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A Chatbot Isn't Enough for Your Airbnb

April 5, 2024
A chatbot for an Airbnb property can help guests, but there are better options.


In the ever-evolving landscape of hospitality, Airbnb hosts continually seek innovative ways to enhance guest experiences. Chatbots, widely used for various productivity tasks, have begun to emerge as an option for guest engagement. Even if these chatbot solutions are specifically trained on property information, there are significant limitations. This becomes evident when compared to the capabilities of solutions that combine both a mobile chat experience together with in-property smart devices. 

Limitations of Stand-Alone Chatbots

Stand-alone chatbots, primarily accessed through smartphones and laptops, can easily fall into “Out of sight, out of mind” by guests. It can be more trouble to pull out your phone, find the app or link, go through an authentication process to prove you are a guest staying at the property, and then finally ask your question.

Further, as the name implies, the primary mode of interaction for many chatbots is text-based. Their text-only interface, while functional, doesn’t fully engage guests in the interactive experience possible with alternatives. Some even require that an app be installed, which is always a barrier to usage. 

In-Property Smart Devices

By contrast, in-property smart devices offer a more engaging guest experience. Examples of in-property devices include the Amazon Echo Show family of products, available from a compact 5” screen up to a large 15” wall mounted and picture-framed display. Special software equips these devices with all sorts of knowledge about the property and the local area - over 900 topics are supported with the ability to provide curated answers.

By strategically placing them in common areas like kitchens, these devices are always visible and convenient for a quick question. The voice interface makes that even more compelling. Large display screens not only enhance group interaction but also serve as dynamic digital signage, drawing guests’ attention with visually appealing content.

These smart devices go beyond mere information dispensers. They are multifunctional, delivering:

  • Intuitive operation - the widespread use of Alexa means that many guests are already familiar with how they work, reducing hesitancy to use them. Over 500 million Alexa devices have been sold.
  • High-fidelity music connected via Bluetooth to mobile phones for personalized playlists, or quick and easy streaming music via voice commands. 
  • Messaging with notifications - both real-time as well as communications that can be scheduled in advance by the host.

The Power of Combining a Mobile Chat Experience with In-Property Devices

The real game-changer, however, comes from integrating purpose-built mobile chatbots with these in-property smart devices. Guests can choose their preferred mode of interaction - a voice command to an in-property device or a chat session on their phone. Either way:

  • The same knowledge set sits behind both interfaces, capable of delivering answers via text, audio or video.
  • Guests can easily request help from a real person if the AI’s knowledge falls short. 
  • In-property devices can facilitate actions like guest check-out or providing a gate code without needing guest authentication. Since the guest is in the property, there is no need to add all the friction that is associated with stand-alone chatbots involved in ensuring that person is really a guest.
  • With the paired chat experience on mobile, guests can simply scan a QR code on the screen of the in-property device in order to automatically authenticate on mobile, again bypassing the form fields that are otherwise required on stand-alone chatbot solutions.

Stand-alone chatbots do nothing to make the property itself seem smarter. By contrast, when an in-property device is added to a home, it immediately feels different. It becomes a Smart Home with very little capital investment.


The integration of mobile chat experiences with in-property smart devices offers unique and compelling benefits not available with stand-alone chatbot applications. It caters to the guests' preference for how they want to use technology. Plus it transforms the property into a Smart Home - something that owners will appreciate. This combination also encourages use, getting more questions answered and hearing great local recommendations. In turn that leads to an overall better stay, with less frustration and more memorable experiences.