The ability to push whatever it is you’re selling to the top of a Google search is a priority if you are a marketing pro. Similarly for Airbnb hosts that want to get their listings to be at the top of an Airbnb property search the “if you build it, they will come” approach will only go so far. Really, this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise… with over 1,000,000 listings worldwide, all hosts have some serious competition when it comes to maximising the number of bookings they get, and if you don’t put some time in, then, unfortunately, the bookings probably won’t materialise as often as you’d like. Fortunately though, just like SEO on Google, there are things that hosts can do to better optimise their listings and appear at the top more often. “Airbnb SEO” is being used more and more by hosts all over the world, and the benefits they’re seeing are huge... so, we’ve put together an easy to follow guide that's jam-packed with wonderful tips to boost your bookings!
Keeping your calendar up to date is an obvious thing to do when you’re a host - naturally, you want to show your availability so guests can make bookings. What most hosts don’t know, however, is that inputting a large number of accurate dates at a time that doesn’t require the calendar to be updated for a month or two actually has a negative effect on the searchability of the listing. The algorithm that sits behind Airbnb and determines which listings are shown, (we’ll be referencing this quite a lot in this blog!), tags hosts that regularly update their calendars as both active and responsive, and hosts with these tags are rewarded with priority slots when there is a relevant search. Hosts that update their calendar regularly often see up to a 70% increase in bookings, and while it can be a little more time consuming to do it this way, it’s definitely worth the extra effort.
Figuring out what to set your price per night at is one of the very first hurdles you face when you decide to Airbnb your place. You don’t want to set it too high that you don’t get any bookings, but you also don’t want to set it so low that you attract the wrong kind of people or barely make any money when you factor in your time spent cleaning/preparing the space. When you first sign up to the service, Airbnb will suggest a price that it thinks it’s right for you based on your specific accommodation, amenities and the general location. While this is fine, it is best practice to see for yourself what similar properties are charging in your area. Beginners are encouraged to undercut their competitors on price until they have they’ve built up an established enough profile to come in line with everyone else.
While we as insurers don’t cover some incidents that happen during a one night only booking, we can’t deny the fact that stating you don’t have a minimum stay duration does wonders for your Airbnb listing. Airbnb’s magic algorithm will boost the listings that appear to be more flexible with their bookings, and the more permutations that your listing satisfies, the more your bookings will appear in the results.
Like the way Google ads picks up keywords in searching, you should make sure your listing's title is relevant, fresh and clean. Have a think about what might be important to your ideal guests and include these potential search terms in your listing text. Some guests may be looking for a place to stay that's close to a specific attraction or venue in your area, so it’s worth having a think about any landmarks, tourist attractions, and local events that you can include as search terms. Naturally, the more keywords in a listing that match with a search, the higher they will appear in the results.
Not only do well-photographed listings organically do better on Airbnb, but Airbnb themselves also offer a free (yes, free!) professional photography service in select cities that match certain criteria. So, if you think your listing could do with a new lease of life, why not see if you’re eligible for the freebie? If you are, absolutely do it! If not, there is still the option to pay for the service in almost all locations around the world and honestly, if you are hoping to be renting the property on a regular basis, you should probably just do it! (One of the key factors in Airbnb taking off as a business was when they sent professional photographers out to photograph properties resulting in bookings going up dramatically, so they do place a huge emphasis on photography), Not only does the flashy Airbnb watermark optimise your listing’s SEO, but you could earn up to 40% more from your listings organically. And, similarly to updating your calendar regularly, updating photography also boosts your listing. So take time to change the main picture, add new pictures or alter the order of the photos.
While having ‘instant book’ active on your listing is not the most popular feature amongst hosts, and for good reason, once again we cannot deny the fact that having it active does wonders for the Airbnb algorithm. This is another huge flexibility factor that the algorithm will look for when a search has been carried out, and having it active will bump you closer to the top in no time. The likelihood is that having this function active will expose your property to a whole new market within the platform, for example, travellers with strict planning timeframes that have their search results limited to instant book listings only. The risk of getting a booking you ordinarily wouldn't approve of does, of course, go up, but as long as you’ve got the correct insurance in place (which you can get from us! Check out HOSTCOVER!), anything that goes wrong and is against your house rules and regulations will be covered.
It’s no secret that reviews, (especially positive ones), are the easiest way to organically boost your profile through the Airbnb ranks, and while the curation of these reviews is out of your hands to some extent, there are a few things you can do to give your guest a nudge to get one done. The big one is, of course, to leave your guest a review promptly after their stay ends and request that they return the favour. Or you could try sending a nice farewell message direct to the guest through the Airbnb messaging system, with a polite request that they review you when the request comes through. Great reviews are the backbone of a best-selling listing and the frame of trust that comes along with a healthy reservoir of reviews can all but guarantee a higher ranking in searches which will lead to more bookings.
A complete Airbnb listing profile is an easy and massively beneficial way to boost your listings ranks. The amount a host’s profile is filled out is a massive factor for the SEO algorithm - the more information you have provided, the more seriously Airbnb will take you and the higher the likelihood of showing your property at the top of searches on the platform. The same goes for your property listing - Airbnb relatively regularly updates the information requested on a property, (or adds sections you have the option to populate). So, while it seems a little time consuming initially, make sure you complete each and every section of your personal profile and property listing in as much detail as possible, which shows Airbnb that yes, you are worthy and responsible enough to host guests!
I’d imagine the feeling you get when you reach Superhost status is similar to that of getting the dream job you’ve always wanted and worked mega hard for. Not everybody gets there, but those that put the work in are heavily rewarded when they do finally make it! Our top hog and co-founder, Humphrey Bowles, has enjoyed the benefits of being a Superhost for the last 3 years, so we certainly know a thing or two about what it takes to get there! This official Airbnb pat on the back is awarded to hosts that: host at least 10 times within a year, have at least 80% 5-star reviews, maintain at least a 90% response rate and don’t cancel confirmed reservations unless there are extenuating circumstances. You have to hit all 4 of these points to be awarded this golden ticket to cheaper listings, (yes - Superhosts pay less commission to Airbnb), so naturally, when you do, it boosts you through the ranks in a big way. A word of warning though, this status is revoked a lot easier than it’s given, so once you have it, you have to work to keep it… ex Superhosts are not a thing!
So there we have it, the definitive guide to boosting your Airbnb listing to infinity and beyond! You’re probably thinking, well, damn, I just wanted to make a couple of extra quid on the side and this seems like a lot of work to be able to do that! And, you’re not wrong. Running a truly successful Airbnb can be very demanding if you plan to do everything yourself. Between managing these SEO tips to stay at the top of searches and actually maintaining (cleaning, stocking etc) a property that frequently has guests in, you might end up spending more time on this little side venture than you would on your day job. Luckily though, there are plenty of property management software solutions on the market that can automate a lot of the processes for you, and partner companies that will do the cleaning, welcoming etc. etc.), so if you’re serious about becoming a super Superhost, it might be worth you investigating these.