AI stupidity (eye roll)

Well, AirBnB has struck and my listing has been “optimized” by their new AI. So my historic house, located just a few blocks from downtown, which I refer to as an “urban oasis near downtown” was categorized by their AI as being in the “Countryside” category.


Apparently it’s because my cover photo is of part of the garden at the AirBnB. I use the photo because it’s colorful and appealing.

Here’s a screenshot of some of the listing and property description.

I’m going to have to figure out how to remove it from the “Countryside” category without changing my cover photo.

So annoying. Luckily the listing isn’t bookable at the moment. I’m finishing up a few tweaks before going active again.


I guess whoever “taught” the algorithm to categorize listings according to the photos, had never heard of people who live in town having gardens in their yards. Eye roll indeed.

A couple years ago, I had to remove “dedicated workspace” from my amenities list, even though there is a counter with an electrical outlet and a chair in my guest room that guests can set up their laptop on, because the algorithm picked that amenity to “feature” at the top of my listing. But I don’t really want digital nomads to think my listing is perfect for them, because while my Wifi is usually fine, infrastructure here isn’t great, and sometimes the electricity goes out, meaning my Wifi doesn’t work, or my provider has some issue with his system.

When I removed “dedicated workspace” from the amenities list, the algorithm decided to feature “free parking”. I have had exactly 4 guests in total, since I started hosting in 2016, who rented cars here, and no guest has ever arrived in their own vehicle. Almost all of my guests fly into Puerto Vallarta and take the bus to my town.

I gave up.

Airbnb’s AI seems to be programmed to think all guests are looking for the same amenities, regardless of the nature or location of the listing, and why guests might book there. They certainly don’t book my little countryside private room in a beach town to sit inside all day online or for the free parking.

Good luck, Keugenia. And your garden is lovely.

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Is this a new designation for you? I’m curious if they are are using AI in addition to map-based algorithms.

I’m categorized as a “golf course” listing because there is an elite private golf club in my neighborhood. Anyone with the social connections to golf there probably wouldn’t rent my basement. I’ve never bothered to deal with the CS to get that category removed.

Their AI definitely uses photos as a factor in categorizing. On other forums I read that many hosts were told to change their cover photo when they were put in the wrong category.

It’s really irritating to have to present your place in a less than ideal way, because some AI bot thinks it knows better than you.

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Vrbo did a similarly stupid thing using AI about a week ago. They used AI to pick the main photo and to order photos, and owners were told we could not override it. Main photos ended up being identical (for those in condo buildings), photos of local restaurants, toilets, beaches located miles away, and other similar nonsense.

So many owners complained so quickly and loudly to upper management that they backed off within just a few days and set it back to what the owners designated as the main photo and the order of the photos.

My 150 year old brick Victorian duplex in the centre of our town got a ‘Cabin’ designation. I asked for it to be changed to Historic and was told that the historic category didn’t exist for Australia………you get tired of conversing with fools!

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Yep, it’s a new designation. I certainly didn’t pick it! No one in their right mind would consider our listing to be in the Countryside category. I read the AI program they are using picks your category based on your cover photo. I love my cover photo and would really hate to change it.

This is the Google Earth view of the property (AirBnB circled in red). Not even close to being in the countryside as you can see. So they obviously are not using any kind of mapping software to determine the category. The second photo is the most recent street view. The AirBnB house is on the left, up the stairs, mostly hidden behind trees and shrubs.


Airbnb should take some pointers from platforms that actually act on feedback from their users.

While we think they listen to guests but not hosts, they only do sometimes, and only when something gets airtime in the media, which results in things like their party algorithm (and they obviously don’t actually care about guests throwing parties, as evidenced by their suspensions of hosts who report partiers), the indoor camera ban, and the urging to do away with cleaning fees.

Other things guests complain about, that involve Airbnb’s site setup, that the Airbnb honchos thought were good ideas, like guests hating the split stay feature, and no longer having a Superhost filter, they ignore.

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