Aibnb is here to stay
Airbnb has not only disrupted the hotel industry, it’s become a global community that has successfully merged affordable lodging with incredible customer service.
It is hugely popular among millenials, however, Airbnb is truly for all ages. The fastest-growing Airbnb hosts demographic are seniors, with women over 60 years are rated as the best hosts on Airbnb!
How To Rank Higher as a Host on Airbnb
So you’ve interested in earning money with Airbnb, or you already are, but not as much as hoped. How can you rank higher on AIrbnb and ensure you’re getting you slice of the pie?
According to the industry-disrupter: “Guests want high-quality, accurate listings. If guests see your listing in search and click-through to learn more, this can improve your search performance in the future.”
To ensure that your listing gets noticed – and subsequently booked – here are some of the best tips to ranking higher on Airbnb.
1. Improve Your SEO
If you want to improve your Airbnb Ranking the first place you should look is your SEO. Just as you need to optimize a website for search engines like Google, you also need to optimize your listing for the Airbnb search engine.
Unlike Google ranking factors, however, Airbnb SEO strategies do not take into account keywords or written content. It’s more about understanding the actions searchers take and how you as a host can meet their needs.
For example, one of these actions is the number of clicks in the search results. While this is out of your control as a host, Airbnb considers it a really strong sign if guests are clicking on particular listings to find out more information. (Tip: Great pictures get more clicks!)
Airbnb also consistently monitors how many requests to book a listing receives, as successful listings usually help to convince the guest to book. While the exact Airbnb algorithm is classified and reportedly contains over 100 factors, Airbnb has made public that they fall into 3 categories.
Airbnb Ranking Factor Categories
- Needs of the Guest – This is something that it is impossible for hosts to control. Airbnb looks at factors which relate to the guest, including the location where their searching from, previous trips they’ve taken, the places on their Wish List, listings they’ve clicked on and more.
- Listing Details – This where you can make the most impact! Listing Details include things like how many five-star reviews a you have, the pricing and location of the listing, whether it uses Instant Book, how quickly the host responds and so on.
- Trip Details – While these are also harder for the owner to impact, there are some things you can do. They take into account how many guests are traveling, the length of the trip, how far in advance they are booking, as well as any maximum or minimum prices.
Heads in beds is where the money is. $$$
You can think outside the box with this. There are many options out there if you don't have space to add an additional bed, such as; a sleeper sofa, murphy bed (link below for an awesome bed stored in a trunk) even a nice air-mattress.
You can improve your rentability (& ranking) by simply having their desired number of beds.
Unique Ways to Add Sleeping Space to Your Place
2. Make Your Listing Stand Out
Guests who are travelling on Airbnb usually are in search of high-quality, accurate listings that are hopefully managed by responsive Hosts who will offer them unforgettable trip experiences.
To help your Airbnb ranking, you need to make your listing stand out and to do that, you first need to complete each section of your listing. A complete and enticing listing will help get Guests excited and let them know what to expect from your space.
Tell the Story of Your Place
The way you describe your space, in both the title and description should attractive, detailed, and informative. Clearly explain what makes your space unique, including any amenities you offer or rules you have. If you have any expectations from your Guests, make sure to lay them out in the House Rules and House Manual sections of your listing.
As you might know, your photos will be your Guest’s first impression of your space on the search results page so make sure to feature high-quality photos on your listing. Airbnb is now offering a free photography service for all Hosts, so make sure to advantage of this opportunity if it’s available in your area.
-Shoot the room from all four corners of the room, holding the camera around chest height to give the best idea of what it looks like.
-Open all blinds & window coverings to let as much light in as possible.
-Take photos of attractive vignettes in the room as well.
Close-ups of a bar space, a well-styled side shelf, or
a table with fruit bowl gives a "feeling" for the space.
-Do you have a great window view?
Get a shot, try different times such as sunrise or sunset.
Stylize your shots with cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
Help them get the feel the space through your pictures.
3. Perfect Your Pricing
Pricing can be tricky, because you really want to price for the customers you want, and get the most income for your space, while still remaining competitive.
If your listing is priced too high, Guests won’t be interested in booking with you and in the end, it will have a negative impact on your ranking. On the other hand, if your listing is priced too low, you may get a lot of bookings but you could be losing money as a Host. Worse yet, you may be inviting in a clientele who may not love and care for your space in the way you would hope.
Take a look at how much other Hosts are charging in your area and see how you compare. This is also a great time to see what you’re competitor’s are offering, and how appealing your listing looks by comparison. Simple things, like a nice coffee bar, or brilliant bath room spa set-up can make all the difference in which listing they book.
Airbnb Pricing Tool
We recommend staying away from the Airbnb Pricing Tool, as it often values your home well below what you have potential for, and could cost you thousands of dollars in revenues.
When creating a new listing, Airbnb suggests a nightly price for your home. This price tip generator seems to create lower nightly rates than what the market supports. Part of why Airbnb does this is to get your place rented quickly so that you can start getting reviews and credibility, thus booked more often down the road.
Pricing is a crucial part of building a successful listing and you shouldn’t just rely on Airbnb to accurately price your home. While we do agree that it is beneficial to have a lower price for your first few listings, be ready to set a higher on-going rate.
As an Airbnb Host, you should spend some time researching and comparing prices to those of competitive Airbnb listings around their area. What else do they offer? Is there anything else you can do to make your listing stand out?
This is a great time to check out the competition and improve on what’s out there. Having a listing that stands out and showcases what makes your place a better stay than your neighbor’s is going to be the key to your ongoing financial success.
As a rule of thumb, if your average occupancy is lower than 80%, your listing may be priced too high so consider lowering your prices to make your listing more attractive.
If your average occupancy over the last few months was higher than 90%, your might not be charging enough money for your place, so consider raising your prices.
Keep testing the Airbnb market to determine the higher amount that guests are willing to pay for your listing at different times of the year.
Being 50% booked one month ahead of time is actually a good sweet spot to aim for, as many Airbnb Guests are looking to book last minute and they are willing to pay top dollar for a nice listing with awesome reviews.
4. The Basics
This may seem like a no-brainer, but have you taken care of the basics? Having a well set up house with the necessary amenities can make all the difference in your Airbnb Ranking.
Try spending an entire day and night in the space. Did you have everything you needed? Was there anything else you wished you had?
Having things like; comfy sheets, good pillows, plenty of towels & toiletries can make or break the feel of the trip. Do everything you can to provide them with all the basics and make it feel like home away from home.
It doesn’t have to be expensive to provide great basics. These top-rated sheets on Amazon are only $25 with 68,000 positive reviews! That many people can’t be wrong.
A planet (and wallet) friendly way to provide shampoo, conditioner and body wash is with these clever refillable glass bottles. They’ll look great in your bathroom, are economical, and many guests will appreciate the eco-friendliness of it.
Providing comfy pillows and towels is a must to getting good reviews. Splurge a little for high quality and it will actually save you money in the long run, by not having to replace as often, and by getting better reviews.
One of my favorite times of the day is having my coffee in the morning. I love to relax, catch up on correspondence and sip a nice cup of brew. What’s always made me sad in hotels is the little mini coffee maker filled up from the bathrrom sink, always luke-warm and unpleasant. Provide your guests with a great coffee experience and it’s sure to be appreciated.
Another major basic to have locked down is easy access to Wifi. For many people, this is a huge sticking point. I personally won’t book somewhere without Wifi, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. We like to stay connected, and being able to do so on your trip is important. Be it for uploading vacation photos, or staying in touch with the office, having Wifi is super important to most.
Making sure that your network and password are readily available is also much appreciated. While we recommend including it in your welcome message through Airbnb, it’s always nice to have a printed copy readily available. I personally think posting it using the trifecta approach is best: in the Airbnb message, in your Welcome Book, and printed so they can easily log in. We’ve created a free Wifi Printable for your rental, click here or button below to download.
5. Be Religiously Responsive
Remember, you are now the GM of your very own little hotel, and want to provide them with the very best customer service possible. Nothing is more frustrating for a Guest than to contact a Host and to get a response a week later or, worst-case scenario, to get no response at all (I know this because I use Airbnb as Guest regularly and it happens all the time).
Airbnb makes money when you make money so they want you to be quick with your replies and they want you to reply to all of your booking inquiries. It’s most important to focus on your response rate, which impacts your Superhost status and search placement. That’s right, your response rate WILL effect how your listing ranks. Your response time gives guests an idea of how quickly they will hear from you, but has less impact on your host status.
To discover your current response rate, you can go in the “Stats” menu of your Airbnb account and then click on the “Standards” sub-menu. Your goal should be 100% response rate. Hosts who reply within an hour have a better chance at getting their listings displayed at the top of the research page because they are simply awesome Hosts.
To be more responsive, make sure to install the Airbnb app on your smartphone since it will allow you to reply to first Guest requests instantly from anywhere you are. Responding quickly to reservation requests will show your potential Guests that you are an attentive, welcoming Host.
Also, note that turning on Instant Book can also help attract last-minute reservations while improving your response time.
6. Go After LOTS Amazing Reviews
Airbnb wants you to deliver great experiences to your Guests; booking after booking and the quantity and quality of reviews from past Guests can impact your search performance. The more you collect a lot of positive feedback and get 5-star reviews from Guests, the more Airbnb will showcase you as a Host.
If you do get some negative feedback, don’t get discouraged. This happens to all busy Hosts! Write a thoughtful and empathetic response to the comment. Let your future guests know that you are empathetic, responsive and that most importantly you’ve taken care of the issue.
Quickly address any problems, knowing it will reflect positively in future Guest’s stays as well as your reviews. As a frequent Airbnb renter, I always go through comments. If a renter has brought up something and it has been addressed, I feel like this is going to be an attentive Host.
I once rented a place that had the comment “When I asked the Host if there was a coffee pot somewhere for use, she kindly and unexpectedly went and picked one up, as well as filters and coffee, sooo thoughtful!” Right there, I know this was going to be a good guest experience, and sold me on booking the apartment.
No Reviews Yet?
The goal is to get 3 glowingly positive reviews from your first three guests. Once you earn your third review, the green stars representing your overall rating shows in the Airbnb search results, and you’ll be on your way to ranking higher & more bookings in no time.
Hack for Getting Your First 3 Reviews:
To get these first three crucial reviews under your belt you are going to under-cut your competition briefly. You want to get these three reviews as quickly as possible so you can open up more calendar dates.
- Limit Airbnb your calendar availability and maximum nights per reservation until you get three reviews
- Charge 20-30% less than your competition for these first three reviews
- Offer extra amenities to encourage exceptional reviews and increase the likelihood the guest leaves a timely review
Last, you will open the next three weeks for reservations. Do this by going to your Airbnb calendar, clicking today’s date, or the date you want to receive your first guest, and drag the box out for three weeks.
This is a crucial step because you are going to be offering a reduced rate for a limited time only. By making your listing price lower than your competition, you can help ensure a great review from your guests.
Once you have some great reviews you can raise your prices to market value. Obviously the objective is to obtain these three reviews as quickly as possible so you can open up more calendar dates and increase your prices.
A great way to facilitate an awesome review is to provide a small welcome basket or treat with a handwritten note. Thank them for their stay, offer them to feel at home and mention that you are available if they need anything. Close by saying that you would love a good review if everything is up to standard. That small amount of effort and personalized touch are sure to translate into glowing reviews for you.
7. Keep Your Calendar Updated
Like with monitoring and responding to your Airbnb messages, keeping your calendar up to date is something you should also do religiously. Checking it first thing in the morning is a good best practice to ensure that you are staying on top of your bookings and business.
Recent (really useful!) Airbnb Calendar Updates
Airbnb has heard the host’s calendar concerns and has implemented some outstanding solutions. One of the biggest complaints was the inability to set different minimum stays for different times of the year. Having someone book a one night stay over a long holiday weekend is beyond frustrating.
You now have the ability to set a minimum night requirement for any data range. This is invaluable for filling up your calendar during peak season with longer stays. Setting longer stays can save you countless hours managing your place and ensure maximum payout per booking.
Another gripe was having guests book really far out, not knowing if your place will still be available in a year. Airbnb solved this by adding “distant requests” options that allow you to only accept reservation 3, 6, or 12 months into the future.
Lastly, they have added a feature to buy you some time during Same Day bookings. Hosts were upset with being harshly reviewed by guests who booked at last-minute, expecting perfection when they arrived, even if the host didn’t have adequate time to turn over the rental. Under your Instant Book tab, select how many days, or hours, that you need to prepare your place for last minute guests.
8. Be Trustworthy - Get Verified
Now hopefully you’ve done this step already, if not it could definitely be hurting your listing. Airbnb wants to build a trustworthy community so if you are a new Host, make sure to add your phone number & to get your ID verified.
Profile verifications are a way to connect your Airbnb profile to other information about you, such as your Facebook profile, phone number, email address or government-issued ID.
To add verifications to your account:
- Go to Profile on airbnb.com
- Click Trust and Verification
- Under Add More Verifications choose a verification to add
Another great tip is to connect your profile to many social media networks. This will let Airbnb and your guests know that you are a trustworthy person.
9. Make it to the Wish List
What you want is an Insta-worthy space that people are dying to stay in. By implementing the above Tips and Tricks, as well as making sure your space is top-notch, you will get added to Wish Lists, which again improves your ranking.
Get those fabulous photos up, that truly showcase the essence of your place. Get the wording on your listing “just right”. The title should intrigue them, and draw them in. Your cover photo should be the absolute money shot of the property, and hopefully ties in with your listing title.
If your listing is “Stunning Pool Oasis in the heart of Miami”, you should have an amazing shot of the pool as the cover.
Listed as: “Romantic Cozy Cabin Retreat for Two” I would have a stylized shot of either the lounge or bedroom (which every is most romantic!). Add a few cups of coffee and muffins, or a bottle of champagne and two flutes – something that says “Come have a romantic and relaxed time here!”
In the Airbnb game, niches make riches. Having that special, one of a kind space that tells a story is what will keep you booked and put on dreamer’s Wish Lists!
Airbnb is built on trust and reputation. This why getting great reviews is so important! Just getting starting and waiting for your first (hopefully!) glowing reviews to come in?
A little known trick to making your place more appealing without reviews is to ask your friends to recommend you as a Host. They can do this by going under the “Profile” and then “References” in the sub-menu.
You can request references from your personal network, and the references will appear publicly on your Airbnb profile to help other members get to know you. Note that you should only request references from people who know you well.
All of this will help boost your ranking and it will make your listing more attractive to your first potential Guests.
If you are just getting started consider offering a reduced rate for the first three to five listings. This will help you book quickly, and in turn get those 5-star reviews up quickly!
10. Amazing Amenities and Thoughtful Touches
The more extras your provide, the more likely the guest is to leave a review. Consider a free ride from the airport, offering to hold their luggage before or after reservation or early check-in/late check out.
These can be extra perks that you wouldn’t normally provide, but you really want those glowing reviews! As a rule, don’t let guests know that they’re getting “special treatment” or a reduced rate, it’s a bit on the tacky side. Just let your amazing hospitality shine and reap the benefits.
Another great touch is welcome basket with some nice coffee, chocolates, local goodies, or a bottle of wine or bubbly. It’s a great way to showcase some local favorites & support small businesses in your community.
Reminder: If you do leave a bottle of wine, ensure you provide a corkscrew! We stayed in an Airbnb where the host thoughtfully left us wine and glasses, but no way to open it. After about an hour we got it open by pushing the cork in with a chop-stick, which wasn’t ideal, but did the job!
Thoughtful touches like these really make your guests feel welcomed and special. A hand-written note thanking them for staying and reminding them to let you know if they need anything can also really go a long way.
Make the guest want to share their experience at your Airbnb in their review!
Finally: Become a Superhost!
Becoming a Superhost in it self doesn’t necessarily improve your ranking in the algorithm, but the steps you take to get there definitely will. Superhosts are just that — super hosts! They get everything “just right” and are rewarded for their efforts.
To become a Superhost, you will need to have an account in good standing and meet Airbnb’s requirements. Your performance is measured over the past 12 months. However, you do not need to have hosted for the full 12 months to qualify.
- Complete at least 10 trips OR successfully completed 3 reservations that total at least 100 nights
- Maintain a 90% response rate or higher
- Maintain a 1% percent cancellation rate (1 cancellation per 100 reservations) or lower, with exceptions made for those that fall under their Extenuating Circumstances policy
- Maintain a 4.8 overall rating