Is Your Airbnb Space Inclusive Enough for All Genders?

Here's what I learned about hosting men vs. women on Airbnb

Is Your Airbnb Space Inclusive Enough for All Genders?

In my first month as a host on Airbnb, I only hosted male guests twice.

The first was a two-night booking for a business trip. He left a fantastic 5-star review and even better, some useful feedback: that my kitchen needed a dish rack.

Encouraged by this positive experience, I was excited to welcome more guests of the opposite sex. But my experience with the second set of male guests was entirely different.

These guests were booked by someone else, and here's where I made a rookie mistake. You see, when you're just starting as a host and not receiving bookings well in advance, it's easy to welcome anyone who can afford your place. I had their IDs, but I neglected to secure their phone numbers, relying solely on their booker, essentially their admin, to communicate all my rules and check-out instructions. Little did I know, this choice would lead to an unexpected learning experience.

The two male guests never reached out to me during their stay, even though I had left my contact info in the space. On check-out day, I found their belongings scattered all over the place, along with beer bottles, leftover food, and clothes strewn across the sofa and bed. I called the booker several times and left messages about his guests' behavior, but they didn't return until 1pm, leaving me just one hour to clean up before my first French guest arrived. This was a rude awakening for me as a host, and I believe it's a story that deserves its own post.

This experience made me realize that I need to be careful with male guests who are booked by someone else. It also inspired me to write this article to share my insights in hosting guests of all genders. It's easy to compare male and female guests, and even easier to lean toward hosting only female guests, but I chose not to.

First and foremost, hosting should be inclusive, aligning with Airbnb's Nondiscrimination Policy. Discrimination is always wrong, and hosting diverse guests can benefit hosts in two significant ways: fostering cultural exchange and expanding your customer base.

As of writing, I've hosted about 38 stays and 32% of them were booked by male guests. I've noticed some interesting tendencies among them and had I known about these patterns earlier, I could have taken steps to prevent some of the headaches that come with hosting. Here are my findings:

  1. Hydration matters: Male guests tend to ask for or request drinking water. It proves helpful to have an ample supply inside the unit.
  2. Bargain hunting: Men are skilled at spotting discounts, and they're more likely to book a space when a price reduction is offered.
  3. Minimal communication: Some male guests are less chatty, and it can take a while to get a response from them. Providing clear house rules and labels can address this concern.
  4. Review patterns: Around 80% of male guests leave reviews, while nearly 95% of female guests provide feedback. While this may not be gender-specific, women tend to offer more compliments about the space.
  5. Direct and honest: Male guests are often straightforward about their needs. If you ask them not to leave negative feedback but to message you directly for any issues, they are likely to do so.

Not to appear impartial, I've also noted specific patterns among female guests that are worth highlighting:

  1. Amenity queries: Women consistently inquire about amenities like pools and gyms, asking if they're free or involve fees. This is why I include the opening hours of these facilities in my listing description as well as welcome note.
  2. Attention to detail: Female guests tend to notice small details or the lack thereof. Indoor slippers, umbrellas, and grocery bags are thoughtful touches they appreciate.
  3. Appreciation for gestures: Women often appreciate welcoming gestures such as providing a bowl of grapes or offering extra packs of lemon juice mix. Some have even mentioned their enjoyment of the books I've placed in the space.
  4. Communication style: Female guests tend to be more chatty and friendly compared to their male counterparts. Conversations often flow more smoothly with them.
  5. Prompt reviews: The majority of my female guests leave reviews (about 95% of the time), sometimes without any prompting. They tend to provide reviews quickly, often within a few hours to a couple of days after they leave.

Please take these observations with a grain of salt. They may be influenced by my perspective as a woman who has grown up with many women (six sisters), which allows me to easily sense their moods and make them feel comfortable.

How do you design your space to welcome all genders?

If you want to be a champion of inclusivity, reject discrimation and get more bookings, there are ways to create a more inclusive Airbnb experience. Consider the following tips:

Gender-neutral design

Avoid using gendered d├ęcor and amenities, such as pink towels or a "man cave." Instead, opt for neutral colors, patterns, and furnishings that appeal to a wide range of guests. Consider providing gender-neutral toiletries and stick to white towels.

Clear house rules

Post concise and transparent house rules in your listing description and on your welcome note. Make sure your house rules are inclusive and respectful of all guests. For example, avoid using gendered language or language that could be interpreted as discriminatory.

Responsive communication

Be responsive to guests' inquiries and requests, regardless of their communication style. If a guest is less talkative, try to be extra communicative and welcoming. If a guest is more chatty, be patient and listen attentively. Respond to guests promptly and courteously, even if they are asking questions that you have answered before.

Encourage reviews

Explicitly ask guests to leave reviews, regardless of their gender or how long they stayed. Not only reviews help to build trust and transparency in your listing, they also boost your ranking on Airbnb search page. They also help other guests make informed decisions about where to stay.

Conflict resolution

Have a plan in place to address difficult situations, such as guests who do not follow your house rules or leave negative feedback. Be professional and respectful, and try to resolve the situation in a mutually agreeable way.

Remember that treating all guests with respect, professionalism, and confidentiality is paramount, regardless of their gender identity. Creating a welcoming environment entails catering to diverse preferences and ensuring a positive experience for every Airbnb guest.

What patterns have you observed among your male and female guests? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page and subscribe for more tips on creating an inclusive Airbnb experience.

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