Listing your property on Airbnb is one of the easiest ways to quickly start getting bookings. In this guide, we’re going over how to optimize your Airbnb listing, so you can get more bookings with higher nightly rates.
Keep in mind that even though these ideas are specifically for Airbnb, the principles here apply generally to Vrbo and other listing sites as well.
Your Airbnb listing can be broken down into several component parts, each of which can be optimized for better results.
There are 6 main parts of your Airbnb listing we cover in this guide:
- Title – With just a 50 character max limit, it’s one of the smallest but most important parts of your Airbnb listing.
- Photography – Your property photos can make or break your listing.
- Description – Identify what’s unique about your property, and explain it in a clear, concise, and approachable way.
- Amenities – Guests often search with filters for specific amenities.
- Pricing – Maybe the single most important part of your listing to optimize. We recommend using a dynamic pricing tool.
- Other Search Ranking Factors – Reviews, responsiveness, and several other factors affect your Airbnb search ranking.
By optimizing these different aspects of your Airbnb listing, it will both show up higher in search rankings, and get more clicks and bookings. This becomes a virtuous cycle, as more clicks and bookings means higher Airbnb search rankings.
1. Write a Compelling Title
Your Airbnb listing title is one of the shortest but most important parts of your listing to optimize. You’re allowed just 50 characters to grab the attention of people searching on Airbnb, and encourage them to click.
A good listing title will stand out to potential guests who are searching for exactly what your property offers. Whether that’s proximity to a specific location or event, or coveted amenities like a pool or hot tub, the more specific and descriptive you can be, the more likely you are to make a strong connection with would-be guests.
Here are our best tips for writing your Airbnb listing title:
- Highlight what’s unique about your property – Try to reference any specific amenities, location, or other factors that make your rental property stand out against the competition in your area.
- Use the full 50 character limit – Airbnb appears to favor longer titles, and using more characters means you can be more descriptive.
- Avoid generic adjectives – Rather than using vague words like ‘nice,’ ‘beautiful,’ ‘convenient,’ ‘spacious,’ try to be more specific instead.
- Give your Airbnb a name – Listings with brand names can feel more established and trustworthy, as well as more memorable.
Learn more about how to write a great Airbnb title.
2. Use Good Photography
Your Airbnb listing cover photo is the first thing potential guests will notice while scrolling through dozens or hundreds of listings in your area.
When choosing your cover photo, think about what will set you apart and make you stand out from the other listings in your area. You might choose to feature a pool, a beautiful exterior, a thoughtfully decorated bedroom, or something else that makes your rental property unique.
Your cover photo can make or break your listing, since a bad photo can cause people to scroll right past without giving your property a second thought. A good cover photo, on the other hand, will put your property in its best light (literally) and encourage more clicks and bookings.
Consider this example:
These two photos capture the same property, staged the same way. And yet there’s no question which photo will attract more attention, clicks, and ultimately bookings.
Aside from your cover photo, having plenty of high-quality photos in your listing gallery will help guests get a better sense of your property, helping them feel confident to book.
For more ideas, read our post on vacation rental photography tips.
3. Write an Effective Description
Before writing your property description, we recommend taking some time to identify what specifically makes your property unique and marketable—also known as your unique selling proposition. Here are a few ideas to help you identify your unique selling proposition.
Make a list of the features or benefits that are unique about your property. This might be your amenities, size or quality of your rental, your location. Are you close to downtown? The beach? Does your place have a large backyard? A pool or a hot tub? Is your property thoughtfully designed with a modern interior? Is it an artsy studio? Identify the most important and unique features of your property. What do you yourself love about it?
Identify characteristics about your typical guest. Do your guests tend to have similar reasons for booking with you? Create a guest ‘persona’ or a couple different personas, to capture what your typical guest is like. Maybe you have a large property that’s great for retreats and family reunions? Or maybe most of your guests are visiting on business? If you can identify your typical guest, you can highlight features of your property that are specifically important to them.
Keep in mind relevant events and seasons in your area. Are you close to a convention center, ski resort, national park, or any other place that has an influx of visitors at different times of the year? Maybe there’s a large conference at the convention center near your property in a few months? It is a good idea to be aware of these events and seasons, and update your headline and description in the weeks and months before to capitalize on guests looking for a convenient place to stay during their trip.
Once you’ve identified your unique selling proposition, use it to inform what to include in your listing description (as well as your title), to make your property stand out as specifically relevant to your potential guests.
In your writing, you want to come across as helpful and approachable. Include lots of useful information about the area, like tips about where to go and what to do. You want your guests to feel like you are a good host who cares about their guests—someone who is determined to help them have an enjoyable stay. Your writing should get to the point, but avoid being stiff and dry, and consider incorporating humor or something personal where appropriate.
4. Offer the Right Amenities
Since guests can use amenities as filters, there’s a chance your listing will be filtered out if it doesn’t have certain amenities. It’s a good idea to carefully consider the amenities you want to offer.
See if there are amenities you can add that will help you stand out against the competition in your area. Many of them don’t even have to break the bank. Something as small as a coffee maker might be the difference between winning or losing a booking.
5. Optimize Your Airbnb Pricing
Price is obviously one of the biggest factors that guests consider when choosing a place to stay. However you decide to price your property, keep in mind that the more competitively priced your property, the more likely it is to show up in Airbnb search rankings.
We recommend using a dynamic Airbnb pricing tool. A pricing tool like Wheelhouse can help you monitor the competition and automatically set rates that are optimized for more bookings at the highest possible price.
For more ideas, read our post on Airbnb pricing strategy.
6. Other Search Ranking Factors
Aside from these aspects of your listing that you can directly control, there are a number of other factors to keep in mind if you want to boost your listing on Airbnb.
Good reviews. Focus on getting good reviews. Easier said than done, but good reviews are essential to performing well in Airbnb search rankings. A small number of negative or missed reviews from guests won’t necessarily have a substantial negative impact, but it’s best to do everything you can to get glowing 5-star reviews. Sometimes, things as basic as providing quality towels or a good mattress can help you get better reviews.
Superhost status. Every 3 months, Airbnb checks to see if you’ve met the following criteria: 4.8 or higher overall rating; 10+ stays in the last year; less than 1% cancellation rate (from you, not your guests); 90% response rate. If you have, you’re given Superhost status, which gives guests more confidence to book with you, which increases your booking rate, which improves your search ranking.
Responsiveness. Your response rate and average response time both affect your search ranking. You should respond to guests and potential guests within 24 hours, and much sooner if possible. Using vacation rental management software can help by automatically responding to messages.
Instant Book and Rejections. Airbnb also takes into account how often you reject bookings, and if you’ve turned on their Instant Book feature. It’s up to you what you decide to do (some hosts prefer not to use Instant Book because they want to manually approve guests), but keep in mind that these decisions factor into your search ranking.
Number of clicks in search results. Your search ranking is also influenced by the percentage of people who see your listing click on it. This means you want a good photograph and an attention- grabbing headline. Remember to highlight your unique selling proposition, and consider updating your headline around different local events or seasons.
Number of requests to book. This is the percentage of people who click on your listing end up requesting to book. Now they’re on your listing, and if you have good photography and a good description, and your price, location, and other features match what they’re looking for, then hopefully you just got a new booking.
Learn more about how to improve your Airbnb search ranking in our post on Airbnb SEO strategies.
Consider Using Other Listing Websites
While Airbnb is one of the best listing websites for vacation rentals, and plenty of hosts and owners list exclusively on Airbnb and are booked year round, it’s not the only way to get eyes on your property.
In addition to Airbnb, you might also consider listing on large sites like Vrbo, Booking.com, and others.
You might also check out some different niche listing websites, and see if your property is a good fit for any of them. The benefit of these smaller sites is that with fewer property listings and less competition, you have a better chance of standing out.
If you do list your property on multiple websites, we recommend using a channel manager to avoid double bookings and to easily sync bookings, prices, and other property details across multiple channels. You can also use this software to create your own direct booking website.
Popular platforms like Airbnb and VRBO are currently one of the best ways to get exposure and bookings for your property. And by optimizing the different parts of your listing, you can both boost your Airbnb search ranking and get more clicks and bookings.
Here’s a recap of how to optimize the different parts of your Airbnb listing:
- Title – Be as descriptive as possible and highlight the most unique and relevant aspects of your listing.
- Photography – Take better (and more) photos, and choose your cover photo carefully.
- Description – Identify and explain your unique selling proposition in a clear, concise, and friendly way.
- Amenities – Carefully consider what amenities you can offer, so you show up in as many searches as possible.
- Pricing – Optimize your pricing and get the best nightly rates automatically by using a dynamic pricing tool.
- Other Search Ranking Factors – Do everything you can to be responsive, get positive reviews, and follow the other advice in our Airbnb SEO cheat sheet.