Airbnb releases group booking features as it taps into AI for customer service

Airbnb releases group booking features as it taps into AI for customer service


Airbnb has rolled out new group booking features as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance user experience and cater to the needs of its diverse customer base. These features aim to streamline the booking process for groups, allowing users to create shared wishlists, send trip invitations, and collaborate more effectively when planning group trips.In addition to group booking features, Airbnb is also leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) technology to improve its customer service capabilities.

By harnessing AI, Airbnb aims to automate and streamline various aspects of customer support, ensuring that users receive timely assistance and resolutions to their inquiries. This integration of AI into customer service reflects Airbnb’s commitment to innovation and leveraging technology to enhance the overall user experience on its platform.


Airbnb‘s summer release typically brings numerous updates for guests and a few for hosts. However, this time, the focus is on introducing a few enhancements for group bookings alongside a new category called “Icons,” featuring experiences hosted by renowned figures from music, film, TV, and sports.


The group booking features, likely to be the most widely accessible update, empower users to create shared wishlists. Additionally, trip invitations are now available for groups, providing comprehensive property details.

With the new features, users can invite friends or family to a wishlist directly through their phone contacts or via a shareable link. Group members can collaborate by adding properties to the list, leaving notes about specific properties, or voting on them to facilitate decision-making regarding bookings.


Image Credits: Airbnb


Following the primary member’s booking of the property, they must then extend invitations to their travel companions using a postcard. This invitation card contains essential details including the property’s address, check-in instructions, and Wi-Fi passwords, ensuring seamless coordination for the trip.


Furthermore, Airbnb is unveiling a new message tab facilitating communication between all travelers and the host. This feature allows travelers to interact with the host collectively and react to messages. Hosts can leverage AI-powered suggestions to efficiently address inquiries, such as sending guests the property’s checkout guide, streamlining the communication process for all parties involved.


Airbnb releases group booking features as it taps into AI for customer service

Image Credits: Airbnb


Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb’s co-founder and chief strategy officer, emphasized that the company prioritized building group features due to the prevalent nature of multi-person trips, which account for over 80% of bookings on the platform. Recognizing the inherent complexities in group decision-making, Airbnb sought to streamline the process for users.


In addition to the group features, Airbnb is introducing a new earnings dashboard for hosts, offering enhanced insights into their earnings. Furthermore, the platform is launching a new experience category called “Icons,” featuring exclusive properties such as the X-Men mansion, the Ferrari museum, Prince’s Purple Rain House, and intimate living room sessions with artists like Doja Cat. These unique experiences will be available for a limited time, and users will need to apply to secure a spot. Airbnb aims to accommodate 4,000 participants across 11 curated experiences, adding a touch of exclusivity to its offerings.


Using AI on Airbnb

Last November, Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky hinted at the company’s experimentation with generative AI-powered review summaries in a discussion with TechCrunch. Although Airbnb hasn’t made official announcements regarding this initiative, Nathan Blecharczyk, the platform’s co-founder, disclosed to TechCrunch that they intend to leverage AI across various domains, including customer support.


Blecharczyk highlighted the growing use of AI to streamline customer support operations, ensuring efficient routing of customer queries to appropriate agents or even automated resolution using AI-generated responses. However, he clarified that AI-powered responses are currently limited to specific scenarios and have been undergoing testing in a controlled production environment.


While not divulging specific details of the company’s roadmap, Blecharczyk emphasized Airbnb’s interest in harnessing AI to enhance the consumer experience gradually. Leveraging the vast repository of reviews and customer service data, Airbnb aims to explore AI’s potential in providing concise and insightful summaries of property listings and associated information.


In November 2023, Airbnb made headlines with its acquisition of GamePlanner, a stealth startup founded by Siri co-founder Adam Cheyer. Chesky later mentioned that this acquisition aligns with Airbnb’s vision of creating the “ultimate concierge” for travelers. Utilizing AI-powered responses to address customer queries is perceived as an initial step towards realizing this ambitious goal.

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