Airbnb is a great way to make some extra income and meet interesting travelers — it’s a win-win all around!.
At the core of what drives Airbnb ahead of their competitors is their search algorithm, which rewards good hosts by showing their listing higher up in the results; in turn, this can attract more users and bookings, creating a positive reward cycle.
Optimizing your profile to appeal to Airbnb’s search algorithm is important for growing your number of bookings and running a successful listing. Here are the top strategies for optimizing your Airbnb listing:
1. Make Sure Your Photos Stand Out
As users browse through their options, each listing is afforded a headline and a photo. Make sure that the 140-character headline provides 1 or 2 of the best details about your listing — is it walkable? Is there transportation nearby? Is it in a historic area of downtown, or a trendy, up-and-coming area? Use the headline to grab users attention (but don’t go over the top, since if aspects of the listing are exaggerated, you risk getting bad reviews or losing potential bookings).
Similarly, the photo chosen for the listing should offer a glimpse into a pretty living room or neat bedrooms so users immediately get a feel for what the most important parts of the space look like. Try to take photos during a time of day that offers the best natural lighting. Take photos with a meticulous attention to details like lighting, neatness, color, angle. This can set a listing apart, especially in areas where there are lots of listings at similar price points.
For eligible hosts, Airbnb even offers free professional photography of your space; check to see if you are eligible, and take advantage of it! The photos will be watermarked with “Airbnb Verified”, which helps in building trust with users that the space in the photos accurately reflects what they’ll open the door to. Airbnb rewards those who have high quality photos and descriptions.
2. Make it Easy to Book and Never Cancel
Ease of booking is another element that Airbnb heavily factors into its on-site search algorithm. This is divided into two important factors to pay attention to: cancellations and response rates.
Basically, never cancel a booking. Airbnb rewards hosts who show that they are reliable. Make sure your calendars are up to date. If you are having trouble with fielding too many bookings, Seth Porges, a New York City Airbnb host recommends adding a note to your listing description that prompts users to email you first about availability. This way, you can feel out if you really do want to book with them, while simultaneously avoiding cancellation afterwards.
The response rate is more fuel for search rank; try to respond to people as quickly as possible. Even if you are already booked, or can’t make the accommodation they request, even replying with a simple, “I’m sorry, we’re booked,” is infinitely better than no response at all. Airbnb tracks these responses and rewards hosts who are prompt; striving for that 100% response rate is a great way to optimize your profile for search!
Airbnb considers the quality and quantity of reviews for search rank. Accumulating numerous reviews is key to pushing your profile to the top.
Hopefully, you really are a fantastic host and your guests will have nothing but good things to say about you. However, if you are uncertain about what they may say, send them an email first. Ask about their stay and if they had any specific complaints about areas you could improve. If they come back with tons of grievances, take it gracefully and leave it at that.
If they come back with tons of praise, ask them directly if they could leave a review on your profile. Another good tactic is to leave a quality review of your guests on their profile (since reviewing goes both ways!). Airbnb reports that if you leave a review for your guests, they are more likely to leave a review for you.
4. Become Verified
Make sure you go the extra mile and become fully verified. This includes uploading an image of government ID to AirBnB in order to verify your identity, as well as providing a phone number and email address that Airbnb will also verify. At the end of the process, you get a Verified ID badge on your profile.
Going through this process can feel laborious, but getting the badge is a great way to build the legitimacy of your profile!
Implementing these four tactics together will optimize your profile so you get a great on-site search rank, which means more bookings and meeting more great travelers, so you can get the most out of using AirBnB!