Airbnb, while no longer new to the travel market, has certainly become a formidable player in a relatively short period of time.
Many of our clients have found that their connection to Airbnb has been one of their most profitable vacation rental channels during the pandemic. The ability of the consumer to deal direct with the accommodation provider, especially when it comes to making booking alterations due to COVID, has simplified the experience for the guest and has been a sought after alternative to booking through the faceless OTA’s.
With its constantly increasing popularity as a channel, it is important to understand how to ensure your property attracts attention when it comes to a traveler search. Keep reading to find out some of the measures you can take to ensure your listing ranks well, stands out from a crowd and is able to gain more traction when it comes to securing bookings.
1: ATTAIN SUPERHOST STATUS
In Airbnb terms, Superhost status is an accolade given to “hosts who go above and beyond in their hosting duties and are a shining example of how a host should be”. It celebrates and rewards Airbnb’s top rated and most experienced hosts.
If granted, the Superhost badge appears on your property listing and your host profile.
The benefits of achieving ‘Superhost’ include increased visibility, exclusive rewards, and increased earning potential. Your Superhost badge will appear immediately on your main image when an area is searched. It’s a point of difference and attracts attention from guests, which can lead to additional bookings.
A tangible benefit of Superhost status is increased consumer confidence in your accommodation. Guests expect that they will receive outstanding hospitality from these hosts and that the host will go over and above to ensure that their guest’s experience is second to none.
Prospective guests can, and often do, choose to filter their search criteria to feature Superhosts only.
In addition, Superhosts have access to their own exclusive reward system. They earn a $100 USD Airbnb coupon every year that they keep their status. When they refer a new Host to sign up, Superhosts get an extra 20% on top of the usual referral bonus.
How to meet Superhost Status
Airbnb has some benchmark criteria that you must meet to become a Superhost. These benchmarks are checked every 3 months, to ensure that you have met all the criteria by the assessment period. Airbnb then looks at your previous year of hosting to review your performance.
- 8+ overall rating
Superhosts must maintain a 4.8 or higher average overall rating based on reviews from Airbnb. Guests know that they can expect outstanding hospitality from these hosts.
Like any review situation, the more reviews you have the more accurate the overall score will be. A one-off score of 4/5 will immediately drop your average lower than is acceptable for superhost status, if that is your only review. However, if you have four 5 star reviews, and one 4 star review, your average will meet the benchmark.
Encourage reviews by providing a great experience and asking for feedback (and reviews) in your check out message. Also, review your guest immediately after their stay. They will receive an email from Airbnb notifying them that their host has reviewed them, and this in turn will encourage them to reciprocate.
- Maintaining the required number of stays
Superhosts must complete at least 10 stays in the past year or 100 nights booked over at least 3 completed stays. This gives guests the confidence that you are an experienced host.
- Cancellation rates of less than 1%
Superhosts need to maintain a host-initiated cancellation rate of less than 1%, not including extenuating circumstances. This amounts to zero cancellations for hosts with fewer than 100 reservations in a year. Rare cancellations mean peace of mind for guests. They don’t have to be concerned that you might ruin their travel plans by cancelling on them last minute.
- Speedy Response Rate
Superhosts also must maintain a response rate of 90% of new messages responded to within 24 hours. Communication is important to guests. They want an answer to their queries quickly so that they can make a decision and move on. HiSITE has now added new features to assist in maintaining that response rate. You can now answer email messages and answer reviews direct from HiSITE, without switching between software programs, which will make it easier to respond within the required timeframes.
Although Airbnb will look at the previous year of hosting to review your performance, you don’t need to have been a host for a full year to achieve Superhost status. As long as you have met the criteria by the assessment period, you can still achieve your Superhost badge.
2: GETTING THE BEST VISIBILITY FOR YOUR LISTING
There are other ‘tricks of the trade’ that you can use to ensure that your listing ranks well according to the Airbnb algorithm.
The obvious factors that influence ranking are location, availability, number of guests, type of property, and price. These factors are basic search criteria and can be filtered according to the guest’s requirements.
In addition to these basic filters, there are a number of other factors that can have an impact on your ranking. These are listed below, in no particular order;
- Superhost status helps you rank well, as discussed above.
- Guest Reviews
Plentiful, good reviews will have a big impact on your ranking in search. Airbnb has a great deal of respect for guest’s opinions as the most trustworthy source of the value of a guest’s experience. As already mentioned, a strong review average is one criteria for Superhost status. The greater the number of strong reviews, the better. The more reviews you have the less impact an unfavorable review will have on your average. Guests will also tend to look at the less positive comment as the exception rather than the norm, and it may have a lesser impact on their decision making.Encourage reviews by firstly, providing a great experience and secondly, asking for feedback (and reviews) in your check out message. Review your guest immediately after their stay. They will receive an email from Airbnb notifying them that their host has reviewed them, and this in turn will encourage them to reciprocate.Make sure you respond to ALL reviews, especially if you do happen to receive a less favorable one. Show that you are a proactive and caring host. If you do receive a bad review, be tactful, considerate of the guest, apologise that their experience didn’t meet expectations and show what you have done, or what you will do, to address their concerns.
If the guest didn’t give you the opportunity to rectify the issue while they were still in house, and this is the first you have heard of it, you can tactfully mention that “you hope they raised the issue during the stay so that it could be rectified for them”, or something similar.
Remember your response is really targeting new visitors to your site who are reading the review, rather than the complaining guest. The complaining guest has departed and most likely won’t be back. You want to allay the fears of the new visitor to your site. They want to be confident that you listen to your guests, react proactively to any concerns, and do all in your power to rectify the situation. If they know you will help if there is an issue, they are more likely to overlook one unfavorable review.
- Conversion Analytics
Analytics have an impact on your ranking. For instance, how many times your listing appears on a search divided by how often it is clicked on, how often your listing is opened divided by the total number of bookings you receive, or the number of enquiries you receive divided by the number of bookings you accept, can all make a difference to where you rank on an Airbnb search.An important factor is how long a visitor stays on your page. If they quickly bounce off your listing and head elsewhere, it clearly doesn’t meet their requirements. The longer a guest stays the more appealing and engaging the listing must be.There are measures you can take to ensure that your listing is more engaging. We will discuss these further in the article.
Visitors can add your listing to their wish-list for their future travel plans. This speaks volumes to Airbnb in respect of the appeal of the listing and again, improves your searchability. It will also appear at the top of the visitor’s next search for property in your region and increase your chance of a booking conversion.
- Instant Book
Guests prefer instant book as they know immediately that they have secured the property. Airbnb prioritizes listings with instant book switched on for this reason
- Airbnb calendar
Keep your calendar opened for 12 months rather than just 6 months. Airbnb prioritizes these listings because guests can book further ahead.
- Guest Communication
Airbnb rewards you for communicating effectively and responding quickly to any guest enquiries and messages. The faster the better in terms of response time for a positive impact on your ranking.HiSITE has added features to make it easier to respond quickly to both messages and reviews. You can now answer both email messages and reviews direct from HiSITE, without switching between software programs. The convenience of this and the easy visibility of messages will alert you immediately that there is a message there requiring action, and significantly cut down your response time.
Guests love flexible cancellation policies. Whilst we understand that you need to weigh this up against owner expectations, properties with flexible policies are prioritized by Airbnb in terms of ranking.Likewise, Airbnb penalizes hosts who cancel on their guests, unless there are extenuating circumstances. Avoid this wherever possible.
List your amenities as well as accessibility, pet policy, suitability for children etc to ensure that you appear on searches where visitors are looking for these specific amenities.
You’ve no doubt heard the expressions “a picture paints a thousand words”? Nothing could be more accurate when it comes to accommodation. Beautiful, high-quality images portray your property in its best light, and are a major factor in achieving that sought after visitor engagement that you need to rank well in search. You should aim to have multiple high quality, professional images at ideally 1900px or higher. Use descriptive captions including suitable keywords to ensure the images are picked up in search.
Likewise, ‘dwell time’ on your site is significantly enhanced if the written content on your listing is engaging, descriptive and informative. Use keywords that the guest is likely to be looking for to aid your search response.Also make it easy to read and use lists / bullet points rather than an overwhelming block of text.
We understand that this may sound complicated, and that there is a lot of information here to work through. However, once you know what you need to focus on, this will become second nature, and your Airbnb ranking will see the benefit. Work through your listing an area at a time and ensure that it meets the required criteria. You will soon optimize your ranking in your local searches and reap the benefit of maximizing the potential of your Airbnb listing.