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  • Mariane Bunn

Airbnb launches: group booking and AI for customer service

In a peach colored cartoon place, there's a black girl using her tablet. In the middle of the picture, there's the big logo of Airbnb.

Airbnb, known for its grand summer updates, has introduced a few key features this year focusing on group bookings and a new category named Icons. The group booking updates are designed to enhance the experience for users planning trips with friends or family. These features include the ability to create shared wishlists, a dedicated messages tab for group communication with the host, and detailed trip invitations. Users can now easily invite others to join a wishlist, contribute properties, leave notes, and vote on their preferences to streamline the decision-making process.

Once a booking is made, the primary member can send out postcard-style invitations with essential details like the address, check-in instructions, and Wi-Fi passwords. A new message tab also allows the entire traveling party to communicate directly with the host, with AI-powered suggestions available to assist hosts in responding to queries efficiently.

Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb’s co-founder, highlighted that these group features were developed in response to the fact that over 80% of Airbnb trips involve multiple travelers, often requiring extensive coordination.

In addition to group booking enhancements, Airbnb has unveiled an Icons category, offering unique experiences hosted by notable figures in music, film, TV, and sports. This includes stays at iconic locations such as the X-Men mansion and the Ferrari museum, as well as intimate sessions with celebrities like Doja Cat. Availability is limited, with around 4,000 spots across 11 experiences, requiring users to apply for access.

Airbnb is also exploring the use of AI in various aspects of its service, including customer support and review summaries, to improve efficiency and user experience. The acquisition of the startup Gameplanner, co-founded by Siri's Adam Cheyer, is part of Airbnb's strategy to enhance its platform with AI, aiming to create an "ultimate concierge" for travelers.

Source: TechCrunch


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