Hebrew University study finds how to best attract Airbnb guests

"Visual trustworthiness is king in the Airbnb arena," said Aliza Fleischer, researcher at Hebrew University.

Airbnb apartment (Illustrative) (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Airbnb apartment (Illustrative)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Living in Israel has never been so expensive and, many people search for solutions to earn some extra money. Some decide to rent out their house, apartment or room on Airbnb, but a question remains: how to make sure that users will trust them and choose their accommodation over others? Hebrew University researchers have cracked the code.
Researchers argue that photos posted on Airbnb will play an outsized role in a guest’s decision-making process and will help them determine which Airbnb hosts are trustworthy.  
In their study published in Psychology & Marketing, Professors Eyal Ert and Aliza Fleischer at Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Department of Environmental Economics and Management, analyzed 320 Airbnb listings in Stockholm, Sweden and identified two main criteria that determine “visual trustworthiness”: One, is the host’s characteristics such has his/her facial expression and the second is the quality of the image itself. 
“Our new study quantified the qualities that define the sort of attractiveness that online shoppers identify with trustworthiness,” explained Ert. 
According to Ert and Fleisher, "women are deemed more trustworthy than men, older hosts over younger ones, smiling faces over neutral expressions, attractive hosts over unattractive ones." Hosts will also increase their chances of being selected if their photos showcase them interacting with other people, instead of a solo shot.
“Visual trustworthiness is king in the Airbnb arena.  Hosts who are perceived as trustworthy enjoy higher prices and more frequent rentals than do hosts with less-trustworthy photos,” added Fleischer.
Conclusion? A high-resolution, multi-person shot of an elderly female host who is smiling will more likely attract Airbnb guests.