Updated: Apr 20, 2021
If you've been following me for any stretch of time, you know that I always preach the 3 pillars of the "Airbnb Earnings Optimization Framework".
This framework has helped clients increase their earnings by up to 112%.
Today, I want to speak about the third pillar, "Conversions".
If you've implemented the the last two pillars (Occupancy & Exposure), you may have seen the following happen in your Airbnb business:
Your RevPAR/ earnings has increased by charging more on higher demand nights and getting those weekdays booked...
Your listing is now being marketed to five times more potential guests…
But what’s the point of all this if everyone that looks at your listing ends up choosing the other 25 listings they're looking at on Airbnb, or other 5 on Booking.com?
Driving more traffic to your listing is one thing…
But converting potential guests from LOOKING to BOOKING is another…
The average user on Airbnb views 26 different pages before making a purchasing decision.
This could mean they’re looking at 25 other listings before selecting which one to choose.
Converting more guests all boils down to three key performance indicators;
First Page Impressions
First, I’ll give you an overview of what each one is, then how to optimize each part to turn more people looking into more people booking.
23 Actionable Steps To Get On Their First Page Of Airbnb’s Search Results
“First Page Impressions” is essentially how often your Airbnb listing is displayed on the first page of the search results.
Similar to how Google works, Airbnb has their own algorithm that determines what listings will be displayed on the first page.
This is known as Airbnb Search Engine Optimization (“SEO” for short).
Although Airbnb will never disclose exactly what metrics they measure to determine this result…
After years of managing listings all across Australia and Bali, I had the unique opportunity to look under the hood of each listing to see what was working…
And more importantly…
What wasn’t working.
After much trial and error, I boiled it down to 23 key SEO factors.
These are 23 actionable steps you can use to help your listing rank on the first page.
Airbnb essentially rewards you for keeping your listing “fresh” by frequently updating it, having a short response time and providing guests with all the information they need for a smooth booking process.
Here’s a breakdown of each;
1. Fast response times
Airbnb ranks listings that respond to their guests quicker, higher in the search results. Meaning if you've got an inquiry at 11pm, it's important to answer it right away, rather than leaving it to the next day.
2. Daily calendar updates
This point is two-fold. Firstly, Airbnb rewards users that continuously update their listing with better search rankings. And secondly, you need to be updating your minimum night stay (for those orphan nights), so you'll show up when people are looking to book those dates
3. Keep your listing "fresh"
Airbnb rewards hosts for frequently updating their listing. Whenever you make edits to your description, photos, pricing and min night policy. Keeping your 'Last modified date' frequent, will have a dramatic impact on your SEO ranking.
4. Link your account to social media
Start promoting your Airbnb listing outside of the Airbnb platform. The more people that visit your Airbnb listing from outside of Airbnb, the better.
5. Create a Guidebook
Airbnb gives you the ability to have your very own guest guidebook.
6. Have a complete listing and profile
Make sure you go through both your listing AND profile to ensure everything has been completed.
7. Property description length
Airbnb wants you to put in as much detail as possible about your property. Make sure you get as close as you can to the maximum number letters.
8. Attention grabbing headline
Be sure to create a heading that stands out from the competition.
9. Professional photography
Airbnb is optimized for mobile phones, so they give raking preference to listings with;
a) Landscape photos ONLY
b) High resolution images
10. Carefully configured settings
Little things you may not even consider can impact your SEO, such as extra person fees, security deposits and percentage discounts for staying a week or a month.
11. Positive reviews
Of course, it goes without saying that the more positive reviews your listing has, the more Airbnb will favor your listing. But don't worry if you receive a couple of bad reviews.... we found that quantity actually has a greater impact on rankings.
Price per head is one of the most important factors we have been able to find to increase our ranking. Having a sofa-bed in the living room has worked incredibly well for us to not only boost our ranking but also increase earnings.
13. Superhost status
Funnily enough, being a superhost only has a minor impact in your rankings. Although it is something we recommend you strive for, as each step counts.
14. New listing
New listings will receive an initial boost, especially after they have received their first 3 reviews, in order to judge if potential guests find the listing appealing.
15. Minimum night policy
1 night stays are a good thing, especially at the last minute. If you've got a 2 night minimum, and you've got 2 bookings, a day apart, your listing won't even show in the search results.
16. Long-term stays
Set your policies to accept longer stays, to list in the search results for people seeking an extended holiday.
Be sure to include ALL of the amenities your property offers, as these can be selected as filters on the search page.
18. Avoid cancellations
A lower cancellation rate will increase your SEO ranking.
19. Enable instant-book
If you haven't already, enable instant book INSTANTLY!
Firstly, instant-book is a frequently used filter for guests... meaning if you have it turned off, you'll show up 0% of the time when it's on. Secondly, Airbnb is pushing for better booking experiences, so they'll reward hosts with ranking preference for turning it on.
20. Naming & allocating images
Be sure to caption all of your listing photos, and allocate the photo to the relevant room.
21. Airbnb wishlist
Airbnb will deem your property as desirable, the more potential guests that add your listing to their shortlist.
22. 1st page click through rate
Optimizing your click through rate will improve your SEO rankings.
23. SEO Keywords
Keywords are essential information that helps the Airbnb algorithm prioritize listings, based on a searcher’s enquiry.
You'll want to include the highest volume and most relevant search terms people use who are looking for listings like yours.
We'll discuss this more on the following page.
How To Get More Potential Guests To Click-Through To Your Listing
Once you’ve gone through and completed each of the 23 steps outlined above…
Your listing should be displayed on the first page of Airbnb’s search results more frequently.
This is a great first step!
But it’s only one piece of the three part puzzle…
So now that more guests are viewing your listing on the first page, the question is…
How do we actually get them to click through to your listing?
Remember, you’re now competing with 19 other listings on the first page of the search results (there's 20 listings displayed on the first page).
Let’s have a look at what guests see when they’re on this page:
As you can see, there are four main aspects that will determine whether or not a potential guest is going to click through;
You’re not selling real estate, you’re selling an experience.
To improve your search-to-listing conversion rate, you must use this opportunity on the search page to sell your unique experience.
To do this, you need to create your “Guest Avatar”.
This is your ideal target audience. Someone who is most likely to book your property.
It’s important to identify your target audience so you can tailor your marketing to that specific guest.
An easy way to do this is to go through ALL of your previous bookings and look at;
1. Guest feedback
What did they like the most about staying at your home? Was it the view? The location?
2. Guest demographics
How old is your average guest? Is it usually a couple or a family?
Why are they booking? Are they on a holiday? Is your property a convenient stop-over location?
4. Point of difference
What’s the point of difference people loved about your property? Do you accept dogs where no other properties in the area do? Are people able to park their boat trailer at your property?
5. Property appeal
Why did they choose your property? Do you have a unique style? Does your property appeal to those looking for a “luxury” experience?
Once you go through and collect this data from as many previous reservations as possible, you’ll be able to see a trend as to why people are choosing your property over others.
From this, you’ll be able to create your “Guest Avatar”.
The reason why creating your “Guest Avatar” is so important, is because you’ll be able to charge more for providing a tailored experience for those individuals AND receive better reviews.
Think of it this way…
If you wanted to hire a lawyer to help you settle a property, would you hire a lawyer that services EVERYONE for any legal needs, or one that specializes in property law? Same story when it comes to your Airbnb…
If you’re looking for a specific holiday experience, would you prefer booking a generic listing OR one that speaks to your exact and specific desires?
Go into as much detail as possible. Here’s an example of a “Guest Avatar”
My Guest Avatar
Marital status: Married
Children: 2 children under 18
Occasion: Weekend away to reconnect with the family
Wants: A place that accepts a dog and is walking distance to the beach but also close to popular restaurants and shops
Property appeal: Wants to stay somewhere luxurious and modern
From here, simply tailor your messaging to appeal to your target audience, or “Mary” in this situation.
For this example, I’d have a heading along the lines of;
Luxury Ocean View - Walking Distance To Beach AND Shops
My cover photo would reflect these amazing views and showcase how close it is to the beach.
If “Mary” is on the first page of the Airbnb search results, there’s a very high chance she’ll click through to my listing as this is exactly what she’s been looking for.
You want her to feel like the listing is speaking to HER specifically.
Convert more people from LOOKING to BOOKING
You’re on the first page of Airbnb…
Potential guests are clicking through to your listing…
And now it’s time to sell them on WHY they should choose your property over the other 25 they’re most likely looking at.
So what can potential guests see when they click through to your listing, so we know what we can improve upon: