All year long, we focus on listening to hosts like you to inform innovation and improvements at Airbnb. But once a year, we get the opportunity to spend several days with hosts who bring their insight and expertise to Airbnb Open. This year, we brought 630 employees to Paris to listen over meals, between classes, in focus groups, and at dedicated team booths. Our researchers, engineers, designers, customer service team members, and founders heard you.
Just as your feedback from Airbnb Open 2014 influenced the features and services we announced in 2015, what we heard this year will impact our plans in the year to come. Our teams are busy discussing what we’ll develop based on your feedback, and we’ll share our plans soon. But in the meantime, we’ve gathered the main themes that we heard from hosts who joined us in Paris. Here’s some of what you shared:
Provide more options for managing your listing
You’d like more flexibility in how you set prices, describe your listing, and manage your calendar. You asked us to find ways to make it easier to use the pricing controls that are already available, and to help you understand how they work. We unveiled one pricing tool at Airbnb Open that we hope will address a lot of the needs we heard about: Smart Pricing. You also asked for help understanding and abiding by your local tax laws. And you’d like your price, including fees and taxes, to be clear to your guests when you approve a request or send a Special Offer.
You’d like more controls for describing your home. You want a better way to rearrange the order of your listing photos so after you’ve uploaded them, you can highlight the most important features of your space first. For hosts whose space can be configured in several ways—as a single room or an entire home—you’ve asked for a simple way to present these options to potential guests.
Being able to customize your calendar is important, and we heard lots of ways you’d like to do it. For example, you asked for an easy way to collect arrival times from guests, so that information can automatically appear on your calendar.
Attract the right guests and make listings stand out
We know you put significant effort into writing listing descriptions, guidebooks, and personal messages to travelers in order to attract bookings and set expectations. When guests don’t read or understand this information, the trip experience—and your ratings and reviews—can suffer, so you’d like better ways to navigate pre-trip communication. For example, a number of you asked for a filter indicating that yours is a non-smoking listing, so you no longer receive requests from travelers who want to be able to smoke in the space.
Make it easier to be a top-performing host
Many hosts told us that some of the ways in which your activity is measured is confusing—it’s hard to anticipate a change in your Superhost status, and sometimes when a guest leaves a 3-star rating, you have no idea why. Some of your activity is completely within your control: things like your response rate and your cancellation rate. Other measures come from your guests.
What’s most important is that we help you know what activity matters and how it’s measured. This includes helping you learn from the feedback you receive from your guests, so you can maintain top performance in key areas.
For example, Sabrina from California explained, “Response rate suffers when you’re just getting the same questions and you ignore. Acceptance rate also suffers when you can’t host people…Some kind of automatic message for declining would be great.” Communicating with the guests you host—and the ones you don’t—should be seamless.
Share data and insights
When you’re passionate about providing the best hospitality possible, data can be crucial. Simone from France told us, “I want to see statistics of lead times for different bookings so I can track the progress of bookings over the year.” Tracey from London asked “Where can I find further information on data pertaining to my listing—the number of inquiries for my place vs. other similar listings; general data on nearby neighborhood bookings? The goal is to improve my listing based on the success of other hosts.”
While we’ve continued to add more data and information to your dashboard, we want to make sure you have all the insights you need to address the impacts of seasonality and travel trends in your city. Tracey’s approach is an inspiring one, and we want to find ways to help you feel confident as you make your pricing and availability decisions all year long.
Pay more attention to the Airbnb app
So many of the hosts who we met are dedicated users of the Airbnb app, and several were quick to point out that we need to improve it. We know you’re busy spending time on all the offline elements of hosting—providing a clean and welcoming space, helping your guests get the most out of your neighborhood—so you need a mobile experience that’s intuitive, fast, and complete.
Make it easier to communicate with travelers
Whether it’s being able to attach maps to messages, or to search your Airbnb inbox for a specific note about strollers, you gave us a lot of feedback on how to make communication faster and more helpful for your guests. For example, a host from San Diego shared, “I’d like the ability to privately message pictures to guests, like photos of the entrance that shouldn’t be public.”
You also highlighted some frustrating inconsistencies between the way your inbox looks on your computer, and the way it looks in the Airbnb app—which is another reminder for us to focus on making the app just as useful as the website.
We hear you, and while we can’t promise to make every change that was requested, we’ll do all we can to keep improving the tools and services available to you. We can’t wait to see the changes that emerge this year because you took the time to share. Watch for updates about the developments your insights will guide in 2016!