The ultimate goal for any Airbnb host is to have their listing on the first page. Read more on how can you create the perfect Airbnb listing.
Let’s dig deeper and explore how to achieve the perfect Airbnb listing
This article is the first in a series during which we will examine exactly what goes into this effort. Over the next few months, we will solidify the basics, test out new ideas and then analyse it all. We invite you to join us on this quest to better understand Airbnb’s decision making and what makes the perfect listing.
Achieving this feat is by no means easy, but there are many easy things you can do as a host to work towards the perfect Airbnb listing. The website is constantly changing and evolving how they judge listings and decide on which is their favourite. You can stay ahead of the game by reading articles like this one and testing the latest techniques on the market.
If you think you’ve already mastered the basics, feel free to skip over Part 1.
Airbnb’s exact algorithm for how they rank listings is somewhat unknown. Along with many other curious and determined hosts, we are constantly analysing our rankings to better understand how it all works.
With that being said, there are plenty of factors we can influence, which are simple enough to achieve and very unlikely to change in the future. To keep things clear, we will also go over how exactly each action satisfies your guests, and Airbnb, in their contribution towards creating the perfect listing.
Part 1: Lockdown the basics 🔒
Think about your photos
Your listing photos will be the first thing a guest sees. The main photo for a perfect listing will draw in the guest’s attention without necessarily showing something specific. Part of the joy of Airbnb as a guest is that every home you stay in will be completely different. Photos let you communicate what makes your listing special while keeping guests on your page and convincing them to book.
5 quick photo tips:
- Stick to landscape photos. They allow you to offer more information (more stuff in the photo) and they are more pleasing to the eye.
- Focus. Guests won’t trust you as a host if they can’t trust you to wait for your camera to focus.
- Lighting. Take photos during the day with as much natural light as possible.
- Communicate the best parts of your listing. If you have a feature or aspect that sets you apart, show it off!
- Be consistent. If just one photo throws off your guest, they will most likely close the page…and they’re gone!
You can find even more tips in our guide on How to Take the Perfect Listings Pictures.
Photo captions also contribute to this effect, so don’t waste the chance to offer even more information. Show both your guests and Airbnb that you have the perfect listing by providing detailed and light-hearted captions that complement each photo.
Your photos can make or break your listing. Guests will make decisions based purely on the quality and content of your photos and nothing will turn away a guest like a poorly or lazily taken photo.
Satisfy the guest: Photos are your first chance to catch a guest’s eye. They want to know everything about your property, the more information you give them, the more likely they’ll book.
Satisfy Airbnb: Whether it’s through Airbnb’s algorithm or simply good practice, very few portrait photos or bad quality photo listings appear on the first page. Ultimately, they want you to get more clicks (and thus more bookings) so the better the photos, the happier you make Airbnb.
Watch our Monday Talk below to find out more about Airbnb Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Be smart with your title
The title of your listing is the first thing a guest will read. The perfect Airbnb listing will have a title that complements its photos and gives guests the kind of information that will get them clicking.
If you think of your listing in terms of information, you have already shown a great deal in the photos. Airbnb will immediately display even more information such as room capacity, numbers of bedrooms, beds, etc. Simply repeating this information in your title achieves next to nothing. Provide interesting and engaging information that will set your listing apart. Including your favourite aspects of your listing shows the guests that you are particularly proud and excited about it and they will want to learn more.
Feel free to get creative with your title. Using emojis may go directly against Airbnb’s terms and conditions, but their success depends on you as a host. The better you do, the better they do; so if emojis end up being the key to the perfect listing, their policies are sure to change.
Satisfy the guest: Titles are all about grabbing the guest’s attention and interest. If they are searching with something specific in mind and they see it in your title, you’re halfway to a booking!
Satisfy Airbnb: Keyword search is still a shady subject with Airbnb. While typing in keywords won’t have much effect on the page results, suggestions do pop up so it’s worth testing certain words in your title like landmarks or popular areas.
If you’re looking more information about Airbnb titles, Optimizemyairbnb wrote this article back in 2017 with some interesting ideas about title etiquette. While some points are up for debate, and much of the reasoning is based on a US market, the article certainly makes some worthwhile points.
The perfect listing comes in every language
Hosts need to appreciate that Airbnb caters to an international audience, and the perfect listing has to reflect that. Airbnb offers you the chance to translate everything that you write in your listing (aside from captions)…take advantage.
While further analysis needs to be done to prove it, common sense would suggest that Airbnb will rank listings in the guest’s native language higher than those in other languages.
For example, an English guest searching for rooms in Barcelona on Airbnb.co.uk will see listings in English higher than listings in Spanish/Catalan/etc.
Airbnb does offer automatic translations powered by Google Translate. However common sense would again suggest that Airbnb and guests favour manually translated copy over the clunky translation of a machine. Don’t panic, we’re not suggesting that you learn every language under the sun. Just taking the extra 5 minutes to check an automated translation before entering it will be enough to make a difference. Start with your biggest target markets and see for yourself if there’s a noticeable change.
Alternatively, pay for a translator to go through your listing(s) and make sure they sound natural in all languages. Finding an affordable translation service will be well worth it once you begin to reap the benefits.
Satisfy the guest: If a guest can see that you have put the effort in to manually translate your listing, they’ll trust you more as a host. At the least, it shows that you have thought about your international audience while making your listing.
Satisfy Airbnb: We still need to test and analyse this, but it would seem that Airbnb’s algorithm favours listings that have been translated into the language of the user (depending on which Airbnb domain they’re using). It’s likely not a major factor in the algorithm, but with thousands of competitors, every little helps.
Reply to your reviews
Reviews play a crucial role in the appearance of your listing on Airbnb. Consider the following aspects when you think about how your reviews affect the performance of your listing:
Quality: The quality of your Airbnb reviews entirely depends on the quality of service. Beware that people are much more likely to write a review after a negative experience, compared to a positive one. This means you have to go the extra mile. Give your guests a reason to write a glowing review.
Quantity: The quantity of review on your listing is all down to your communication with guests. Don’t be afraid to contact your guests to ask for a review. Considering Airbnb’s concept of guest and host reviews, guests are just as keen as you are to leave a good impression.
Detail: The level of detail that a guest puts into their review is seemingly out of your control as a host. However, make use of your responses to add some meaning and context to their review, even if it’s just a few lines.
Above all, reply to your reviews.
Seeing that a host has responded appropriately and positively to a negative review shows future guests that you will react to any possible problems. Polite and considerate review responses will do wonders for the guests’ confidence in you as a host.
Don’t think that reviews are all you need to judge the quality of your property.
It’s easy to distance yourself from your property and happily fill up the calendar with bookings. Be wary of falling into this trap and forgetting that the experience is so much more important than a checklist of amenities. Whether it means visiting your property and really investigating, or actually staying in your property overnight, you need to devote time to fully understand how your property works and give some context to your guest reviews.
Satisfy the guest: Guests will trust other guest reviews over any of your photos or descriptions. Numerical ratings, of course, contribute to that all-important five-star average, but guests are far more likely to book if they feel like they’re guaranteed a quality experience.
Satisfy Airbnb: Quantity and quality of guest reviews directly influence your listing’s ranking.
It’s a good idea to imagine yourself as a guest. Budgettravel.com put out this article earlier this year trying to better understand what goes into a guest review. Approach your listing from a guest perspective and see how well you really come across to your target audience.
Keep an eye on your competition
As we’ve mentioned, Airbnb constantly changes its algorithm and everyone will be trying to catch up using their own ideas. It’s equally important as a host not to change things up too often; you’ll need enough time to see if edits to your listing have an effect.
With that being said, keep watch over other listings in your area that appear to be doing well. If someone else seems to be consistently above you in the page results, have a look at their listing and compare it to your own. Of course, there may be features or amenities you simply can’t offer, but don’t be afraid to mix things up with your title, photos or description.
Satisfy the guest: Airbnb has been around for over 10 years so a lot of your guests won’t be first time users. While it can be good to stand out from all the other listings, guests will want an easy and recognisable process.
Satisfy Airbnb: If other hosts are successful, it’s because Airbnb likes what they’re doing. So if you’re learning from other good hosts, Airbnb will like you too!
Part 2: Time to dig a bit deeper… ⛏
All of the advice so far is relatively superficial.
From here on we enter uncharted waters, but that’s ultimately how we’re going to crack Airbnb’s algorithm. To start with, let’s have a look at quite a common, but not quite proven, theory on optimising your listing.
One of the most popular strategies for creating the perfect Airbnb listing is constantly updating and refreshing your content. Airbnb quite literally has a set of criteria in each listing labelled “time_since_last_calendar_update” that factors into your overall guest satisfaction score, so we know that Airbnb values you keeping your availability up to date.
Something that is still up for debate is whether this value on its own is significant in the algorithm or perhaps plays into a general “current-ness” of your listing taking all content into account. Many hosts have commented that they see no difference until they make further changes in their description, house rules or headings.
As we use a channel manager to coordinate our properties, this kind of refresh action is essentially automated, as our calendars on Airbnb have to be updated depending on our other channels.
A similar adaptation of this theory is the idea of snoozing your listing. By temporarily turning your listing off and then back on, Airbnb may recognise this as you refreshing your listing, and will reward you with a higher ranking. To test this theory, we will be snoozing 10 of our listings on Airbnb daily and tracking their performance using RankBreeze and Airbnb’s own performance data.
In a later part of this series, we will return to analyse the data from this test and see if any valuable conclusions can be drawn.
Until then, we will be back with more articles covering different aspects and new theories as we continue the effort towards the perfect Airbnb listing. You can also take a look at our guide on Optimizing your Airbnb Revenue.
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