Airbnb Tips for Hosting: The Social Animal

IMG_1778“We have never used AirB&B before so this will be a new experience for us, and, not being social people, we are concerned that we might need to ‘socialize’ with our hosts. That would be so not us!”

I received this message from a guest a few weeks ago and I have to admit, I appreciated her candor. In a perfect world, if I could add features to the Airbnb interface, I would add a personality portion where guests could state their social inclinations.

Dear Guest,

Thank you for booking a reservation on Airbnb. So your host can adequately prepare for your visit, please tell him/her a little about yourself. When it comes to socializing, are you a:

_____ Bear, I prefer my cave. “Do Not Disturb” to a tee.

_____ Cat, I interact a little bit, but I’m particular.

_____ Dog, I like people but sometimes need a moment to read the room and sniff out the situation.

_____ Butterfly, I LOVE people, the more the merrier! I can’t wait to talk your ear off and have you do the same. Let’s go get drinks together and meet even more people!

It’s presumed that a host generally likes people and knows they’re going to have to socialize on occasion. However, I realize this is not always the case. It’s okay for hosts to use the listing description to state their preference towards hanging out with guests or being a little removed. The description is a blank slate, hosts—use it to your advantage to establish guest expectations!

Recently, I participated in a podcast interview with Jasper and Huzefa, from “Get Paid for Your Pad” and the subject of guest interaction came up during our chat. I mentioned the woman above, who frankly stated her hesitation about socializing, and I talked about how it’s great to alert a host your preferences before your arrival so we can treat you accordingly. Jasper and Huzefa have a Kindle book about Airbnb that came out today and it’s currently available for free download on Amazon!

I thought again about this concept of guest sociability today when I received a note from a weekend guest. It was her first time using Airbnb. In her private feedback message, she told me that her boyfriend is “not very open” and worried the situation would be “weird,” but she said they thoroughly enjoyed their visit. They felt they had total privacy and it wasn’t strange at all.

From my few interactions with the couple, I would have never have known they were leery of staying with me. But I could tell by their shyness that I didn’t need to be overly nurturing with them. Some guests ooze neediness and love to talk. Some are visibly uncomfortable and you can see them slowly heading in the direction of their room…or the door. As hosts, it’s up to us to “read the room” and assess our guests.

If you’re not good at reading body language, then I suggest reading a book. 😉