7 June 2023

Improve your Airbnb listing: all you need to know to get more views

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You want more people to see your property on Airbnb and other online travel agent (OTA) websites – of course! But how? Below, we explore effective strategies to improve your Airbnb listing and increase its visibility and appeal.

To climb to the top of the results, it’s important to understand that listing quality can have a large impact on search ranking. According to Airbnb their algorithm “assesses many characteristics to evaluate quality, including reviews of the listing, and listing characteristics” such as photos, content and guest reviews, plus more ‘experiential’ aspects of the stay. They say that “higher quality means your listing will be more visible to travelers”, so improving each of these will help improve the performance of your property on the Airbnb website.

Captivating Photography

Undoubtedly, having high-quality photos is paramount in creating a compelling and highly-ranked property listing. OTAs such as Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, Agoda Homes and Tripadvisor Rentals all emphasize the importance of having a substantial number of stunning photos. The main photo, in particular, acts as a magnet for clicks, setting your listing apart from your competitors, so avoid dark, blurry, or cluttered photos and instead make sure your images are bright, clear, in focus and visually appealing. The value of engaging a professional photographer cannot be understated here!

Aim for a minimum of three pictures for every room, including bathrooms, along with additional property-level photos showcasing external views, common areas, and amenities. Captions are important too – if you include a view of a local landmark, make sure guests will know it’s nearby, not at the property! And it helps guests to picture themselves at your place if they know which rooms are which when they are looking at the images and description together.

(For more advice on getting the perfect pics for your property, take a look at our guide here.)

Make your property look more appealing with professional images. (Photo: Sara Sadeghloo, Unsplash)
Engaging Descriptions

Alongside images, make sure your property descriptions and lists of amenities are up to date and accurate. Ensure your description is friendly, accurate (with no spelling mistakes!) and up to date. Your listing should also include all amenities, extras, and most importantly, house rules – so that guests know in advance what you do and don’t allow, like smoking, pets, or additional visitors.

Use keywords relevant to your property to enhance discoverability, and make sure to highlight the unique characteristics that no one else can offer. However, keep in mind that potential guests are often scanning listing descriptions for the features they’re searching for, rather than slowly reading. Writing for the web means writing for scanability, so keep your descriptions succinct.

Responsiveness and Avoiding Cancellations

Quality, in Airbnb terms, isn’t just about words and pictures. They want users of their platform to have a great experience from the moment they find your property on their website to the point at which they depart. The more your guests – and potential guests – enjoy their interactions with you, the better for everyone.

Responding quickly when guests contact you shows that you’re an attentive and considerate host. Always respond to messages within 24 hours and bear in mind that at this stage in the booking journey, your future guests may be looking at a number of booking options. The quicker you respond, the quicker they can make their decision to stay with you!

Once you have secured your booking, make sure you honor it. Deciding on accommodation for a holiday or short break is a big decision for most people, and when plans are forced to change, it can be disruptive and frustrating. If you as a host cancel, it greatly inconveniences your guests, and the closer a cancellation is to a check-in date, the greater an impact it will have.

Your Airbnb should offer a great guest experience every step of the way. (Photo: David Dvořáček, Unsplash)
Great Guest Experiences

To give a great guest experience, offer first class service from the moment a guest discovers you online to when they’ve checked out. As suggested above, be sure to reply to any guest enquiries as quickly as possible. Then, at the property, focus on providing a seamless check-in and check-out experience, maintaining a seriously spotless property, and going the extra mile to exceed expectations. Don’t forget the travel essentials either – toilet rolls, soap, plenty of towels (at least one per guest) and spare pillows and blankets.

Remember too to give your guests all of the information they need to use the amenities you offer. Even things that you may think are obvious to use can be confusing when people are in an unfamiliar environment. Provide plenty of instructions, without being too heavy-handed with the ‘do’s and don’ts’. And whether or not you’re on the property with your guests, it’s important that they have a reliable point of contact available throughout their stay, in case of problems.

Encouraging Positive Reviews

Positive reviews play a significant role in boosting your listing’s visibility and credibility. Platforms like Airbnb prioritize listings with high volumes of 5-star reviews. So, at the end of their stay, encourage guests to leave reviews by implementing automatic post-checkout emails through a property management system like eviivo Suite. Guests love to read the genuine opinions of those who have stayed before them, and this is a great way to encourage feedback.

Even if a review points out any shortcomings, these offer you a chance to improve. Always make sure you reply to any negative reviews in a positive way, to show that you care about your guests’ experience.  And aim high –Airbnb’s statistics show that the average rating across all of their listings is 4.7 out of 5, and an impressive 60% of properties are rated 4.8 or above. Use this as a target to beat for your own property.

On Airbnb, it’s good to know that reviews work both ways, and you, as the host can also review your guests! In fact, Airbnb’s internal data shows that hosts who leave a review for their guests tend to receive a higher review score than those who don’t.

By implementing these measures, you can enhance the quality of your Airbnb listing, improve its visibility, and attract more potential guests. Remember, captivating photography, engaging descriptions, accuracy, great communications and a focus on encouraging 5-star reviews are the key elements to optimize your listing and boost its performance on OTAs.

To learn more about becoming a 5-star host, have a browse through our free Trade Secrets articles for vacation rental operators, where our industry experts walk you through every step of running a successful vacation rental business.

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