Getting your Airbnb listed at the beginning of search results, is the guaranteed best way to get more bookings. The very first properties will gain more views, which not only helps them to stay listed at the top, but gives them a better chance of getting a booking.
There comes a time in every hosts journey, when things go quiet on Airbnb. They start to wonder where their listing is placed in searches and how to increase exposure to their listing.
Airbnb has some rules, which they have set to ensure listings remain ‘active’ and ‘responsive’ in order to stay relevant for search results.
We have put together a list of 15 ways hosts can get more bookings by playing by the rules.
1. Host Profile
Ensure your profile is complete to include a description of yourself, payment details and photograph. Remember to verify identification, email, phone and facebook account.
2. Listing Profile
Complete your property listing by filling out all the necessary sections; Photographs, property description, the space, access, guest interaction, amenities and accessibility. You will want to be included in as many of those criteria selections as possible in the search results.
3. Search optimisations
Airbnb’s algorithms are programmed to find specific ‘keywords’ in your listing. Much like google, there is a specific set of keywords that people type into the search field, which is matched to the same keywords found in listing descriptions. Ensure that your title and description contain common search terms for your location. This may be certain local attractions, events or famous landmarks.
Professional photographs gain more attention from potential guests. Airbnb offer a photography service (for selected locations) or you could hire a freelance property photographer. You may even like to consider professional interior design or staging.
5. Listing Activity
Airbnb’s algorithms are programmed to monitor activity, which means the amount of changes that occur in your listing. This can be the number of times someone clicks on your listing. It can also be the number of times you update your calendar or your space description. A quick tip is to block out dates in future, save, then immediately unblock them. Login to your account regularly, or better yet – keep it open all day.
6. Minimum Stay
The minimum number of nights a guest can stay depends on your location, local events and property type. We don’t recommend a 1-night minimum stay, because you will want to deter party guests. However, you may want to consider 1 night minimum for your first few bookings. Just until you have enough 5-star reviews to get you higher on search results.
7. Pricing Strategy
Newbie hosts will need to start at a lower price point, just until you have gained enough reviews. Request a small security deposit and no cleaning fee at first. You may even like to waive the additional guest fee. But this is not sustainable in the long-term for a profitable Airbnb business. Aim for pricing that is only slightly lower than your closest competition. Monitor your pricing regularly, either manually or with automated pricing software. Airbnb smart pricing can automate this task, however you will have to monitor this, because it is not always accurate.
8. Cancellation Policy
Adopt a flexible cancellation policy for guests, a strict policy may deter them from booking. As a host you should never cancel. EVER. Airbnb will penalise you for this. Not only will it harm your chances in search results but it will get you kicked off the Super Host team.
9. Response Time
Airbnb monitors the amount of time it takes for a host to respond to a guest query. Any query, at any time. You can either have your phone strapped to your hand 24 x 7 or you can get an automated message responder. We recommend the latter. Poor response times will affect your search placement.
10. Instant Book
If you have activated Instant Book, it means the booking doesn’t need approval from the host. It applies only to available dates in your calendar. The benefits of having instant book is an auto response message from Airbnb, which assists your response time. It has its very own filter and you will want to be included in that search. Instant book can also help you achieve super host status.
Establish a system of gaining reviews from guests, whether that is from a reminder at the property or a thankyou message after checkout. You increase your chances of gaining a review, once you have given the guest a review first. Unless there is some serious damage they have done to the property, try to give guests 5-star reviews to encourage them to do the same for you. At the end of the day, higher ratings get a better search result.
12. Super Host Status
If you have done everything above, you should be a super host by now. The 5 main criteria to become a super host includes 10 short term stays in 12 months, 50% guests leave reviews, 90% response rate, Zero cancellations and 4.8 rating or above. Airbnb tells us being a super host will improve your search placement. This alone doesn’t guarantee you will be at the top of the search results, but it has its own filter – which helps to get more bookings.
13. Social Media
Start to look outside of Airbnb to increase exposure to your listing. Social media is a great way to do this. You might like to join a community forum for short term rental listings. There are specialists facebook groups that allow you to advertise your Airbnb property. Post pictures to Instagram to show guests you are an active host. This will generate more activity as more people are clicking on your listing.
14. Business Activity
If you run your Airbnb like a business, why not get serious with business cards and flyers to help promote your accommodation at networking events or whenever the occasion calls for you to whip out your business card. This is another way to generate more activity to your listing.
15. Offers & Referrals
You may like to offer your guests a discount for their next stay or create a referral programme, where guests can get a discount if they refer friends and family. Word of mouth is still the most effective way to increase your business. Even if you don’t get additional bookings this way, the additional views on your listing will count towards your search results placement.
Running a successful Airbnb business requires a team of professionals. Co-Hosts at fivestarhost can help you automate your administration processes and take care of the physical tasks, so that you have more time and more freedom to do the things you enjoy. Please get in touch today for a free consultation.