Brand Strategy    -    Branding/Identity    -    Environmental/3D Design    -    UX/UI Design

Toolkit: Cinema 4D, Illustrator, Photoshop, Sketch

A new service design model for a better airport experience.


My passion for travel inspired this 12-week independent project. I created an airport lounge for backpackers to rejuvenate in during long layovers, delayed or canceled flights. Check out the full case study below!



Backpackers need more accessible and budget-friendly amenities during long layovers at airports.


25% of all flights are either delayed or canceled and travelers are stuck waiting for hours at airports.


An airport lounge created exclusively for backpackers, by HostelWorld.




An affordable, approachable, airport lounge for backpackers to unwind and reinvigorate.



The Name

The name 'Hideaway' reflects a safe, comfortable environment for backpackers to hang out and relax.


Junction is the point where two or more lines meet. The word 'junction' in the tag line represents a meeting point for backpackers. It's where travelers take a break before continuing their journey.


A Brand Ecosystem

I created a brand ecosystem that works harmoniously with HostelWorld's existing brand. The variety of logotypes reflects the variety of backpackers who will frequent the Hideaway lounge.





I interviewed backpackers to find out the biggest pain points of being stuck at airports for long periods of time.

I found three marker moments that I needed to fix to make the waiting experience better. These marker moments guided me through all the design decisions in the lounge.

"There is no safe space to keep our backpacks safe, so in groups we always sleep in shifts."




"There wasn't a single seat for lounging and I ended up sleeping on the floor."

"I browsed on my phone for five hours because I had nothing else to do."

By incorporating a multitude of amenities and services within the space, I was able to solve for the three marker moments

The Hideaway is comfortable, inviting, and energetic.



The Space

The floorplan is color coded to depict the public and private areas in the lounge. The dark teal areas represent the private and quiet spaces in the lounge and the orange areas represent all the community spaces.

The Floorplan

By having a majority of the area as open, public spaces, the lounge mimics the energy and vibe of a hostel, an environment that's rooted in bringing people together in communal spaces. It's the type of environment that backpackers already feel welcome in. 

The First Impression


Guests are greeted by a large, bold graphic, welcoming them to The Hideaway. The check-in area also functions as the cafe. The duality of the space cuts down on additional staff required for two separate spaces. Booth seating is incorporated into the cafe space, providing a more intimate conversation area for guests.

Tucked Away


To the right of the lobby is a cozy, quiet lounge for travelers who might need a space to work or lounge without distractions from others.

A Community Table


To the right of the lobby is an open area with a large community table for backpackers to eat, play board games, and interact with each other. The large table mimics the dining tables found in community kitchens in many hostels. 

A Space to Gather


Next to the community table are two large seating areas, perfect for backpackers to kick back and hang out. The eclectic mix of wood tones, textures and materials, throughout the space makes for a cozy, relaxed atmosphere. 

Secured Belongings


Behind the lounge space is the play area. Bean bag chairs surround a large TV where guests can play video games. Behind the gaming area is a ping pong table and storage for board games and linens. The entire back wall is lined with lockers for travelers to store their backpacks safely and securely.

Sleep & Rejuvenate


The back room of The Hideaway is tucked away behind sound-proof walls. This space has six separate dorm-style rooms with  bunk beds to room 22 guests at a time. Light-canceling curtains provide travelers with the privacy they need for some much needed shut-eye.



Because Europe has so many popular backpacking destinations, it has the largest number of youth hostels. This is why The Hideaway airport lounge would first exist at international airports in Europe before expanding to other locations around the world.

How do backpackers access The Hideaway?


Backpackers access The Hideaway as an add-on insurance purchase on the HostelWorld website or mobile app. Lounge access would be offered as insurance against delayed flights or as a travel perk during long layovers, giving travelers a safety net if they were to get stranded at the airport for an extended period of time.


For backpackers who didn't book in advance and are stuck at the airport unexpectedly. They have the option of paying upon arrival for a higher cost.




Covers the entire duration of the trip and is paid in advance through the HostelWorld website or mobile app.

Covers only a portion of the trip, and is paid in advance on the HostelWorld website or mobile app.


Booking The Hideaway through the HostelWorld app


Backpackers will have the option to sign up for The Hideaway's
airport lounge pass when booking a hostel on the HostelWorld app.



I had the opportunity to present The Hideaway to the designers at HostelWorld and received positive feedback on the overall concept and solution. From a brand standpoint, they were especially excited about pushing their company from just a digital platform into a physical space and thought it was a great way to bring awareness to HostelWorld.


From a business standpoint, they thought that treating this like an insurance policy would allow The Hideaway to stay afloat, even on days when no customers would be using  the space. They thought it could potentially be something that HostelWorld produces in the future, and are currently discussing  the next steps with their team.


After completing this case study, I presented my work to some of the backpackers that I'd initially interviewed during the research and ideation phase. I asked them: "If The Hideaway were to exist, would you use the service? Would you pay the extra insurance to opt in?" They were extremely excited about the entire concept and affirmed that if they were stuck in an airport, they would love to have The Hideaway as an option for a better experience. Only one person chose the option to pay upon arrival for a higher fee, rather than booking in advance.


In the future, I'd love to push the business case some more, and get more detailed about how this idea could actually be profitable to HostelWorld. I would love to dig deeper and get a better sense of the cost of running an airport lounge in Europe and what it takes to actually lease out a space in an airport. Is there another way for HostelWorld to make this worth their while, outside of an insurance program? Could they maybe partner with a credit card company like other airport lounges do?

Reflections & Learnings

The Hideaway was inspired by one of my worst travel experiences while backpacking in Portugal last summer. After a canceled flight, I was stuck at an airport overnight in Madeira for over 12 hours. In that moment, I realized something had to change. After talking to dozens of backpackers, I found that they had all had similar experiences at least one time in their lives. This was a big problem, and I was fired up and ready to find a solution. The biggest challenge I had was finding a solution that really resonated with the chosen audience, while also solving for their pain points. 

As part of my process, I read “The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact” by Chip and Dan Heath. I was also guided by IDEO’s service design methodologies during the duration of my project. Both bestowed upon me the biggest takeaway: Invest in the moments that matter, rather than trying to fix every part of the service. I chose three moments that mattered, and had them front and center throughout the entire process. By doing so, I was able find a way to make those moments truly memorable experiences. 


The solution serendipitously ended up being a combination of disciplines that bring me a lot of joy; from interior design to environmental graphics and branding. I thoroughly enjoyed using design to solve a unique, yet universal problem that many backpackers frequently experience.


Want to see more? Check out my entire process here.