The 3 Types of Airbnb Hosts You Can Expect

Alex Smolen| Posted on 2018-02-28 | ~4 min read

When renting a vacation rental, part of the excitement is not knowing exactly what you are going to get. When you arrive at the mountainside villa, the catamaran in the marina, or the home where you have signed up for a fondue dinner, the host can make or break your experience.

Now as travelers we have different ideas for what the perfect host is. Some of us are outgoing and want to talk to our hosts. We want the report that creates a more personalized experience. Some of us are introverted. We like the idea of staying somewhere other than a hotel but would still like to be left to our own devices. Whatever your preferences are, that is okay. There is the perfect host for you in pretty much every city.

The best hosts ask your preferences or just have the sense of what you’re about. Usually, these are the super hosts, the hosts who have had dozens if not hundreds of visitors. They can use these experiences to better understand you as a traveler. However, not all hosts are created equal, so here I have the three main categories that hosts fall under:

1. The Active Host

1st Type Of Airbnb Host

An active host is a person who rents out their house almost as if it was a hobby. Sure they like the money that comes with renting, but they get more joy out of the people they meet. They genuinely enjoy the experience of hearing others stories and sharing their own.

They will engage you in conversation. They try to understand more about you and why you have traveled to their city. They will use their local knowledge to recommend places based on your interests and sometimes re-route you from your current plans. The active host is more likely to cook you breakfast in the morning and stock your room with drinks and snacks.

When staying with an active host, you have the highest chance of having clean amenities, and extra perks(free breakfast, snacks etc. ). They provide the best experience for most travelers and often have good reviews. However, some travelers want a space just to themselves, they are not interested in socializing with a host. For these travelers, it may be the passive or away hosts are more of interest.

2. The Passive Host

2nd Type of Airbnb Host

The passive host is the person who rents out their house often as means for supplementary income. They are willing to let you use a room in their house but aren’t very interested in getting to know you. They won’t necessarily go out of their way to give great recommendations.

They will interact with you, greeting you upon arrival and making sure you have everything that you need for a comfortable and happy stay. You can expect a casual conversation until they retire to their room or head out of the property. With the passive host, there won’t always be food waiting for you in the morning. You will have a clean place to stay, but that is usually it.

The passive host is perfectly fine for most people. When you are traveling you usually want to spend your time exploring instead of being in your room anyway. The service a passive host provides is most like a hotel: there when you want it and gone when you don’t. You won't have your own personal tour guide, but you’ll have a nice clean, quiet place to stay.

3. The Away Host

3rd Type Of Airbnb Host

The away host is the person who rents out their house solely for money. Sometimes they rent out several units in an apartment building and sometimes they’re renting out their vacation home and aren’t even in the city. Most of the time you end up dealing with a real estate management company instead of the owner of the property themselves.

When you rent from an away host interaction is minimal. Either they tell you where the key is hidden, or you briefly meet with someone who drops off the key for you. The good thing about all this is that once you’re there you have the room all to yourself. The bad thing is that unless they leave a city guide you're on your own for recommendations and you miss out on the personalization that the active or passive hosts provide.

The away host is best for when a family or group of friends are looking to rent out an entire home for a vacation or retreat. Here you have the freedom to be a bit louder, stay up late, and move freely throughout the house as long as you still show respect to the property. You usually find that most vacation home rentals, not homes in the cities, have more away hosts.



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No matter what type of host you get, when you travel with peer to peer rentals you are likely to have a pleasant and unique experience. It is important to acknowledge the different types of hosts, however, because depending on what experience you are looking for, you may be interested in different levels of host involvement. In my experience, when Active hosts are good, they have the potential to make your trip a once in lifetime experience.

So, what type of host are you? What type of host do you look for when you travel?

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