Airbnb and Debrett’s publish ‘perfect host’ guide

The guide covers the dos and don'ts of staying in someone's home whilst also showing how to be the perfect homesharing host. Picture: TSPL
The guide covers the dos and don'ts of staying in someone's home whilst also showing how to be the perfect homesharing host. Picture: TSPL
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AN ETIQUETTE guide that teaches Britons how to navigate the minefield of modern manners when having guests to stay or staying in someone’s home has been published by Airbnb and Debrett’s.

The ‘Debrett’s and Airbnb Guide to Homesharing Etiquette’ was published following research conducted by Airbnb that found over 68 per cent of the British public think social etiquette is on the decline.

The comprehensive guide covers the dos and don’ts of staying in someone’s home whilst also showing how to be the perfect homesharing host. It mixes guidance rooted in centuries of British etiquette, including rules on punctuality and how to make the perfect introduction, with advice on modern predicaments like smartphones and social media at the dinner table and smoking electronic cigarettes indoors.

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The research found that the biggest faux pas a guest can make when visiting someone’s home is playing games on their mobile phone, with 65 per cent of those surveyed saying that this is socially unacceptable in someone else’s home. 60 per cent of hosts dislike guests who Instagram their dinner, whilst 10 per cent say that guests who update their Facebook status when they have been invited over to dinner are rude.

To secure an invite back, guests would do well to note that getting drunk, wearing dirty shoes around the house, looking around without being invited and announcing special dietary requirements at the last minute would be best avoided.

The guide suggests that five of the top rules of being the perfect guest are:

1. Turn off your phone

2. Avoid Instagramming your dinner

3. Don’t get drunk

4. Take off dirty shoes at the door

5. Try not to snoop!

For hosts looking to impress their guests, the research found that the worst thing a host can do is not change the bedding or offer clean towels. Other frustrations are not being offered a cup of tea – according to those researched this is ‘shocking’, whilst one in four think that running out of toilet roll is unacceptable. The best hosts would never expect an adult to sleep in a child’s bedroom and always open the door with a smile.

The guide suggests that five of the top rules of being the perfect host are:

1. Put the kettle on

2. Clean all the sheets and towels

3. Stock up on toilet roll

4. Introduce them to the household, including any pets!

5. Open the door with a smile

James McClure, General Manager of Airbnb UK, comments: “It’s so interesting that despite being more connected than ever, people are experiencing a level of social awkwardness when it comes to navigating modern social etiquette. Manners were created to ensure comfort in the presence of strangers so it’s essential that as our way of life changes, our rules on etiquette and manners evolve with it.

“Airbnb is passionate about breaking down barriers between strangers through homesharing. Knowing how to behave is an incredibly important part of fast-tracking a sense of belonging and comfort wherever in the world a guest or host might be.”

Joanne Milner, CEO at Debrett’s, comments: “Etiquette is as relevant now as it’s ever been. Shared economy businesses like Airbnb are very clever because by and large everyone wins – guests get more authentic travel experiences while the hosts can make money and strike up new friendships. It is, however, a relatively new phenomenon, and with that comes confusion regarding manners and behaviours.

“The results of the Airbnb survey are interesting, and dovetail with our advice that manners are there to make everyone feel welcome, remove any anxiety, and minimise social difficulties or awkwardness. It’s not difficult to be a great guest or host – you just need to make sure you’re fully engaged with the other person, give them your full attention, be courteous and be respectful.”

• ‘The Debrett’s and Airbnb’ guide to Homesharing Etiquette can be downloaded for free from theAirbnb blog from 17thFebruary.