A Few Data-based Tips for Being Successful on Airbnb — Udacity DSND

Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

In this post, we’ll look into this dataset from Airbnb Seattle and analyze the data to find out how to have a successful listing on Airbnb.

What is success?

Before we start anything, let’s define success. Each Airbnb listing gets reviewed over seven different categories which are:

  • Experience: How was it overall?
  • Accuracy: Was it accurately represented with up-to-date photos and info?
  • Check-in: How easy was it to check in to the place?
  • Communication: Did the host respond to messages promptly?
  • Location: Was the guest made aware of safety, transport, points of interest, and special considerations like noise or other situations that might affect their stay?
  • Value: Was it worth the price?

So that we have a single value to rank the listings, we will take the average for each type of review given to a listing as the score. A listing with a higher score will be more “successful” than a listing with a lower score.

Now we can segregate the listings into different tiers which will help us with our analysis. Specifically, we will extract out an equal number of highest scorers in our dataset (label them Top Performer) and lowest scorers (label them Bottom Performer) from the dataset and compare them.

How Fast Should I Respond to Guests?

First, let’s take compare look at host response times.

Pie chart visualizing the host response time for the top (left) and bottom (right) performers

What we see should be no surprise, a responsive host is a successful host. For the Top Performers, a good 10% more of them respond within the hour and a mere 0.9% of them take a few days to respond.

Superhost?

What about being a Superhost?

Pie chart visualizing the Superhost-ness of the top (left) and bottom (right) performers
Bar chart comparing the number of the top and bottom performers who are Superhosts

We see glaringly that 29% of Top Performers (as opposed to 3.1% of Bottom Performers) are Superhosts. In fact, if we take all the Superhosts, we find that 90.2% of them are Top Performers. That means if you are a Superhost, you are 90% more likely to be a Top Performer!

Time to start looking into becoming a Superhost.

This was the most significant statistic we found comparing against other traits such as having a profile picture, have your host identity verified, and allowing Instant Book.

What Amenities?

Ok, next up, let’s answer the question: What amenities should I provide in my Airbnb?

To kick things off, let’s look and see if how many amenities matter.

Average scores over every listing plotted against the number of amenities

Guess not. The scores look similar no matter how many amenities the listing provides.

Comparison between the count of amenities for top and bottom performers (top ten sorted by top performer percentage)
Comparison between the count of amenities for top and bottom performers (bottom ten sorted by top performer percentage)

However, comparing individual amenities for both Top and Bottom Performers, we find some disparity. Observing the class of amenities that Top Performers have over Bottom Performers, we give the following suggestions:

  • Convenient check-ins: A doorman or 24-hour check-in service will be useful
  • Comfort is key: Provide air conditioning
  • Laundry and grooming: Hangers, irons, and hair-dryers are a key item in a Top Performer Airbnb
  • Safety first: We find that more Top Performers providing a safety card and locks on doors than Bottom Performers
  • Accommodate the working class: If you provide a laptop-friendly workspace you are 69% likely to be a Top Performer!
  • People like cats!: 🐱
  • Hot tubs, pools, and, gyms are less important: Focus on fundamental needs before luxury

Conclusion

In summary, we went through this dataset from Airbnb Seattle and came to the following conclusions

  • A responsive host is a successful host
  • If you want to be a Top Performer becoming a Superhost increases your odds by quite a fair bit
  • When it comes to amenities, quality over quantity

If you’d like to dig deeper into the analysis, the code can be found here.

Work done as homework as part of the Udacity Data Scientist Nanodegree

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Research Engineer

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