Airbnb Reliable Customer Data Infrastructure | Springwood
Airbnb customer data infrastructure
Customer Data Infrastructure

How Airbnb Built World's Most Reliable Customer Data Infrastructure

Airbnb's have built a robust customer data infrastructure with safe experimentation. Read more to know how they execute it.

How Airbnb Built World's Most Reliable
Customer Data Infrastructure

Airbnb, one of the leading vacation retail companies, has introduced new tourism experiences worldwide. With more than 150 million active global users, the company has disrupted the travel and tourism industry and presented 'hospitality' uniquely. The business model of Airbnb has played a significant impact on customer retention while also being crucial for the stakeholders.

To become the valuable organisation that Airbnb is right now, the company focused extensively on the theme of 'customer first'. Hence, to complement its marketing automation efforts, it established a robust, secure and reliable customer data infrastructure to collect, host, process and identify essential customer data. This article looks into the different aspects of such a robust infrastructure that manages data and safeguards customer privacy.

airbnb website

Using Data to Improve Customer Experience

If there is one thing that has accelerated Airbnb's growth, it is the valuable framework that eased the process of making product-based decisions. According to Riley Newman, data reflects the 'voice' of the customers. As a part of marketing automation, data scientists translate user activities, website journeys, etc., to quantifiable metrics and utilise that to make company decisions.

For instance, the initial search feature on the company website was very rudimentary. Introducing novelty in its approach, the website returned with a list of top-quality matched listings whenever a customer shared their query. What happened here is that the list of the matches became more personalised since it took into account the location of the user and the recommendations of other customers with similar queries for the same locations. Thus, by letting the community solve the problem, Airbnb improved its services and delivered a better product.

Data = Foundation

According to Mike Curtis, VP of Airbnb, the company was initially started on the AWS platform. Currently, the organisation's engineers focus only on what makes the business unique and do not include running a vast chunk of infrastructure.

At Airbnb, everything is about creating the perfect match between the hosts and the guests. To offer a unique and hassle-free experience, the company has initiated a 360-degree plan which includes machine learning, search ranking, fraud detection, user interface, customer preferences and identity verification. So, here the entire data infrastructure is based on creating great matches based on the abovementioned elements.

At Springwood, we understand the value of data. And therefore, we offer Springwood customer data engineering services so that you can make optimal use of your data to make informed decisions for your business.

The Philosophy That Made All the Difference

From tracking metrics to retrieving business insights - data plays a key role for a smart and fast-moving company like Airbnb. Here are some of the informal policies related to data infrastructure that has yielded such massive customer retention for Airbnb:

  • Allocating resources judiciously
    Though unbounded exploration is encouraged, Airbnb always leaves some room so that the available resources do not get maximised very early. It doesn't over-allocate resources and ensures that all opportunities are prioritised.

    Allocating resources judiciously

  • Believing in data-based intuition
    The data scientists at Airbnb are very clear regarding when they should continue with their old stack and when they should invent a new set of infrastructure. Their intuition transforms into actual infrastructure only when it is strengthened by proper support and maintenance.

    data driven decisions

  • Focusing on scalability
    While security is a concern, Airbnb gives equal emphasis on scalability as well. Data growth never happens linearly. So, the company takes a proper approach to balance the existing products with the upcoming ones.
  • Giving back to the community
    Committed to building a sustainable coding world, Airbnb often applies resources found in the open-source community. And when it comes up with anything unique and valuable, it gives back to society as a form of reciprocation.
  • Putting customers first
    The brand stands true to its slogan of 'customer first'. It aims to create a solid infrastructure that solves actual user problems, enriches the customer experience, and provides top-notch products and services.

Airbnb’s reliable customer data infrastructure

The company aims to reduce outages and bring more transparency and accuracy into its system. It extracts valuable insights and information by applying machine learning models and also through data segmentation by having separate sets of dashboards. Ensuring customer privacy, the 'account takeover' model studies user activity and recognises whether it is a legitimate or fraudulent login.

A couple of years ago, the company data faced massive outages and even suffered from the problem of missing data and inferior data quality. To combat this, the team devised a whiteboard to monitor the times and dates of data loss. However, this also came with its pros and cons.
airbnb customer data infrastructure 2

Going forward, the company strengthened each singular system component through regular monitoring and alerting and focused on creating an unbreakable end-to-end solution. Turning its radar to data correctness, the company defined specific schemas for all the listed data events and ensured that all the schemas underwent the right applications.

After building an extensive system to catch big and minor data changes, the final step involved introducing the Spark Streaming Technology. Through this, the data ingestion process was made more real-time, which resulted in better data extraction and improved data analysis.

Final Thoughts!

Airbnb believes in safe experimentation. Whenever something gets broken, the expert team of data engineers and software developers prioritise the issue, monitor events quickly and work on the feedback received. This reduces the chance of a long period of data mishandling and restores the customers' trust in its data infrastructure. The process begins with analysing the system and discovering the existing loopholes to mend it as quickly as possible.

At Springwood, we offer Springwood customer data engineering services for all business needs. Whether you want to strengthen your data pipeline management or wish to get top-quality integration services, let our experts help you out with the right tool to improve your customer journey and overall experience.

Keywords - customer data infrastructure, data engineering, growth strategy, marketing, customer data, customer experience

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