Airbnb’s search ranking algorithm is the process by which potential guests are shown listings that best match the search criteria they have input.
People usually only check the first couple of pages of search results, especially on mobile devices. Just like with Google search results, most guests will scroll through the first and maybe the next few pages of results before making their decision. Getting your listing higher in search rankings by optimizing it means it's more likely to be seen and booked.
At the heart of Airbnb's search functionality is a deep understanding of what users—both guests and hosts—are looking for. When potential guests type in their destination, travel dates and preferences, Airbnb's algorithm kicks into gear sifting through thousands of listings to find those that match the criteria.
But it's not just about the basics; the platform also considers nuanced details like the vibe guests are after or specific amenities that have been mentioned.
Popularity and Reviews: Listings with higher reviews and more bookings tend to rank higher. It's like the algorithm's way of saying, "Hey, other guests loved this place, so you might too!"
Host Responsiveness: How quickly and consistently a host responds to inquiries and requests can influence their listing's visibility. It's Airbnb's method of nudging hosts to keep up the good communication.
Price and Location: Naturally, the cost and the listing's proximity to the center of your search location or landmarks play a significant role. The algorithm tries to balance affordability with convenience and desirability.
For vacation rental property managers looking to optimize their listings on Airbnb, understanding the factors that influence a property's search engine optimization (SEO) is key.
Here's a concise breakdown of the elements that can affect your property's visibility and ranking on Airbnb:
Understanding and optimizing these factors can significantly enhance your property's visibility on Airbnb, attracting more guests and potentially increasing your earnings.
Keep in mind, Airbnb's search algorithm is dynamic and continuous engagement and improvement of your listing are key to staying competitive.
It takes approximately 24 hours for a newly activated listing to show up on search. To help hosts of new listings get started, the algorithm is designed to give it an immediate boost in search for the first three months. This helps new hosts establish themselves and improve their chances of getting booked even though they have no reviews or ratings.
There are numerous myths about Airbnb's search engine optimization (SEO) that can lead hosts astray. One common misconception is the need for constant listing updates or finding a secret set of keywords to boost search rankings. These strategies can cause unnecessary stress without offering real benefits.
Another myth that persists is the belief that using a Property Management System (PMS) will diminish a listing's visibility on Airbnb. However, the platform's algorithm is primarily focused on connecting guests with the best accommodations for their needs, regardless of a host's use of a PMS.
In reality, employing a PMS such as Hostaway can be advantageous. It streamlines operations, ensures your calendar is accurate and helps keep pricing competitive. These factors can actually improve your visibility on Airbnb.
Because Airbnb considers a large number of factors in determining search ranking, it is important to provide and/or improve upon as many factors as possible in order to improve visibility. (Without visibility the chances of getting booked drop.)
However, because it utilizes so many factors, it also allows hosts to ignore certain factors that they don’t wish to change/compromise on. For example, switching on Instant Book or switching to a fully flexible cancellation policy.
The sheer number of factors – that you now know of – to maintain visibility on search can seem overwhelming at first. Tackling and building on each slowly and steadily however will ensure higher search rankings and ultimately optimize revenue over time.
Just as important as visibility on search is being able to convert users who click on your listing to guests who make a booking. However, many of the factors that improve Airbnb SEO also help increase bookings, from listing content and good reviews to pricing.