Real-time Personalization using Embeddings for Search Ranking at Airbnb
Mihajlo Grbovic (Airbnb); Haibin Cheng (Airbnb)
Search Ranking and Recommendations are fundamental problems of crucial interest to major Internet companies, including web search engines, content publishing websites and marketplaces. However, despite sharing some common characteristics a one-size-fits-all solution does not exist in this space. Given a large difference in content that needs to be ranked, personalized and recommended, each marketplace has a somewhat unique challenge. Correspondingly, at Airbnb, a short-term rental marketplace, search and recommendation problems are quite unique, being a two-sided marketplace in which one needs to optimize for host and guest preferences, in a world where a user rarely consumes the same item twice and one listing can accept only one guest for a certain set of dates. In this paper we describe Listing and User Embedding techniques we developed and deployed for purposes of Real-time Personalization in Search Ranking and Similar Listing Recommendations, two channels that drive 99% of conversions. The embedding models were specifically tailored for Airbnb marketplace, and are able to capture guest’s short-term and long-term interests, delivering effective home listing recommendations. We conducted rigorous offline testing of the embedding models, followed by successful online tests before fully deploying them into production.