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In this episode of “Get Paid For Your Pad,” I had the opportunity to delve into a fascinating conversation with Kelvin Mah from Rankbreeze. We discussed a range of critical topics related to Airbnb listings and how they impact your ranking on the platform.
First off, we talked about the importance of having high-quality photos for your Airbnb listing. According to Kelvin's research, it's advisable to aim for at least 31 appealing photos in your listing. Properties with 30 to 60 photos tend to rank higher, and this could be due to the visual appeal and the opportunities for showcasing the property and its surroundings.
Next, we explored whether it's better to have a strict or flexible cancellation policy. Surprisingly, Kelvin's data revealed that having a strict cancellation policy doesn't necessarily hinder your ranking. In fact, many top-ranking properties had such policies. It's important to remember that correlation doesn't always imply causation, so there might be other factors at play.
We also discussed optimal check-in and check-out times for Airbnb listings. While 3 or 4 pm check-ins and 10 or 11 am check-outs are common, top-ranking properties often had later check-in times (4 pm) and earlier check-out times (10 am). This provides some leverage for hosts to offer early check-ins as a bonus to guests.
One of the most surprising findings was related to allowing pets in your Airbnb listing. Contrary to what you might expect, properties that didn't allow pets tended to rank higher, especially on the top pages. This might be due to cleanliness concerns associated with pet-friendly properties.
Throughout the conversation, we emphasized the importance of interpreting the data critically. While data is valuable, it's crucial to consider various factors and not jump to conclusions. Correlation doesn't always equal causation, and many elements can affect your Airbnb ranking.
Overall, this episode provided valuable insights into Airbnb listing strategies and how they can impact your property's visibility and ranking. It's always essential to stay informed and adapt your approach to maximize your success as an Airbnb host.
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Read The Script Here
Jasper Ribbers (00:01.098)
Welcome back to Get Paid for Your Pad. Today my guest is Mr. Kelvin Ma, the founder of RankBreeze. He's been on the podcast a couple of times, always very interesting to talk to him. He is the Airbnb SEO expert, at least that's kind of how I see you, Kelvin. I don't know if that's accurate, but yeah, welcome to the show, man. Good to see you.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (00:24.742)
Yeah, that sounds… I hope that's accurate, yes.
Jasper Ribbers (00:29.447)
Awesome, man. Well, I'm excited to have you back on the podcast. Kelvin did a very interesting study and I'll let you share the details, but essentially you analyzed a staggering 1.49 million Airbnb pages to get our insights on these listings and specifically the rankings.
like over 29,000 properties just to get an idea of like, what kind of ranking factors are important, what's changed. So I'm super excited to dive into the takeaways. But before we dive into the report, Kelvin, has anything changed in the last year or so when it comes to like Airbnb visibility? I know Airbnb introduced the categories, which was kind of a big change. What was that about a year ago or so? Have you seen any major changes recently?
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (01:23.002)
Probably the biggest change that we've seen is just that in the past, we've seen properties tend to stick around for a longer period of time on those first pages. I guess maybe just for some clarification, in the world of RankBreeze, RankBreeze we're a software company, we track Airbnb rankings. We also do dynamic pricing and market data. But just from a rankings perspective,
We view rankings, a good set of rankings to be page five. So if you're on page one, two, three, four, five, that's considered good in our eyes. And what we've noticed is that in the past year, you just, it's just a little bit more difficult to stay on those first five pages more consistently. Before you could rank high and you could, it was very dependable in terms of
how long you might stick around there for, but it looks like that is not as much of the case. And I think there's a couple of different factors for that, but ultimately that's one thing we've noticed is that the one rule around ranking higher and sticking around for longer is not as long. And I think that also has to do with supply rotating around too.
Jasper Ribbers (02:45.206)
Right. So do you think Airbnb is going to change the algorithm, or do you think they're just swapping properties around more to kind of test out what's going to convert well?
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (02:56.282)
Well, Airbnb is changing their algorithm all the time, really. Every month, they're making adjustments. Maybe if you consider Google, Google makes, I think, like 200 changes. It's been a while since I saw the stat on that, but it's like 200 changes a day, which is a lot. Airbnb is not as sophisticated as Google, and it shouldn't be either. You're just kind of ordering.
Jasper Ribbers (03:02.201)
Jasper Ribbers (03:24.063)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (03:25.118)
You're just ordering properties on a page there. But yeah, Airbnb is making changes. What we've seen is typically every two weeks, there's a little bit of a change that's added there, which sometimes can result in some rankings moving up and down dramatically. But it does tend to smooth itself out, though, as well.
Jasper Ribbers (03:51.702)
Got it. All right, well, let's dive into the Airbnb rankings report. As I mentioned, you've analyzed a million and a half pages to 29,000 unique properties. So I'm excited to hear the takeaways.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (04:07.162)
Yeah, I can share my screen as well with you. And so we can kind of go over it from that perspective, but for the audio folks that are listening, and I'm guessing it's mostly audio, we'll be really cognizant of the fact that when we're looking at charts, we'll try to describe it as well as possible, but also try to make it simple too.
Jasper Ribbers (04:32.871)
Yeah, let's do that.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (04:33.638)
A little bit of recap of what the study is. It's, yeah, we, again, we analyzed 1.49 million Airbnb pages. So you can really think of those as searches ultimately too. So 1.49 searches, 49 million searches and 29, a little over 29,000 properties, unique properties. And these properties were found across three different cities. Those cities are Gatlinburg, Nashville and Scottsdale.
If you're familiar with those cities, those cities are pretty competitive, I would say. Scottsdale has seen a lot of growth in the last year, so that's led to more competition. Gatlinburg, I would say, is almost always being competitive, but that's actually a really good thing when it comes down to looking at this study, because to me, it really doesn't get more competitive than in places like Gatlinburg.
where when you're visiting and looking through those properties there, you know, they're really, really decked out. And you got to be pretty bold to step into that market and know what you're doing and really do purpose-built properties. In Nashville and Scottsdale, maybe not quite the same. You know, you don't really have to do purpose-built short-term rentals in those areas. But really, those are the three cities that we decided to analyze. And probably the most important thing…
is that when you're, well, I guess if you want to download the report, which I'm assuming you do, you can go to rankbreeze.com forward slash Airbnb dash rankings with an S dash study. So that's rankbreeze.com forward slash Airbnb dash rankings dash study. You can probably just Google that as well and the page will pop up. But when you go in, when you actually look at the study here, what we've done is we've
the search pages into different categories. So as I, if you remember, we talked about earlier was what we see being on page five is good. You know, you don't always have to be on page one. It's great to be on page one, but being within those top five pages is great. So how we've divided our categories is we've divided the pages into the top pages, which is page one to three.
Jasper Ribbers (06:48.44)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (06:55.386)
And then we consider the middle pages to be four to six. And then the bottom pages are between seven and 15 pages. Typically, you can do a max of 15 pages on there.
Jasper Ribbers (07:07.218)
Right. I just want to point out one thing. You know, like the page that you're on is also dependent on the amount of guests that people are searching for. Right. So like, if you have, let's say you have a home with like three bedrooms, you can host up to six guests, you know, you might be on a different page for two guests versus four guests versus six guests. Correct. Uh, and also, and what's important to note as well is that it depends on the dates. Of course, as well. So some people think that.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (07:30.022)
Jasper Ribbers (07:37.27)
Page one means you're always on page one, but it really depends on the search parameters, right? So you might see your listing on page two for certain parameters and for other parameters, like you might say you don't page three. But I guess, you wanna be on average for, you kind of wanna be in that one to five, page one to five for the majority of the searches, I guess.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (07:57.35)
Yeah, that's correct. And I guess maybe another fun fact is that we've seen properties tend to perform their best in terms of their highest rankings consistently for whatever date ranges are out there in your calendar. So if you have the next four weekends available, on average we've seen is that the better performing guest count happens to be typically two under
two under your max guests count. So for example, if you have a property that holds 10 guests, you probably perform the best at eight guests. For some reason, that's just how Airbnb seems to like to organize things. So, you know, if you're, you know, you can kind of reverse engineer that a little bit and consider that as your, as your, as what you can add into your max listings if you wanna surgically.
perform better on specific guest counts.
Jasper Ribbers (08:58.53)
Hmm, let's see, I didn't know that.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (09:00.986)
Yeah, yeah, I'm full of these fun facts. Yeah, so in this report, it's fun to think of all these numbers and stuff like that. But what we did was we just organized the data into ways to answer specific questions like, should you have Instant Book on? What does the data say? How impactful is?
Jasper Ribbers (09:04.638)
Well, that's why I invite you.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (09:31.538)
is a super host, is getting super host or becoming a super host, does that truly boost your rankings and like how much of an impact does that make for you? Because Airbnb tells you that it makes an impact, but you know, you can't always believe what Airbnb says there. And so we just wanted to look at the data as far as if that's a trustworthy thing that they're saying there. Other things such as how long the listing description is and what star ratings
you should have that if you were to fall below it, that you should be concerned about. So we can dive into those things. We've got a whole bunch of different questions to go through. Maybe I'll start to share my screen then. Is that okay, Jasper? Okay. I love it.
Jasper Ribbers (10:18.502)
Yeah, just for you. Just because it's you. No one else allowed that.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (10:29.982)
Okay, let's see here.
Jasper Ribbers (10:33.11)
Boom, there we go. So if you're watching this, if you're watching this on YouTube, then you know you can see Calvin's fancy report and you can kind of read through it as we go. So walk us through Calvin, the biggest takeaways.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (10:34.218)
Okay, okay, so go.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (10:45.306)
Yeah, perfect. All right. Okay, so if you can, you can see the report, right? Yeah, I think you should be able to, great.
Jasper Ribbers (10:53.154)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (10:59.314)
So the first question is, should you have Instant Book turned on and will it hurt your rankings if you have it turned off? Because some people don't really enjoy having Instant Book turned on and from what we've seen, again, we've categorized the pages into top pages, which is the first three pages and then the middle pages.
is page 3 to 6. 3 to 6 there. So really, I guess you can think of the top and the middle as the top six pages there. And what we've seen is that Instant Book tends to occupy a higher proportion of the properties on the first six pages. And beyond those first six pages, we've seen that Instant Book.
is not favorable for you. So if you're essentially questioning whether or not you should have instant book turned on, it's pretty much a resounding you should have it turned on. It's categorically going to be impactful for you and most properties have it on at this point.
Jasper Ribbers (12:07.508)
Jasper Ribbers (12:13.478)
Yeah, yeah, I think most people are aware of that, right? Most hosts are aware of that. I think that Instabuct is important to turn it on for visibility.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (12:24.03)
Yeah, yeah, we saw about, you know, 93 to 95% of the properties on all the pages tend to have this on. But I guess you know, you do have to remember to a good that it's not completely all instant books. So it is possible for you to rank, rank higher with instant book turned on or sorry, turned off. But you know, you're kind of just working against yourself, which is
which is running short-term rentals is hard enough, so you don't really wanna do that to yourself at all. Actually, maybe another interesting thing is that we also looked and considered what do properties without Instant Book have? And properties that don't have Instant Book turned on, we noticed have a similar number of reviews, but they also had slightly better rankings though. And…
Jasper Ribbers (12:54.237)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (13:19.858)
Also a fewer number of photos on average. So those properties that had Instant Book turned off, we noticed had slightly better ratings, sorry, star ratings, and a fewer number of photos.
Jasper Ribbers (13:32.106)
I was going to say.
Jasper Ribbers (13:36.518)
Okay, so just to be clear, the rankings are better if we have instant book turned on, but the people that don't have instant book turned on, on average have higher ratings. That's what you're saying, right? So.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (13:49.43)
Yes, those ones who had instant book turn on that we found that were visible on those first pages. Yes.
Jasper Ribbers (13:55.794)
Right. Yeah. So it's almost like maybe, maybe it's a, if you turn instant book off, maybe you need to compensate with higher ratings and more reviews to be able to be able, to be able to show up on the first pages.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (14:10.854)
Yeah, yeah, you could certainly look at it like that, yeah.
Jasper Ribbers (14:14.782)
Awesome dude. Well, let's go to the next one.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (14:17.49)
Nice. So does being an Airbnb super host really help my rankings? And out of the 1.49 million searches that we saw, we noticed that the super hosts always, always dominated the first page by about 77% of the properties on the first page were consistently
super hosts and you know out of 1.49 million searches it's a lot that's a lot of searches there so statistically significant is uh is true here for most of the data that we're looking at sorry not all the data really like just given how many searches that we that we ran here um an interesting thing though if you if you're looking at the chart here you can see the first page was 77 uh but then it's for the second and third pages that actually dips down to 60
Jasper Ribbers (14:50.136)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (15:14.278)
69% I think it is, 69% and 67% for page two and three. But then it bumps back up for the amount of Superhost back up to 70% for page four. And then it just slowly dips down after that.
Jasper Ribbers (15:32.371)
Mm-hmm. And you know, they recently changed the criteria to become a Superhost, right? It used to be the case that if you had one cancellation in the last 12 months, you would lose your status, uh, versus now you need to get to less than 1%, which I thought was a very good, uh, good change to make because, you know, just, I mean, something could always happen, you know, like if you won cancellation, you immediately lose your Superhost status. I always felt like that was a little, uh, little cruel.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (15:59.678)
harsh. Yeah, for sure. It's okay to use that. Yeah, I mean, it was harsh because
Jasper Ribbers (16:00.877)
Yeah, a little harsh.
Jasper Ribbers (16:05.806)
It's like you make one mistake and you're out.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (16:09.77)
Right, exactly. It doesn't mean that you're not a great host and you shouldn't have that extra boost in visibility because of the fact that you had one cancellation for some particular reason that could completely be out of your control. I mean, you could do your best to find that person another place to stay as well, and you're still going to get penalized for that. So yeah, that's a great change. It probably works in line with just the
the way that Airbnb has evolved to cater to property managers because it is a little bit more difficult for a larger property manager to maintain super host status. Although it's definitely possible. There are super hosts who manage tons of properties. It is possible to achieve that, but the reality is that it's harder.
Jasper Ribbers (17:03.058)
Alrighty, so definitely become a super house. Is the conclusion.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (17:07.17)
Yeah, do all those things that they're saying. Yeah, it's proven. We've now looked at 1.49 million properties, for 1.49 million searches. And that's been verified here. Overwhelmingly on the first page, it's always true. And then, don't know why, but it does dip on the second and third pages, which is a little odd, but it is what it is. And we're not gonna argue with the data at this point.
Jasper Ribbers (17:26.849)
Jasper Ribbers (17:33.632)
Data doesn't lie.
Jasper Ribbers (17:37.81)
Alright, this is interesting. Airbnb listing description. How long should it be?
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (17:38.065)
Yeah, yeah. How long should your Airbnb listing description be? So what we found is that longer descriptions tend to do better. And the average words for listings that appeared on the first page came out to 660 words. We measured everything in characters, but just for simplicity's sake, 666 words.
were 660 words was the average that we noticed on the first page there. Longer descriptions tended to do better. If you can see our chart here, on page one, it's just a little bit higher than page two, and it goes down a little bit further and further and further down as we reach down to the last pages there. So.
Jasper Ribbers (18:39.11)
Okay, so longer is better.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (18:39.538)
having a longer listening script. Yeah, longer description is better, but that probably doesn't exactly mean that you should have a listening description that's lengthier just for the sake of length though as well.
Jasper Ribbers (18:54.57)
Yeah. And also we all know that no one reads that description, but you know, it just, it will help your visibility. But I would say like, make sure that at the top of your description, just have the most important, uh, selling points in bullet point format or easy to read. Cause people don't read, if you have like more than three lines, like people don't read it anymore. That's too much. You know, the attention span for reading has gone down so much. Um.
So I would say like, make sure the top is like very easy to read and the most important stuff there. And then below you can kind of, you know, add more detailed context to everything. And that way you can get to the higher character count.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (19:35.23)
I think that's the summary. There's a 500 character limit box at the very top there. I think, you know, I actually might push back a little bit with what you're saying. I do agree that I guess in some ways… You're out! A band. So, the… 100% agree the fact that most people don't read.
Jasper Ribbers (19:51.274)
No, you can't do that. It's my podcast.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (20:06.614)
It happens all the time, right? Somebody stays at your property and they ask you questions that are just clearly written in the listing description there. However, I think that it's important also to acknowledge that everybody's different too. Not, the pictures are of course very important for everyone. Pictures are important for everyone, but to put…
to put the description completely away and to say that it's not important is not true though just because there's different types of people out there. Some people, it's just like people that book further ahead, right? There's people that book really far in advance and then there's people who book last minute and those are different types of people. I would imagine the people who book further ahead probably are big readers in a sense. They're going to read your listing description a little bit more thoroughly because they're maybe the research.
type of booker. But yeah, and maybe people that book last minute might. Of course, I don't wanna offend anybody, right? To say that if you book last minute, you don't read stuff. But yeah, it's just like, you know, when we ask, when we're hiring people at RankBreeze, we always ask people, have they booked an Airbnb before? And what were the decisions that they made to decide to book that property that they last did?
Jasper Ribbers (21:13.102)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (21:31.766)
And everyone tends to have different answers, and it certainly varies between men and women. So that's why I just wanted to put that little bit of a caveat there that even though most you we do experience those people who don't read the description, but I definitely read the description for sure when I look at when I book it a property, I want to make sure that I'm reading this thing top to bottom because I don't want to I don't want to make a mistake.
Jasper Ribbers (21:50.418)
Jasper Ribbers (21:54.831)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (21:59.382)
mistake with it. Especially I think even people, especially people with families, I bet you people with families tend to read descriptions a lot just because there's a lot of characteristics when you're booking a property and you've got a, you know, maybe a small infant there, you really need to make sure that there's things there.
Jasper Ribbers (22:09.236)
Jasper Ribbers (22:14.494)
Yeah, I guess we could say just don't count on all your guests reading the entire description.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (22:21.814)
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Everybody's yeah, exactly. Sometimes, you know, when you're when you're operating a business, the things that float up to the top are maybe some of those negative things. But the people that are the most relaxed to stay on your property that never bother you, you know, you never know if they read the description. And maybe they have maybe that's why they're so happy about it.
Jasper Ribbers (22:41.366)
All right, let's go to the next. So we've talked about Instant Book Superhost status. We talked about the length of your description. Now let's talk about star rating, review star rating.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (22:55.61)
Yes, your reviews, star rating, one thing that I think typically comes up is a question around
You know, my listing's been around for a long time. I've got, you know, I've maybe got a hundred reviews on a property, so you're pretty invested into this property, but as time goes on, perhaps the rating has fallen below a certain threshold. You're not sure what that threshold should be. From what we've seen, that threshold should be 4.85 stars if your property…
dips below 4.85 stars, you probably should be concerned. Of course, that's not really going to just… Your property is not going to just drop down to 4.85 right away. So it'll be a slow descent, I'm sure, to that moment in time. And 4.85 may not seem that bad, I guess, in the reality of things. But from the data that we saw on average…
4.89 stars is what it is typically on the first page there. And then 4.85 is when you're reaching the bottom pages. That's still how high the ratings are, at least in these areas that we looked at, which was again, Nashville, Gatlinburg, and Scottsdale.
Jasper Ribbers (24:27.706)
it. Okay. And have you noticed, by the way, by the way, have you noticed like I hear a lot of hosts are saying that it's become harder to get higher ratings. Is that I noticed on Airbnb now when you review, like they ask you so many different questions about how your stay was, you can add so much more detail now than before. And some people seem to believe that that's led to average scores going down.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (24:29.274)
Yeah, you can in this other chart too.
Jasper Ribbers (24:56.808)
Any thoughts on that?
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (25:02.278)
No, I don't know about that per se. I do know that when you are asked to leave a review as a guest, there are still the same questions that get asked. How clean was your stay and all that kind of stuff. Those items are still there, but now they do tend to do a little bit more quality assurance, I guess. Even asking things like, is…
of 50 inch TV in the property is one that I've noticed. So yeah, I feel like part of the reasons why they're doing that is to improve the quality of the property and just to make sure that it actually matches it. But no, I don't know if that's the case. It might be though.
Jasper Ribbers (25:33.416)
Yeah, exactly, yeah.
Jasper Ribbers (25:49.698)
So maybe I'm just thinking out loud here, thinking out loud here, but maybe imagine you stay in Airbnb, right? And you feel like the listing was completely accurate. And then you go to reviewing and then Airbnb asks like, hey, was there really a coffee machine of this particular brand? And then you're like, oh, well, I didn't really, let me check. Oh, actually, no. Hmm. Oh, okay. Let me give me, all right. I'll put a four star for accuracy. If they wouldn't have asked you, you might have didn't even noticed.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (26:18.386)
Oh yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. That could be the case there. You know, I think they're probably always changing these things. You know, each time I book a property, I do notice that the review flow does change, which is very interesting. And there's probably some sort of correlation to that. You know, they wouldn't ask these questions, I guess, if they didn't take it into account for how…
Jasper Ribbers (26:25.427)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (26:47.482)
for what type of quality and what the guest experience was for them. Um, yeah, so yeah, it could have, it's, it's totally possible, but I don't know.
Jasper Ribbers (26:58.958)
I thought you knew everything.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (27:01.654)
No. I don't. I don't know everything, but I try to give as much and research as much as we can for the community for sure.
Jasper Ribbers (27:05.206)
Jasper Ribbers (27:11.934)
All right, let's go to the next one. How many photos should I have?
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (27:16.57)
Yes, so out of the 1.49 million searches, we discovered that your listing should aim to have at least 31 high quality and appealing photos. Yeah, we just noticed that if you've got under 30 photos.
just don't have them, just don't have over under 30 photos, just do yourself a favor and have more photos is typically better from what we've seen. The top majority, the majority of top ranking properties we noticed had 30 to 60 photos. That might be a little bit skewed because of the fact that Gatlinburg was included in this study. Gatlinburg.
Jasper Ribbers (27:37.174)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (28:05.01)
just tends to have more photos there, because there's maybe more things to take pictures of in a way, because it's a cabin area, so you can take a lot more pictures of nature. There's more opportunities in that way, but we've seen the top ranking properties, though, typically have between 30 to 60 photos in place. And the more photos, the better, actually. So we noticed that on the first pages,
Again, we've got a little chart here listing between page one, all the way down to the last pages. And it's just decreasing. The number of average photos decreases slightly the further down you go. So the more photos, the better.
Jasper Ribbers (28:53.046)
Got it. Okay. Ferdy, that's quite a lot. I see a lot of listings that have like 15, 20 photos.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (29:03.221)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, that does seem like a lot, but that's what the data says. So that's kind of what we're going with right now.
Jasper Ribbers (29:11.214)
Well, yeah, we'll go with the data. All right, next one.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (29:17.682)
Yeah, so for those folks that are large property managers, the question that we asked was, should you keep all your listings on the same profile?
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (29:31.602)
from a pure business perspective, you might think of it like you're kind of spreading your eggs around, not having all your eggs in a single basket. So you might have all your properties on a single profile. And we wanted to try to understand, does that make sense? Should you spread around your profile or sorry, your, your listings on different profiles, if you're in the same city, if you're, if you're in different cities, um, Jasper, I think you mentioned this in
in the mastermind call with your group there, that you notice that big companies tend to spread their portfolios and have separate Airbnb profiles based on the city that they're in. And yeah, that's great. And that works in that perspective. And I would imagine it's probably just because it's easier for revenue managers to keep track of those things and maybe even accounting.
is perhaps a little bit easier in that perspective too. But from what we saw is that actually having a large number of listings did not hurt you from ranking higher on those first pages. So we kind of thought maybe there's a possibility where if you have a large number of properties, you might not rank as well just because.
Airbnb does like to highlight the fact that, you know, they're about hosts, not about property managers sometimes, right? So that's the thing we…
Jasper Ribbers (31:03.322)
Yeah, that's what they say, but then they really want to make more money, so then they're happy with the property manager.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (31:11.767)
Yeah, exactly. Well, you know, I think it's kind of one of those things too, where the majority of people are not property managers, right? Most people are not property managers on Airbnb. Most are operating on much smaller, maybe just one, two, three properties, right? So they are really speaking to the majority of their hosts there, but are they really discounting?
people that have large numbers of properties. No, so we haven't seen that. And also what we've noticed too is that, what we would suggest is that if you do want to de-risk your business a little bit, we would suggest not to have more than 60 listings in your profile, just because we've kind of noticed that in those top, middle and bottom rankings and pages, we've noticed that the majority of the top,
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (32:14.431)
The middle 50% of hosts typically had up to 60 properties on their profiles before splitting them.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (32:29.318)
Jasper Ribbers (32:30.022)
All right. Cancellation policy. That, that was a very interesting one. This is probably the most surprising takeaway that we're about to share.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (32:39.074)
Yeah, strict cancellation policy. So does a strict cancellation policy keep my listing from ranking highly? And what we noticed is that, no, that is not the case. And if you're familiar with, I guess there's all sorts of different cancellation policies. So you probably don't know them all by heart. I'm not even sure if Airbnb knows them all by heart either, but strict cancellation policy, if my recollection serves me is, I believe you have 24 hours to…
to cancel. So as a guest, a guest can cancel within 24 hours of making their booking. And then I think it's between seven and 14 days. If they do cancel, you still keep the 50% of the booking there. So that's what a strict cancellation policy is. And from the data that we looked at in Gatlinburg, Nashville, and Scottsdale.
We saw that strict cancellation policies had no problem ranking well in those places, and not only ranking well, but also being almost the majority. Fifty percent at least was what we noticed in those places.
Jasper Ribbers (33:55.882)
Yeah, I thought that was pretty interesting. By the way, it's 48 hours. You can cancel within 48 hours. And it has to be at least 14 days before check-in. Then you get a full refund. But yeah, I thought this was surprising as well, because I remember that Airbnb was pushing that flexible cancellation policy pretty hard. That's a while ago, though. So yeah, maybe they've kind of.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (34:01.586)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (34:18.737)
Jasper Ribbers (34:22.446)
come back from that idea that everyone has to have a flexible policy.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (34:29.898)
Mm-hmm. I mean, that actually steps in line, probably, with our next question. Here is, do listings with flexible cancellation policies rank higher? From the data that we looked at, the distribution, at least, was that most people don't have a flexible cancellation policy. Yeah, most people do not have a flexible cancellation policy. And I'm sure, Jasper, you're probably looking at it right now, but flexible cancellation policy is just
If you cancel within, is it the same day that you cancel, you still get your money back as a guest?
Jasper Ribbers (35:04.002)
Yeah, you have to cancel 24 hours before check-in for a full refund. So that's pretty crazy if you think about it, right?
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (35:13.67)
It is, but I do actually, I do think that, you know, maybe on the flip side of things, I think most hotels actually have a flexible cancellation policy though, right? Like you can cancel 24 hours ahead. And depending on where you book, you know, you'll have these kind of these, another cancellation policy, which might be, you know, seven days, you'll be able to.
Jasper Ribbers (35:23.458)
Jasper Ribbers (35:41.686)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (35:43.34)
If you cancel within seven days, or after seven days, you don't get…
Jasper Ribbers (35:46.354)
Yeah, I know hotels, but I feel like for a hotel, it makes a little bit more sense because it's a bit more competitive. Like, your short term hotels are more unique. And it's also like, let's say you have one listing and it's like a big weekend, you know, like somebody cancels. It has a bit more risk, I feel like, especially for smaller hosts. But yeah, I do think that…
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (36:06.862)
Oh yeah, it'd be pretty cool to have, I was gonna say it'd be pretty interesting if one day you had different types of flex cancellation policies based on a specific day or almost like seasonal, you can have seasonal changes if you set it up correctly and things like that. And you have, yeah, you can do that, right? But having it on a per day basis and having specific reservation and calendar intervals.
with specific cancellation policies, that would be really interesting.
Jasper Ribbers (36:40.606)
Well, I mean, you can change your cancellation policy, but you can't say, for example, like, hey, July, August is my high season. I want a different cancellation policy for bookings in those two months versus the rest of the year. You can't do that, right? No.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (36:56.214)
No, no, you can't do you can't do that. You'd have to change it manually is what I mean. You could you could do it But you'd have to like you'd have to have a calendar date On everything to adjust it. Um, you can only have one cancellation policy for your for your listing for the entire time
Jasper Ribbers (37:00.315)
Jasper Ribbers (37:05.998)
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So you could say like, well, you know what, if I want to have a different cancellation policy for bookings in the summer, then you look at like, when do people book this? You know, when do people book and then you have to change it right before that period, I guess. But it's an interesting point, actually, because that would be interesting if we can actually have different cancellation policies for different times of the year. I think that would be a cool feature.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (37:31.418)
Yeah, email them. Yeah, actually, I guess we got a little bit derailed there without giving maybe the answer there. So we noticed the flexible cancellation policies typically appeared more on the bottom pages, which was after page six, we noticed more flexible cancellation policies performing better on the past page six. And up to page…
Jasper Ribbers (37:53.183)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (38:01.234)
tended to do better than a flexible cancellation policy. So that's very surprising.
Jasper Ribbers (38:07.734)
That's interesting, but I have a follow-up question for you here, because we're looking at correlation here. Correlation doesn't mean causation, right? So just because there's more strict cancellation policy listing showing up on page one doesn't necessarily mean that if you set it to strict, it actually helps your visibility, right? We also have to think of cofactors, right? For example, yeah, so just to give an example of that.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (38:33.059)
Jasper Ribbers (38:37.378)
is, you know, I think a lot of people when they're listing, when they don't have a lot of reviews yet and they're kind of starting out, they might put it at flexible just because they want to get people in the door. And then eventually as the listing has like more reviews, higher ratings, like all these other things that also contribute to a higher ranking, then they might switch it to like moderate or strict.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (39:02.11)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, that could be a strategy for sure. Yeah, you are right though around How does it go what's the same go it's
Jasper Ribbers (39:10.69)
Correlation doesn't mean causation. Because otherwise, I would.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (39:13.378)
Exactly, exactly. And you could you could kind of think about that from every question that we've looked at as well. It's not just this.
Jasper Ribbers (39:18.47)
Yeah, yeah, sure. Yeah, yeah, for sure. No, but it's interesting, because if the conclusion is like, oh yeah, Instant Book will help you rank higher, then I feel like that makes sense, right? Whereas this one kind of goes against my intuition. Like I wouldn't think that Airbnb is putting people with a strict cancellation policy, give them more visibility.
So that's why I'm skeptical about this one.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (39:51.307)
Well, I mean, most people don't have a flexible cancellation policy though as well. So you kind of have to think about it like that. The distribution of most properties just don't have, they don't use a flexible cancellation policy. So in some ways, if you want to think of it from that perspective, that most people don't have it, so Airbnb still needs to show you something.
Jasper Ribbers (39:56.17)
Yeah, that's true.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (40:14.366)
when you're when you're searching on pages and if most people don't have that policy, they're still going to show you up on they're still going to push you to be visible.
Jasper Ribbers (40:22.715)
Yeah. And I just want to do one fun example to illustrate the correlation versus causation. Because whoever is confused about that. You could, for example, correlate the presence of cacti and kangaroos. And then you put Australia, and you put some other countries that don't have cacti, like Germany or something, or Norway. And then you would say, oh.
Wow, Luke, you know, kangaroos and cacti are like very correlated. But surely the kangaroos and there because there is the there's cacti, right? Does this make sense?
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (41:01.538)
Yeah, I love that example actually. It's pretty fun. Yeah, that's a good one. For sure.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (41:12.338)
Shall we go on to optimal check-in times? I think most people may already know this one. But out of all the data that we looked at, the typical check-in time was 3 or 4 p.m. And then checkout times were 10 and 11 a.m. What we did notice though is that the top ranking properties tended to have later check-ins.
And then also earlier checkouts too. So for example, it was by that, I mean, the choice between 3pm and 4pm. So tended to be 4pm in those top ranking properties. And then checkout was, was 10am.
Jasper Ribbers (41:46.914)
Jasper Ribbers (42:01.302)
Got it. Yeah. I mean, those, those check-in check-out times are pretty similar across the board, right? Yeah. Pretty standard. Like pretty much everybody does three or four and then 10 or 11. And what I like about doing four and 10 is because then you have a little bit of room to give people an extra hour, which, which then it like kind of feels like you're giving them something, you know, giving them something, something extra. Like we tend to…
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (42:06.846)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (42:24.133)
Yeah, a little freebie. You're not supposed to be here, but I'll let you in.
Jasper Ribbers (42:37.88)
Yeah, exactly. But if you set it at 3 PM, and then somebody is like, well, can I do two? No, that's kind of squeezing the cleaning time. Squeezing into the cleaning time a little. But if you set it at four, it's easier to give them a 3 PM if you set it at four. So anyway, just a thought.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (42:53.266)
You're right. Yep. More leverage for sure. Absolutely. I guess, I think this is our last one. Yeah, so this is our last one here. Yeah, I know, I'm sad too. But we'll have more of these, so don't worry. Does allowing pets help my listing rank higher? So we looked at this from purely, from the focus of 1.49 million searches.
Jasper Ribbers (43:03.255)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (43:23.554)
that did not have the pets only filter turned on, of course. If you have pets only, you're gonna rank in the pets allowed only. But when we looked at it, we saw that properties that did not allow pets tended to rank higher on those top pages, quite aggressively more actually.
In the middle pages, it's pretty even. And then on the bottom pages, the properties that did allow pets tended to rank higher on those pages past six.
Jasper Ribbers (44:07.338)
You mean there's more listings that allow for pets on the bottom ranking pages? Yeah. Well, what's your thought about that? I'm going to have a controversial thought again here.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (44:14.17)
Yes, yeah, that was probably a clear way of saying that.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (44:25.546)
Uh, I think that typically it's harder to have a property from a cleanliness level with pets and therefore, you know, if you, if you don't have a clean property, especially pet hair, it can, it can just last and just go into the next guest that stays there. And uh, that could potentially.
impact your overall scores, which could of course again impact your overall rankings.
Jasper Ribbers (44:57.347)
Jasper Ribbers (45:00.594)
Right. Okay. Yeah, that could be.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (45:02.77)
Yeah, what do you think?
Jasper Ribbers (45:05.918)
Well, I mean, I feel like it might be a similar kind of similar rationale to when we're talking about the cancellation policy, um, where it's like the people that are kind of struggling with their, with their hosting business, struggling with getting bookings, they might just, you know, allow for pets and, and kind of hope that that's going to work. I'm sure it's not that you, I don't think it's going to be a huge ranking factor for Airbnb, but I don't think that if let's say you have a listing.
and you suddenly switch it from not allowing pets to allowing pets. I don't think Airbnb is going to penalize your ranking for that.
Does that make sense? I mean, if you suddenly, well, if you, so like, again, like with the correlation thing, it's like, okay, we're seeing that people that don't allow paths rank higher. Right, but if you have a listing and you allow paths and you suddenly don't allow it, it's not like you're going to be bumped up in the search results or the other way around. You know what I'm saying? I don't think it's a strong ranking factor for the algorithm. And if anything, I would think that Airbnb wants to show, you know, properties that
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (45:44.122)
If you turn it off, sorry, if you turn it off, is it?
Jasper Ribbers (46:13.654)
the allow that's but
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (46:15.994)
Yeah, I mean, just from, I mean, this might be a better chart than the one before, but you can see it just progressively gets higher. So the first few pages, it's at 20%. Sorry, page one, let's say, let's say page one, it's at 22% of the properties on the first page. And then let's just say page 10, for example, on page 10, it goes up to
27%. So from 22% and 27%, we just kind of see a slow progression up to the ending end pages, the last pages where properties that have pets allowed seem to be appearing more than when they are and they don't appear as much on the first pages, but they appear more on the last pages.
Jasper Ribbers (47:10.614)
Yep. Got it. Okay.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (47:13.094)
I guess it also kind of think, you know, it's sort of, you know, would you book a property if it allowed pets? Like, it probably doesn't stop you from booking a property, right? If you're not coming with a pet, I mean, if you're not coming with a pet, you probably wouldn't discount a property that allows pets.
Jasper Ribbers (47:33.046)
Well, some people do because some people are worried about allergies and cleanliness. You know, there are people that are very sensitive to, to like, if there's a little one tiny little hair of a dog and also like.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (47:38.227)
Jasper Ribbers (47:50.186)
I know more about this stuff because since I married my wife, I have a dog. She came in a package with a little dog. So I understand now more of like one dog is like, um, is more likely to cause allergic reactions in people than other dogs. So that's something to keep in mind as well, if you ever get a dog. But anyway, I learned that there, there are people that are so allergic to dogs that like, if there was a dog and there's a tiny little hair or something, they might have a, like a real reaction to that.
You know, even if the place was clean. So that definitely are people that look at that, but it's probably minority. I would think.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (48:27.97)
Oh yeah, I mean, now that you have a dog, you probably, depending on what your dog is, I had a dog. So my dog passed away six months ago and I still find hair everywhere. Even clothes that I've washed three times, I still find hair in. So it's very difficult to get rid of hair.
Jasper Ribbers (48:48.706)
Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I mean, that's we actually at our properties in Idaweald for FreeWild, we're not allowing pets anymore. We used to, we used to allow pets, but now we have such nice furniture and like, you know, and also we can get away with it now because of our properties are so nice now, we feel like there's enough demand for us to not having to allow pets. Cause if you don't allow pets, like you're cutting out certain part of the demands, right?
So that's why I'm also thinking that maybe that's the reason why more properties allow paths at the bottom, at the lower ranking pages, because it's the really nice properties that rank well because of a lot of other aspects they can get away with not allowing paths, because there's enough demand for those properties anyway.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (49:41.298)
Yeah, you could look at it from that perspective too. There's always, every time we're looking at these charts, you know, it's healthy, I think actually, to hypothesize around the reasons why these things are, just because it helps us, well, be better managers, really, and make better decisions. It kind of sharpens the intuition, I would say.
Jasper Ribbers (50:00.39)
Yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah, it's always, but it's all, it's good, man. I mean, I'm not, you know, I feel like I'm kind of, I would say diminishing your data, but that's not what I'm trying to do. Ha ha ha.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (50:13.706)
I mean, data is supposed to be, right? When you put something like that together, we had other things too that we saw, we were like, okay, well, this is kind of like, this is very weird. I'm not quite sure if this is gonna make a lot of sense here to include there. And it also depends on the questions that you ask and all that kind of stuff too, right? But we kind of put together some questions that we thought would be relevant for the majority of people and tried to look at the data.
Jasper Ribbers (50:22.488)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (50:42.29)
perspective and see, you know, if you have this turned on, are you going to rank better?
Jasper Ribbers (50:43.927)
Jasper Ribbers (50:47.742)
Yeah. And you know, I recommend everybody download the report at what was it? Rankprese.com. You created a really very difficult URL. Like, so I would just put up a pretty link and just make it like, make it Rankprese slash study. Uh, that's, you know, can you do that?
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (50:57.979)
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (51:02.874)
Uh, yeah, I'll, I'll do that. Yeah. I'll do rank research study. Yes, I will do that.
Jasper Ribbers (51:08.615)
That will help with the amount of people that are actually going to download it. All right, so rankbreese.com slash study. By the time this podcast goes live, you'll have that fixed, I'm sure. Even I know how to do that, so I'm sure you know how to do that. But yeah, go ahead, guys, if you're listening here, rankbreese.com slash study, download the report. Definitely some really interesting data in here. And
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (51:11.942)
Yeah, I will definitely do that.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (51:20.624)
All for sure.
Jasper Ribbers (51:34.302)
As you have noticed during this podcast interviews, there's, it's up to you how you want to interpret the data and like kind of what conclusions you believe that you can draw from it. But hopefully our discussion and slightly different viewpoints here and there maybe has a, will help you to, you know, to kind of, you know, form your conclusion as well. So yeah, hopefully I think this is really helpful.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (51:56.09)
Yeah, so the data is always true, right? The data is always correct because it's that, it's not that the data is incorrect, it's just how we interpret it and whether, again, it's causation, it's correlation causation.
Jasper Ribbers (51:59.55)
Yes, data doesn't lie.
Jasper Ribbers (52:10.95)
Exactly. Yeah. Awesome. Cool, dude. Well, I appreciate you coming on the podcast and, you know, putting creating these cool reports and sharing all this info with us.
Kelvin Mah | Rankbreeze (52:22.378)
Thanks Jasper, it was great to see you again and be back on the pod.
Jasper Ribbers (52:27.69)
Alrighty, thanks, Kelvin. And for the listeners, hope you enjoyed this podcast. Again, if you want to watch the report, if you want to see the report as we're going through it, you can always check out our YouTube because on YouTube we have the actual videos, right? So you can, you can listen to the audio, but you can also look, watch the videos. I noticed by the way, I, there's a couple of podcasts that I listened to and they, they have video on Spotify as well. And we're on Spotify, but we don't have the video on Spotify. So.
If you consume the podcast on Spotify and you think we should do video on Spotify, then let me know, because that's definitely something that we can make happen. So with that said, hope you enjoyed this podcast and we'll see you next time.
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