April 11, 2018

Booking.com claims it beats Airbnb in alternative accommodations listings

Until now, Booking.com has been perceived as mainly offering hotel listings, a perception it is aggressively trying to change. One reason the company switched to “reported listings” - from “total properties” - in an effort to emphasize that it competes directly with Airbnb.

Booking.com says with 5 million “reported listings” it now tops Airbnb’s reported 4.5 million. The company also says the number of homes, apartments, and places it lists is 27 percent higher than last year.

Separately, Booking.com said it has hit another milestone with its use of AI to improve customer engagement. The company says its Booking Assistant bot now resolves half of the thousands of daily customer support queries it receives within five minutes. That’s up from 25 percent in July and 30 percent in December, when the company launched the bot out of beta.

The advancement is proof that Booking’s AI efforts are paying off, said James Waters, VP of customer service, in an interview with VentureBeat about the bot’s advancements. Five minutes may sound like a long time for resolving queries with AI, but travel questions can be complex and varied.

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