We’ve seen a lot of news about payments orchestration lately, including recent research published by Mercator Advisory Group, so this insight from Airbnb about how they designed and deployed their own orchestration layer is very timely.
Airbnb had been in the process of updating their payments infrastructure for the past several years, migrating from Ruby on Rails to a service-oriented architecture (SOA) to stay abreast of new payment environments in the region where they operate. It’s worth noting that the payment environment in a given geographic region includes customer preferences for payments, available payments types, payment scheme rules and government regulation, and fraud prevention tools, among other things. While various stakeholder teams within Airbnb had been focused on mapping existing payments functionality into the new SOA platform, the payments team saw an opportunity to reinvent payments for the business, and in the process create strategic leverage in payments growth.
The original architecture of payments had been built around the original Airbnb model of reservations, which was well-built to move money quickly and accurately among all parties in the process. This created a challenge when new products like Airbnb Experiences were introduced, forcing fundamental changes in the payments architecture to accommodate the specific needs to each new product. In implementing an orchestration strategy, Airbnb was able to realize their goal of creating a payment platform that would allow teams across the enterprise to quickly, easily, and safely integrate new features and products with payments.
Overview by Don Apgar, Director, Merchant Services Advisory Practice at Mercator Advisory Group