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Question 5: What recommendations would you make to Airbnb to improve its competitiveness in accommodation market while mitigating any current and future risks?Airbnb has at its fingertips a wealth of data that it’s not yet leveraging as well as it could. Hosts, guests, and Airbnb can all benefit from the company better mining data and making valuable insights available to users. This makes for a smarter, more efficient, and ultimately more profitable marketplace.8
Help host price their property: Most Airbnb hosts are amateurs. Users don’t have to have all the experience and infrastructure of a traditional innkeeper in order to rent out their space. There are many factors that could affect price: e.g. On New Year's Eve in New York, demand is higher and therefore prices should increase but often people forget and they're still renting their apartments for the same rate as they would in mid-September.Airbnb has a massive collection of data around rental prices. They can analyze it. Offer hosts advice on what they should charge based on comparable spaces in their local market. Give them an option to turn on an auto-pricing feature that automatically changes rates, within parameters they set, as the marketplace fluctuates. Airbnb should be a pricing expert for usersmaking it easier for everyone to make more money. Flexibility in Dates: Give guests with flexible itineraries the option to add a plus-or-minus range to their requested dates. Airlines already do this to fill seats on days with lower demands. Maybe a guest’s perfect rental property match is waiting just one day away. And maybe a host’s property won’t sit empty just because it’s unavailable the first day of a guest’s ideal itinerary.A More Intelligent Marketplace: Airbnb have an enthusiastic user base, a constantly improving platform, a great recent rebranding effort, and a valuable collection of information.But they still relying too much on the uninformed choices of amateur innkeepers. It’s time to give their users access to more information and analysis. It’s time to make Airbnb’s marketplace smarter.Airbnb has been under fire lately for instances of racism and discrimination exhibited by some hosts on the home-sharing platform. In order to combat that, Airbnb should build and release a feature to address the instances of someone requesting a booking that was listed as vacant but then getting informed that it wasn’t available. If a host rejects a guest by stating that their space is not available, Airbnb will automatically block the calendar for subsequent reservation requests for that same trip.Airbnb should also formed a team of engineers, data scientists, researchers and designers whose full-time jobs are to promote diversity and eradicate racism and bias from the Airbnb platform. One of the team’s first tasks will be experimenting with “reducing the prominence of guest photos in the booking process and enhancing other parts of host and guests profiles with objective information.”