AirBnb should require hosts to publish the true size of their properties, in terms of both square meters and square feet. It is a given that all hosts use wide-angle lenses to make the spaces seem larger than they are, forcing us to discount the photos when evaluating listings. However, some hosts use these photos to intentionally mislead prospective visitors, even putting words like "vast" and "spacious" in their descriptions, when the spaces are anything but. We just returned from a European trip where we stayed in 13 AirBnbs, and four of these were listed with photos that made the apartments look palatial, whereas in reality there wasn't even enough space to open our suitcases.
I think that AirBnb should mandate all hosts to include the precise size of their lodgings, which is the only way one can evaluate the accompanying photos in context. To not do so is to aid and abet unscrupulous hosts in misrepresenting their properties - which may be good for their pocketbooks (and for AirBnb's bottom line), but is not a good practice for long-term client retention.
im really not good with square feet but I opted not to get professional photos so that may guests would hopefully be surprised by my space. so far it has worked.
I think your point - re the measurements - is a valid one and could be very useful. I know a lot of the hotel platforms have something similar and it influences me sometimes when I"m tossing up between several places.
The only qualification I'd make is this. You are obviously a guest who takes the time and trouble to read listings carefully.
A host has a really tough job including all the detail and information they think guests might need/want with trying to ensure that amount of description does not become counter productive.
There are a LOT of guests who seem to have an inverse reading relationship with the amount of detail and the amount of comprehension. They criticise for making the listing too onerous to read
My last guest was like this. When she arrived, and I showed her how to unlock the door, I said,
"do you remember your keycode?"
Oh no, the number was too confusing to remember.
"but the code is your mobile number"
"MY mobile number"
"Ooooh. Well why didn't you say that in the message???"
"oh. I got really confused. There were so many words"
It was clear she had not read a single thing in the description, or the house rules, because, as she kept saying "it was so long. It was confusing"
I DO have some measurements of some rooms stated in my description, but because of guests like the above, I am constantly trying to pare things back, balancing brevity and ease of reading with detail.
I know this is a tightrope many, many hosts find difficult.
@Rowena29 We should come up with a page of acronyms for all kinds of info we put in our listings and info we send to guests, like OMG and LOL.
"Hi XX, Here's all the DL u'll need 4 CI. The DC is ur phone#, EZPZ."
So many words, huh. Unreal.
You've got it @Sarah977 - she was a purely mobile phone user.
Personally I'd love it if there was a way that we could see HOW guests have replied to our messages. You know, on an email it will say "sent with my iphone". I wish there was something similar for airbnb messages -It would be a great way of getting a heads up to know to adjust your communication style.
( i wish there was a filter for "app only" guests. I think I'd cancel them all!)
Ps I had NO IDEA what EZPZ was - until I said it out loud!
I did not read all the responses but my listing has two sets of photos - the first set is back from several years ago when Airbnb sent a photographer to shoot our place for "verified photos". Those shots are all wide angle lens. After those we have our photos (much poorer quality). We also have a floorplan in our listing which shows room size.
All that being said, we live in NYC. When we use the term "spacious", it's got a very different meaning to someone from the midwest. 1500 Square feet in NYC is "palatial". Whereas elsewhere that might be considered very small.
Our place has two queens, two fulls, and a twin bunkbed. For groups who need that many beds, this is a great listing.
Our biggest complaint from guests is that we don't have a TV. We state it in our listing and from the photos it's clear.
Thanks for your reply. 1500 feet is indeed palatial for New York (even Brooklyn where you are). And you even give a room plan with measurements. That's more than I requested in my original post. With that information, any subjective description like "spacious" is beside the point.
I looked at your listed and I would certainly stay there when I come to NY. Who needs a TV when you have Manhattan right across the river!
@Richard1826 why not just ask the hosts for a square footage measurement? If having a huge space is really important to you I would think that is the simplest solution. Many people just want a place to sleep when traveling. For others the home itself is the attraction and they spend a lot of time in it. If space is important to you ask before you book. No matter how great the pics you won't end up disappointed if you take it upon yourself to be proactive .
Also I'm sure you understand that depending on where you are in the world there may be different ideas about what is "enough" space. Americans tend to be a bit biased towards large listings even if it's only for a single person or couple.
@Richard1826 I agree with @Laura2592 on this one as well. Square footage is an important topic when you're buying real estate, but in the world of holiday accommodation it's seldom in the degree of demand that would make it essential to a listing. I don't see hotel listings publishing the dimensions of their rooms either.
And even if it were standard, the singular value of the property's floor area does not account for its distribution or how much of it is usable space. That would require a broader set of values that would be absurd to mandate from millions of hosts globally. Like star ratings, it's merely a number whose meaning is locked up in the missing context. Besides, even with all the empirical measurements right out front, people will still have subjectively different expectations of how much space that's going to be, so we're right back to square one.
How about this: when you're a guest, and you have special requirements - whether it be accessibility needs, animal accommodation, or size demands - you consider it your responsibility to use that Contact Host button before placing a reservation. Hosts don't want their guests to be disappointed, but it's impossible for a listing to account for every detail and parameter that a guest could possibly care about.
'All' hosts do not use wide angle lenses. We don't as our apartment is actually very spacious. Bizarrely we were marked 4 stars by one guest for accuracy where she commented that the apartment was bigger than described!!!!
I use spacious in our listing title but don't use a wide-angle lens in fear of any misunderstanding. I added a floorplan I made using Sketchup so the size and dimensions are very clear. Any host trying to make their place look bigger is just opening themselves up for bad reviews.
I hear from guests regularly the pictures don't do my space justice. Having read many times professional pictures are important, I have just arranged for a real estate photographer to upgrade my pictures. Yes I believe its important to show my space as it is, no "trickery". This conversation does have me wondering.
A wide-angle shot can have the optical effect of making a room look more spacious. But so can having high ceilings, light colors, and abundant sunlight, none of which are generally considered "trickery."
One thing the wide-angle lens is really useful for is getting a whole room into a shot, so the viewer can see how the space is actually laid out. I see so many listings that have a picture of each corner of a room, because there wasn't a vantage point that could capture the whole thing, and it really does the listing no favors. People like being able to get a comprehensive view of the place in the first 5 pictures, much more than random close-ups of the toilet.