Airbnb's Wish Lists Prove to Be a Big Win with Users

By Trevor Gilbert , written on August 23, 2012

From The News Desk

Earlier this summer, Airbnb launched a new feature called Wish Lists, a feature that allows users to create lists of places that they want to visit. For example, users with a penchant for castles can create a dream list of medieval fortresses, while users desiring to get away from the urban sprawl can create a list of secluded spots that they want to get to.

The feature launched earlier this year, with the purpose of simply improving the user experience. The company had begun to see that users were flagging properties not to save them for later bookings, but instead to put together virtual scrapbooks of a sort, all centered on which destinations were the most lustworthy. Now, though, it’s giving us a glimpse of Airbnb’s future.

The company spent time working over the design of the site and the user experience, and finally landed on the current version of Wish Lists. Instead of putting the emphasis on “Book Now,” the company has moved the emphasis to the quality of the properties. This move has been significant for the company, as it was essentially playing off of a hunch that users want to aggregate their taste, rather than simply book a place for a night.

So far, the hunch is playing off. According to numbers that Airbnb shared exclusively with PandoDaily, users have added over one million hearts to various Wish Lists in the last few weeks. And it isn’t just a fad, as over 45 percent of users that login each day are using Wish Lists.

While the company didn’t disclose the exact number of conversions from Wish Lists to purchases, it did share some important numbers on the correlation between the two sides of the business. According to the company, of all purchases made on the site, over 80 percent of them were made following the user putting a heart on the property and adding it to a Wish List. It may not be rock solid proof of the significance of Wish Lists, but it’s as close as we’re ever going to get.

That being said, it’s too early to tell whether or not Wish List users converting into paying customers will be a sustained trend for the company. Regardless, it does put the writing on the wall for Airbnb’s future. Much like Pinterest, Airbnb is capitalizing off of the fact that people like to share their innermost material desires. It may not result in 1-to-1 conversions, but giving users what they want deep down inside is never a bad strategy.