Transparency is Key to Your Hosting Success
The more home shares we book, the more salt we add to our expectations. We’ve been both extremely disappointed and delighted by misaligned expectations during our travels and we want to help you avoid giving your guests the same experience. Aligning expectations from the start sets the tone for the rest of their stay.
Be Honest With Your Guests and Set Expectations Early On
Pictures can only show so much, and often distort the size and other attributes of your home. Accurate descriptions of your space will help fill in the gaps. One of the worst things that could happen is for your guest to feel like you baited them into booking your home.
Be Honest About Your Neighborhood
Chances are your guest has never stayed in your area before, that can be scary and intimidating! If they show up to your home and are not comfortable or do not feel safe, they may leave or at the very least it will negatively impact their stay—and your perfect streak of reviews.
If you are in a “transitioning neighborhood”, you might consider going into more detail for them.
We had a stay in a lovely basement apartment in Washington D.C. that looked great on the listing and noted that it was in a “transitioning neighborhood”. However, when we showed up in the early evening, we realized that the neighborhood was not very safe beyond our street. After walking to get food nearby, we asked our host about the neighborhood and she recommended that we take a taxi or ride a bike at night. It would have been nice if she had noted this for us ahead of time so we could have felt more informed and kept ourselves safer.
Before we knew this, one of our friends hailed an Uber and the driver told him, “I should mug you myself for standing on this corner, what are you thinking?”. That was a bit unsettling. The last thing you want to happen is for your guests to feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or unknowingly be in harm’s way!
Be Honest About The Little Things
An important part of setting expectations with your guest is being honest about all the amenities available to your guests. The little details can make a world of a difference for your guest both in their preparation for and during their stay with you.
For example, if you do not have Wi-Fi, or you have a weak connection, you should inform your guests before they arrive. If they show up for vacation—or business travel—and are expecting to watch movies on Netflix or get work done, they will be disappointed and frustrated.
Pictures can communicate a lot about what your home has to offer, but if you have a backyard or room that is photographed on your Airbnb listing, yet your guests will not have access to that room you should mention that explicitly in your listing description.
Lastly, the various amenities and appliances offered should be explained honestly. For example, mention in your listing description or conversation with a prospective guest if you provide toiletries and products such as a hair dryer. Also, if you are advertising something like, “Fun in the Sun, Barbeque by the Pool!” make sure that the grill is working, and that there is propane. These little things may not seem important individually, but add up along the duration of your guest’s stay.
Advice from Chip Conley, Head of Hospitality at Airbnb, on Transparency
Transparency is essential to keeping guests informed, excited, and happy with their experience. If you do not put thought and effort into posting and maintaining your listing, you will receive poor reviews from guests because the experience you provided did not meet their expectations.
Chip Conley preaches that you can “create trust by being candid about three things people love about your listing and two things that some people don’t like.” 
This level of transparency will lead to more satisfied guests who have aligned expectations with the experience they will have in your home. At the end of their stay, consider asking your guest if there was anything that they needed, but were not provided. Take note, and improve on future bookings. This can also get their grievances out before they vent in the review section of your listing.
Support your fellow home sharing hosts and short-term rental operators by sharing this post. You will give them the knowledge they need to become the best host they can be!