With literally millions of vacation rental listings online, lots of hosts wonder how they can improve their search ranking on Airbnb. While it’s not an exact science, there are a few things you can do that could make a positive difference.
It’s important to remember that any changes you make won’t affect your listing ranking overnight. That said, to determine how well your changes are working, it’s important to sit on them for at least a month to determine their effect.
Here are 3 beginner tips to improve your search ranking on Airbnb and other short-term vacation rental sites.
1. Invest in good photos.
We’ve said it over and over (and you’ve heard it over and over from other short-term rental sources): PHOTOS WILL MAKE OR BREAK YOUR AIRBNB LISTING. Guests are more likely to click on listings that have great, professional-looking photos than ones that look like they were simply taken by the host on their phone. The algorithm on Airbnb will learn which listings tend to get the most action and push these to the top of search results over time.
Guests are looking for stellar photos that sell them a dream stay or vacation. Think about it in terms of how hotels market their properties. Hotels are really, really good at selling the appearance of their rooms and common areas because they have professional photos taken from the very best angles.
The point here is not to over-sell what you have, but to be sure you can truly highlight all your best features. Be sure to choose a great lead photo, too, to entice guests to click on your listing when they’re searching through properties.
2. Respond to guest questions ASAP.
The faster you can respond to guests, the better. In fact, you should stay in contact with guests well before their stay up until the time they leave.
Airbnb tracks how quickly hosts reply to guest questions and booking requests. They keep tabs on how often a host replies in 24 hours or less – this is considered a good reply timeline. (Of course, the sooner you can reply, the better.)
Ideally, implement the instant book option for guests so you don’t have to worry about checking booking requests quickly enough (or turning them down which can also be detrimental to your ranking over time). Airbnb’s “What factors determine how my listing appears in search results?” help page explicitly mentions that allowing instant bookings can positively affect your search ranking.
Anytime you delay and wait for more than 24 hours to reply to guest correspondence or requests, imagine a negative “ding” on your Airbnb record. Over time, a build-up of “late” correspondence replies will negatively affect your ranking in search results.
3. Keep it super-clean.
This goes without saying, but guests expect a clean home. And we mean 5-star hotel-quality clean.
In the era of COVID, maintaining a clean home is more important than ever. Whether you’re rolling your sleeves up and doing it yourself or partnering with a company like MaidThis, it’s vital that you implement and maintain a coronavirus cleaning process.
Before the pandemic, guests simply expected a home to be squeaky clean and as good as what they saw in photos on the vacation rental listing. Now, they want to be sure they can’t possibly become ill from a previous guest or cleaner that may have been asymptomatic.
How do you accomplish demonstrating your cleaning systems in your listing? Harvest as many positive reviews as possible and ask your guests to specifically mention how they felt about cleanliness and safety. You can also download a free cleaning graphic from the MaidThis COVID Resource Center to add to your photo lineup.
Learning the ins and outs of the Airbnb algorithm is tough for all hosts, even those who are well seasoned. To maximize your occupancy potential, re-evaluate your listing a few times every year and make changes based on hints from Airbnb.