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Something to check out -- AR instructions



I don’t go to Airbnb’s offiicial community site much, but I did this morning and found a very interesting post. I haven’t tried the guy’s app yet and wondered if anyone else had? This app, or the firm that has the rentable ipad with instructions, are all interesting ways to solve for guests who don’t read what you send in advance, but might if it there was a tool right in front of them. Anyone already down the road pretty far with these solutions?

His message is below, a cut and paste. Note, this is not a recommendation of any product, just exploring what others have tried. Lizzie, the host, also started a forum asking how much instruction people post for appliances and the app creator posted there, so he’s obviously trying to get visibility. This post is not intended to sell anything, just to be clear. I’m genuinely curious about using technology to provide a better customer experience, in addition to the very personal service we provide as we are on-site hosts. We do talk to our guests, but that’s not always the solution.

Hello Airbnb community,

As a longtime Airbnb guest, I’ve encountered this situation numerous times:

  • I don’t know where the hair dryer is
  • I don’t want to bother the host
  • And I can’t make sense of all of their labels (It’s literally all Greek to me)

If you’ve ever gone traveling abroad, I think you’ll know what I’m talking about.

I saw this concept of an AR labeling system on the Verge a year ago: https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/30/15900578/airbnb-augmented-reality-concept-arkit-tango-isil-uzum

I thought this was a perfect solution. After all, if labels were all digitized, then translations to other languages would be virtually effortless, and looking for that pesky hair dryer would be as simple as putting it in the search bar.

So…I decided to build it! It’s called Pengram, and it’s an app that allows hosts to place virtual labels around the house (using augmented reality), which guests can easily access with a quick scan of a marker.

It’s free, and out right now on the iOS app store, so please download it and try it out!

Here’s a link to download the app https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1446229928

Here’s a quick demo of the creation process for labeling a coffee machine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI_qrRE_Nf0


I’ve been playing around with the app and it’s too hard. Good idea but not great execution in terms of how easy it is for someone to create it. I bet there are other apps though that do the same thing, only better?


I’m not going to download the app but I think at this point the old fashioned label maker and guest guide (whether a sheet or binder) are most useful to the largest number of people. People traveling already have access to translation apps and lets face it, an understanding of most of the in and outs of an accommodation like where to find a hair dryer in a listing.


I agree that in most cases a printed document or label works; however, there are multi-step situations where this could be useful, such as appliances that are all different, especially when a short video can play versus trying to read, you know “show, not tell.”

The technology will eventually get there and it’s pretty close. While this app was hard, seeing the instruction pointed at the thing to use, in my case it was a coffee cup handle, was a good experience.


I agree. I think Google will get to it first. They already have Google Lens, search, translate, and integrating them should be several degrees of difficulty less for them.

instructions for how to use a coffee cup handle?

Yes, they can be complicated but figuring it out may be easier than figuring out an app. I put copies of the instruction manuals in the room for the microwave, TV, AC, etc. But I also have just a small room and very few foreign guests.


Yeah, I had to use something to test it out and since it’s morning that was the closest item :smile:.

It would align with the home tech approach they have going on. Before I downloaded the app I did some research on the guy and company. It’s actually positioned for a business use-case – technicians using equipment. If they solve for that then a home application will be a piece-of-cake.


I guess the other thing to do is to just make a short video, upload to youtube and then put a QR code on the device linking to the video. Then the guest just had to point their camera at the QR code and the video launches.


This all sounds like too much of a faff to me. Although I admit that I’m a firm believer in house tours on arrival - either from the host or a co-host.


What’s a “faff”?


Sorry, I’m being English :slight_smile:

A nuisance, a palaver. Or as Google has it:

to spend your time doing a lot of things that are not important instead of the thing that you should be doing


Hah, well right now I’d agree. But there will be a day, soon, that having the ability to point your phone camera at a stove and see a quick note or video on how to turn it on, when the binder is in another room, or your host tour was the day before, will be waaaaaay easier than locating said binder or host.


I have programmed ‘faff’ into the Verge VR iPad.


There are still hosts and guests who won’t even use the Airbnb app much less any other app.


I think this sounds an interesting idea, particularly for young guests in urban locations such as Cape Town (where our new listing is). Millenials actually often seem to find it easier to point their device at something rather than read dead-tree-based instructions! It would be fun if it could be programmed to deal with mistakes: “Uh-oh, pressed the wrong button there, fella - better give it another try …”


So right, and even an older person can point their phone and watch/read. The first thing every guests ask for, even the older ones, is the wifi password, so they are all bringing their devices and know how to open the camera.

There’s no special app when AR is done well…just open the camera. For the host, though, they would need an app and perhaps there some would find it too hard.


Oh, absolutely, I’m a MUCH older guest/host and the wifi password is usually the first thing I want - it’s just that the more, er, mature among us seem to be able to actually take the time to read paper-based instructions as well!


Yes, I dont mean to be a Luddite but get the meat robot to do the job every time I say. The meat robot has evolved to do it, and will continue to evolve unless mollycoddled too much by technology. A meet and greet also sets a personal tone.
One day we might even make coffee machines much more intuitive than the one in the demo. I must say my Delonghi Prime Donna is a lot easier to use, and does all the coffee shop stuff automatically. I dont think I would bother with that for guests though.


So true, the same millennials will complain how older folks don’t know anything and then have to Youtube how to boil water - lol.


Sounds like an app designed to get access to (worm/spy/virus) your home.

  • I find sending instructions in advance/giving an in-person welcome tour AND having a print out on site is about all one can do. Some ppl will just be hopeless no matter how many ways you can tell them the obvious (or at least obvious to you/your country)


I use QR codes in my apartment for the coffee maker, dehumidifier - even the pack n play (portable crib). Guests just scan the codes with their cameras and the phone goes straight to the manual, video or webpage (I was able to find them with a simple Google search, I didn’t have to create my own documents or videos). Easy peasey!

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