Sharing the responsibility

How sites like Airbnb can attract more hosts

Eva Mullineaux

Adelynne Chao

October 1, 2018

For the sharing economy to work, there needs to be willing parties on both sides – those who need something and those who can provide that something. Airbnb, Uber and Deliveroo are all examples of this. We’ve done a lot of thinking in this area, partnering with brands like Deliveroo, to understand the rise of these platforms and how they are revolutionising the hotels, transport and takeaway industries. But what about the flip side of this? What about the hosts, the Uber drivers and the restaurants? They are also all essential for the sharing economy to thrive. When demand increases it’s not simply a matter of ramping up production. Using our expertise working with clients in the sharing economy, we have explored strategies that could improve recruitment of hosts for accommodation sharing companies like Airbnb.

“Come in, just don’t touch anything”

On the surface the concept of hosting sounds appealing, with almost half (47%) of the 2,000 UK consumers we spoke to saying they’d consider hosting with a platform like Airbnb. However, with only 168,000 UK listings, less than 1% of the UK population are doing this. So, what’s stopping them? Our research shows that trust is key.

Which of the following would be the main reasons why you would be reluctant to list your property on [a site similar to Airbnb]?

  1. Uncomfortable with strangers (59%)
  2. Personal items going missing (44%)
  3. Possibility of property damage (44%)
  4. Fearing for my safety (29%)

Tackling these concerns will mean communicating measures that are in place to ensure a smooth guest and hoster experience. Things such as property protection, guest reviews (from other hosters), or encouraging more detailed guest profiles can help put new or potential hosters at ease. It will mean finding ways to identify the groups that fit a typical hoster’s profile, rather than those that are unlikely to host such as vulnerable individuals or those with children. And ultimately it will mean appealing to people’s emotions rather than logic – neutralising the threatening image of a stranger to that of a fellow traveller or new friend.

Assurances can go along way

No surprise that for these hosting considerers, the number one incentive that could go a long way to convince them to take the next step is the provision of a fully-paid-for insurance policy included in every rental agreement. This is followed closely, of course, by making some extra money on the side.

Which of the following benefits would make you MORE likely to list your property on one of these sites?

  1. A fully paid for insurance policy included in every rental agreement (34%)
  2. Making extra money (34%)
  3. In-depth guest profiles (27%)
  4. A fully managed service including cleaning / maintenance (27%)
  5. Flexibility on what days to rent out my place (24%)
  6. An estimate of how much I could make (23%)
  7. Visitor / guest ratings (23%)

So, prospective hosts want a way to make money while keeping the entire process at arm’s length to protect themselves and their belongings.  Many of these benefits are already provided by sites like Airbnb, the question is how much people are aware of them. There are also third-party services such as Airsorted and Hostmaker who are stepping in to fill this gap providing fully insured property management services. There are more and more options for people looking for a hassle-free approach which helps to share the responsibility for the maintenance and management of their property.

What can we do to convince potential hosters?

These findings point towards some potential messaging and comms strategies.

If you’d like to talk to us about this research, get in touch! Morar HPI helps clients navigate a world of ever-changing consumer behaviour. Using data, we can help you identify and prioritise the right opportunities and strategies to help grow your brand and business.

Morar HPI Limited is part of MIG Global and part of the Next15 Group.

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