As an Airbnb host, you pour your heart and soul into creating the perfect space for your guests. But even the most charming loft apartment or romantic cabin loses its allure if the calendar remains stubbornly blank. So how do you get more bookings on Airbnb?
Fear not, intrepid host! Because at Touch Stay, we understand the significance of providing valuable insights to hosts - so we're here to empower you with 17 proven strategies to transform those curious clicks into confirmed bookings, propelling your Airbnb occupancy rate to full calendars and earning you more income in no time.
- 1. Optimise your listing title and description
- 2. Photos worth a thousand bookings
- 3. Amenities unleashed
- 4. Personalise and connect
- 5. Price like a pro
- 6. Become a Superhost superstar
- 7. Reviews: your golden reputation
- 8. Use Instant Book
- 9. Be responsive
- 10. Embrace the local love
- 11. Offer add-ons
- 12. Balance flexibility and clarity
- 13. Seize off-season opportunities
- 14. Embrace eco-consciousness
- 15. Think outside the Airbnb box
- 16. Be social media savvy
- 17. Become a data detective
1. Optimise your listing title and description
Your listing description is your digital handshake, your first impression. Ditch the tired clichés and paint a vivid picture of your space. Showcase its unique quirks, highlight its proximity to local attractions, and weave in engaging details that evoke emotions (think crackling fireplace nights or sun-drenched balconies).
Use keywords that potential guests might be searching for (e.g. "romantic getaway near hiking trails") and sprinkle in specific amenities (e.g. "cosy queen-sized bed" instead of just "double bed"). Remember, you're selling an experience, not just four walls.
See how one Touch Stay user does just this with their listing:
For more tips on how to position your Airbnb marketing read this
2. Photos worth a thousand bookings
Visual appeal plays a pivotal role in attracting guests. Forget grainy phone snaps. High-quality photos are your secret weapon. According to Airbnb, listings with professional photography see bookings DOUBLE!
Showcase the entire space in well-lit shots, capture its best angles, and don't shy away from details like comfy throws or a beautifully stocked bookshelf. Include outdoor shots and highlight unique features like rooftop terraces or private gardens. Bonus points for showcasing seasonal beauty – think autumn foliage or snow-dusted landscapes. Remember, Airbnb allows up to 50 photos, so use them all!
3. Amenities unleashed
Shout from the rooftops about your amazing amenities! List everything from Wi-Fi speed to board games, and consider adding unique offerings like a private pool, bikes, hammocks, a stocked pantry for longer stays - even small things like hair dryers, irons, and extra pillows encourage instant bookings. Every little detail adds up to a more enriching experience and makes your listing stand out in a crowded marketplace.
And don't just rely on the amenity tickboxes provided, use your listing description to embellish on the details. For example, welcoming international guests? Let them know you provide a selection of travel adapters so they can charge their devices easily if they forget or lose theirs along the way.
4. Personalise and connect
You can also attract more guests by demonstrating how you go above and beyond offering standard amenities. Just make sure you mention some or all of these things in your Airbnb listing - if you don’t tell guests about them until after they’ve booked or even until they arrive, they won’t be maximising their potential to help you increase bookings.
Some more ideas of things to offer and then mention in your listing or show in your airbnb photo tour, include:
- Thoughtful welcome touches like handwritten notes
- Locally sourced treats upon arrival
- A destination-specific Spotify playlist in your guidebook
- Fresh flowers as part of your welcome hamper
- A stocked pantry, as standard for long stays
- A bottle of local wine alongside your welcome note
Marketing these personal touches reinforces how good you are at hosting and an anticipation around the quality of guest experience on offer. Then for the guests who experience them first hand, it feeds the memorable experiences you’re helping them create, which in turn increase the likelihood of repeat bookings and fuel positive word of mouth.
5. Price like a pro
Overpricing is one of the biggest Airbnb booking mistakes. Do some research and make sure your rates are competitive compared to similar listings in your area. You can always lower your rates later (even temporarily) to attract new guests and reviews. Or use Airbnb’s calendar rule sets to organise pricing by season, time of week or length of stay.
Dynamic pricing takes the guesswork out of maximising your income. The Airbnb algorithm analyses demand and adjusts your rates based on season, local events, and competitor pricing.
Don't be afraid to test different strategies – offering discounts for longer stays or weekdays can attract new segments of guests. Remember, competitive pricing doesn't always mean the lowest price. Offer value – a unique space with desirable amenities might command a premium.
6. Become a Superhost superstar
Earning Superhost status isn't just a badge of honour – it's a booking magnet. Maintain a 5-star rating, respond promptly to inquiries, and consistently exceed guest expectations, and you’re well on your way to achieving Superhost status.
Guests adore Superhosts, and Airbnb prioritises their listings in search results. To qualify for Superhost status, maintain high ratings and low cancellation rates while hosting frequently.
7. Reviews: your golden reputation
Airbnb will automatically prompt guests (and you, the host) to leave a review as well as any private feedback, but you can also steer guests on what to say in their review by communicating with them before or shortly after departure.
When you’re thanking them for staying with you, gently remind them to share their experience when they’re prompted to leave a review. For example, they might want to mention how comfy the bed was, how gorgeous the view was, the excellent cleaning standards, what they most loved about the place or the recommendations you provided - the options are endless!
You can also encourage guests to leave detailed reviews by setting the example yourself. Leave thoughtful reviews for your guests - it all feeds into the chances of them booking again. It also helps other hosts who are reviewing this guest’s request to stay at their place some other time. Positive reviews are pure gold - they build trust, feed the algorithm, contribute to your Superhost status, and attract future bookings.
8. Use Instant Book
Ever feel the sting of a lost booking after a guest gets caught in the back-and-forth of inquiries and approvals? Eliminate that friction and welcome decisive clicks with open arms by enabling Instant Book. This clever feature removes the need for guest-host message threads and lets qualified guests confirm their stay on the spot. It's a win-win: guests skip the waiting game, and you snag bookings before hesitation sets in.
Just be sure your listing description and photos are flawless, your cancellation policy is clear, and your availability calendar is accurate to avoid unwanted surprises. Instant Book can be your secret weapon for smoother reservations and a happier calendar.
9. Be responsive
Respond promptly when potential guests enquire or ask to book. A fast response signals you’re an attentive, professional host they can trust for a great experience. Set up push notifications on your phone and/or computer so you never miss an opportunity.
And it ought to go without saying, but respond to people as you would want to be responded to. If they like you and they like your place then you’re an exemplar of the Airbnb community values.
10. Embrace the local love
One of Airbnb’s early marketing messages was Live Like A Local. And as a host it’s your opportunity to enable that for your guests. Before they book, your listing description will influence (or not!) how much your guests appreciate what there is to see, do and experience nearby and how to do it as authentically as possible.
Once a booking is confirmed, your role as a neighbourhood ambassador can move up a gear. And here’s where your personalised Touch Stay digital guidebook comes into play. Populate it with essential information as well as highlighting local gems – the best coffee shop, hidden hiking trails, or charming bookshops. Include a comprehensive Local Area Guide and partner with local businesses to offer guests exclusive discounts or curated experiences.
This not only enriches your guests' stay but also fosters goodwill and potential referrals. And once the booking is confirmed you’re ok to send a link to guests via the Airbnb Inbox - that link being to your digital guidebook!
11. Offer add-ons
Enhance the guest experience and boost your income by offering add-on services. It’s a great way to stand out from your competition if prospective guests know that they can organise more of the holiday admin through you.
Obviously only offer things you can actually organise or that are available in your area. And really think about the services that your target guest most wants.
Some ideas to get you started:
- airport pickups
- private chefs
- grocery deliveries
- laundry service
- mid-stay cleans
- equipment hire
Our Jotform Custom Element feature enables you to present upsells in your guidebook that are quick for you to add, and easy for your guests to purchase, all within the guidebook.
12. Balance flexibility and clarity
Your marketing plan and all of the pointers above will help you determine how you position your Airbnb to entice people to click on your listing in the search results and go on to book. But being upfront and transparent about all elements of booking with you will ensure everyone understands and appreciates what’s possible and where they stand.
Just because you choose to have a Firm cancellation policy doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible on check-out times. But unless you state that, the guest will never know! Your listing description could include a paragraph that says like, “Late check-out available upon request and subject to incoming guests. No additional fee applied. Just ask!”
Similarly, if you feel strongly about your house rules, that’s perfectly within your rights, but you can position them in a super friendly way so they’re received in the best possible light by prospective guests. For example, your listing might have a section that says something like,
“No yawn-worthy house rules here, simply a request that you respect what is provided for you and that another guest will be staying shortly after you. Please help us keep the place in great condition for everyone by:
- leaving outdoor shoes at the door
- using the black face cloths provided for make-up removal
- ensuring the extractor fan is on when taking a shower”
It’s all about the art of communicating: if guests are unaware they can’t be expected to know what to do. Right there is another great reason to make use of a digital guidebook as a reference tool for practical information, policies, and house rules as well as ‘how to’ instructions and local recommendations.
13. Seize off-season opportunities
Don't let the weather lull you into hibernation! The off-season can be a treasure trove of bookings with the right approach. We talked above about making the most of the 50 photo slots Airbnb provides as one way of persuading more people to book your place.
Airbnb’s new listing editor feature also allows you to organise photos into folders, so you could create one for each season to showcase how your place and the local area look in spring, summer, autumn, and winter. You could even create one for seasonal celebrations like Christmas, Easter, and national holidays such as 4th July or ANZAC Day.
Then, if you’ve gone to the effort of creating value-driven discounts or seasonal packages (think cosy autumn retreats or festive holiday experiences), dedicate a section to explaining these in your listing description.
14. Embrace eco-consciousness
With 76% of travellers stating they want to travel more sustainably over the next 12 months, it might even sway some of them to book your place over someone else’s if you position your efforts clearly for prospective Airbnb guests to see.
Here are some ideas:
- If sustainability is integral to your offering then consider how you incorporate this into your Airbnb listing title.
- Otherwise create a section in your listing description that highlights your green initiatives, such as energy-efficient appliances, recycling facilities, or locally sourced toiletries.
- If you promote eco-friendly activities, like bike rentals or nature walks, think about using Touch Stay’s Making a Difference section within your digital guidebook and then using one of your photo slots to show that off.
Providing eco-friendly accommodation doesn’t have to increase your cost base and doesn’t have to be a luxury amenity for guests. Price doesn’t have to come into it at all. But there is definitely traveller demand for sustainability-savvy hosts and by showcasing your environmental efforts, you increase your chances of attracting even more eco-conscious guests.
15. Think outside the Airbnb box
Yes, we’re sharing tips on ways to increase your bookings on Airbnb, but guests use other platforms to find accommodation too. One sure fire way to expand your reach and put your place under the noses of more guests is to list your property on other short-term rental websites like Vrbo and Booking.com.
You could also partner with local travel agencies or vacation rental management companies. Explore alternative booking channels like Glamping Hub to tap into different guest markets or simply those most relevant to your target audience. Remember, diversification is key to attracting a wider range of potential guests.
16. Be social media savvy
Don't just list, evangelise! And don’t just rely on Airbnb to do the marketing for you. Increase the number of eyes on your listing and increase the number of people who know you exist by getting active on social media.
Create a social media profile for your business on the platform where you think your guests are most likely to hang out. Then use the platform to tell the story of a stay with you, to encourage people to look at your listing, or sign up to your mailing list, to share your place with their friends, to show-off guest reviews, to alert people to new furnishings, amenities, special offers, or activities nearby. Do this through sharing stunning photos of your space and its situation, video walkthroughs, the local area, and so much more.
Create engaging posts showcasing local attractions and experiences. Run targeted ads on social media platforms to reach potential guests in your desired demographics.
Check out our blog on how to market your short-term rental
17. Become a data detective
Whether you’re getting enough bookings or would like to attract more, dive into Airbnb's analytics dashboard for insights that might tell you why it's working for you or not, and what more you could do.
It will provide you with suggestions on how to improve your listing or to appear in a wider range of searches (some suggestions will be relevant, others less so). You’ll see how your listing compares to other similar listings based on how many of the suggestions you’ve all implemented. And you’ll be able to detect trends in length of stay, cancellation rate and nightly rate both for your listing and versus the competition.
You’ll also be able to see how you perform for these metrics:
- How often your listing appears in the first page of search results
- The proportion of people who click on your listing when your listing appears in their search results
- The conversion rate of people viewing your listing who go on to book
Track performance metrics, analyse guest demographics, and see what strategies are resonating. Don't be afraid to experiment and adapt your approach based on data insights. A data-driven mindset will help you refine your listing and target the right audience, maximising your booking potential.
Don’t let the Insights dashboard become a rabbit warren of possibilities. Take a handful of actionable ideas and implement them immediately. Then monitor performance of your listing over the next few days to see if the changes made any difference. Perhaps even make one change at a time to be sure which is making the most difference.
Remember, becoming a successful Airbnb host is a marathon, not a sprint. By implementing these 17 strategies and consistently delivering exceptional guest experiences, you'll transform your listing into a guest magnet, increase your bookings, extend your length of stay, watch your occupancy rate soar and your income flourish. So unleash your inner marketer and get ready to welcome a world of amazing guests to your unique space!
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