What is it about?

This paper examines how hosts’ profile photos—specifically, gender, facial expression and the presence of sunglasses—affect guests’ intentions to trust and book. Females were rated more favourably than males. Smiling and wearing sunglasses also turned out to be effective.

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Why is it important?

The paper breaks new ground by challenging the conventional wisdom of avoiding dark glasses on profile photos, when the purpose is to foster trust among strangers.


This study only considered Caucasian hosts. Future research should investigate how Caucasian and Asian guests respond to both Caucasian and Asian hosts on Airbnb. In fact, given the recent Black Lives Matter movement, investigating how Black and non-Black guests respond to both Black and non-Black hosts is also particularly worthwhile in order to understand if Airbnb breeds racism.

Dr Snehasish Banerjee
University of York

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Put on your sunglasses and smile: The secret of Airbnb hosts’ profile photos?, International Journal of Hospitality Management, May 2022, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhm.2022.103219.
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