Airbnb is making good on Brian Chesky’s promise to bring artificial intelligence under its umbrella, picking up an AI startup as its first post-IPO acquisition.
The short-term rental company is acquiring Gameplanner.AI for slightly under $200 million, CNBC reported. The deal could be an early indication of a shift, not only in Airbnb’s capabilities but in the company’s M&A strategy, as Chesky’s firm hadn’t made an acquisition since 2019.
Little is known about Gameplanner.AI, which has been in “stealth mode” and operating out of the public eye since its 2020 inception. One known entity is the company’s co-founder, Adam Cheyer, who also co-founded Siri before it was acquired by Apple and became the ubiquitous voice of its products.
Airbnb stock rose 11.4 percent on Tuesday, closing at $126.68.
Chesky has been recently talking up the potential of Airbnb using AI in its shift in priorities as local regulators add to the challenges plaguing the company’s traditional revenue stream.
Generative AI could become a “travel concierge” for users to be matched with rooms and experiences that pique their interest, Chesky has said, and the technology could help provide quality control for listings on the platform.
Airbnb beat its third-quarter revenue forecast, but the San Francisco-based company is already tempering expectations for the fourth quarter. The company forecasted revenue for the fourth quarter to range between $2.13 billion and $2.17 billion, below analysts’ average expectations.
The company noted it was already seeing more volatility in the first few weeks of the quarter compared to the record travel season over the summer, from which demand is expected to decline due to macroeconomic trends and geopolitical conflicts.
To combat being subjected to the winds and whims of travelers, Chesky professed a desire to push further into offerings like experiences, such as bar crawls, photo shoots and guided tours. Additionally, the company is planning to provide dynamic pricing insights to hosts so they can better compete with hotels and other short-term rental offerings.
— Holden Walter-Warner