Have Text, Will Travel: Can Airbnb Use Review Text Data to Optimize Profits?

6 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by Shea Gibbs

Shea Gibbs

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Rajkumar Venkatesan

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Hundreds of thousands of would-be hoteliers have been popping up all around the world, hoping to rent their own homes and apartments to complete strangers through a service called Airbnb. The goal of Airbnb's aspiring hosts was to use the company's website to attract guests who were willing to pay the highest rates to stay in their homes for a short time. For Airbnb, the goal was to improve customer review performance so it could, in turn, increase profits. How could the company achieve its goal? Enter text mining, a technique that allowed businesses to scour Internet pages, decipher the meaning of groups of words, and assign the words a sentiment proxy through the use of a software package.In order for text mining to be useful for Airbnb, its marketing professionals first had to gain access to customer review data on the company's own website. The team then had to analyze the data to find ways to improve property performance. Was the team going to be able to leverage this large amount of data to determine a strategy going forward?

Excerpt

UVA-M-0897

Rev. Dec. 6, 2016

Have Text, Will Travel:

Can Airbnb Use Review Text Data to Optimize Profits?

Hundreds of thousands of would-be hoteliers have been popping up all around you. One might have been your unassuming 60-year-old neighbor, looking to pad her pension—others might include the young couple down the hall from your Chicago high-rise apartment.

The one thing all these individuals had in common was that they wanted to list their properties so they could invite complete strangers into their homes and charge them a premium to treat the space as their own. More often than not, these entrepreneurs had zero experience in the hospitality industry and no idea how to run a successful guesthouse. Welcome to the Airbnb era.

. . .

Keywords: text mining, sentiment analysis, data mining, data analysis, regression analysis

Suggested Citation

Gibbs, Shea and Venkatesan, Rajkumar, Have Text, Will Travel: Can Airbnb Use Review Text Data to Optimize Profits?. Darden Case No. UVA-M-0897. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2974743

Shea Gibbs (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Rajkumar Venkatesan

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/html/direc_detail.aspx?styleid=2&id=5808

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