Unexpected quirks one Airbnb guest considers a property’s delightful eccentricities might drive another straight to a hotel chain’s loyalty program for the rest of their traveling existence.
A door doesn’t quite pull shut. A second living room is actually a futon in a foyer. The pictured driveway has no parking for guests. Airbnb’s more than 7 million homes are unique, but customers have discovered they’re not always as advertised.
“People often describe checking into an Airbnb as a ‘moment of truth’—when you find out if the home you booked meets your expectations,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder and CEO. “Too often, it doesn’t.”
Airbnb has spent much of this year addressing customer complaints about the perks and value proposition of Airbnb as it relates to hotels. This spring, Airbnb rolled out 50 new features including a clear price display that includes all fees, a transparent list of chores and a passport containing host information.
Just before holiday travel season, it’s nudging hosts to be more active in their guests’ stay. It’s introducing features including a revamped rating and review system, a “favorites” tier of properties and more extensive listings.
Combined with ads touting the benefits of certain homeshare properties over hotel rooms, Airbnb is encouraging its hosts to do their own travel advertising and giving them the tools to do so. As it reads customer feedback on its site and social media, Airbnb looks to its technology and hosts to provide more distinctive experiences and fewer disappointments.
“We’re looking at the big customer-host journey and identifying what these problems are, fixing them and tackling it one solution at a time.” said Hiroki Asai, Airbnb’s head of global marketing.
Knowing what’s knowable
Airbnb has data from half a billion trips and more than 355 million all-time guest reviews. That’s provided many opportunities for Airbnb guests to indicate why they prefer hotels, but it’s also given the company a shot at redemption.
The new Airbnb Listing Tab was a massive technical undertaking. Airbnb completely redesigned its listings editor so hosts could provide more detail about amenities, sleeping arrangements, check-in instructions and more. It also incorporated the Airbnb AI engine to the property photo tour and organized photos by room.