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Another research based article on Airbnb


I’ve written another article with an interpretation of academic research and Airbnb hosting. This time I have been thinking about how hosts can improve their offering by thinking about experiences.

The idea here introduces an MBA framework described by Pine to trigger ideas that would increase the experiential aspects of your Airbnb and in doing so make your Airbnb stand out.

It would be great to discuss the sorts of experiences you add to your Airbnb. What experiences do you think could attract guests?



None I’m afraid - work full time, single mum, trustee, volunteer, landlord and airbnb host.

More than enough for me :slight_smile:

The simple answer is experiences do not attract guests to stay with you. What attracts them is great reviews and ratings, great photos, facilities guests want, good location, and if guests are price sensitive then being price competitive.


My Airbnb is not a vacation rental. It’s a small room attached to my home adequate for a couple to spend a night on a road trip. I’ve had some business travelers, some people spend a few nights visiting someone in town but most stays (so far) are one nighters. Because it’s a small room there is no room for a kitchenette or lounge space. There is a small desk if someone needed to do some work or wanted to eat alone.

By figuring out early on that this one nighter passing through town was not only a big draw here but also a guest who suited my lifestyle and personality I was able to tailor my airbnb to the needs of my guest.

The first way my airbnb stands out is that I have more reviews than any other single Airbnb in my city. And they are good, long, mostly effusive reviews. So guests arrive expecting an above average experience. This is something that no competitor can replicate unless I stop hosting one nighters and greatly slow the pace of reviews.

People stop here to sleep and use the bathroom/shower. I added onto my home to provide a modern 3/4 shower. In deciding how to design the new but limited space I decided to allocate more room to the shower and make it an extra long walk in shower. I also added a hand held shower head with high water pressure. This shower is one of the wow factors that people consistently compliment me on. I wasn’t sure if this was the right decision when the bathroom was completed as in some ways I think the bathroom is too small. But I think it worked out and its one example of how even the most modest Airbnb can find a way to stand out but having it first will always beat implementing it later.


K9 - just curious - where did you get the high-pressure shower head? I just had to buy a new one and got depressed because the pressure on them today is even lower than it was 2-3 years ago! They used to be 2.5 gpm - now the only ones I could find were 1.8.

(Sorry for the change in subject.)

Carry on!


It is from Amazon and the maker is KES. There is more than one. I have one in my bathroom and another model in the air room. I paired it with a valve that installs at the shower arm that can adjust the pressure. I feel guilty since I live in an arid area with water restrictions but try to compensate in other ways like having xeriscaping and astroturf on parts of my property.

I’ve bought multiple items from KES and love them all. I think they are a Chinese mfg.


Not sure experiences add much to the offering, as platforms like Airbnb are largely still seen as budget alternatives to a hotel. The unique ones I’ve seen offer themes like star wars , marvel, heaven & earth etc. Would you consider those experiences?

But I do agree on the part of meaningless differentiation. One such example is if you packaged up your consumables like soap, dishwashing liquid , or use cool looking body washes (which costs the same as a similar quality but less cool looking product), guests tend to rate higher on value, even though they aren’t really getting anything more out of the packaging.


Interesting diagram and ideas, thank you.
A few of my fellow hosts have considered and called the Tiny Tiki Trailer Zone an experience. Some of my friends call in an art installation. The experience of getting up here and wowing at the astounding view is definately an adventure (the 1st time) and being inside a highly unusual trailer is also. Of the 4 quadrants could it be possible to make 2 to 3 ??


Thanks for your wonderful feedback.

The word experiences conjure up impressions of Segway tours and kayak adventures, but in Pine’s work, it tries to define the X-Factor or sizzle that leads to the reviews that @Helsi describes attract the guests to stay. I don’t think experiences necessarily have to consume any additional time once the investment has been made. If its done right, it should lead to increased positivity in the reviews.

@K9KarmaCasa I believe that the high-pressure shower fits brilliantly into Pine’s tool in so much that it fits into the Escapist quadrant. I like it too as its an example of fire and forget value-add to the Airbnb. I think I may pinch this idea. In the Airbnb, I run in my house I have a Super King bed with an insanely comfortable foam topper that our guests regularly mention in the feedback.

@PETRELLI My research is trying to move the concept of Airbnb being considered as a commodity that only competes on price. My last article describes how this leads to a poor service which damages the market as a while. I’ve considered theming my whole house rentals along the ideas of star wars and doctor who. I think that this is going along the right lines, but Pine has some other work dealing with Authenticity. He talks about it in this lecture on TED. https://www.ted.com/talks/joseph_pine_on_what_consumers_want

I was intending to unpick the authentic Airbnb in another essay.

The funky body wash products are definitely a way to hit the escapist quadrant. It’s a great value-add too as it costs no extra money. I think it scores on the authenticity too as you are drawn to the product personally which if you watch the above video would mean it is an example of real:real (real for the guest and real for you). I think I see a new essay now!:grinning:

@gypsy your Tiny Tiki Trailer zone sounds amazing. I just added it to my wishlist collection. It feels like it is hitting a few quadrants simultaneously: Escapist and Aesthetic for sure. I imagine in a place like that you would have an enormous night sky. If you believed in Pine’s work, maybe if you could add telescope you could have people learn to stargaze and score a bit of education experience quadrant? Given you are outside Hollywood could you install an outside projector screen and have classic Hollywood movies… entertainment experience voila. I think you would have to show old cowboy films for that authentic feel.

Me and my partner and dog stayed in an Airstream over the summer just outside Paris, it was super cool. I talk about having one shipped to my place in the UK all the time, but I don’t think it would fit in the garden.


Good article, thanks for sharing. Our Airbnb is a beach vacation home–we’re remote hosts so we can’t do much around customizing the experience for each guest, but we’ve tried to keep the aesthetic true to the “beach” concept, with a nice firepit on the beach, lots of soft throw blankets, a nautical library, sea shells in the bathrooms, etc. The house is nothing special–in fact, it’s a double-wide manufactured home–but it has a killer view, and we’ve taken steps to prioritize the view experience as much as possible. So far our reviews indicate what we’re doing is working well.


That’s a great picture Paul, thanks for sharing it:) Also your kind words mean a lot to me. Hope to see you here in Chatsworth some day! Yes the skies here are super wide and like a movie unto themselves. There were many a spaghetti western filmed right up there in those them there rocks within sight of us<><>, and Zorro’s cabin is a nice hike from here too.
I just read the Pine article and he is quite spot on in my opinion. Being real is what I am and I built what I could with my own 2 hands to create our special space. It IS unreplicable. One of my favorite books is A Pattern Language an awesome architecture tome from 1971: Chris Alexander. He really gets it what humans need in their shelters.

Love the Airstream! There is one in Mill Valley that got stuck into a yard by crane…There is a trailer exactly like mine (54 Manor) except professionally restored, it was bought and shipped from Arizona to the Vendee in France, done by Brian Casson, there it is on youtube…


Thanks for the tip! I had one that I had kept around for 20 years even though I didn’t use it. I kept it under the bathroom sink all this time! Then recently I went looking for it and couldn’t find it.
My wife then informed me that I threw it out a couple of years ago. Figures!

Anyway, I’ll probably get this one. Although I remember now the reason I put the other one under the sink. It drained the hot water tank in no time flat! And the drain couldn’t keep up with the flow. But the drain is now fixed and we have a new modern hot water tank. So I’ll probably give it another try. I do miss the old shower heads.


You completely misunderstand the whole concept of Airbnb if you think that’s its only ever been about competing on price.

It’s whole marketing focus has always been about ‘the experuence.

Rather than ‘experiences’ which is a separate aspect of the brand.


@Helsi I suspect that we are actually in agreement. My essay is an attempt to convince hosts to augment their strategy by using experiences as defined by Pine’s tool.
@gypsy Lynnie and I have a retirement project to ship the mini that has travelled around Europe to the east coast of the USA and then drive it to the Pacific… If we do we will be sure to pop in… :blush:

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