Making use of a virtual assistant should leave hosts freer to focus on human contact.
During the recent MobileBeat event held in San Francisco in mid-July, Joe Zadeh,
Vice President for Product at Airbnb, talked about the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence to boost the Airbnb experience, although he also emphasised that human contact was a priority. “Technology […] should be used to bring out more humanity. What are the things humans can do better than bots? Human connection and hospitality,” he underlined.
He agreed however that, going forward, artificial intelligence could certainly provide support to Airbnb hosts so that they can focus on what they ought to be doing. “We’re not against bots,” he stated, explaining: “Their potential is in doing things that they can do better than humans, like logistical tasks and taking as much work off the host’s plate as possible, so the host can focus on personal hospitality.”
In the near future, we could well see Airbnb team up with companies providing virtual assistants designed for the connected home, such as Amazon Echo and Jibo. These virtual assistants could for example help visitors familiarise themselves with their temporary home, assist them in using the various different household appliances and answer practical questions, while the host would take on the task of telling the guests all about the town and making recommendations in line with their stated preferences.