Airbnb Travel Money Pot is a travel planning tool that Airbnb launched in 2017 in partnership with Alipay, China biggest mobile payment platform. It integrated inspiring, budgeting, saving and booking to one seamless experience. Airbnb Travel Money Pot attracted more than 5M people to start planning trips with Airbnb, and successfully contributed to the growth of new users and booking.

Timeframe Mar - June, 2017


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I was the team lead managing from problem defining, strategy identifying, execution to launch.

  • Problem defining & Ideation: I partnered with user researcher to identify user needs and motivations from interviews, personas studies, and historical user booking behavior data.

  • Execution & Deliver: I initiated sketches, aligned with brand team, designed across and collaborated with experience designers and engineers to translate the insights to features.

  • Product Strategy: I defined the product strategy and led the communication upward and downward with different stakeholders and granted supports for execution.

  • Product Management: I owned product roadmap of all design, engineering and launching. Formed a cross-functional team of 20+ people. Delivered a fine-polished user-driven product in 3-month time.

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In 2016, Airbnb China launched a strategic partnership with Alipay. Part of this deal was integrating Airbnb to Alipay App for the purpose of driving new users through this 800-million-user local giant player. 

Opening an icon on Alipay enhanced Airbnb's chance of exposure to Chinese travelers. Soon after launching, the partnership started to speed up number of visitors to overall China business. However, data show the booking funnel was blocked in the middle - though huge traffics were generated from Alipay, visitors to bookings rate remained low . As the owner of this critical partnership, I needed to figure a way that solves the low-conversion problem.


Research methods including interviews, online survey, persona studies, and quantitative data analysis.

The assumption was - hundreds of millions of users use Alipay daily for payment or asset management purpose, yet they are "not ready" to book accommodation through Alipay. There was a gap between payment mindset and travel booking mindset. Our focus was to fill the gap. 

To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, confidential and identifying information are omitted in this case study. 

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Some deeper insights... 

Aside from research insights, the team also deep dived in Alipay users ethnographies, including key marque messages, user browsing fixation duration, click through rate of different marketing banners, etc. We noticed that comparing with users who come directly to Airbnb, Alipay users are more sensitive to information that shows direct linkage to money benefits. They respond actively to exotic listing pictures such as castles, tree houses. These deeper insights collectively impacted on our design strategy on copy and marque photos.   


Research insights indicated that there are three dimensions we need to look at to define product focus.

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The product concept was vivid - engaging for travel inspiration, functional for budget calculation, straightforward for money saving and promotional for Airbnb listing presentation. First, we started with wireframes to translate product concept.

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After wireframes, we used Sketch and Illustrator to map out the initial core flow.

From ideation to core flow v1 was quick. Yet we faced some challenges as the product has to be integrated to Alipay platform, it brought to us some serious thinkings of how to make the user flow seamless and engaging.

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We were all aware that saving money could be tedious. Yet travel is something different, travel is something that something to get excited about. During the wireframe process, we spent hours on designing an environment that makes users to come back and check the saving status every day.  


This looked great. Yet the Airbnb belo with coin image wasn't direct enough to set up the mood for traveling. This page looks pale and information was too subtle to deliver the sense of travel. We needed something that recognizable for travelers, something could remind people of traveling intuitively. 

Information we collected offline shows that several items are the foremost identical and have strong linkage to travel. They are passport, suitcase and flight tickets. Above all three, we selected suitcase for the prototype for saving status animation. 

Coins status associated with saving status. The more you save the more coins are added up!

Coins status associated with saving status. The more you save the more coins are added up!



Airbnb Travel Money Pot is a closed loop product embedded to Alipay where users can get inspired, save and book trips with existing Alipay account. Product landing experience including:

  • Inspiration page: authentic Airbnb experience presentation with people interactions. Design specs include logo lockup and product function head tag.

  • Calculator: embedded 200 world top travel destinations.

  • Saving page: pre-populated amount to one-step saving.

  • Status page: API integrated Airbnb listings of the specific destination that user aims to save for. By clicking the listing users will be re-direct to Airbnb booking page.

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For any design product owner, there is an invisible threshold to strive for. Sometimes this threshold was not real until the product goes to users. Before launch, I partnered with Alipay product manager and soft tested the product among 1500 Alipay employees. Those feedbacks gave us tremendous value in further iterating.

This calculator was so fun. I can finally set up the saving plan for my trip. It appears to me that the spending was not as huge as it seemed if it was split to daily plans. I wonder if the amount it shows to me included flight tickets or only the accommodation of Airbnb?

I partnered with one UX designer, within three days before the launching date, analyzed 3000+ feedbacks collected from testing users, iterated and tested again and again till that feedbacks are mostly positive.

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Gold Award, China Product Marketing Award.

Gold Award, China Product Marketing Award.

Contribution to Growth

The launch of the product successfully removed the bottleneck of middle-funnel conversation. It increased 300% of click-to-book rate from Alipay platform to Airbnb.

Industrial Recognition

Airbnb Travel Money Pot won Gold Award in 2018 China Product Marketing Award, 2018.