Maximizing occupancy is crucial to maximizing revenue. But as competition is greater than ever before in a crowded market of vacation rentals and rooms, improving your booking rate has only gotten harder. Learn how to get more bookings on Airbnb and other booking channels with our tried and tested tips.
Top Tips to Get More Bookings on Airbnb
Improving your Airbnb SEO, Vrbo SEO, and Booking.com SEO increases the visibility of your listing on the platform and increases your chances of being booked. After all, if potential guests never see your listing, the chances they will book your vacation rental are zero. That’s why optimizing your listing for search is one of the key ways to increase the number of bookings you receive.
Price is always an important factor when guests are deciding which vacation rental to book. In an inflationary market where competition is rife, making sure you have priced your property competitively is important to ensuring booking conversion.
By using a dynamic pricing tool to update your pricing in keeping with demand, competitor prices, and a host of other factors, you can drastically improve your booking frequency. Adjusting your prices frequently – even daily – is also key to ensuring occupancy during low- and off-seasons.
In a marketplace saturated with options, guests rely on reviews to understand if they can trust what you state you are offering and if your vacation rental is worth the cost. To earn a good review you must first provide your guests with the best experience, from start to finish. At the end of your guests’ stay you can then encourage them to leave you a review. By earning better reviews, your Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com rating increases. You also allow guests to trust your offering–meaning you can increase your number of bookings.
Your listing is your billboard, product packaging, and advert all rolled into one. It’s what guests first see and what information they use to make their booking decision. By having an attractive title, informative and highly readable description, and standout photographs on your listing, you can edge out your competition and improve the chances of your property getting booked on Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com.
Turning on Instant Book on Airbnb or Instant Booking on Vrbo for your listing allows guests to book your property with just a click, instantly increasing the number of bookings you will receive. It also eliminates the number of booking inquiries you receive that go nowhere. However, by allowing Instant Book, you also eliminate your ability to screen guests and many hosts do choose to opt out of it. If you choose to not enable Instant Book, make sure you respond to guest queries rapidly and automating your guest communications can help you do that.
Your Airbnb listing should not be your only means of promotion. By marketing your vacation rental outside of Airbnb, Vrbo, or Booking.com on social media channels such as Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, you can reach a wider audience, build your vacation rental brand, and promote your property further, positively impacting the number of bookings you will receive.
Hire good cleaners or a trusty cleaning service and make sure your vacation rental is hygienic and spotless. Maintain your home and outdoor areas well. Replace broken furniture and other items immediately. Make sure the appliances and amenities you offer are in working order and there is nothing for a guest to find fault with. Not only will an unclean property or one that is in disrepair leave you with bad reviews but it can dramatically decrease your chances of getting booked in the future.
Just as with pricing, opt for a dynamic minimum stay policy for your Airbnb vacation rental. By adjusting your minimum and maximum lengths of stay with demand and lead time, you can take advantage of longer rentals, increasing your chances of fully booked weekends, and fill any gap days, allowing you to maximize occupancy.
Being too flexible with your cancellation policy can leave you with guests who cancel their reservations at the last minute with impunity, decreasing the actual number of bookings you receive overall. On the other hand, opting for a strict cancellation policy can be off-putting to guests who will favor at least some leeway in case of unforeseeable issues that may force them to cancel their plans. A moderate cancellation policy on the other hand is a happy medium that will maximize your booking frequency.
Even if you don’t do direct booking, building a vacation rental website for your vacation rental property that allows you to showcase your offering without being limited by each platform's rules such as the use of videos can be helpful and even drive potential guests through Google searches. This increases your reach and your occupancy.
Keeping your calendar up to date ensures you don’t miss out on bookings because it shows dates as unavailable. It also ensures you avoid double bookings, which can force you to cancel a booking and get penalized by Airbnb. This is important if you list on other channels such as Vrbo and Booking.com or allow for direct bookings.
By using a reliable channel manager like Hostaway that syncs your booking calendars across platforms and your direct booking website, you ensure your calendar is accurate and available for guests to book, eliminating a significant blocker to getting booked.
Getting more bookings is an important indicator of vacation rental performance for any property manager. From improving search rankings and pricing competitively to earning more reviews and marketing your Airbnb vacation rental, there are many steps hosts can take to increase bookings. However, maximizing bookings and occupancy should not come at the cost of profits. Some means of increasing bookings like enabling Instant Book may not be worth the risks of bad guests or scams.