Airbnb overhauled its logo, its website, and its mobile app this morning. But there’s something deeper going on with the sharing economy’s most popular travel site.
Under the covers, Airbnb has quietly begun an ambitious effort to painstakingly mine the treasure trove of data contained in the site’s customer reviews and host descriptions to create a smarter way of traveling. It turns outs Airbnb is more than a travel website—it’s a stealth big data company.
“For a long time now, Airbnb has been an awesome place to go if you know where you’re going and you know when you’re going,” says Mike Curtis, Airbnb’s vice president of engineering. “But we realized that we have all of this data that other people don’t have. We have travel patterns. We have the reviews. We have the descriptions of the listings. We know a lot about neighborhoods that we can infer from the text in there.”