1: Strategy Definition

With Strategy definition you can formulate the understanding, vision and mission of your company. It helps you define how you differentiate from the competition, and have a clear view on the strategic goals. Rethink your business strategy from time to time to adapt your strategy to the fast changing environment!

The founders of Airbnb stumbled on a need when travelling to a conference. They were unable to pay for housing during their trip and they saw there was a potential market where people experienced the same issues. They went with a global strategy, where they create a virtual community platform where people could find unique accommodations for low prices as well as renting out their place to other people all over the world.

2: Strategic Planning

Strategic planning defines the business- and operating model of the organization based on the newly chosen strategy. Starting from strategic goals, it lists the initiatives that build the roadmap towards realizing a new successful organization.

In order for Airbnb to gain more members, they set up a business model that allowed free access to list properties. Moreover, people could have a look around and only had to pay when they wanted to make a reservation. Their focus laid on a good customer service and maximizing satisfaction by presenting Airbnb as trustworthy and customized. To serve their customers 24/7, they needed a reliable, but flexible website.

3. Business Analysis

Business Analysis is the process of identifying the needs of the organization and finding the right solutions for the business challenges.

Airbnb is the market leader, but is aware of competition and business challenges. They sensed they had a need for developing a sustainable competitive advantage, preserve customer’s loyalty and trust, and adapt to legal issues. They enumerate several strategic solutions. First, create awareness and foster an increase of usage. Secondly, establish partnerships to integrate the platform of Airbnb to promote their business. Last but not least an expansion towards an international user base. In all of these solutions, a well built and maintainable website is essential.

4: Program Management

Program Management is the art of steering the projects in the transformation roadmap towards the expected benefits the company wants to realize, making optimal use of available resources and managing potential risks along the way.

​The AirBnB-business model is easy to understand, but its realization comprised the alignment of multiple projects. All of them, digital and nondigital, had to be integrated. Some, like building a website architecture and creating marketing content, ran parallel to each other. But the start of some projects, e.g. the build of specific landing pages, depended on the success of others, like employing good developers. Managing these projects on a higher level and integrating them to enforce the same vision, was a real tour de force.​

5: Benefit Realization

Benefit realization is the process of following up and measuring the benefits during the execution of the project(s), to ensure that strategic goals can be reached.

At the start, Airbnb’s founders didn’t dare to expect too much Return on their investment. But in 2014, after comparing estimated numbers to realistic ones, they felt confident to reset the targets more ambitiously. With their list of accommodations in 33,000 cities and 192 countries still expanding, the original projections became obsolete. In line with their value of flexibility, Airbnb’s Management chose to respond accordingly and change their plans. They decided to tackle a new market by creating comprehensive travel planning guides for each community it currently serves, with rental listings.

We’re looking forward to the road ahead!

* the average lifespan of a top 500 S&P company is plummeting, source: Innosight Research Paper Picture by Manfred Majer

Patrick Herwegh

Patrick Herwegh
Business Transformation Consultant

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