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Tips you didn't know on How to appear high in search results

STRATEGY to get bookings:

1) make yourself high in search -do SEO optimization
2) make your listing clickable (and therefore bookable) - stand out from the crowd
3) make your listing bookable - make it motivational and inviting for people to book. Appeal to human beings, not to machine

In this topic, we will discuss number 1 - what to do to appear higher in search results (without paying money for a booster). I will not bore with technical terms, if you have questions, feel free to ask.

Before we start, you should understand that Booking, Airbnb and other sites are in fact search engine machines. So, here we deal with a robot, not with sweet Booking staff. And these are the tips to make a robot to believe, that we truly deserve this number one place in search 😄

1) Optimize your Title by

A) GEO

Mention your town, city or at least landmark. Think of a word that people might be looking for. Condo in New York? Villa near the Beach? Use Google planner to see what people are looking for in your area

As an example, I am pleased to show our dear forum member Maria's listing. I am searching in the search box as a guest "Guesthouse in Oropos". And opa! The first result I see (top result) is "The Adams Studio in Oropos".

I am looking for "New York Apartment" and "New York Apartments" popped out.

If your property is very near to airport, mention Airport in the title. Central park, beach, Times Square, Fifth Avenue, downtown, forest, river, zoo and so on.

B) property type or traveler type

Use Guesthouse, villa, suites... Backpackers, couples, honeymooners, etc

C) amenity type

Example: room service, cooked breakfast, jacuzzi bath, balcony, spa...

D) maximizing it

Never mind the long listing name. It's a better long name and high in search than short name and invisible.

2) high resolution pictures

High resolution is a ranking factor. That also answers to the question should you hire a professional photographer.

3) maximize all fields

Everything that Booking and Airbnb offer to fill up, must be filled up. That's why don't think that in Guest access it is "understood" that the guest can use an entire unit (in Airbnb), you must write it for the machine, not for the human being. Don't skip Amenities, check yes and no. Add amenities that are cheap for you to add.

Very important - use Tags in all photos! Work on Property score in Booking. Don't forget to fill up profile info.

For Airbnb, don't forget to fill up home safety and guidebook.

4) make yourself active and Responsive

Don't log out of the system.an That way it will think you are alive. And kicking 😁 how do you kick? Block and immediately unblock the calendar. As much as you can keep the calendar open very far to the future. Machines like properties that are available and not those who will be closed soon. P.S. changing descriptions will not help, but updating calendar will.

5) work on numbers

Machines like numbers. That answers the question of how many pictures should have of. Don't worry about people, those who don't like to browse many will browse few. But for making yourself appear higher in search results the number of pictures must be impressive. Minimum 20.

If your property small and doesn't require a lot of pictures, then find a way still to put more pictures. Make pictures of nearest places, cafes, monuments, parks. Use pictures such as "English speaking host" or make screenshots of your best reviews.

Same for reviews. Numbers what matter the most. And, unfortunately, the score.

6) make stay as minimum you can

1 day is the best. And maximum stay as maximum you can.

On another hand, short stays will help you to get Quantity of reviews. Another factor for top search results.

7) twit-twit = win-win

Press that magic button at the top of your listing and share to Facebook and Twitter. It doesn't require a lot of work to do, just discipline. It's really win-win situation. Social networks will allow Google to bring people to you directly. People from social networks will visit your listing and Booking engine will think many people are visiting your listing and will put it higher in search for other people. You can also ask people to add your listing in their wishlists. Keep sharing 😀

For Airbnb keep sharing Wishlists. And make yourself in Wishlists! If many people have your property in their wish list, your listing will appear higher in the search.

Find Facebook groups or advertise in local sites with big traffic where you can leave the link to your listing. More people click, higher you are in search. That means that even if not potential clients do click, they still do good to you.

Open several FB pages and share your partner's links. They give discounts on Booking and Airbnb. People love discounts. Mix this kind of content with advertising your listing to bring more traffic. Think of catchy name such as "best hotel discounts in San Diego". Remember FB Page names are very Googable.

Just for Airbnb:

1) price

Don't overprice. First 10 results are those with a price range to the location's average.

2) fast response

You should be either glued to your phone (like me😃) or use channel manager that sends immediately response to the guest. It could be as simple as this "I got your message. I will reply as soon as I can".

3) instant book

...is a ranking factor. Turn it on.

4) past clicks

...are ranking factors. We will discuss how to make people click in our Strategy Step 2.

5) monthly discount

Again, your minimum should be 1 day. Monthly discount will increase your appearance in search results. It could be as low as 1%.

6) no to cancelations

Do anything you can to avoid cancelations. Give money in cash and ask your client to cancel himself, but just don't press this cruel button "cancel". The same goes for the button " Decline".

7) profile

Make it long.

8) be a prolific writer 😂😅

One forum member called me "prolific writer" 😂 well, it helped me to appear high in search results and I am overbooked again, hurrah. You should know that Airbnb correlates higher search results to hosts that have more words in listing descriptions.

9) amenities

Sharing a secret tip. Airbnb gives preference to hosts who provide iron, desk, hangers, hair dryer, essentials and Internet. The desk will also help you to jump into Work collection, and therefore to have not only more guests, but more Paying guests!

10) 5 stars

Not less than 5 stars will bring you to the top search results. If you need tips on how to get not less than 5 stars, mention in the comments.

Many people ask if Superhost status will make them appear higher in the search. The answer is NO. But those factors that brought you Superhost badge will certainly make you appear higher.

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18 Replies

1
Antres

Thank you Katerinka12 it is a helpful information :)

4 months ago
1
Antres

Booking has an option to receive payments by means of credit card client? Where I can configure this way?, it is good idea to left only this way of payments?

4 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Hi Antres,

How long time are you with Booking? You can't configure it yourself, unless you see the invitation from Booking in Opportunities. They will allow it after some time (no exact timeframe). It is called Payments by Booking.

Yes, it is good idea to allow Booking to receive credit card payments on your behalf. That way you will have less no shows and can concentrate on the most important - getting ready for the clients who will actually show up at your door.

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4 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Wow!!! Katerinka... you did it again...

I was thinking of you. Long time no see..

."I got your message. I will contribute as soon as I can". Its Sunday evening and my granddaughter is getting ready to go back to her mother...so its packing time....

This contribution of yours is so analytic. Its absolutely fantastic...I have to read it over and over again....

Thank you Katerinka for your compliments...I am learning....I am a good student I think...but I have very brilliant and creative teachers....

Take care my beautiful girl....

4 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Katerinka this is the best post ever!!!

I was wondering what is your opinion about promotions....

Is it better to have lower prices or to have normal or maybe higher prices than similar properties but with promotions such as early bookers, long stays, getaway deals etc...

Thanks again for posting...

4 months ago
7
Aaltje B.

Interesting list, Katarinka!

I think I know most of it, but one thing I do differently.

I disconnected Airbnb from Chanel manager. Since I couldn't "play" with figures of Airbnb since the rental prices have to be all the same, like BDC, Airbnb, and others. Airbnb became a big competitor against myself, that was a weird experience.

Ota's all have different commissions. And searchers know that, so they look for the lowest price. With disconnecting again it is a bit more work but have my bookers back and that works for me.

Some do look for hosts with superhost status only (which I like) and guests don't mind to be reviewed with is also a good sign.

So with Airbnb i came out much higher than the others. (endfigure)

At the moment my asking price now is a little lower for Airbnb and end price the same as BDC etc. you understand what I mean?

I can't have direct bookings for Airbnb, if disconnected from Chanel Manager.

Therefore I do these actions manually. Since I have disconnected A. from Ch.M. system I get lots more bookings.

Payments always guaranteed with them too and only had one cancellation, and paid as well, that is over a period of more then three years.

So I am pretty happy. At the moment the ratio is about 40/60

Most serious bookers don't mind requesting for a date to stay anyway, so I get patient and considered bookers. Haha :)

Have a look at my page at A. The Cloan - Self contained Farmstay The Catlins

What is your ratio with the booking OTA's , Katarinka?

And how many OTA's do you work with altogether?

I have two via Channel manager and two separate OTA's

When I am in Amsterdam (soon) I will photograph the building of BDC, it is flash!

Oh, and I stopped Facebook. What a relief! Finally peace :)

Cheery

Aaltje B.

4 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Promotions

There is no connection between using promotions and position in search results. BUT they are beneficial.

1) promotions created by yourself (basic discount, last minute, early bird, etc)

They stand out of the crowd because they are red while the majority of the listings are green. They are eye catchers.

Second, there is a human factor. Many people and especially women (including myself😁) love to get the "deal". People are motivated to buy something that was $100 and now only "70". Only! 😊💵

Should you use those promotions? 4 stars and 5 stars hotels and chains as well like to maintain the price, but even they are using promotions.

That's why everyone else should use Every Single Possibility. Including promotions as well. Let me refer to advise of Zsolt. He said that 40% discount works very well. I tried, and it worked. Way better than 20%.

For comparison, Joey doesn't like discounts as he feels cheated. So, I guess it depends on the host how comfortable are you with using discounts.

As for me, I do the same as Aaltje. The end price is (my price) important for me. Everything on top let Booking, Airbnb and clients 😉 handle it.

2) promotions created by Booking (campaigns)

Black Friday, Chinese New Year, Easter, etc are MUST. Booking will then advertise your property like crazy. Through aggressive email campaigns, on comparison sites (Priceline, Kayak, etc) ... Booking owns and partners with many sites.

Copy your title and Google it. You might be surprised to see your property on sites you never heard before. Traveloka, Agoda, Gites.fr, bedandbreakfast.eu to name a few. Don't miss your chance to participate in every promotion that Booking offers in order to market your property well. Once I join promotion, I see a sudden increase in bookings. They do their job well.

4 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Aaltje, I thought you can use different commissions and adjust to your price. Maybe your channel manager does not have such a feature.

I also like to play with prices and have my own control. Not many people can stay awake for many hours being constantly glued to the phone 😂

Besides social recognition Superhost status can be used in filters.

I do the same as you. I have different prices because of different commissions and basic price is the same or slightly higher on Booking (7%).

I do however have a different price for my agents. It's lower than my basic price on OTA.

Did I understand correctly your ratio 40/60? 40 to Booking and 60 to Airbnb?

If I calculate my ratio for all my properties then Airbnb will be the winner because they simply didn't verify my latest properties. 4 months of doing nothing! Of course, Airbnb takes that money.

If I calculate my ratio for those properties that are both on Airbnb and Booking, then it will be 50/50. Before the majority of clients came from Booking, now Airbnb is taking over. I suspect it is because of the bad review system of Booking.

I work with Booking and Airbnb only. TripAdvisor was possible for a very low price and their support was bad. I can't call to the US all the time, it's simply impossible because in our industry problems with OTA arise almost every single day.

My agents use Facebook and pay $2 to boost their ads. One agent has a Facebook page for a very long time and many loyal clients come to her. I can't say that I am getting many clients from Facebook, but it was a pleasure to see my guests posted pictures on my page.

You can do Facebook in stress-free mode. Just share your Airbnb and Booking listings, it takes 1 click. You can turn off messaging. That way people will be prompted to jump on OTA to make the booking.

4 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Aaltje,

The good news that you don't have that much competition in your area, but you can still improve your listing.

Title

For SEO purposes and people as well, it's a good idea to add "Guesthouse" in the title. Booking attempts to put it on its own as seen on screenshot here: https://ibb.co/wsbtFR5

But the vast majority of people will not notice it.

Breakfast

I don't see rates with breakfast. Create them. And where are the pictures of your wonderful homemade yogurt and goat milk? Make them. Put text on it "delicious homemade yogurt" 😋

Pictures

The main picture does not serve its purpose. Especially you are saying that the sofa is not suitable for adults. Then why it is in the main picture?

Isn't it better to put on the main picture the photo of your beautiful bed or house facade? Keep in mind that pictures should be in a horizontal position, not vertical. Make pictures of both variants: king bed and 2 single beds.

In the same time create rates for king option and separate beds. That will solve your problem with asking the guest what bed arrangement he actually needs. Just offer him in a very clear way.

First 2 pictures are look alike. Reorder pictures.

I don't see pictures of towels, toiletries, sink and toilet.

You don't have pictures of breakfast and toiletries, but you have picture of dishwashing liquid and brush... Does it make an impression that the guest should clean and clean 😂 are you sure?

I don't see pictures of the blanket. Will I sleep just like that? Naked? 😅

Some pictures should be replaced with new ones. Like half basket...

The empty table looks lonely without food, nice napkins, silverware... The amazing view from the window is not exposed on the picture...

Arrange breakfast items nicely with dinnerware, make it look beautiful; create menu. Make lovely welcome signs, there are many on the Internet for printing out. The last picture I didn't understand what's that. Doorknob? (I know what's that from Airbnb, not Booking)

I don't see pictures of DVD player, iPod and many other amenities. Do you have a chance to buy a TV? Maybe even a small one? I bought mine for 24 months installments, maybe you have such option also or second hand?

Property surroundings

Where is the Nugget point?

Profile info (host info)

Fill it up.

Reviews

Use signature such as:
Ella and Guy
Hosts

Facilities

I noticed that many guests do complain about the firm mattress. Maybe you can buy a soft mattress cover to fix that problem. True, most people nowadays like soft mattresses, not firm ones. Small cover for a sofa doesn't cost much but will prevent negative reviews. Maybe Maria can give you advise on how to make flat soft pillows to cover a sofa to make an impression it's soft 😊

For Airbnb

Check-in time

You are writing "welcome by earlybird and nightowl". But your check-in time till 9 pm only...?

Also, no children allowed, but you advertise baby bath.?

Description

Make text readable, divide it into paragraphs.

I don't see anything about the fireplace. It's great to drive attention to it, how warm, cozy, relaxing and romantic the fireplace is!

Create a list of amenities and put them in the description. It will catch more attention, especially you have some rare ones.

I sincerely your wisdom is big enough that my opinion is subjective 😉😊

4 months ago
7
Aaltje B.

Wow, Katrinka, you had a big sit-down to go through all the details, hehe Thank you so much for your time. Will consider the guesthouse addition to the title. Thanks very much for that tip, as I had no idea how other people are seeing the unit. Also view on a cellphone is different as to view on PC.

Not a lot of competition?? I started as one of the first beside a handful that were doing bed and breakfast in the area of the Catlins about 6 years ago. and now there are more than 70 houses/units/ added. We have lots of other groups that advertise them. Competition is huge! Most are not as cosy and have cheap stuff inside so I absolutely don't fear them. Also since starting as one of the first is giving me an advantage with a high number of visitors that review. That is a bonus. I do have muesli and oats / and gluten free granola available and milk from the farm.

I tried the complete breakfast one. And obviously had to charge more. And stopped it again on purpose.

Most people don't eat much in the morning. (Thinking big English breakfast here) I lost so much money due to extra commission I had to pay over breakfast (!) and most importantly, there are so many different ways to serve breakfast, and then people eat only half of it, and I have to throw away the other half :(

My antique coffee machine on the wall is the one that makes people hilariously enthusiastic. Fresh beans from Papua New Guinea, organic and a variety of ways how to make it as you wish: French, Dutch, Italian, caffeine free and even instant. So I have a 10 for coffee. English people often just prefer T and I offer herbal and "normal" .

The photos of the two beds I tried as well. What happened: since people don't read. They take two extra people, because there are 4 beds sleeping places in the pictures ....(duhhhh !) They simply don't take the time to read. So I took the pictures away again.

The paragraph part I will consider. It does make it an easy read.

The couch will be "renovated" Will have thicker seating. I have 7 sewing machines :-0 so no problem for me! :) This will be my winter job.

TV...that is advertised and described in both as not here and had only one lady complain because her husband was bored I think. There are 70 and more other units that all have tv, so I don't worry at all about that one. And IF there is a massive happening like last shootings in Christchurch then guests come over to our house and we can share and talk at the same time. Very positive side affect of it. Huge screen that rests against the wall when not in use, and flaps open to lounge so all can see. Very practical. A big rugby game on ? Come over and join in!

Not seldom we have people come over for a chat, coffee and even dinner. And we share food. That is one of the hidden amazing unexpected surprises that come with staying here. I can't arrange that before hand. They must evolve naturally, they are the best :))

The fireplace: i though I had that addressed, but must be Airbnb.

We have people driving from the west coast seeing the glaciers etc. They don't realize how long it is to get here and arrive after 11 pm and much later. So if they expect to arrive after 9 when I know they come from the west side of NZ, I friendly request them to just pop in and do the check in / out the next morning.

And the brush and soap thing: YP, my guests clean up after themselves. And that is normal here. I do the million other things. Most people that come here are seasoned travellers and older too and mature. They are nature lovers and serious and tidy people. And with Airbnb overall a bit more precise, since they don't want a negative review.

Children: I know, children not allowed, but babies are ok. Haha. Weird wording. Of course, a baby is a child. But this is the lack of OTA's not having a differentiation between the two.

What is the link to your unit Katrinka? and how many do you have?

You've given me some food for thought Katrinka and will upgrade where needed. Thank you bundles for the heads up.

Blessings from above and me :) :)

Aaltje B.

4 months ago
7
Aaltje B.

Hi Katrinka

I changed the wording in the title of the listing and it is showing already!

Thanks again :)

Greetings

Aaltje B.

4 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Katerinka12 is a great artist, decorator and the best advisor ever, helping us improve our listings as much as possible.
Thanks Katerinka12 for your high interest...

4 months ago
2
Keba Wilson

Hey didn't know..that when u cancel guest bookin .due to your policy of part payment u don't pop up in search ...

3 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Booking.com says it isn’t harming hotel owners by putting canceled rooms up for resale. See here: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.phocuswire.com/Booking-com-says-it-isn-t-harming-hotel-owners-by-putting-canceled-rooms-up-for-resale/AMP

Since Booking uses this kind of marketing that actually favors many cancelations, I will be surprised if they will make their own system suffer. Though... They don't really have any open data on it.

As for Airbnb, avoid cancelations at all costs. Airbnb openly says, that few cancelations will not affect the listing performance in search, but many cancelations definitely will.

3 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Katerinka12 thanks for this informing article. I don’t like cancellations at all.
I don’t do this for living but still cancellations is a very annoying situation we have to face.
Take care my girl!!!

3 months ago
1
Edwin John Amis

Hi Katerinka12;

Thank you for sharing your knowledge in your informative article.

I have started at the top of your list and I am implementing your suggestions one by one and will look at the effect in one month's time.

Thank you once again

3 months ago
1
Anna Tbilisi

Hi Katerinka12, Thanks for sharing! Could you copy your listing link? it's d be good to share your experience :) 

Also, what you mean by "Open several FB pages and share your partner's links. They give discounts on Booking and Airbnb" - sharing listings of others? thanks 

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2 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Hi! Katerinka12, I have been reading your post over again and again....this post is full of information only you can give.

I miss you....wish you well...

1 month ago