With its new update, the home-sharing site wanted to do a better job of matching guests with hosts–a goal which involved gaining a deep understanding about an array of items which people consider when they plan a trip. Joe Zabeh, the company's VP of product, told me that its research included a "concierge" service in which guests did their research by calling the company and talking to a real person rather than using its app.
What the company learned influenced it to give the new apps a more context-sensitive workflow, and to bring up stuff which it thinks you might care about based on what it knows about Airbnb users in aggregate. Search for a place to stay in Lake Tahoe, for instance, and the app may ask you if you're looking for a spot with a hot tub.
"We get as much up-front info as possible," Zabeh says. "If we think you're missing something while you're searching, we gently ask you in the user interface if you'd like to go deeper and further." HM