How To Increase Bookings on Airbnb

By Nechama Rausman | February 01, 2022
How to Increase Bookings on Airbnb

Your property listing on Airbnb is one of over 7 million listings worldwide, so you can’t just rely on the “if you build it, they will come” approach to getting your rental booked. As an Airbnb host, you’re up against some serious competition and this requires some equally serious effort if you’d like to keep your occupancy rates going strong. 

Fortunately, there is a strategic formula to Airbnb’s search ranking algorithm and we are here to help you do what it takes to create a listing that gets to the top and stays there. We’ve compiled a list of the best (and most actionable) techniques to optimize your listings’ “Airbnb SEO” and to maximize both visibility and booking potential. Taking these steps will give you the extra push necessary to ensure your listing is visible so those bookings will come.  

Optimizing Your Listing

1. Keep your calendar updated

Regularly updating your calendar is one of the easiest ways to increase your Airbnb SEO. Not only is this an important factor for Airbnb’s search bots but staying on top of your property’s availability ensures you don’t miss or mix up potential bookings. An up-to-date calendar will help you avoid the need to cancel a double-booking which can lead to an unpleasant experience with your guests and a penalty from Airbnb. Not quite the way to win either party over!

From an SEO perspective, Airbnb’s algorithm tags hosts who regularly update their calendars as both active and responsive and this rewards you priority seating in the search rankings (which generally attracts more inquiries as a result).

Now, if your calendar is already up-to-date for the foreseeable future, we have a little hack to help you to increase your activity. Simply block out a few dates in the future and then immediately free them up again. This serves as a little nudge to Airbnb, letting them know you are awake and keeping on top of things. Airbnb will see that they can trust that you are striving to provide the best possible experience and they want to reward hosts that do that!

2. Set competitive pricing 

Setting the right price for your listing is key to seeing profits on Airbnb. You don’t want to outprice yourself and lose bookings or to charge too little and end up losing the full potential of your earnings. Finding the balance between being reasonable and being competitive requires some research and strategy. You also want to be very detailed in your property description to justify your prices, especially if you are including hidden fees or benefits that may not be obvious to visitors (such as free parking or other services). 

Your listing should be priced based on your specific accommodations, the amenities you offer and the general location. You want to look at similar listings in your area to get a sense of the going rates. While new hosts are encouraged to set starting rates below their competitors in order to build up reviews, Airbnb “vets” should try to stay relevant and remain on par with competition. 

If you are struggling with your pricing strategy, you may want to try out Airbnb’s Smart Pricing tool which helps you to set your price based on a number of criteria, or a third-party pricing tool such as Wheelhouse which is directly integrated with Guesty For Hosts.

3. Make your pictures perfect

According to Airbnb, hosts that use professional photos of their properties earn up to 20% more and get up to 20% more bookings. Airbnb is so committed to the fact that the right shots will enhance your listing that their Pro Photography program will set you up with a local photographer to style and shoot your listing and present it in the best light possible (figuratively and literally). If Airbnb thinks your photos are so important, so should you! 

4. Use keywords to attract ideal guests

When writing your title and description, think about which search terms may be important to your ideal guests and try to incorporate them into your writing. Include keywords relevant to your city, such as major landmarks, tourist attractions, and local events. Mention a home office set-up or kid or pet-friendly accommodations. Using more targeted search terms that match your listing’s information will help it appear higher up in relevant searches. 

5. Show flexibility

The more search criteria that your listing satisfies, the more it will appear in search results. Try to play around to show you are flexible in order to get as many views as possible. For example, set your minimum stay duration to one night in order to expand your offerings. Needless to say, don’t stretch the truth in this area because you want your listing to be as transparent as possible to avoid disappointment from guests or negative reviews. 

6. Enable ‘Instant Book’

The Instant Book option on Airbnb gives your guests the ability to book your listing immediately without pre-approval. This is yet another way to satisfy guests, enhance your listing’s flexibility and match results for more targeted searches. This feature is a big draw for those with minimal planning time and in many circumstances may even be the most important filter for travelers looking for a last minute or time-sensitive booking. 

Optimize Your Host Profile

1. Earn and request reviews

Positive reviews are one of the most effective ways to convert potential guests and a great way to organically optimize your Airbnb SEO. Good reviews create a foundation of trust with guests and with Airbnb and can pretty much guarantee more bookings and higher search rankings. While, of course, you can’t force the process of getting reviews, there are ways of helping things along. After each guest’s stay, promptly leave a review of them (if you have good things to say of course) and ask for them to return the favor. If you have a bad review here or there don’t worry, but if you do find repetitive complaints, it’s time to have a look at where you can make improvements in your service. 

2. Complete all of your profile details

Hosts that complete each section of their Airbnb listing and profile are regarded by Airbnb as active and involved hosts that take the platform seriously, and they will treat you accordingly. Completing and verifying all of the information shows that you are in the game and willing to put in the effort to enhance the process for users – which is exactly what the platform wants. Therefore they will reward you for showing you are invested and responsible to your guests, by boosting your listing in the search results. Remember to use the motto, “no profile section gets left behind”.

3. Become an Airbnb Superhost 

The coveted Superhost badge represents a nod of approval from Airbnb that rewards you with special recognition and bonuses. Earning this elite status guarantees more visibility and a favored status which gives you a huge advantage over your competitors. 

Guesty For Hosts can help you reach Superhost status by ensuring a fast response rate, a unified calendar to prevent booking cancellations and helping you increase both bookings and positive reviews.

Optimize Your Hosting

1. Be uber responsive

Airbnb is quite clear that they want you responding to guest inquiries within 24 hours. This is a key to gaining and maintaining Superhost status and winning major points with the company. Just like your routine calendar updates, your response time proves to Airbnb that you’re ready, willing, and able to create the best possible experience for your guests. 

The payoff for attentiveness goes further than just SEO optimization – it prevents your listings from downgrading. Airbnb doesn’t simply reward active hosts, it penalizes the lazy ones.

If you’re a host who’s regularly busy with things outside of Airbnb, we’ve got you covered. Guesty For Hosts’ unified inbox will centralize all your communication into one place, while our automated messages will send auto-replies to improve your response rate and make sure none of your messages go unanswered. 

2. Avoid cancellations

As mentioned above, canceling a guest reservation is one of the biggest no-no’s for Airbnb and they will penalize hosts for this as it can seriously inconvenience guests. Make sure that you only accept bookings you know you can see through.

Using a synchronized calendar, like the one available within Guesty For Hosts, to block off dates that have been booked through all hosting channels will help you avoid the need to cancel reservations on account of accidentally accepting two different bookings on the same date.

3. Be social

Just like other search engines, Airbnb gives a higher ranking to listings they can verify from other sources. Promoting yourself and your listing on social media and linking to your Airbnb profile helps them to know you are legit. Show some love to your Airbnb page by linking, liking or tweeting (and asking your friends to as well). Go that extra mile by creating and sharing Airbnb wish lists, too. Extra links (especially good ones) can work wonders for your search rankings in and beyond Airbnb. 

4. Be present

Airbnb’s algorithm tracks how much time you spend on the site as this yet another indication of how available you are for your guests. Make sure you log in regularly and let Airbnb know that you are an active user. Your efforts will be rewarded.

This post has covered a lot, and you may have come to the conclusion that optimizing your Airbnb listing can become quite a time-consuming task. Just remember that Airbnb’s main priority is guest satisfaction so any effort you put in will pay off. On the other hand, you always have room to improve and make it better. Don’t forget that if you are looking for ways to simplify and automate your work, Guesty For Hosts is here to pick up the slack and help you to rise to the top of Airbnb’s search results. Remember that a little bit of extra work will help you to be able to fill your property with more and more happy guests.

Want to see how Guesty for Hosts can save you time and help you earn more money from your Airbnb listings? Click here to begin your free 14-day trial now.

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