Booking.com lists more homes than Airbnb and AI is rocking
Travel giant Booking.com says with 5 million “reported listings” it now tops Airbnb’s reported 4.5 million.
Booking.com also says the number of homes, apartments, and places it lists is 27 percent higher than last year. The announcement is part of the company’s switch to “reported listings” — from “total properties” — in an effort to emphasize that it competes directly with Airbnb. Until now, Booking.com has been perceived as mainly offering hotel listings, a perception it is aggressively trying to change.
Booking.com is the flagship of Booking Holdings, the largest travel company in the world, by market value.
Bot resolves half of all questions within 5 minutes
Separately, Booking.com said it has hit another milestone with its use of AI to improve customer engagement. The company says its Booking Assistant bot now resolves half of the thousands of daily customer support queries it receives within five minutes. That’s up from 25 percent in July and 30 percent in December, when the company launched the bot out of beta.
The advancement is proof that Booking’s AI efforts are paying off, said James Waters, VP of customer service, in an interview with VentureBeat about the bot’s advancements. Five minutes may sound like a long time for resolving queries with AI, but travel questions can be complex and varied.
Indeed, the task of building out the bot comes as travelers and hosts are finding it necessary to share an increasing amount of information, often without speaking the same language. And now that Booking.com is locked in a battle with upstart Airbnb in the accommodations market, the bot could prove a valuable addition by augmenting customer service.
It’s too early to say whether the Booking.com bot itself is driving increased booking revenue because it only deals with questions that arise after the booking process. For example, travelers may inquire about early check-ins, whether they can bring a pet, or the size of a bed.