Have you noticed when you search for properties in a certain neighbourhood on Airbnb, there’s always a select few listings that stand out from the rest? These listings sit right at the top of Airbnb’s search results and alike Google, they receive most of the traffic. Airbnb listing optimization is a huge competitive advantage and provides hosts with a reliable stream of potential guests to choose from. Your tenant screening process can be much more rigorous when you have multiple applicants to choose from, allowing you to pick and choose the best guests. Welcome to the wonderful world of Airbnb listing optimization.
Before getting into the specific steps you can take to perfect your Airbnb listing optimization for search, it’s important to note that there’s nothing you can do behind a computer that will replace providing an exceptional experience for your guests. The central aspect to being successful on Airbnb is going above and beyond what’s expected by the people you bring into your home. The foundation of any impressive Airbnb listing is great reviews from happy guests who felt right at home.
So what are some things you can do right now to improve your Airbnb listing optimization?
As soon as a potential guests message you on Airbnb, you are officially on the clock. Responding to inquiries in a timely manner may not seem like a top priority when you’re late for work in the morning – but hours really do make a difference in the Airbnb world. The faster you get back to people who reach out to you the more credit you get in the ranking game.
Keep Your Calendar Up to Date
There’s no excuse for this one! Keeping your calendar up to date is something any seasoned Superhost will tell you is a must. For one, you don’t want to miss potential bookings on days your place is available. As importantly, Airbnb’s search engine algorithm keeps track of how often you update your calendar. Update it as much as possible to show Airbnb that you are on top of your hosting duties!
One of the great things about the sharing economy is it gives people (both hosts and guests) a level of flexibility that traditionally wouldn’t be there. The more convenient and available you make your property the more inquiries you are going to get. For example, a property that accommodates four people and allows one night stays is going to, on average, do better than if it were to accommodate three people and have a minimum stay of one week. This is simply because it will appear in the search results for more potential guests.
It should be noted that a minimum stay of one or two nights can be a huge hassle for most people and is often not sustainable. A host services company can solve this problem, but for the do-it-yourselfers there is an alternative strategy. Use one or two night rentals to accumulate good reviews and improve your search rankings. After your listing starts to improve you can go back to a model that better suits your lifestyle. The second thing to note is that it’s not a good idea to be overly aggressive with the number of people your place can accommodate. Keeping your guests comfortable is more important in the long run than a short-term boost for your listing. Always play the long game.
Turn-On Instant Book
Airbnb’s Instant Book option is to some a risky endeavour, but there’s no doubting its effect on optimizing a listing. Instant Book allows guests to book properties without requiring pre-approval from the host. Airbnb encourages hosts to activate Instant Book because it provides guests a much more hassle free experience. If you’re inexperienced with Airbnb and planning to manage the whole process yourself, we recommend turning off Instant Book until you’ve hosted a few guests. Once this has happened, you can decide whether you’re comfortable opening your doors to travellers without pre-screening them. If you decide to go this route, your Airbnb search results will definitely see a noticeable improvement.
Price to Market….Sometimes
It’s hard to say whether your Airbnb pricing strategy is more of a science or an art. On the one hand, many new Airbnb automated pricing software companies have found ways to use complex algorithms to determine the optimal price for your listing. Airbnb itself has even released its own pricing tool that is embedded right in the calendar page. These tools are great and can be used to effectively price your listing. But there are sometimes more factors at play! For example, you might have good insight into the local market and suspect that you can get more than what your pricing tools suggest. Or, maybe you’re just starting out and decide its better to underprice your property. This will give you a chance to learn how to be a good host while reducing the likelihood that your guest feels that they didn’t receive value for their money. In this case, the better ratings you’ll receive will improve your listing’s performance in the search rankings.
Honor Booking Commitment
Absolutely nothing is more frustrating as a guest than having your booking canceled by a host. Actually, that’s not true a really bad experience is probably worse. For those new to the sharing economy, it might not seem like a big deal to cancel on someone you don’t know…..but it is! No one likes having to re-book travel plans and Airbnb’s search engine certainly will not appreciate it either. If you’re not 100% sure, don’t accept the booking. If something comes up, do your absolute best to honor the commitment.
Have Beautiful Pictures
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. They are probably underrating the value of pictures. In the late 2000’s when the Airbnb founders were struggling to get their platform off the ground, they realized a big problem was that listing photos were not as visually appealing as they could be. So they travelled to New York City, rented a camera, and took photos themselves. This is often cited as a turning point for the multi-billion dollar company. The nicer your pictures, the more people will be interested in your home, and the higher your listing will end up appearing on the search rankings. Just make sure your pictures provide a reasonable expectation for your guests. You don’t want guests arriving at your place only to be disappointed.
Leverage Social Media
In this socially connected world, social media can be used as a tool to increase your listing’s presence. You’ve already created a listing, why not share it on Facebook or tweet about it on Twitter? You can even create and share a ‘wish list’ of Airbnb properties around the world that you’d love to one day stay at. The more people are linking to your profile from external sites, the higher you move up the rankings.
While it takes time, there’s no reason why your Airbnb listing optimization can’t take your property to the top of the search results sooner than you think. Focus on providing an incredible guest experience and do everything you can to boost your listing you’ll be there in no time.