How do you stand out in the seemingly never-ending sea of listings on Airbnb? It may seem like a game of chance, but Airbnb’s search ranking actually works a lot like Google’s – understand the basics of SEO, and you’ll have the power to boost your vacation rental’s visibility in no time.
Your Calendar is Key
Airbnb’s search ranking algorithm rewards hosts who regularly manage their calendar. First and foremost, an accurate calendar means that your open dates will appear in relevant search results. Secondly, keeping your calendar up-to-date shows Airbnb that you are active, responsive, and engaged. Busy hosts stay on top of their calendar on a daily basis, and we recommend even those starting out to visit their calendar every day. Here at MyVRHost, we manage your calendar for you, which saves you time, keeps your listing fresh, and increases your ranking.
The days of requesting bookings are long gone; today, most guests and hosts rely on the Instant Book feature. Rank higher in Airbnb’s search results by activating this feature immediately. This is not only favored by Airbnb’s search algorithm, but also demonstrates your flexibility and hospitality as a host. Additionally, you avoid being filtered out in some searches, especially by those who don’t have a lot of time to plan their accommodations.
Pick your target
We recommend putting yourself in your guests’ shoes in order to uncover which targeted search terms will be the most appealing to your city. Are there popular local destinations or neighborhoods that you can showcase in your title or description? How about popular events or relevant holidays? The more consistently you incorporate these targeted search terms in your vacation rental listing, the higher up it will be in the results.
Styling and Profiling
Before you begin building a stellar reputation via five-star reviews and bookings, make sure to fully complete your profile to demonstrate your trustworthiness. On Airbnb, community is a cornerstone, so a well-rounded, complete profile signals activity and engagement. Start with a friendly, captivating bio, and then move on to the verification process. To do this, head to the “Trust and Verification” tab in your profile and enter your phone number, ID, and various social media accounts. Don’t forget to get endorsements from your personal contacts by heading to the “Request References” tab!
In the Stars
Five-star reviews are one of, if not the most important aspects to staying relevant and getting more bookings. Reviews are the equivalent to a word-of-mouth referral, which legitimizes your listing and helps you build authority as a host. Quality and quantity both count; to become an Airbnb Superhost, you must host at least ten trips in the last year, 80% of which must have 5-star reviews. Communicative, responsive, and accommodating hosts receive the best star ratings.
Pricing is a huge factor for guests when planning their travel accommodations. Price too high, and you may be filtered out in some searches. Price too low, and risk losing money. Vacation rental newbies should consider using the Airbnb suggested pricing as they build authority and trustworthiness. As you gain reviews, begin pricing more competitively. At MyVRHost, we do the legwork with our dynamic smart pricing software, but there are many pricing tools out there for independent hosts such as Vayoo, BeyondPricing, and Airbnb’s internal smart pricing features.
A byproduct to an attractive listing is a higher search ranking! Don’t underestimate the power of photography, as it is the first and most important impression for guests. Striking listings pull visitors in, and, if not booked right away, can be saved to Wishlists. Airbnb can help you book an experienced and reputable professional photographer for a one-hour session. If you are a MyVRHost client, we include this important service for free. If you choose to go the do-it-yourself route, check out our top vacation rental photography tips.
Keep your Word
Beware… hosts will be penalized for cancelled or refused listings. Not only is this frustrating for guests, it is also a red flag to Airbnb that a host is uncommitted. This goes back to the importance of keeping your calendar up-to-date and maintaining a high response rate (Superhosts have a response rate of 90% or higher!). Be transparent and honest with guests and booking calendars. To view your response rate, head to the “Stats” tab on your Airbnb account dashboard and then click on the “Standards” sub-menu.
Like Google and Facebook, Airbnb is constantly updating their search algorithm to be as relevant and effective as possible. After all, when you make money, they make money – so it is in everyone’s best interest to optimize search results and give the user the guaranteed best experience possible. While this can be overwhelming (or even intimidating) at first, a good rule-of-thumb is to simply pay attention. Log on regularly, keep your listing updated and fresh, research the competition, and don’t let a few extra minutes each day stand in the way of more bookings!