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7 hacks for dealing with language barriers when you’re hosting

People hangout together

As an Airbnb host, you’ll have plenty of ways to make your guests feel welcome. Not only is it all part of the home-sharing experience, but it will help you to get positive reviews – and even Superhost status. But how can you make that welcome just as warm when your guests don’t speak the same language as you? Start with GUARDOG’s seven hacks for dealing with language barriers when you’re hosting…

 

Keep it simple

If your guests don’t speak the same language as you, our advice is to keep communication very simple. The chances are they’ve brushed up on a few phrases but we often don’t realise how much we use idioms when we’re speaking (“You’ll be happy as Larry”, “It’s as easy as pie” etc). So, whether you’re communicating in writing or verbally, go for simple sentences if you can.

Act the part

Once you’ve communicated the instruction, say, for example, how to work the microwave, ask your guest to repeat back what you’ve said to make sure they’ve got it. Or act it out – and invite them to try it, and you can always do the demo again if they haven’t quite got it.

By the book

if you find you’re welcoming lots of guests from a specific country, it might be worth making a copy of your instruction manual or house rules in the relevant language. The same goes for any signs around your home, such as “Please keep this door closed”.

Embrace the experience

At GUARDHOG, we’re passionate about home-sharing and we think that language barriers are part of the fun! So why not embrace the experience – and if you know you have someone staying from a particular country, learn a few friendly phrases to say to them when they arrive?

Go online

For more complex conversations, there’s a wealth of online and phone-based tools you can use to help. Try Google Translate, BabelFish or the iTranslate app for quick translations. Lingviny.com is a tool you can use with your Gmail to send or receive quick emails in different languages. And Babbel is good for an easy online language learning resource.

Update your profile

If you’re lucky enough to speak more than one language, make sure you share that information on your profile. On your main profile page, under the ‘Contact host’ button, you’ll have the opportunity to list all the languages that you speak – and this will make your property even more attractive to guests.

Everyone is welcome

Remember that joining Airbnb, either as a host or guest, means you’re part of a community of inclusion. Airbnb have strict policies on bias, prejudice and racism. You can find more details about this on the Airbnb website. Happy hosting!

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