Trust is the backbone of every Airbnb stay—hosts want to make sure you won’t trash the house, and guests want to make sure you won’t spy on them with a hidden camera or hide in the closet to murder them. If you don’t plan on doing any of those things, congratulations—you’re halfway to a successful Airbnb booking. But to get there, you’ll also need to convince the other party that you can be trusted.
For those on the host side, this part of the job just became easier than ever. Researchers from Cornell and Stanford discovered exactly how hosts can tailor the language in their profiles to convey that they’re trustworthy. The study of 1,200 profiles—which also analyzed data to conclude that perceived trustworthiness is indeed a significant predictor of host choice—was recently presented at the Association for Computing Machinery Conference, where it received an honorable mention for best paper.
“Our study introduced a new coding scheme to categorize how hosts self-disclose in their profiles and how these disclosures affect perceived trustworthiness,” reads the paper. “We find that hosts use a variety of disclosure strategies, with some more successful than others, suggesting that platforms can support users to convey trustworthiness in their profiles and facilitate the trust dynamics required for the sharing economy.”
The results of the study can be summed up in three tips.
The researchers investigated the effects of profile length on perceived trustworthiness and discovered the word count has quite an effect. They found that when a profile doubled in length, the perceived trustworthiness score increased significantly.
Using the language of hospitality is important. Providing a greeting and reasons for hosting individually—but even more so when used in conjunction—proved to be an important strategy with a strong and positive effect on perceptions of trustworthiness. A simple “we look forward to hosting you” can make a big difference
3. Personal details
The more background you give, the better.
“As topic count increases, the trustworthiness scores also increase,” the paper reads.
The most important personal details to list are those about your origin, residence, work/schooling and interests. Not only are these harder to fake, but people are often looking for like-minded individuals who can help them provide the type of experience they want to have.