taxes as a complete business, for that reason we are proposing to create an exemption for those hosts gaining less than $2,000 USD per month.

Reframing the use:

Airbnb Involved:

% percent of the total hotel/motel taxes collected in the city is used for the purpose of promoting tourism, conventions, and trade shows under a contract with a private sector nonprofit organization, and the other % percent is used for the purpose of either marketing or operating trade and convention facilities. Since vacation rentals and home sharing’s are across the city and not only in the touristic area, we are proposing that the taxes collected from these 2 types of accommodations can be restructured to be used % percent for the purpose of promoting tourism, and the % remaining for the purpose of renovating and fixing the neighborhoods where this vacation rentals and home sharings operate.

Airbnb can partner with Savannah, GA. to start collecting lodging taxes on behalf of hosts, facilitating the mechanism and providing millions of dollars in revenue to the city annually, with the exact information and amount from each host in the city, allowing the state to focus on broader issues regarding Airbnb-type businesses. Airbnb has done this with 200 cities including: Los Angeles, Connecticut, France, India, Netherlands, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Anchorage Alaska, Palo Alto, and Florida.

Solution 4: STVR Website

Issues addressed: Long an analog application process. Confusion about which areas are allowed to have vacation rentals and home sharing’s. Neighbors calling the police and not knowing how to act when they live next to a vacation rental. Unauthorized listings operating in the city. Misinformation of where vacation rentals and home sharing are operating. Tourists taking the limited off-street and on-street parking from locals. Applicants have to wait for the zoning department to check and approve their application.

Stakeholders Involved: Hosts City Neighbors Guest

Solution: An all-in one website for Vacation Rentals and home sharing with the following features:

Online application process


Website tab where applicants can start their registration process by filling up their information, creating a profile and searching the address where they want to

Website tab displaying a clear and quick list of the local regulations released by the city council to make the website a one-stop shop for referring to the new and upcoming rules

have these types of accommodations. The appliers will be able to check if in a map of the city how many permits are still available in each neighborhood and come back to make changes in their profiles which will update the database automatically.

and regulations.

Parking Availability Website tab displaying a map with the parking spots available in the city that tourists can book and pay for parking their vehicles. These parking spaces can be uploaded by the tourism department and by citizens that have available spaces in their residences, providing an extra income for neighbors.

Map Online map showing all the active and certified listings of vacation rentals and home sharing in the area, allowing neighbors to know how many short term renting dwellings are around their home and providing the contact information of each one of them.

Neighbors Tab specially designed for neighbors living next to a vacation rental and/or homesharing with contact information and tips of how to act with issues regarding these accommodations.

Airbnb Involved We are proposing a new feature for Airbnb named “Airbnb Parking” where Airbnb users can list their underused spaces to provide cheaper and more convenient parking for guests traveling with cars. Guests can book, schedule and pay for this parking spots in the Airbnb app and website and park there if their house don’t have a parkings space. With this new feature Airbnb can provide a better trip experience for those roadtrippers, open more opportunities to locals with underused spaces, and giving a better chance for hosts withouts parkings to be booked.

Solution 6: Renovate and Rent

Issues addressed: Unused old buildings in Savannah, GA. Neighbors believe hosts are not helping the city. Savannah, GA. received a great amount of people that travel for work. Hosts are buying houses and renovating them  in poor neighborhoods. Historic buildings, by law, cannot be demolished and owners have to reutilize those spaces.

Stakeholders Involved: Hosts City Neighbors Guest



In order to bring back to life the historic buildings from Savannah, GA and give them a new use, we are proposing a partnership between the city and/or the citizens depending who owns the building - and Airbnb to transform these buildings with great potential into new spaces such as offices, meeting rooms, pop up stores for entrepreneurs, and galleries for artists. Business travelers that come to the city to work for a period of time, or even citizens that can’t find a place to have meetings or show their art, can use these spaces that suddenly can become networking platforms since different professionals and entrepreneurs are working in the same place. These new spaces can also be transformed into workshop facilities where travelers can share their experiences with locals, like filmmakers that come to Savannah.

Airbnb Involved We are presenting to Airbnb a new feature and a new branch for their brand named “Airbnb Spaces”, which is focused on bleisure (business + leisure) travelers. Guests can go to the Airbnb app and book an office, a gallery, or a meeting room for a period of time and according to their needs and number of attendees. With this new feature Airbnb can target a new sector of tourists and will bring locals and travelers together to share  their  passions.


Solution 7: Boosting Local Economy

Issues addressed: Tourism is centralized in one space. Travelers are not experiencing the real essence of the city. Local businesses far from downtown are not benefiting from tourism.

Stakeholders Involved: City Guest

Have a local experience! You are near Foxy Loxy CafĂŠ, try it out!

Solution: Partnership between Savannah and Airbnb to promote the hidden jewels of the city inside its “places” tab, that will allow the city to spread the tourism around Savannah and help those small businesses that offer great services, but that now do not receive a lot of attention. Currently this feature shows inside a map the places nearby the guest, and displays a little description of it, so we are proposing a new update for this feature: Each of the local businesses that are part of the Airbnb community will receive a customized stamp with the legend “Have a local experience”, and every time Airbnb users are near one of this hidden jewels the app will send a notification to their phones telling them they are close to an Airbnb space where they will be able to get special offers, suchs as a unique menu experience or great deals, offering a more directly local experience to guests that would get more engaged and involved with the city personality.

Solution 8: Airbnb Opportunities

Issues addressed: Travelers are not giving back to the community. Travelers do not care about the city they are visiting.

Stakeholders Involved: City Guest Neighbors

Solution: A new feature for Airbnb named “Airbnb Opportunities” where guests that are staying in an Airbnb will unlock a variety of volunteering/collaboration opportunities to perform while they are traveling in exchange of “Airbnb Credits” that they can spend in local businesses partnered with Airbnb or in their future bookings. This opportunities can be uploaded by local businesses, neighbors, tourism platforms and Savannah’s tourism department, and will range from different tasks such as helping in local events, planting trees, volunteering to help tourists in a tour, and spend some hours helping in a local business, all with the same goal of helping the community. Before applying to these opportunities each guest has to upload their skills in their Airbnb profiles, this will help them to filter those opportunities that are perfect to them and that will give them a pleasant local experience. Once they apply, the “employers” will receive a notification and will be able to match those volunteers that they consider are the best for the opportunity, getting the best experience from both parts. This feature has the opportunity to expand to a greater online job system where travelers who like the city can find long term jobs and move in.

The Last Hoorah

“The event� We had to come to the realization during this part of the process that every stakeholder wouldn’t be pleased with every solution. Thus, we narrowed down our solutions and presented them to stakeholders in hopes that our findings would help resolve issues found earlier in the process. The feedback to most of the ideas were received well, with many stakeholders asking for the gathered research.

The event took place in an Airbnb listing that was built in 1822 and bought in 2015 by the actual owners that revitalized the house and transformed it into a vacation rental.



Airbnb Hosts

We were able to reunite all the stakeholders in one room to discuss our solutions and receive feedback. The following list shows our guests and their role:

Jason Combs - Host


John Lindsey – Homeowner of the venue and host

Bill Durrence – Ordinance Writer and Chief of Tourism Council

Airbnb Guests

Marija Bumgardner – Tourism Coordinator

Sergio Mercado Toscano - Guest of Airbnb

Bridget Lidy – Tourism Management & Ambassadorship Department

Special Guests

Lenell Dufour – Homeowner of the venue and host

Bill Lee – Dean of Design Management at SCAD

Neighbors Victoria Jones – Victorian Neighborhood Association

Ed Kauffman – Neighborhood Association Michael Jenkins – Neighborhood Association Virginia Mobley – President of Thomas Neighborhood Association John Mobley – Thomas Neighborhood Association

Accommodations Andrew Savage – Potential Hostel owner David Moses – Complex Director of PR & Communications from “The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa” Elizabeth Wells – Savannah Bed and Breakfast Inn

Tom Hardy - Professor at SCAD Kwela Hermanns - Professor at SCAD Joy - Unknown role

People that couldn’t assist that want our report: Shane Corbin – Zoning Department Administrator Claire Mooney – Previous host, moved away because of local regulations Melinda Allen – President of the Downtown Neighborhood Association

Dynamic: Each of our guests received a kit that included: one passport serving as a folder, two flight tickets for taking notes in the back, a solutions map that showed our schedule for the meeting and one paddle with the legend “booked” in the front and “declined” in the back. After each solution was presented we asked our stakeholders if they booked or declined our proposals, with this method we were able to receive a quick and live feedback to use at the end of the meeting, and that opened a discussion session according to the votes.

The Event

Findings and Feedback

Clear Terms: Booked 9, Declined 1 We were told by the city stakeholders that our definitions were successful and that the city needs them because there is a lot of confusion between the types of accommodations and this will help to take the confusion out. There is a concern about these new terms because it will mean that people will need to change their current business certificates in order to match the new terms, and also how these new terms will affect the local companies that are kind of small and local Airbnb’s. As for the limitation of number of vacation rentals to off-site managers can be complicated because the state law defends the freedom of use of residential properties, but if we can find a way of doing it, it would be a great solution since they don’t want people that do not live in the city running this businesses.

Customized Expansion: Booked 4, Declined 3 “Zoning definitely needs to be revised, but I’m afraid that your solution would be just as confusing as the current ordinance.” There is a concern about the clarity of our plan to expand the zoning, it generated confusion about how is it divided (Per block or per neighborhood?) and what part of Savannah’s territory will include. On the other hand the idea of redefining the zones by taking into consideration different criteria was well received, but it needs to add the factor of the consent of neighbors since some of them really like vacation rentals and home sharing, and some of them do not. The criteria of crime popped up since it is a big problem within the city, it was suggested to add time by zones as to which zones are more dangerous. We were also questioned about the fact that if vacation rentals and home sharing’s are allowed all over the city the hotels may complain about their zoning. And finally we found out that there is a lack of information between some hosts and neighbors about the plans from the zoning department to expand and revise the current zoning for vacation rentals and home sharing.

Taxes:- Booked 8, Declined 2

Website - Booked 9, Declined 1

Clearly changing the name would clear up the situation of hosts complaining about not being hotels, but it can be difficult to apply it because the hotel/motel tax is a state tax.

“City website definitely needs a new face. We can’t disagree.� This solution was well received by the majority, but some suggestions and comments we received were if there is going to be a special organization managing the site or if it is going to be property of the city, also it was mentioned that not everyone gets access to online information due to age and technology gap.

Reframing the use of taxes of vacation rentals and home sharing was well received by some stakeholders, however, hotels were still concern about this type of accommodations not paying the same amount of taxes and they mention that they liked the idea of restructuring taxes but if the neighborhoods are getting benefits from the Vacation Rentals and home sharing, they want their taxes to benefit them as well, using their taxes in things they found important. As for the idea of partnering with Airbnb to collect the taxes on behalf the hosts, we were told that the company only collect taxes if hosts generate more than $20,000. And finally for the proposal of the exception of paying the hotel/motel tax, a host suggested that instead of getting an exemption for an amount of money gained during a month, it could be better if it is for a specific number of days rented in the year because prices varies month to month.

Regarding to the parking website tab, we were informed that some people are already renting their parking spots in the city and that we should consider that there is no way to control tourists of bringing their cars and parking wherever they want.

Renovate and Rent Booked 7, Declined 2

Airbnb OpportunitiesBooked 6, Declined 2

“The fact that you can rent working in spaces can become a big economy boost.” This solution was well received and supported by the fact that it could benefit neighborhoods and the crime rate may go down if houses and buildings are renovated and they start to bring more people to the streets.

It was not discussed, nor comments were mentioned.

It was suggested that maybe hosts can apply for an exemption for taxes if they renovate buildings and houses because they are helping the city and the communities. On the other hand some problems this solution faces is the question of who is going to fund these renovations and that instead of sacrificing someone’s home for workplaces, there should be allowed to have both.

Boost local economyBooked 9, Declined 1 One of the most booked solutions, our stakeholders agree on promoting the local businesses and bring tourists to the hidden jewels of the city. No bad comments were mentioned.

Extra comments: Some ideas are not able to be applied to the real world because of legal issues and different interest from different parties. They also suggested that there should a community of hosts from vacation rentals and home sharing and another one from accommodations so they can be listened up. It was also suggested to specify who are the persons or departments that will be in charge of managing each of the solutions, and that we should try to align most of vacation rental platforms such as Airbnb, Flipkey, VRBO and homeaway.

Land home

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Airbnb Design Thinking Process Book  

Design Strategy project on Airbnb's presence in Savannah. We analyzed the current processes and formed future solutions from them.

Airbnb Design Thinking Process Book  

Design Strategy project on Airbnb's presence in Savannah. We analyzed the current processes and formed future solutions from them.