The number of booking inquiries that you receive for your Airbnb listing depends heavily on the number of users that find your listing in the Airbnb search results.
Just like on Google, if you’re not on the first page, you’re unlikely to be found. Therefore, the best thing you can do to increase your bookings is to get your listing on the first page for relevant searches.
To understand how you can achieve this, you need to understand how Airbnb determines these search results. Airbnb aims to show users the listings that they are most likely to book, as that’s how they make money. In addition, they promote hosts who take good care of their guests. Let’s look at this in more detail.
Airbnb uses a search algorithm that calculates a unique ranking for each search that is performed on Airbnb. They take many factors into account. Some of these are based on the guests’ personal preferences.
Others are based on your listing and your behavior as a host and these are 100% within your control.
Airbnb has published some of the factors that they use to determine the search results.
Booking appeal: Airbnb recommends that you “make the title and description attractive and informative” and “explain what makes your space unique.”
Price: The more competitively priced your listing, the more likely guests will be to book your home. This results in greater revenue for Airbnb.
Number of reviews: Positive reviews greatly increase the chance that your place gets booked. This is essential when you start out, having a few positive reviews versus none is a big deal!
Trust and Verification: Add as many verifications as you can.
Photos: These play a major role in getting your place booked, make an appointment with the Airbnb photographer is you haven’t yet.
Responsiveness: Respond to every single message and aim to respond within one hour. I know you have to sleep sometime, you can use a service like Guesty to ensure all messages get responded to within minutes.
Updated calendar: From the guests perspective, making an inquiry just to find out that the place is unavailable even though it showed up as available is terrible. Always make sure your calendar is updated by visiting your calendar on a daily base.
Acceptance rate: You are free to decline certain booking requests, but don’t be too strict as this will hurt your search ranking. Give some guests the benefit of the doubt, 99% of the time it will turn out well.
Cancellation: Never cancel a reservation, this causes great inconvenience to your guests and Airbnb doesn’t take cancelation lightly.
Instant Book: Listings that can be booked without first making an inquiry get booked more often and are therefore favored by Airbnb.
Social connections: Connect your Facebook account, Airbnb will show the user if you have friend in common.
In addition to these factors, you should also do anything that improves your listings’ appeal or your guests’ experience. It makes sense that Airbnb looks at these factors as well, although this is not confirmed.
Number of Bookings: A booking is always better than no booking.
Referrals: You can request friends and family to write you a referral. This is specifically important if you have no or little reviews.
Log in frequently: There is no harm in showing Airbnb that you’re an active host.
Write responses to your reviews: This shows that you care about your guests and only takes a few minutes.
Here’s what I’d like you to do. Follow these three steps to improve your search rank.
1) Do a search on Airbnb for your type of listing
Specify type (entire house, private room or shared space) and size (1-bdr, 2-bdr etc). Don’t fill in any dates to make sure all relevant listings show up.
First search for your neighborhood and note your listing’s position (i.e. page 2, no. 8). Now do another search for your entire city and note the position.
2) Make adjustments to your listing according to the factors mentioned above
3) Repeat step 1) once a week for the next few months
If you implement the suggestions in the article you should see your listing’s position in the search results improve within a few week.
Here's a fun video I created that summarizes this article.