Virtual Reality is 'relevant and possible' and could build trust, says Airbnb

Airbnb is looking at how virtual reality could help build trust between guest and host, saying the technology is “relevant and possible”.

Mike Curtis, VP of engineering at Airbnb, made the comments at Mobile World Congress this week, saying that VR was one of a few technologies that it was looking to integrate.

“It seems like a theme of Mobile World Congress is virtual reality, so maybe we could do that. It would be nice to do a virtual walk through of an apartment before you book, it’s all in the future but it's relevant and it’s possible,” he said.

Curtis said a priority for Airbnb is developing new ways to build trust, which more visual technology and features could be a part of.

“There are so many different channels we could go down but one of the things I talk about is trust. Building trust in our community is one of the most important things and we can do in a lot of ways. Anything we can do to create a closer connection and close that gap between guest and host, before or even during the reservation, is key,” he said.

Another key priority for Airbnb is personalisation, according to Curtis. With the service scaling on both a supply and demand level, he said the system had to add greater personalisation to make it easier to use.

To get a picture of the scale it has reached now, he opened by thanking attendees because Airbnb were “hosting 30,000 people here at Mobile World Congress”.

Last year the show had almost 100,000 attendees, suggesting that Airbnb was helping to host a third of all the attendees at the event.

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Charlotte McEleny

Charlotte McEleny is The Drum's Asia Editor, charged with finding all the interesting industry news and insights from the Asia Pacific region. During her year in Asia, she's covered topics as wide ranging as industry overwork to artificial intelligence, and interviewed top CMOs such as Alibaba's Chris Tung, and world famous creatives such as Rankin.

Based in Singapore, she travels the region regularly, attending and presenting at many top events, such as Spikes, Ad Week Asia and Innovfest.

Prior to her role as Asia Editor, she spent 10 years working across the London marketing trade magazines, even picking up an award for Best Digital Team at the PPA Digital Awards during her spell as digital editor at Marketing.

All by Charlotte