Big Data Success Story: Airbnb, the Rentals Listing Site


The airbnb website puts together travellers with people who have space to rent. The spaces, according to airbnb, can be anything from “futons on the floor to castles on the hilltop.”

Airbnb noticed over time that some space listings attracted more clicks than others for very similar spaces. airbnb wanted to make all their listings equally attractive to increase clicks (and thereby, of course, their revenues. To their credit, they did not try to spin the reason into something altruistic like, “increasing the world’s mobility”).

They studied visitor behaviour, pinpointing popular listings, then studying characteristics of each of those listings and looking for a common factor. They found it: all those listings had great photographs attached. They also found that the non-popular listings had no photographs or no compelling photographs to speak of. So they began offering space owners a tool for getting free professional photo shoots of their spaces. Voila, this increased their number of bookings as well as love from space owners 🙂

The motto of the story is that you can pull interesting benefits out of your data. And don’t assume that your data has no tale to tell… it always does, and if you want to make it speak,  ask us by filling out the email form in the right column. Or if you would like to know more about our capabilities, go to the data analysis page on our main website. We look forward to hearing from you!

Lucky Balaraman

Executive Director, The Magnum Group

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