Rise of the machines: How artificial intelligence is changing the vacation rental industry

 

It was back in 1950 when the standard for true artificial intelligence was set. A simple test: convince 70% of the people that the machine they are talking with is actually human.

It may have taken  64 years but this milestone has been reached; a computer program called Eugene Goostman is said to have passed, convincing judges he was a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy. Despite the Turing test being conquered, artificial intelligence is still not taken as seriously as other technological advances. It’s flawed and patchy, not refined enough to make it part of mainstream consumer culture.

We’ve all sworn at Siri and laughed at the responses before getting bored and rarely using the feature again. But even the short evolution of Siri can show us that artificial intelligence is starting to make the transition from tech party trick to a genuinely useful, everyday tool.

Even if it is not yet perfect or universal, the artificial intelligence revolution is coming. This will not be another mini disk or Betamax, a few expensive first editions for early adopters before suddenly seeming impossibly dated. Artificial intelligence is about to invade our daily lives and is set to get more accurate and powerful as we use it.

So, what are the ways artificial intelligence is going to disrupt the vacation rental industry?

Will it transform and destroy the industry as we know it, or will serve to aid and refine the processes will already have? Here are the first tangible implications of the rise of artificial intelligence for the vacation rental industry.

Picture recognition

Google can now identify and describe contents, actions and even emotions from images. As well as recognising the images, it can create descriptions, log and categorise these images. For property managers, there is one clear advantage from this: save hours of time spent uploading and describing property images.

It will also have a secondary effect of creating a unified search language for guests to use to get more accurate result from their searches. If the words used to describe match the words we use to describe rentals, the results we get will be far more suited to the initial query.

picture recognition

Guests will be able to get more accurate search results and the process of creating accurate, detailed listings will be made far simpler for vacation rental managers. Image recognition will automate time-consuming tasks for managers with many properties across many portals.

Machine learning in revenue management

Anything with large amounts of data is the perfect breeding ground for artificial intelligence. Machine learning means that the product and output of artificial intelligence become part of its development. It grows and learns, becoming more accurate as it is used.

Revenue management is based on interpreting masses of pricing data to set the optimum price for a night in your property. It uses past data, combined with real life pricing statistics from your area to make your price as competitive and profitable as possible.

The biggest advance for the vacation rental industry is that machine learning can now fill in the gaps in the data, improving precision and predicting behaviour. Leading the way in revenue management technology, the airlines are the standard bearer for the latest advancements:

EasyJet plans to use AI to predict demand and analyze over 1.3bn searches made on its website each year, to optimize destinations and flight times.

For a vacation rental manager, revenue management systems are available but not universal. The data is still in its infancy compared to airlines, so as booking rise, these systems will become more powerful and precise, meaning they will become a standard tool for large vacation rental companies. The true value of a night in your property will become much clearer and standardised across the industry as data from the industry is collected and analysed.

Chatbots

Customer service, enquiry responses, and availability requests will be able to be handled by human-style chatbots. The ability to understand and respond in real time has advanced since the advent of frustrating voice recognition phone systems. Instead of fighting with systems and over-pronouncing every word. Chatbots will understand complex questions and be able to search a database of results rather than just parroting answers at the sight of a recognised keyword.

artificial intelligence in vacation rentals


The time before natural sounding, effective chatbots are able to operate complicated commercial or support conversations is still likely years off. Microsoft’s conversation-based replicant, Tay had to be hobbled after it picked up the most extreme and abusive conversation tropes from social media.

For real-world application, we’re more likely to see chatbots being used as a friendly interface to direct guests and enquiries to our database of help to answer basic questions.

Natural language processing

This is the process of computers understanding not just the words, but the intended meaning behind human speech or text. It is widely used for:

John Rehling, a natural language processing expert, said in How Natural Language Processing Helps Uncover Social Media Sentiment.

“By analyzing language for its meaning, NLP systems have long filled useful roles, such as correcting grammar, converting speech to text and automatically translating between languages.”

For the vacation rental industry, this opens the possibility of understanding guest reviews and make sense of the meaning in their messages. Applications will scrape the available data of enquiries to understand the likelihood of conversion and provide an overall ‘recommendation’. Imagine the possibilities available to you to save time and make better decisions with enquiries.

Guests and hosts will be able to know more about each other before even exchanging messages. Taken from long term rental platform Rentberry:

Using AI, the system is able to analyse each applicant individually based 30 different factors including information on their job, education, roommates, social profiles (if any), credit report and feedback (good and bad)

This will also have huge ramifications for the quality of translations. Automated, accurate  responses to questions from any language, to any language, with little to no meaning lost.

The makers of artificial intelligence tell us that the development will lead to more accurate responses between business and consumers and less manual work to do day to day. The process of sharing information will be simplified. Both in how information is displayed and how esoteric information can be found.

The consequences for the vacation rental industry are likely to be positive. With tiresome manual work being replaced by precise and automated assistance that makes business processes faster, and leaves hosts free to concentrate on welcoming guests, hosting and providing guest experiences.

Discover how Vreasy can automate the processes of your vacation rental business today with a 15-minute demo today. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *