More going on with Categories than just AI?

in
Victoria, Canada
Level 3
362 Views

Ok, there is definitely something odd with this and I don't believe at all it has anything to do with just key words or photos in your listing. I am clearly 'lakefront', I had lake in my title, my first picture (and several pictures) have a lake. My listing mentions lake several times. I changed my heading even to say lakefront. Alas, nothing ever updated. What I do  notice however is where I am (south Vancouver Island), Airbnb now thinks the nearest lake to Victoria is Cowichan Lake. Plenty of lakefront there, not a single lakefront south. Same in Vancouver - nothing anywhere near even though Cultus Lake has plenty. Almost like they want to push summer vacation types out of the urban areas.

 

So go look a little further out - Seattle - plenty of 'lakefront' only actually have lake views. Kelowna? They have a pile in town that are like 5 blocks from the lake yet called lakefront.

 

Time to screw the AI - it is an epic failure. Give us an option to select 'one category'...more is better, but even just the best one to describe, then you guys can audit and determine accuracy if you don't have faith in us.

 

This and the whole generic 'guesthouse in Victoria' BS is crap and really a slap in the face to the hosts! Seems 'improvements' any website attempts are always worse than the original - kinda like the whole sequel movie thing!

14 Replies

Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

Level 4

There needs to be some statement explaining what they are going to do about this. It's just not worked. Will it get better? Will they allow us to help the AI? How long are they going to give it?

 

I've already unhidden my listing on VRBO as a backup in case my bookings fall of a cliff here.

 

Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

Level 7

I think you are seeing categories in action the way it was intended. The goal is to push guests to more locations and more dates. I don’t think guests really have this flexibility and it’s really messing up our booking— I hope they roll back.

 

this article really illuminates the categories goal:  https://amp.france24.com/en/live-news/20220511-new-airbnb-feature-aims-to-redistribute-tourists-from...

Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

in
Victoria, Canada
Level 3

makes sense given what's stated in that article I suppose, but its clear that the 'discrimination' is isolated and not across the board! For 1, 'westshore' where I am 30m outside of Victoria isn't overrun by tourism one bit. Victoria is for sure, but to lump us in isn't reasonable and that is where all the lake airbnb's are. For 2, how do you justify Victoria gets the 'blackout', but Kelowna and Seattle (big tourist destinations on their own) do not and at that, most are in wrong category? Furthermore, if you are going to justify this, why have they blanketed the Victoria coastline with beachfront category listings and not blacked those out as well to focus on airbnb's further up the coast?

 

If all cities were blacked out and things were consistent, I'd understand, but its clear that isn't the case.

 

Definitely an annoying 'improvement' that provides only negative to my property.

Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

in
NY, NY
Level 10

I think the categories need a little more time to populate @Dave264.  As @Molly396 has pointed out elsewhere, a lot of the categorization comes from machine learning, but there is also human curation going on.  It's a work in progress.

Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@Ann72  That's what beta testing is for, no?  I get that there might always be some glitches in a huge roll-out, especially when you're giving Skynet the power to categorize all listings.  But when a cottage on the ocean with multiple photos of the ocean and the cottage doesn't result in any kind of beach front/ocean front category, or the historic tower listing, the windmill listing all excluded from their proper category despite clear photos, relevent text and updated amenities.....then we're at 'fail'.

 

I also have been wondering, [as I always have wondered] why Airbnb never paid more attention to public affairs/lobbying when that is their true achilles heel... if they didn't somehow insanely think that directing the algo toward rural/less populated/dense areas was somehow going to help them with their PR problem in cities.  Airbnb has a tendency to go for flashy, all hat no cattle type of solutions, rather than putting in the time/money/drudgery that is necessary for meaningful change at the granular level.  Just a thought.

 

 

Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

in
NY, NY
Level 10

I don't disagree that we and all Airbnb users everywhere should not be the beta testers!  But it is what it is.  I had one in a category from the jump and then two days later, the other two in a category.  (Oh and by the way, that category is "countryside," which is like the loser table at a wedding lol.  Not very sexy!)  Also, looking at some of the listings that weren't yet in their preferred categories - many of them have very little availability.  They'll end up in a category before long, I'm sure.  From the early days of letting boomers use Facebook, everyone went absolutely crazy whenever the platform changed.  

 

That is a good point about their Achilles heel (and I always love an "all hat, no cattle" reference).  The PR problem isn't going away.  Today's headline on New York magazine's website:  More Airbnb Listings Than NYC Apartments for Rent.  And that's in a location where Airbnb is largely illegal.  I'd be very surprised if they didn't have someone parked semi-permanently in Albany, or should I say they'd be stupid not to!

Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

in
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Level 10

@Ann72 

 

I needed a host with already has categories on their listing to test how to see the categories, so your account was perfect for that purpose (as you already mentioned the categories).

 

The testscreen shows the listing with listingnr 5353490  is in category "design", the other two listings are in categorie "countryside".  I assume this is correct ?

 

Thanks !

 

Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

in
NY, NY
Level 10

It is correct @Emiel1!  But where did you find the test screen?

Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

in
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Level 10

@Ann72 

 

It is more like an "undocumented feature" (which are useally the best on the platform...)

 

So this is the procedure:

 

Goto your personal URL to the search system:

https://www.airbnb.com/s/homes?host_id=27740975&map_toggle=true

 

Click "add guests" and change to 1 adult

Click "Search"

 

Categories show up.

 

Click on categories to see if your listing(s) show up (or not) !

 

Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

in
NY, NY
Level 10

Amazing!  Count on you @Emiel1 to know all the back doors!

Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

in
NY, NY
Level 10

I had to do it slightly differently @Emiel1, because I got no results using the above method.  I started at my pro marketing page, which already had one guest filled in, and hit search.  That brought me to the categories.  One in design, two in countryside, one of those in cabin, and the other of those in farms.  That last one is funny because it's not a farm.  I'm gonna go ahead and leave that alone for now, though!

Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

in
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
Level 10

@Emiel1,

 

Thanks for the tip.  I tried doing it as you described, and all of my St. Lucia listings appear under the Tropical category.  I then did a search with an incognito browser session, and chose the Tropical category opposed to All Homes.  Again, all of my listings were returned in the results.  Of the four, only one was included in split stay recommendations.  I know that the recommendations would change if I refreshed the search.  So, being a part of a pairing is hit or miss.

 

@Molly396,

 

Thank you also for sharing the France 24 article.  It was insightful.  However, my experience with the new search features is quite contrary to what was reported.  The northern part of St. Lucia, Gros Islet in particular, is the most touristy section of the entire island, and there are pockets of lesser populated areas that also attract their share of visitors.  I just made a post on another thread where I described that the many of the Gros Islet split stay recommendations that were presented consisted were two properties very close to each other.  If the algorithm worked as Brian described, the split stay recommendations should have included more distance between the listings with at least one of them in area less densely populated with Airbnb listings.

Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Hi @Dave264 @Molly396 as Ann mentioned, it is indeed curated. This happens roughly every 2 weeks, and the team will be using Host feedback to add new categories going forward as well.

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Re: More going on with Categories than just AI?

in
Victoria, Canada
Level 3

thanks for comments Quincy, would it not be easier to allow us to select a category or 2 (I mean some  like OMG or design you could lock and populate yourself) but obvious ones let us take control? You could audit if needed, but seems there are so many inaccurate placements so far you are going to spend half the time fixing the mistakes created or have angry hosts not realizing they got put in a wrong category and got a bad review because their picture of a lake a mile away didn't actually mean they were lakefront!

 

Just seems there are a whole lot more hosts than employees that could do a simple job for you much more efficiently.

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