Previously, the process for booking a vacation rental was clunky, time-consuming, and frankly, unappealing, to the masses. The birth and rise of Airbnb have created a unique opportunity for homeowners, property management companies, and investors alike to capture a piece of the success.
But with over 7 million listings on the platform, how can you stand out? How do prospective guests discover your property in the ever-expanding Airbnb universe? The high-performing host utilizes a little-known secret called ‘Airbnb SEO’.
In order to understand Airbnb SEO, you must first understand what SEO means. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the process of optimizing a web page or website to satisfy the needs of the search engine or Google, being the largest search engine in the world.
Thus, Airbnb SEO is the process of optimizing your vacation rental listing on Airbnb, which is just a big search engine for helping people discover short-term accommodations. By optimizing your listing for Airbnb search, you can significantly increase your visibility when someone searches for a property that matches yours and ultimately improve your chances of converting them into a booked customer.
So, how do we optimize our vacation rental listings to satisfy the requirements of the Airbnb search algorithm?
Now that we understand what Airbnb SEO means, we need to understand what the benefits of Airbnb SEO are:
The more optimized your listing is, the more likely Airbnb will want to showcase your property to searchers. Let's take Florida, for example: If someone is looking for a two-bedroom home in Miami, how does Airbnb know which property to showcase in the first position, or on the first page of the search? They showcase the property that not only best matches the user’s search criteria but the one they feel best represents their company, has a complete and verified profile, excellent reviews, and is a friendly host.
Since your listing is showing higher up in Airbnb search, your listing will naturally receive significantly more clicks or views. The more eyeballs on your listing, the better, as the first step of any marketing campaign is to be seen and recognized.
The golden ticket to a successful vacation rental is higher occupancy rates. Since many more people are viewing your listing, more people will end up booking your property. For most hosts, an increase of 10-20% occupancy could translate to tens of thousands of additional bookings.
Many of these SEO tips are obvious to a seasoned host, but to a beginner, they could be the difference between success and failure. At the end of the day, when planning your listing optimization strategy, think deeply about what makes an excellent guest experience, and your listing will benefit greatly.
Reviews are the most important indicator of whether your Airbnb will be a success or not. For a new listing, do everything you can to ensure your first 20 reviews are stellar. That way, Airbnb is confident in your property to serve an excellent experience to their guests.
In order to get the best reviews, it's important to understand how your guests will be surveyed by Airbnb. The guest will be asked to answer on a 5 star rating system. The information gathered from these surveys will directly impact your listing’s SEO performance.
Airbnb will ask your guests the following questions:
In today’s day and age, there is no reason to not have a response rate of at least 90%, as required by Airbnb for Superhost qualification. An automated messaging system can ensure your listing will maintain a 100% response rate at all times and is another compelling reason why hosts need property management software. Want to take it a step further? You can now also take advantage of ChatGPT-powered replies as offered by Hostaway.
If you were planning a vacation and you were trying to book accommodation, would you want it to take hours or even days for the accommodation provider to respond to your inquiry? Of course not. So make sure your response rates are lightning-fast with a proven vacation rental software.
Your listing will benefit from high-quality images in more ways than just one. From a strictly SEO perspective, high-resolution images are one of the most impactful ranking factors on Airbnb’s platform. Images are so important that at one point Airbnb offered to pay for professional photographers to accurately capture the essence of the property.
5 Airbnb photography tips:
Airbnb closely monitors the number of visitors that view your listing and how many actually result in bookings. This conversion performance indicator is probably the most important metric that matters to Airbnb. It goes without saying that unless people actually book your property Airbnb does not make any commission on the sale. So from a strictly business perspective, it makes sense for Airbnb to showcase properties that convert views into bookings at an above-average rate.
Tips for improving your view-to-booking ratio:
Again, Airbnb only makes a commission when bookings are confirmed, so the easier you can assist guests in booking your property, the better. Airbnb has publicly stated that properties with Instant Book enabled benefit from increased visibility and ultimately more bookings.
A few things to note about Instant Bookings:
The Airbnb search algorithm takes into consideration hundreds of factors that are weighed differently and while some are public and many have been discerned, not all factors are yet known. However, these 5 tips have been proven by experienced hosts to help increase your property’s Airbnb ranking.
Another great way to understand your listing’s performance on the platform is to view your Airbnb performance tab for suggestions on how to improve your listing. These tips are created by Airbnb based on the settings you have configured on your listing.