vacation property management

How to Increase Your Search-ability of Airbnb

The popularity and ease of Airbnb has made the number of available vacation listings around the world rise exponentially.  If you have a short term rental home, you may be wondering how you can stand out in the large sea of options. Luckily, there are some simple tricks you can use to make it easier for potential customers to find your home and choose to stay there.  

Build a strong base.

No matter what you have to offer, there are rudimentary details that should always be addressed first.  This means things like cleanliness, good customer care, and making sure that every tenant enjoys their stay.  (If you need help with these, think about hiring a rental management company). This ensures that the guests you are getting leave good reviews- the biggest sales booster of all!  Even just one bad review can unfortunately scare customers away, so do your best to make each and every guest happy and compelled to rave about their stay. Other basics include:

  • Timely responses to questions.  You will find many questions are eye-roll worthy, especially if the answers are in your listing.  Simply take a deep breath and kindly reply to address all the potential client’s needs and concerns.  If you are concerned about whether you will have the time to stay on top of inquiries (ideally within a 24 hour time frame), think about hiring someone to help you.  Plus, Airbnb rewards hosts that are active on a daily basis by ranking them higher in search results.
  • Achieve Superhost Status.  This prestige on your host account can be a game changer.  Airbnb even has a Superhost filter for people that want to stay at homes that only offer the best care.  Eligibility involves having consistent 5 star reviews and a high customer response rate. For more information, look here.
  • List your amenities. Many customers will have specific amenities in mind that they want (and use to search) for their vacation.  Make sure you include all of these so you don’t disappear on a search when a potential clients starts adding filters. Additionally, Airbnb is always adding new amenity categories, so update your listing frequently.

Change your comfort zone.

There are a lot of restrictions you can put on your rental listing.  However, this will limit how many people actually see it. The fewer restrictions you have the higher you will be in the search results.  If you truly want optimal visibility, consider these:

  • Allow smoking. It doesn’t have to be in your home.  Just make sure to note your smoking limitations (and possible fines) in the house rules and think about including a designated spot in your welcome details.
  • Allow pets.  A large majority (up to 50%) of Americans have furry friends that they like to take on vacation with them.   When you allow pets, you are welcome to do additional screening and then charge an extra fee to help cover any maintenance necessary.  
  • Allow events.  Family reunions, business meetings, bachelorette parties… why not? You can set any hard limits for capacity or full scale parties in your house rules without limiting your options.
  • Be flexible with the length of stay.  Setting a minimum or maximum night limit can also limit your search-ability.  If you allow one night stays, don’t forget that you can charge a higher price to make it worth your time.
  • Play with your rental pricing. Most short term rentals that aren’t regularly full are probably over-priced.  Play with the pricing to see what allows the best balance between income and a full calendar.  Think about getting pricing software or hiring a management company to help you with this if you want a competitive edge.
  • Allow instant booking.  Customers don’t like to wait and want to get their vacation planned and set when they find the rental they want.  This can be nerve-wracking since it limits your ability to screen guests. However, make sure to include very specific house rules and expectations, the tenants will have to agree to these before they can make a reservation.  On the flip side, make sure to minimize cancellations if you allow this option, as this will hurt your search status and eligibility to be a Superhost.

Rental Set-Up.

Lastly, making your home available to a wide range of group sizes will increase your visibility.

  • Increase the number of beds.  Try bunk beds, pull out couches or blow up mattresses to accommodate families and groups.
  • Allow self check-in.  The flexibility and ease of self check-in makes hosting and customer satisfaction a breeze.  
  • Add an online guidebook to your listing.  Airbnb allows you to add a guide to your city and neighborhood on your listing.  This allows tenants to see exactly what they can do in your area and get excited about booking your home.  Plus, it boosts our rank.

Improving your ranking on an Airbnb search doesn’t have to be complicated.  It’s all about attention to detail and establishing your comfort level with your filters and rules.  Lastly, don’t be afraid to use social media (to increase visibility) and wish lists to your advantage (this increases your ranking on Airbnb too).   So ask happy customers, family and friends to save and share your great property. Happy renting!

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