One strategy that growth-minded vacation rental property managers often invest in is SEO. While SEO is vital to generate more direct bookings, how does a manager drive more channel bookings? How do you rank higher on individual channels like Airbnb?
While both are important, what will boost your listings in Google’s search ranking does not completely align with what will increase your ranking in Airbnb.
Luckily, Airbnb is more transparent than Google when it comes to understanding what will push your listings up the channel’s search results. To get started, first you need to understand how the Airbnb ranking algorithm works.
How do you appear higher in Airbnb’s search ranking results?
In recent years, Airbnb has released information about what it takes for your listings to rise the search ranks. When someone conducts an Airbnb search there are more than one hundred factors that Airbnb considers when deciding which listings to show first.
While this may seem overwhelming, their advice is simple: “If you think guests might care about it, it probably factors into your ranking.” Although this may seem obvious, their reasoning makes sense. Guests are most likely to submit a booking request to a property that best matches their criteria. Even though Airbnb keeps its algorithm top secret, we do know that they weigh three basic categories:
1. Guest needs. The Airbnb ranking algorithm looks at things like properties that have been added to the guest’s wish list, where they are searching from, and what trips they’ve taken in the past.
2. Property listing details. To match that guest with the best listing, Airbnb’s ranking algorithm also considers details like; how many five-star reviews a listing has, where it’s located, if the host responds quickly to requests, and if Instant Book is turned on.
3. Trip details. Airbnb also considers how many guests are traveling, the price range, the dates, and other trip details.
If you’re curious, you can find more specifics about each of the categories here.
While the entire Airbnb ranking algorithm is a secret, there are some things you can do to improve your search ranking position. We’re going to go over eight of them.
Eight ways to optimize your Airbnb listings
1. Complete your listings as fully as you can. Knowing that Airbnb is scanning property listings to deliver the strongest matches to the searcher, make sure your listings are complete. Think about it from a guest’s perspective and provide all of the details they may want to know in their search so that Airbnb will see your property as a match.
2. Respond quickly to requests. One factor that Airbnb considers when determining where to rank your property listings is your response rate. Be sure you’re answering requests as fast as possible. This is something MyVR’s channel manager feature can help you with.
3. Work for rave reviews. If you’re doing everything you can to improve your guests’ overall experience so that you’re getting five-star guest reviews across the board, you’re already on your way to improving your Airbnb search ranking! Always strive for positive reviews, and try to get all of your guests to leave a review after staying with you.
4. Get yourself added to wish lists. Finding a way to get added to guests’ wish lists will help your Airbnb search ranking. A good place to start is investing in Facebook, Instagram and other social platforms to attract users and create a following for your properties. Because most users might not be ready to book a stay after ‘liking’ a few social posts, creating a call-to-action to add your listing to their Airbnb wish list can be a viable alternative.
5. Check your pricing. Airbnb evaluates whether your prices are competitive with other listings in your area, so look at competing properties and make sure you’re priced competitively.
6. Keep your calendar updated. Do your very best to ensure your Airbnb listing calendar is up to date. The last thing you want is to deal with a double-booking situation. Airbnb looks at your calendar when it decides to deliver your listing in a property search.
7. Get yourself Airbnb verified. Let Airbnb know you’re trustworthy by taking the steps needed to become a verified host. When you’re signed in to the Airbnb dashboard, look for the Trust and Verification menu option under the Profile tab.
8. Turn on Instant Bookings. Simply allowing guests to choose Instant Booking can help your listings appear higher in Airbnb search results because it positively affects your response rating.
To maximize bookings, it is important to optimize not only for your personal channel, but for each listing site as well. For many short-term rental property managers, Airbnb is a large player in their channel management strategy.