Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
NY, NY
Level 10
1,069 Views

Scrolling through my listings yesterday, I found that one of three suddenly gave me the option to add "design highlights" under Listing Details:

 

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My listing description has always read, "Private getaway cottage is a favorite of honeymooners & lovers of modern design."  The word "design" appears 20 times in reviews.  I use review excerpts as photo captions and the word "design" appears several times there as well.

 

Clicking through "design highlights" above I was able to add the architect's name, and that now appears under the listing in search under "Design":

 

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However, his name doesn't appear under the listing under an "All Homes" search, and the highlighted photo is different:

 

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One of my three listings is a cabin, so I looked for it under the "Cabins" category in Maine.  You may have heard there are a lot of cabins in Maine, so no surprise, I had to scroll forever and finally zoom in on the map to find it.  Here's what it looks like under the "Cabins" category:

 

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And here's how it appears under the "All Homes" category:

 

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As with the cottage, different photos, different dates, different prices.  Which I don't mind at all!  I think it's cool to appear in different ways in different searches, which conceivably means slightly different demographics are seeing these.

 

Some conclusions? 

 

* Since listing the cottage in 2015, I've marketed it to people who love design.  It looks like the machine picked up enough cues from keywords, captions, and possibly photos to move the cottage into the design category.

 

* Even though all three of my listings were designed by the same architect, I haven't leaned on design in the other two, and was not given the option to add design details to either of them.

 

* Interestingly, although virtually every single guest at each of the three listings mentions Acadia National Park as part of their trip plans, and the name "Acadia" (usually by itself, without "National Park") appears many times in reviews, none of my listings appear under the "National Park" category.

 

* I think the machine is going to keep working to refine categories, so I'll spend some time working on keywords, which is also a good way to refine your marketing to the demographic most likely to book.

 

* I found the search on the app very simple to use.  Above the categories, the box says "Where to? Anywhere * Any week * Add guests."  I believe this is what's called a "call to action."  Tap on the box and put in some info.  Narrow things down from there. 

 

Overall I find the whole thing rather interesting.  And that brings me to a horrifying thought:  Am I, in fact, a 64-year-old millennial?!?

 

51 Replies

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
Level 10

@Ann72,

Thanks for sharing.  Your post is very insightful.  I think it may help other hosts who are doing searches for their listings or properties in their respective areas.  I'll have to wait, because St. Lucia isn't yet a part of the rollout.

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

Level 3

I too have been trawling around to see what is being picked up by the AI.

 

I noticed there are several properties with ‘ski resort’ categories scattered around northern England which have nothing to do with skiing at all but they all included a picture of their property in winter with snow.

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
NY, NY
Level 10

Interesting observation @James2743 - have you searched the reviews to see if guests mentioned skiing?

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

Level 3

Ha! @Ann72 

 

I looked but I can't see any.  Although in the UK certain areas are restricted for 'dark skies' so no large scale outdoor lighting is allowed so people can see the stars.

 

Some of the comments do mention this. So it seems the word 'skies' is being picked up.

 

This AI really needs to go to school.

 

 

 

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
NY, NY
Level 10

@James2743  "Skies" - wow - probably!  I'm sure there's a lot of refinement to come.

 

I see the admins have frequently mentioned photos.  Looking at the listings of some people who can't find them in categories, you can see that the photos aren't particularly good.  So I assume the AI is looking first for better photos and will drill down as time goes on.  All listings are still discoverable by searching with dates and places in the old way, and I bet many guests will continue to search that way.  

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Ann72 

 


@Ann72 wrote:

@James2743  "Skies" - wow - probably!  I'm sure there's a lot of refinement to come.

 

I see the admins have frequently mentioned photos.  Looking at the listings of some people who can't find them in categories, you can see that the photos aren't particularly good.  So I assume the AI is looking first for better photos and will drill down as time goes on.  


Not necessarily. When I searched the shared homes category (zooming the map to South London), most of the listings that showed up - and not many did, especially considering there are thousands) - most of them had mediocre photos at best. That's not to say they aren't nice listings, but the photos were not selling them. My listings have photos by professional Airbnb photographers. They didn't show up.

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
NY, NY
Level 10

I found you there @Huma0.  First I went to Shared Homes and scrolled in to where I think you are in London and didn't see your listing.  Then, for "When," I put I'm flexible->Month->September in the search for the map area and the search reverted to All Homes, where I did not see your listing:

 

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Then I swiped over to Shared Homes.  The map expanded, but I found you listed 6th:

 

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You're also on the map under Shared Homes in this search:

 

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Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Ann72 

 

Thanks for doing this search, but it still seems like there were a few steps involved, which also meant searching very specifically for area, and, even then, only one of my three listings showed up.

 

I did also find this one after a bit of jiggling about (which most guests aren't going to do unless they want to stay right where I am located), but the other two still don't show up and they do of course also fall under the category of shared homes.

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
NY, NY
Level 10

As I said elsewhere @Huma0 guests can’t be expected to jump through al those hoops.

 

I think lots of people will still search the old way, and the next few weeks will tell Airbnb whether this new set-up is successful or not.  If the categories don’t gain traction with guests, will they remain?

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Ann72 

 

No, I really don't think most guests are going to search this way. Personally, I'm not too worried about it as I think that my target market will still search the traditional way and hopefully find my listings.

 

However, I do see why hosts with listings that should fall into very specific categories like beachfront or national park, would be upset when their listings don't show up.

 

Will the categories gain traction with guests? I am not sure. Certainly Airbnb seems to be heavily pushing them. Only yesterday, I opened the App to check my messages and, even though I am usually logged in as a host, a video about categories automatically started playing. Still, I'm not convinced that the majority of guests will go for it. Let's see. I assume there must have been SOME research behind this idea for Airbnb to have decided this was going to be their biggest change in a decade.

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
Level 10

@Huma0,

 

After playing around with using the categories, like @Ann72, I also believe that most guests will continue to perform searches in the traditional way of entering a location, date range, number of guests, all homes and select some filters such as price, entire place, etc.  I found that using the categories returned search results that were not thoroughly representative of what could be good fits, and I was missing out on a large amount of listings or was presented with listings that were nowhere near my specified area.

 

I use my PC laptop when doing searches.  One of the changes that I suggest is to include filters in the computer version's search field like the mobile app does.  Currently, the filter button is located at the end of the row of categories, and not close to the search field.  IMO, it would be better if the search field for both desktop and app were elongated to contain an oblong Filters button with a "Filters" label right below the button to identify it.  This is my example.

 

 

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Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
NY, NY
Level 10

I like that idea @Debra300.  I use filters in search wherever possible - on Saks Fifth Avenue, Pottery Barn, Amazon, you name it.  That's how we all cope with the bewildering array of choices!

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Katy, TX
Level 6

@Debra300 - What do you mean that St Lucia is not part of the rollout?  We're near Anse Chastanet overlooking the Pitons, and most of the properties in our neighborhood are in the "Tropical" and "Amazing pools" categories, so it looks like the rollout covers St Lucia.

 

Re: Experimenting with the Summer Release

in
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
Level 10

@Loretta126,

Categorization of the properties is a part of the search update.  The split stays feature is only available to properties in the EU, the UK, and the US.  Right now, persons will have  to do individual searches per location if they are planning a seven night stay in SLU, and want to spend three nights in Soufriere , and four nights up north so they can go to the Gros Islet Friday Night Street Party or take a ferry to Martinique.  

 

It's great to meet another St. Lucia property owner here on this forum.

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