For many hosts, getting near the top of Airbnb’s listing is as difficult as it is for websites to rank on the first page of Google’s search results. Both Google and Airbnb employed secret algorithms that were the subject of speculation online, since a top ranked listed at either Airbnb or Google is the most profitable position. While Google’s algorithm remains a secret, Airbnb opened up and disclosed how hosts can secure top listings.
Turn on Instant Book
If you turn Instant Book on, it increases your response rate and a good response rate helps you move up in Airbnb’s listings. According to Airbnb 60 percent of guests use Instant Book to book a stay; it makes it easier for them to make vacation plans. Airbnb is aggressively pushing Instant Book so they can compete with traditional hotel booking sites, where guests do not have to wait for a response from the hotel.
Don’t Reject Guests Without a Legitimate Reason
Being rejected by a host is not a good feeling for guests. While Airbnb realizes that hosts can have a legitimate reason to reject a booking, nevertheless, hosts who have a higher than average rejection rate compared to other hosts do not receive prominent placement in the search results.
Promoting Your Listing Does Not Help
Airbnb wants to offer travelers unbiased results and hosts know that there is no option to pay for a better placement, however, promoting a listing using the provided embedded code does not help the host move up in the search results either.
Tweaking Your Listing
Hosts who repeatedly change their listing do not help nor hurt their search result placement, but tweaking a listing will show hosts what travelers notice first if they receive more bookings after making changes.
Surprisingly, being a Superhost does not affect ranking. The criteria for becoming a Superhost, such as a good response rate and five star reviews do make a difference. The badge may help users decide between two similar properties; otherwise, it bestows no benefit on the host.
The Most Important Ranking Signals
Airbnb said in their recent post that they review more than 100 factors when deciding which properties rank well. The factors are ones that make the guest’s experience on the site better, such as showing properties with good reviews and crisp, clear pictures first. Factors that are weighted the most include competitive pricing, use of Instant Book, how many clicks a listing receives and number of bookings accepted.
Obtaining preferential listing placement will always depend how Airbnb personalizes the search results for individual users. Factors that influence which properties a user sees first, beyond their search criteria, are their physical location and the device they are using. While Airbnb admits that different devices return a different ranking of listings, they do not elaborate on the reason.