I read great advice on “Your” vs “My” in user interfaces and 'My Account' or 'Your Account'?

But neither deals with the special case of two-sided marketplaces.

Example - airbnb clone

Suppose a user could be both a guest and a host. And suppose the app has separate pages for 'bookings as a guest' and 'bookings as a host'. What should each of these two pages be called? (please assume they're both linked to from the navbar at top of page).

The best I came up with was 'Bookings' for bookings as guest and 'Bookings-with-you' for bookings as a host. But I'm not sure if that's best practice, not too wordy, and still usable.

Note: a misunderstanding could be costly here. Example: if a user checks 'Bookings', sees none, and wrongly concludes they have no upcoming bookings (as a host), i.e. the user could accidentally assume that 'Bookings' meant 'Bookings as a host'. Then they could be unprepared for an upcoming booking! (bad outcome)

So there's some subtlety in the naming that really matters. Any help or advice on this?

3 Answers 3


I think you're on a bad footing if there's any confusion over the role the user is in when viewing a page. It's generally a good idea to use a non-overlapping language appropriate to the role, and set the tone and context so that the user simply cannot be confused.

As a host, you might see phrases like

  • your property/properties
  • your home
  • your listings
  • upcoming reservations on your apartment in Amsterdam
  • your visitors
  • your guests

As a guest, you might see phrases like

  • your reservation
  • your trip
  • your accommodation
  • your upcoming trip to Amsterdam
  • your host

Imagery that corroborates the role also helps, as well as using a theme that is easily distinguishable depending on the 'mode' you're in.

  • 7
    I'd like to emphasize the idea of having separate themes for the different roles -- if you look at other major applications, you'll see just how far that goes in helping users understand what role the view is in.
    – Nisala
    Jan 8, 2021 at 8:40
  • 1
    If you really want to use the word 'booking' for both instances, then you need a disambiguating qualifier such as 'My bookings' and 'Guest bookings'. But maybe you don't need to use the word 'booking' in both places and could have 'My activity' and 'Guest bookings' - or something similar? Jan 8, 2021 at 13:09
  • 1
    Even with non-overlapping language, I think there's still a hazard. For example, in this answer's list, "your accommodation" could be misconstrued as "the accommodation that you're providing." I agree with the approach, but you still have to be careful.
    – Maxpm
    Jan 8, 2021 at 20:49
  • 1
    I realise a long time passed since asking the question. But I had another idea. What do you think about combining both guest and host into one chronological view, so that all upcoming trips and stays can be seen on a single page, and therefore the user can't ever miss one by mistake
    – stevec
    May 6, 2021 at 15:59
  • 1
    @stevec I quite like that idea! May 7, 2021 at 17:58

I think everything in a site of this sort would fall into one of three categories:

  • User acting as a "Host" = Selling
  • User acting as a "Guest" = Buying
  • Configuration - username/password/security, banking information, dark/light mode, etc.

When you are in "Host" mode, you are dealing with "what rates should I offer", "when do I offer service", "manage reservations of my property", "see feedback about by service", etc.

When you are in "Guest" mode, you are dealing with "where should I go", "where am I already going", "how much am I paying", "rate the services I have received", etc.

They are really two separate groups of actions. Don't mix them together!

  • Login
  • Get 2 big buttons - one for "Hosting", one for "Guests". Use a single word to identify each one, but on this first-page-after-login include text to make it real obvious for relatively new users (i.e., no need to mouseover because there isn't much else on the page so there is room to explain). Smaller button in the corner for "User profile" or whatever (the 3rd thing I listed above).
  • Once you select one of the two main categories, everything has to do with that category, whether organized as buttons or menus or whatever. Only exceptions are "User profile" and "Switch to Hosting/Guests" (whichever one you are not currently in). That "Switch" button should use the word "Switch" (or something similar) - just listing the mode to change to without "change" or "switch" is confusing, as many people have found out the hard way with the "Speaker Mode" vs. "Gallery Mode" buttons in Zoom.
  • Any page you are on (except Login and that first selection page) should have clear in the header that it is "Hosting" or "Guest" mode.
  • Do all of this even if someone hasn't signed up for the "other" mode. If they try to go to the "other" mode you can present them with any signup/authorization/configuration needed at that time.

The website/app needs to have navigation and labels that are self-explanatory. One such good example is Uber.com. The navigation has a products section that has links like Ride, Drive, Eat, and so on. These sections are the 2 sides of the marketplace (or technically a platform). Once the user goes inside a product, the user can sign in/up to use the service.

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