How the Airbnb Search Engine Works
Airbnb is an online marketplace for unique accommodations that provides a platform for hosts to list and manage properties including availability, pricing, incoming inquiries, and so on. Airbnb also provides a trust layer and they handle all payment throughout their transaction system.
One of the key components of how Airbnb works is the search engine that enables the users to discover a listing matching the tastes and preferences. The platform processes close to two million active listings checking them against a complex set of conditions including calendar availability and geographic positioning. It also calculates ranking scores which are composed of hundreds of signals for each listing. Airbnb built a highly customized search system to be able to do all these.
This is how the Airbnb search engine really works:
Respond Quickly to Every Inquiry
As a host, you receive many questions from potential guests. Some are vague; others are basic questions that you've already addressed in your listing. Over time, you learn to differentiate serious inquiries from the curious. Airbnb rewards hosts that respond to all initial inquiries within at least 24 hours. The faster, the better. Airbnb does this by tracking response rate and response time. Response rate it the percentage of inquiries you respond to within 24 hours. Response time is the average time it takes you to respond a new message. They are both calculated using data from the past 30 days.
If you can't provide a complete response, reply with a simple "I'll follow up with you shortly". This will stop the clock. Also linking your Airbnb inbox to your phone's SMS messaging helps you stay responsive while you're on the go. You can also automate your messages with Aviva IQ. If you want to improve your Airbnb SEO, you must maintain a 100% response rate to all inquiries and reservation request.
Update your Airbnb Calendar Daily
Airbnb's search algorithm feels more confident with the accuracy of your price and dates if you continually update your calendar. Make sure you stay active on the site by updating your daily price, calendar availability, or weekly pricing. You can use a dynamic tool like Vayoo to change your prices on a daily basis.
Enable Instant Booking
As a new host, you might be hesitant about allowing just anyone into your home. But the more bookings you accept, the more you realize the risks of hosting are small. Instant booking is an Airbnb feature that helps you get more reservations. Travelers like the option to book a room immediately, as they would with a hotel. If you enable instant booking, you attract more serious guest that want to quickly secure their accommodations and are happy to pay top dollar. Instant booking ensures your listing is booked more often thereby boosting your Airbnb ranking.
Link Your Account to Social Media
By sharing your listing on social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, you market your home to your immediate circle of friends and family. This signals to Airbnb that your rental is worthy of highlighting. Airbnb loves the free publicity and rewards you accordingly. Post your listing on all of your social media accounts and ask your friends to like and share it. Having a strong social media presence shows Airbnb you're serious about becoming a trusted business partner.
Get more 5-Star Reviews
Airbnb has stated that "the quantity and quality of reviews from past guests can impact your search performance." This is especially important when getting started. One early, bad review can bury your listing.
A tip for getting awesome reviews: email your guest shortly after departure and ask for any critical feedback. Let them know you're dedicated to improving the guest experience. Emphasize the importance of their review to your success. If they respond quickly with positive remarks, then leave them an official review on Airbnb. If they have a lengthy list of critical feedback, it's probably best not to review them at all. Guest are much more likely to leave a review if you review them first. Also, they are typically less critical after some time has elapsed.
Create a Generic Guidebook
Airbnb allows you to create a guidebook to share your favorite local attractions and restaurants. The key to creating an effective guidebook is to include all of the major tourist attractions in your area. Users often search for neighborhoods, landmarks, and tourist traps. Including popular tourist destinations will help you appear in more search results.
Convert Inquiries into Bookings
I receive most of my bookings in a cluster. You can receive no bookings in a week and then, three in one hour. This is because Airbnb favors hosts that have a recently completed transaction. It's an indicator that you are currently active. Early on, set your pricing low to attract your first reservation. Then increase your rates. Your second booking is right around the corner.
Have a Complete Listing and profile.
Airbnb is constantly updating their site by adding new features. Many hosts are slow to react to these changes. You can use this to your advantage, by making sure you complete every part of your listing, including description, amenities, profile, photo caption, etc.