I understand that seeing a person’s face might help some hosts feel that they’re getting a sense of who will be sharing their home/booking their space.
HOWEVER, this has been my experience:
The worst guests had photos that showed their faces. Every time.
There’s no guarantee that they look like their photo. I had one guest, whose photo shows a 20-30 year old woman, and she showed up and was 10-20 years older than her (outdated photo) - which was fine. Lost of photos look super glam and then when the person shows up, they look completely different. So a face photo is no guarantee that they actually look like that.
One of my best guests (who has since become a dear friend) had her profile photo where she looked like an angry , unhappy, nun (I told her this and she laughed). However, her inquiry gave me all of her information and told me that she needed a place to stay as her daughter had been in a car accident (lived nearby but didn’t have extra space - which is common, I get lots of folks who have grown kids who live nearby) and needed her help. As a parent, I understood that and she’d given me enough information and details that I felt comfortable enough to accept her booking. She showed up, hugged me hard, with tears in her eyes. and thanked me for accepting her request. She was stellar and has been a returning guest (5 or 6 times since) and I’ve made a lovely friend for life.
Another guy had a photo with 3 people in it - no idea who he was, but again, because of his inquiry, I accepted him. He’s become a friend (and is now also my producer). Go figure.
- Sadly, as we know - racism, homophobia, ant-everything sentiment exists. I get that. Despite having the privilege of living in a country where this is illegal and mostly unsupported (and yes, sadly, still happens), I know that no one is immune. So, if a guest feels like they’re going to be discriminated against because someone will see their skin colour/a hijab/something religious/queer/trans stuff etc., then I’m okay without a photo.
Having said that, I guess that having positive reviews by folks from all over the world, with a huge range of orientations, beliefs, races etc. probably helps others know that they will feel welcomed and comfortable in ones home. I definitely see a trend. When a person from Brazil, for example, writes a great review, I do tend to get more inquiries from folks from Brazil right afterwards. I see this often.
Just my nickel (as they no longer make pennies here anymore, so no more two cents) @Astaire