Applications of Machine Learning to Airbnb: Impact of Cleanliness on Listings

By: Sean Larkin, Max Koch, and Nguyen Bao Lam
Advisor: Dr. Lily Shen & Sean Wilkoff


  • After COVID-19 struck, there has become a ‘new normal’ for cleanliness standards across all industries.
  • This led us to question: How do renters value ‘cleanliness’ in the real estate market?
  • We investigated the relationship between listing prices & bookings and the level of COVID-19 cases at a county level in the Austin, Texas area.
  • We utilized machine learning, multiple linear regression models, & critical thinking to evaluate this question
  • Concluded that renters DO value rental cleanliness

Why Austin?

Listing Cleanliness

Machine Learning

Creating The Index

Austin Summary Statistics

Key Takeaways:

  • 228,348 Airbnb Listing observations in Austin, Texas
  • Only 35% of Listings include ‘Clean’ in description
  • As of July 22, 2020:
    • 8822 COVID-19 Cases in Travis County
    • 186,436 COVID-19 cases in Texas State
  • Generated Variables
    • COVID-19 Period
    • Monthly Bookings
    • Average Nightly Price
    • Monthly Income

Multiple Linear Regression Model

Regression Table
VariablesMonthly BookingsNightly PriceMonthly Income
COVID-19 Period-0.162***-6.213**-164.783***
Description Cleanliness Score0.368***-0.57679.840*
Review Cleanliness Score2.393***16.257***920.745***
COVID Description Interaction0.466***-2.226126.025***
Review COVID Interaction1.151***-12.616***320.311***
Review Description Interaction0.586***-8.526***61.406
Review Description COVID Interaction-0.3544.581-57.770

*** <.01,  ** <.05 , *<.1 [/av_textblock] [av_hr class='default' height='50' shadow='no-shadow' position='center' custom_border='av-border-thin' custom_width='50px' custom_border_color='' custom_margin_top='30px' custom_margin_bottom='30px' icon_select='yes' custom_icon_color='' icon='ue808' av_uid='av-c0so7r'] [av_one_full first min_height='' vertical_alignment='' space='' custom_margin='' margin='0px' padding='0px' border='' border_color='' radius='0px' background_color='' src='' background_position='top left' background_repeat='no-repeat' animation='' av_uid='av-b7juzb'] [av_heading tag='h3' padding='10' heading='Regression Results' color='' style='blockquote modern-quote' custom_font='' size='30' subheading_active='' subheading_size='15' custom_class='' av_uid='av-ufxlj'][/av_heading] [av_textblock size='18' font_color='' color='' av_uid='av-6ur53r'] Holding other factors constant & adjusting for after COVID:

  • Clean units should expect to see an additional $446.336 in monthly income after COVID-19
  • Clean units should also expect to see a 1.615 increase in bookings per month after COVID-19
  • We did not find any evidence of hosts increasing price for clean units