Listing Not Ranking Well? Not Enough Bookings? Break the Vicious Cycle!
“Why doesn’t my listing show up in the top results? What am I doing wrong?”
“Everything was going well, but now my home is all the way down on the 12th page and I haven’t gotten any bookings in weeks!”
Frustrated and confused? You’re not alone. Understanding what’s gone wrong is a struggle for new and experienced vacation rental owners alike. And property managers aren’t immune, either!
If you feel like your listing is trapped in some sort of Bermuda Triangle, you’re actually not too far off. In this post, we’ll look at how booking platform algorithms work and why some properties show up at the top of the results page while others are buried at the bottom. Most importantly, we’ll show you how you can break the cycle.
Ranking Algorithms: The Basics
First off, let’s talk about those algorithms.
Vacation rental booking sites like Airbnb, Homeaway, and Booking.com are essentially search engines. They use complex algorithms to rank properties based on many different factors (over 100, in some cases). Their goal is to show guests the properties they’ve determined will best meet their needs and have the highest chances of getting booked.
Booking websites analyze your listing and decide exactly where it should appear in the search results for each individual search performed.
You’ve probably heard of SEO (search engine optimization) for regular search engines like Google or Bing. In the world of vacation and short-term rentals, SEO means optimizing your listing to rank higher in the booking platforms’ results.
So what matters? Well, some of the most important factors are things like:
- Competitive pricing
- Beautiful photos
- An attention-grabbing title
- A persuasive listing description
- Positive reviews
- Rapid responses to guest inquiries
- Instant Book
All of these things (plus many others!) work together to get your listing more clicks and more bookings.
And that’s the key.
The more clicks you get, the more your rank improves. But the ratio of clicks to bookings also matters. Booking websites reward listings that do a good job of convincing guests to book their stay.
But that’s not the end of the story, because…
Momentum on Booking Websites: It Goes Both Ways
Picture vacation rental platform algorithms like a train track. You have the potential to go both ways, depending on the choices you make.
Once you get on the train, you’ll be moving quickly. You just want to make sure you’re on a train that’s headed in the right direction! Otherwise, you’ll have to course correct so you don’t end up even further from where you want to be.
Here’s how it works, in a nutshell:
The higher your listing shows up in the results, the more it will be seen by guests. The more it’s seen, the more clicks you’ll get. The more clicks you get, the more bookings you’ll get – as long as your listing is good and the price is right. The more bookings you get, the more reviews you’ll receive, and all of these things will push your listing up in the results. (Hint: this is the good train!)
And of course, the opposite is also true.
The less attention your listing gets, the further down it will move in the results. And if your listing doesn’t appear in those top results, you won’t get clicks, you won’t get bookings…
You’ll never get the chance to dazzle your guests with your fabulous hospitality and earn those 5-star reviews because you won’t be receiving any guests. Yikes!
So what should you do if you’re stuck going in the wrong direction?
Make a Strategic Change to Gain Traction
To break the vicious cycle, you’ll have to do something to give your listing a boost.
Here at Angel Host, if a property starts to move down in the results, we act quickly to remedy the situation. There are many small adjustments we make like changing the main picture or highlighting different aspects of the property, but after this is done, one of the most effective techniques we use is to discount the property briefly for a few days. This accomplishes two different things:
- The listing will show up in more searches, giving it a higher chance of getting clicks.
- The property will be competing with properties at a lower price point. Compared to the other lower-priced properties, it’s likely larger, nicer, or has better amenities. That means it’s more likely to be booked. This will improve the ratio of clicks to bookings.
Owners and managers are usually reluctant to discount, for fear that it will cheapen their property, ruin their listing’s reputation, or simply because they don’t want to rent their property for less.
But let’s return to the trains for a moment. Let’s say you’re on the wrong train, and you’ve realized it. What will happen if you just sit there and hope, wish, and wait for the train to miraculously start moving in the other direction?
Unfortunately, not a whole lot…
You’ve got to pull the emergency brake and stop the train, so you can start going the right way. And the sooner you do it, the better! That’s exactly what brief discounting does, and why it works so well.
When done properly, this discounting won’t affect your overall revenue and will give your property just the boost it needs to climb back up the results and get the momentum going in the right direction.
Once you’re moving up again, you’ll be thanking yourself. You may even land on that coveted first page of results before long!
Partner with Angel Host and Stop Fretting Over Your Listing
When you partner with Angel Host, we do more than rescue your listing when it’s in trouble. We’re constantly improving and optimizing your listing, so we prevent the vicious cycle before it even starts.
- We set you up for success with gorgeous professional photos and expertly-written listing description.
- Our experienced revenue managers optimize your rates daily, so you get more bookings and earn more money.
- We market your listing on all the top platforms, to reach the widest audience.
- We keep all of your calendars updated in real-time, across every booking platform.
We stay on top of the latest best practices for each booking platform, which are constantly changing.
With Angel Host, you never have to wonder whether you’re doing it all right or spend hours studying the differences between the platforms.
We work hard to keep your listing where it belongs – in the top results!