There is no denying that the rise and rise of Airbnb as a leading online travel booking website has revolutionized the hospitality industry worldwide. If you own or manage accommodation of any kind Airbnb is one of if not the most lucrative ways your properties can earn you income. Therefore the issue of increasing your visibility on Airbnb and ranking highly is incredibility
If done well, a high-quality Airbnb listing will become a significant source of income and integrates well as part of any vacation rental or temporary accommodation business model.
In this article, I’ll take you through some important changes I’ve made to my listing to rank more highly. These are real-world examples of what works, so read on!
If you are new to using Airbnb or want to improve your exposure of performance on this platform, it is important to be competitive. Airbnb listings cover almost all corners of the globe and if your property is in a metropolitan area or tourist region, competition is rife.
Much like Google or Amazon, Airbnb utilizes a ranking algorithm which assists the platform in ordering its property listings in search results. You can find out more about it here. By making the information in your property listing more relevant and accessible to Airbnb’s internal search engine, your property will appear as relevant and credible to more users. Airbnb’s exact online algorithm is strictly confidential but I’ve tried and tested what works, so keep the following in mind:
- Will take into consideration the searcher’s previous preferences and use of the site including previous search activity, previous bookings and wish lists.
- Review ratings, price, location and responsiveness of the host are all factors that are extremely important to Airbnb.
Let’s get into the detail with my 15 tips to rank higher:
1. Make the most of your Airbnb listing’s title.
Optimise your listing my making the most of the title. Your listing title will be your prospective guest’s first encounter with your property and will be part of an immediate assessment of whether your vacation rental will be suitable for their needs so the title needs to be accurate, eye-catching, and distil the core reasons for someone to book.
Pay attention to the words you use in your title and ensure they reflect the type of search terms prospective guests will use in their searches. For example, one of my listings is for an ensuite room in a townhouse near the local hospital. This is a major reason to book, so the listing mentions this accordingly: “Spacious Ensuite room in Beautiful Townhouse, 5 minutes walk from Liverpool Hospital”.
Airbnb provides 50 characters you should fully exploit to create an inviting and engaging title that will earn a click on your profile.
You need to provide as much useful information as possible to help users evaluate your rental. Avoid property names and lavish adjective rich descriptions which do not add value. Make sure that your listing addresses the following points:
- Nearby landmarks or tourist attractions
- Suitability for either business or holiday-makers
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Outstanding features in the property, for example, a wood-burning stove or a hot-tub.
- Terms that reflect the number of guests welcome (e.g. couples or family-friendly)
- Sparing and well thought out use of descriptive words such as “rural” or “rustic”, “urban”, “period”, “luxury”.
As with other online platforms such as Ebay and Amazon, a number of formulas for creating an optimized Airbnb booking title exist. An example is this:
[Descriptive Word] [Your Property Type] w/ [3 Top Features]
Draft and redraft your listing, not being afraid to alter or tweak your listing title for the best effect and then ask other people which is the most appealing.
2. Use Instant Book
One of the fastest ways of generating improved Airbnb rankings is to make sure Instant Book is switched on. These enhanced listings offer guests the ability to make and pay for a booking without host approval. A user simply selects their required dates, makes the booking and subsequently liaises with the host. There are no additional fees involved, but you must accept all comers, with only 3 penalty-free cancellations allowed in a whole year. Owners who use Instant Book get an instant boost to their rankings as Airbnb explicitly states that they rank these listings more highly.
3. Be Super responsive
Airbnb wants to provide the best possible service to its customers. Making the customer experience as positive, convenient and reliable a possible will go a long way in improving your rankings. Hosts that make a consistent effort in being responsive and interactive will climb the rankings. You can build your Airbnb reputation by consistently responding to requests within the advised 24-hour response time but ideally much sooner, so it’s well worth using their smartphone app.
4. Keep your calendar updated
With a busy schedule or the management of multiple properties, it may be easy to overlook the basic ‘housekeeping’ of your Airbnb profile. Make a concerted effort to update your property’s status and calendar on a daily basis to provide guests with the most accurate information on the availability of your property and to avoid double bookings and missed opportunities. Your diligence will be rewarded with higher rankings on Airbnb and it’s well known that simply logging in to check your calendar has a direct impact on your rankings.
5. Improve your reviews and ratings
Positive reviews and star ratings are a big part of a successful Airbnb listing which will rank well. Some great properties probably don’t get the visibility or attention they deserve simply because owners have to followed-up on online feedback on the platform and win good reviews. Engage your customers on and offline to garner the feedback you need to climb the rankings. Provide notes in your holiday rental, send a polite post-booking email and of course deliver your booking with winning service and attention to detail, every time.
6. Keep your rates competitive
Airbnb openly states that a key metric in their platform’s search algorithm is the price point of the booking and these must be competitive prices. If you have a booking which is priced outside of the typical range for similar listings you are less likely to be offered as a relevant booking choice, simply because your pricing is outside the price range of most Airbnb guests. Providing your Airbnb booking at a realistic price means that your listing will be relevant to a greater number of searchers. This is especially important when just starting out and you are looking to build your reviews.
7. Keep cancellations low or zero
Cancellations are a contentious issue for both hosts and guests in Airbnb. It is simply best to avoid cancellations on either side as it is one of the fastest ways to lose your super host status on the platform. If you have exceptional circumstances that cause you to need to cancel on a guest you are given the grace of one cancellation per 6 month period as standard. Further cancellations are subject to a variety of penalties which include a drop in your rankings. This is a major factor in helping your rank higher on Airbnb.
8. Remove minimum stay restrictions
A quick way to welcome more interest in your listing is to lower the minimum stay. Airbnb essentially wants your vacation rental to operate much like a hotel or any other short term hospitality property with maximum accommodation of a guests requests and wants. By lowering or removing minimum stay requirements you are making a booking with you a possibility for a greater range of guests and this is rewarded by Airbnb.
9. Remove maximum stay setting
Many hosts are averse to offering prolonged or indeterminate stays as they run the risk of becoming tenancies which may be legally enforceable in some areas. However, removing limits on the length of stay will make your listing appropriate for a wider range of guests and you will rise the ranks.
Offering a generous maximum stay or removing the function altogether can provide opportunities for lucrative business stays or relocation contracts so it is well worth keeping an open mind
10. Close as many reservations as possible to obtain a high click to booking ratio
If you market your vacation rental on Airbnb with any real intent this will show in the amount of business you convert with them. everyone loves their property to be shown off with prominent rankings, but with Airbnb, business is business and the volume of bookings you successful close will reflect in the prominence of your listing.
11. Ensure Photos take guests on a journey.
Ensure that your property listing goes all out to grab the attention of prospective guests by investing in great photography of your rental. Not only will great shots of your pad stand out, but exemplary property pics are also bound to end up in the wish lists of users, meaning that your property becomes more prominent in their searches.
Make an effort with well-staged photography of your Airbnb property to entice users to boost their wish list. The more times you are selected by them, the higher your overall rankings will be. Search online for tips and tricks for capturing the best shots of your rental. This is a brilliant example of how a listing doesn’t just present the property, it guides the visitor through the experience.
12. Always over-deliver
One way of becoming popular as an exceptional host on Airbnb is to actually be one! Raise you online game with the little touches that people remember, like a bottle of wine chilled or fresh flowers or toys for families or a welcome basket.
Going the extra mile for your guest from initial enquiry to generous check-out time, to handling last-minute itinerary changes without complaint, are the best way of beating the system on this platform. Think about ways in which you can outdo the competition and contribute to making Airbnb a great accommodation merchant.
13. Don’t neglect your personal profile
Remember an under-filled Airbnb profile is an underutilized one. Take the time to ensure that you address all parts of your Airbnb host’s profile and provide all necessary documents and details for your account to be fully verified.
A welcoming and professional online persona provides the reassurance that makes all the difference when making a booking on a platform like this. Take the time to consider how you want to present yourself and communicate what you do best.
14. Link to Facebook and other social media
Airbnb loves connections. If you link your Airbnb account to your Facebook profile you can take advantage of great exposure of your rental to your friends and followers. If an Airbnb user has some connection to a particular host, for example, shared college or location, that host’s listing will be shown to the user.
Airbnb’s algorithm is always looking for shared interests and commonalities for a good and profitable match. Spread your net far and wide by promoting your listing on Facebook and keeping in touch with previous guests on social media as the connections count.
15. Keep your turnovers efficient
The booking platform algorithm also takes into account your downtime between bookings, how long it takes you to make your property available and your ability to field last-minute bookings. Making yourself as flexible as possible in accommodating guests is a great way of securing better rankings as the search engine will be able to put you before guests who will be able to readily fill your pipeline.
There are over 100 known ranking factors for Airbnb with more discovered all the time. The bottom line to excelling in the use of this platform is the amount of effort you put into serving your guests well.
Airbnb wants to build an online community which is engaging and reliable and secure, so it is important you demonstrate these qualities as a host. The ranking factors in the Airbnb algorithm are designed to look for a good host and someone who is genuinely and consistently making their property available as a vacation rental.
Use these 15 top tips as pointers to focus your energies on excelling in delighting your customers and giving them a great experience that they will, of course, be hoping for. With a steady and consistent approach, your online ratings will soar and soon you will be established as a prominent Super Host online.
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