Having optimised your short-term rental listings with a catchy title and snappy description – which was discussed in a previous article – alongside stunning photos and good reviews, guests now have a clearer picture of what your property has to offer.
But with so many listings crowding booking platforms, and with very few guests looking past the first few pages of search results, your listing needs to appear as close to the first page to be in a chance of being viewed by potential guests.
By operating in line with the search algorithm of booking platforms, the visibility of your listing will increase within results pages, creating a higher ranking with the potential of gaining more bookings.
Here’s our guide on how to get your listings closer to the top of the first page!
Create a positive user experience
Reply to guests instantly
Booking platforms want to minimise friction in the booking process, and so value hosts that respond quickly to questions guests might have.
When it comes to responses, the search algorithm takes into account these data points:
- Response rate: % of inquiries responded to within 24 hours
- Response time: average time taken to respond to new messages
- Response conversion: number of people that book a listing after messaging the host
A higher response rate, shorter response time and higher response conversion can all have a positive impact on the ranking position of your listing. Both booking platforms and potential guests regard you as a responsive host as you provide tailored responses promptly.
But replying to guests can be tricky if you’re managing multiple properties. To make it easier, save pre-written responses to questions frequently asked by guests, such as the check-in time and parking. That way, you have responses on hand to send to guests when necessary.
Update your calendar regularly
Maintaining an up-to-date calendar for your listing is essential to optimising search engines on booking sites. Guests can confidently reserve a set of dates to stay at your property by looking at your accurate calendar.
In addition, booking platforms tag you as an active host, increasing your ranking position in the search results so more guests can see your listing.
It can be difficult to organise your calendar when managing properties on a variety of booking sites. Using software to track bookings across these platforms will help you avoid missing a potential booking as well as prevent double-bookings to your property listing.
Use instant book
The ability to instant book enables travellers to conveniently make reservations without any obstacles. Instant booking is favoured by the search algorithm because there it speeds up the booking process.
On Airbnb, it is claimed that instant book will increase bookings by 20%. As instant booking increases your response rate and secures more bookings for your listing, it gets pushed by booking platforms to the top of the rankings, occupying a high position in search results.
While the instant book option can increase revenue from your property, it disrupts the vetting process of guests. To make sure you are comfortable with the guests that will stay at your short-term rental:
- Only accept people that have been recommended by other hosts
- Make a requirement for guests to submit some form of identification
- Add rules that guests need to follow
By enforcing these rules, you can ensure you get the right guests for your property.
Constant price adjustments
As price is one of the main factors that determine listings on booking platforms, explained in this article, your short-term rental listing needs to sustain a competitive price against similar properties.
It is tough to strike the right balance between price and bookings. Bookings are your main source of revenue, and a higher price may be off-putting for some of your potential guests. At the same time, you are losing out on profits if you remain at a low price in an attempt to gain the maximum amount of bookings.
A good way to tackle this issue, mentioned by iGMS, is once your listing has enough positive reviews and has reached an occupancy rate of 80% or higher, set pricing that is appropriate and competitive within the market.
For those that struggle to keep up with the prices of competitors’ listings, pricing management tools – that also take into account seasonality and events – can save you a lot of time by updating your listing regularly so it remains competitive.
If priced competitively, over time, the ranking of your listing will increase in search results of booking platforms.
Search algorithms for booking sites take into account a range of different data points, to present ideal listings that match the guests’ needs. This is done to reduce friction and accelerate the booking process for travellers.
The areas mentioned above are only a few of many factors that determine the order of search results on booking platforms.
As you continue to increase the visibility of your listing through search engine optimisation (SEO), think about how you can make the booking process as effortless as possible for guests, without undermining your own process of gaining bookings as a host. This should help get your listings closer to the first page, enabling more potential guests to look at your property listing.
Lastly, the booking platforms you’re using should cater towards SEO, and if not, then it’s worth using a different site that makes it possible to climb the rankings of search results.
Want to get your property listings closer to the first page? Our team at Keey can help you get there with our short-term property management services. Check out our website to find out more!