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How to get more bookings by improving your listing's ranking in the Airbnb search results
One of the most important factors that determines success on Airbnb is a listing’s position in the search results, particularly in places with many available listings. Listings that aren’t on the first page of the results get very little views.
So how does Airbnb calculate the search results? To understand this, one has to view things from Airbnb’s perspective. As any company, Airbnb wants to (1) make money and (2) maximize user experience. They want to show the user the listings that are most likely to get booked. In addition, they favor hosts who take good care of their guests.
In Airbnb’s words:
“Guests want high-quality, accurate listings. If guests see your listing in search and click through to learn more, this can improve your search performance in the future. Similarly, if guests frequently try to book your place after viewing your listing page, this can also have positive effects.”
The trick is to improve a listing’s booking appeal. Think about a listing as a sales page. Attractive listings will convert a lot of views into bookings. The most important factors in making a listing more attractive are:
Photos are the most important part of a listing. The first thing that users do when searching for a place to stay on Airbnb is scroll through the photos. If the photos don’t look great, they are very likely to move on and check another listing. The attention span of today’s internet user is very short, just one picture that doesn’t look good can mean the potential guest is lost.
Airbnb provides a photography service for its hosts for free. Using this service is the best way to make sure your pictures are superb.
Titles that do well are the ones that (1) provide information about the listing, (2) highlight a listing’s best feature and (3) use all the characters available or (4) cater to a specific crowd.
Titles can also be used to attract a certain demographic. For example, my title is "Spacious 2-bdr, perfect for couples." One of the reasons why I mention that my space is very suitable for couples, is that I prefer to accommodate that type of group. Amsterdam is knows as a party city and a lot of visitors come for that reason. I rather have people who visit for other reasons to minimize disturbance to my neighbors.
A description should be descriptive and imaginative. It should entice the reader to imagine what the experience of a stay would be like. Many hosts make the mistake of simply stating facts.
Ease of booking
Airbnb prefers listings that are easy to book, as this improves the user experience of their users. To make a listing easy to book, hosts should always (1) respond to all inquiries quickly (within one hour is recommended), (2) keep their calendars updates, (3) honor existing reservations (i.e. not cancel any) and (4) enable the instant book option.
Airbnb strives to highlight the hosts that provide great experiences to their guests. They measure this by looking at both the quantity and quality of the reviews. Apparently they have an algorithm that can “read” reviews and determine how good they are. They also take the ratings into account of course.
On a side note, make sure to always respond to all reviews. It shows that you care about your guests and users will notice this!
In short, the listings that rank highest in the Airbnb search results are those that (1) look appealing (2) are easy to book and (3) represent a host who takes care of his or her guests. Hosts who get these three things right will be certain to do very well on Airbnb.
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