2021 Host Research

In our last post, we shared a commitment to being more transparent with the Dtravel community. That commitment continues today with a post dedicated to the research we conducted in 2021 that informed our 2022 strategy. In this post, we’ll walk through why research is critical to Dtravel’s development process, the methodologies we used to understand who Dtravel community members are, and how these learnings shaped the vision for a product that will come to life in the next few months.

Why research?

At Dtravel, product development is approached through a human-centered lens. To develop useful products for the Dtravel community, it's critical to understand who the community is, what they believe in, and what problems they’re currently facing.

Human-centered design process
Human-centered design process

Finding our Early Adopter

The travel economy of the future is owned by people – not companies – and the web3 ethos is a perfect match for this vision. However, web3 technologies are still new to most folks. It will take time for people to feel comfortable with web3 technologies , just as it took time for most people to feel comfortable staying in a stranger’s home.

Diffusion of Innovation Theory
Diffusion of Innovation Theory

That said, our first critical research question was, “Who are Dtravel’s early adopters, and why do they believe in web3 within travel?” To answer this question we placed a survey within the host signup process.  After synthesizing survey responses, we identified the following:

  • Respondents had a lot of passion and knowledge for both home-sharing and crypto.
  • Respondents were looking to be a part of a community creating something new.
  • Respondents operate a business managing multiple properties.
  • Respondents indicated they feel disenfranchised and frustrated by current booking platforms.

Building off these responses and going one level deeper to understand the pain points and motivations of the respondents we conducted over 50 one-on-one video interviews. The outcome of the interview process was the creation of a “Early Adopter” persona.

Early Adopter Host Persona
Early Adopter Host Persona

Defining the Problem

During the interview process with Early Adopter hosts we identified their most acute problems and how their needs overlapped with the Dtravel vision. Below are the key problem areas accompanied by direct quotes from our host research participants.

Problem #1

Hosts lack control over money, policies, and relationships with their guests.

From Dtravel hosts:

“To me, what Dtravel does is it adds some of the benefits of booking platforms while removing the nanny in the middle, which allows us to regain our relationship with our guests who book with us directly.”

“When there is an intermediary to a booking, the guest/host adversary is super strong.”

“I don’t like how intermediaries are always getting involved in my relationships with my guests. And they always seem to side with the guest.”

Problem #2

Hosts don’t receive adequate compensation from the value they contribute to current booking platforms.

From Dtravel hosts:

“I feel like I’m helping create these huge companies, but not getting rewarded for it.”

“As hosts, we’re okay with more friction or more work if it means more ownership.”

“I used to love these intermediary companies until slowly they started putting all the fees on us.”

“For me, the fees aren’t great, but it’s less about reducing fees and more about increasing my upside.”

Problem #3

Hosts lack a voice in influencing the future direction of the platforms they participate in.

From Dtravel hosts:

“Culturally, some intermediaries don't care about you as a host, particularly if you’re a professional host.”

“I’m interested in contributing to a DAO and exploring new opportunities there. Decentralization is the future.”

“Dtravel seems to be an ambitious project aware of what our generation are willing to have in the future: independence and power of decision. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to help create this new world revolution.”

“I think it’s important to be a part of a broader community and connecting with the broader community with best practices and such.”

Turning problems into opportunities

All the research we conducted at the end of last year has been instrumental in developing our strategy and roadmap for 2022. Identifying our Early Adoptor and defining their problems has exposed opportunities for us to develop a unique web3 product that addresses real needs of our hosts and brings us one big step closer to actualizing our mission of a decentralized and community-owned travel economy.

Host Beta Program

Over the next 6 months, our team will be hyper-focused on delivering ownership and control to a small and highly engaged group of Early Adopter Hosts who will be working directly with us to improve our beta product. The more we learn from our hosts and engage them in our work, the quicker we can improve the product and bring on more and more cohorts of hosts. Our intention is to start small, work with our hosts to find the right product solution, then scale to more hosts.

Looking ahead

Human-centered design thinking will continue to be an integral part of our product development and community design process. But what might the research function look like for Dtravel and other DAOs in the web3 world that may be different from the web2 ways we’re used to?

In web2, product teams thought about designing for users. We looked at people as data and made critical product decisions without truly engaging our customers in the ways we’d engage our colleagues. But in web3, we can design with our community as partners. At Dtravel, our hosts and other community members are owners and collaborators in our project. We can treat every person who contributes as our partners and teammates in a way that web2 companies will never be able to. We’re so excited about this possibility and what it might unlock, and we’re committed to sharing that journey with you all.

Interested in joining our Host Beta program?

We’ll be regularly sharing more details of our Host beta program so stay updated and be the first to know by following us on our socials.

We also have a host survey to learn how our hosts operate and to understand their challenges. If you haven’t yet filled it out, you can still complete the survey here.

If you previously registered for our waitlist, you’ve automatically been added to our application pipeline.

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