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Learn how Armchair Airbnb expertise is beaten by MBA behavioural science


Isn’t the thesis about impacting guest behavior not maximizing profits?


But I should be focused on getting my guests behave in a manner that nets me the most profit, right? That detergent company put those blue beads in there to sell more product!


Maybe. There are definitely hosts that would trade some profits for better guests. We’ve got more than one thread going now with folks at wits end due to a run of crap guests.


Ah, now to retail theory I learned while working part time (in order to outfit myself with some household goods at an employee discount). We were trained that 95% of customers are easy to transact with, 4% are high maintenance but can be sold, and sometimes at high $ volume, with additional time and effort, and 1% are impossible, effort exceeds gain, the goal is to get them out of the store as quickly as possible. Not so easy to do when they are in your house for a fixed rental period!


@dpfromva The thread using (I hope) Randomised Control Samples is definitely the way to test these sorts of an idea. Was this thread recent?

My personal experiments test two properties. I found that my co-hosting house was left virtually perfectly tidy more often than my boutique styled affair. (My results are telegraph my current distrust of making homes look like boutique hotels).

A tidy house takes much less time to turn over and this is good for my moral and ultimately the guest as frankly, I don’t simply leave. I spend the additional time doing deep cleaning … windows; behind the sofa; under the bed etc.

In my very last lesson, our lecturer drew a slide where she describes “affordances”. This was her concept of why social media is important, but it has resonance here.

@KKC is right its not just about the money, but so is @dpfromva we run businesses and that means it is all about the money. The affordances model ties to give clarity to this.

Business actions such as the ones in my dissertation indirectly affect the bottom line. I touched on complexity in my original post. Our businesses are examples of “complex adaptive systems” and as such cannot be controlled simply. The real-life example here is if you try to put out the fire in a burning building using a prescribed list of instructions, you will not be prepared for the extraordinary events that emerge. This is called Cynefin

If we take the approach that every idea has to have a simple connection and we ONLY focus on the bottom line then we are attempting to control the business in a way that is mechanical and formulaic.

Wow… thats deep thinking… I havent even had a coffee yet.

Hope I’ve not gone off on one!



I hate to be nit-picky, but the famous article you refer to as ‘Akerlof (2003)’ was his semnial work, which was first published in 1970. That’s mostly what he got the Nobel Price for (in 2001), as he was way ahead of his time with his market for lemons, and the concepts of asymmetric information and moral hazard. So it should be ‘Akerlof (1970)’ instead.

You don’t want to come across as an armchair academic, do you? Maybe you do and I am completely missing that point…

But as someone who has spent way more time than you on the academic side of business, reading ‘Akerlof (2003)’ gives me the same feeling as hearing the sound nails make on a chalkboard!

Which makes me wonder whether schools still have chalkboards or whether we now have an entire generation of grown-ups that has never heard that sound?!?


Fair point, I use a plug in for Google docs that generates my references and sometimes it gets it wrong. I should have altered it. I think the link to the PDF was correct tho.


All corrected and FWIW the edits from the last proof read now actually published. So many buttons.


The article he is linking to and referring to was published in Nov of 2003 and written by Akerlof. Akerlof is writing about the work he did in the 1970’s.


I hadn’t checked the link, but yes, it links to the correct article. Plug-ins for references are a pain in the butt!


No worries, it just another iteration towards but never quite reaching perfection #permanentbeta


Which still doesn’t make it sound any better. Also, the link I just checked went to the 1970 article.

I hoped you were going to chime in and enlighten me about the recent use of chalkboards in schools :wink:


The link I clicked is the hyperlinked one in the OP and it goest here:


I agree that he should double check his references before publishing however.

As for chalk and boards, yes, it’s still being used in classrooms.


I was in school while Aker’s was writing his thing (I’m 52 and the oldest in my class). The hipster thing of reviving all things “vintage” doesnt consider why the boards went int he first place, not only scratchy noises but the dust too. Being the 70’s it also gave the teachers ammunition should he decide you werent listening! LOL’s the Good ole days eh


Glad to read that! The thought of a new generation of adults going through life without this particular childhood trauma just blew my mind!


There was a teacher at my school who wore the same polyester sans-a-belt slacks from 1978 until 2016 when he retired. He was notorious for having spittle at the corner of his mouth, and chalk dust all around his crotch from adjusting himself with chalk dust covered hands.


This is when I wish this forum had multiple icons so I could choose the laughing one.


I like your research. Recently I listened to a program on NPR regarding the success of Trader Joe’s and how its success is the result of a unique customer experience not easily replicated (hasn’t been yet according to the author.) Its dedication to the customer experience has resulted in a positive bottom line because of the value added experience felt by the consumer and keeps them life long fans.

Would love to hear your thoughts on how Trader Joe’s got it so right and what we might learn from it and replicate it as hosts.


Thank you so much for bringing Trader Joe to my attention. I would love to know if the show on NPR is available as a podcast.

The book the Experience economy which is influencing my strategy on Airbnb has talked about Trader Joe. But with me being from the UK it had not resonance until now.

I found this article

I’m trying in my little way to advise the community that staging your Airbnb as an authentic experience, rather than trying to trade as commodity is more resilient. A resilient business is capable of recovering quickly from difficulties such as economic swings, seasonal variation.

I think an Airbnb that trades on clean beds and fair price is effectively a commodity and is dangerously unresilient.

Trader Joe has an approach that appears to work in a very competitive market place by being authentic.

Pinching from the last line of the above:

“Trader Joe’s has taken the monotony of shopping, staged the process with great service, and created a feeling that is authentically unforgettable and experiential”.

An Authentic (artisan) host effectively creates a space that stages an experience whose difference to other accommodations make it more valuable.

What’s more its difficult for a chain hotel, or boutique hotel to be able to compete.

What person could honestly say that a Travelodge is authentic?


I like these parts<><>: engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event ----an emotion, a thought, and idea, or a feeling that is remembered—the experiential visit is the memory----enjoying my experience so much I’d just keep buying…
somehow I always spend more than I thought I would there,@ tjs : they do have neat products that don’t feel high priced when you are putting them in your cart:)

Our guests have stated: they just can’t keep talking about, thinking about Tiny Tiki Trailer Zone

Transversally does that mean a unique feel good very memorable experience is great even @ higher cost and = return customers? In my life there have been plenty of authentic experiences while travelling that were cheap by necessity!

But is it easy to give something a higher value just because you paid more for it???
Thanks Paul and Pine

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