How Airbnb is powering automated support to enhance the host and guest experience.
Customer Support (CS) can make or break a guest’s travel experience. To support Airbnb’s community of guests and Hosts, we have been investing heavily in developing intelligent CS solutions leveraging state-of-the-art natural language processing (NLP), machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.
In this blog post, we’ll introduce the automated support system at Airbnb, which employs the latest task-oriented conversational AI technology, through the lens of a recently launched feature called Mutual Cancellation. We will describe in detail how we framed the business problem as an AI problem, how we collected and labeled training data, how we designed and built the ML models, and how the models were deployed in the online system. Throughout each step, we’ll discuss some technical challenges we faced during this project and the solutions we innovated to address these challenges.
A Case Study: Mutual Cancellation
Prior to the development of the mutual cancellation model, guests needed to involve CS agents, even if they had already reached an agreement with the host for canceling a reservation. This meant that issues took longer to get resolved and precious CS agent hours were wasted. To solve this issue, we developed AI models that help guests and Hosts self-resolve cancellation and refund issues without involving a CS agent. This empowers hosts and guests to decide what is best for them, while allowing us to focus CS agent hours where they are needed most.
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