Wanna know how to increase your bookings immediately? Well get in line. Everyone’s looking for the fast-track to the top – yet so few make it. Why is that?

Well, the short answer is that it takes some effort to get there. Time and effort. Persistence is key – no amount of Airbnb tips articles can give you that.

OK. Now we’ve gotten rid of the lazy riff-raff looking for a quick buck, let’s talk about improving your listing’s presence.

A full booking calendar is every host’s goal, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But it can certainly happen much faster if you’re aware of what makes your rental appealing. It’s not just the list of amenities – that’s your first tip.

Here are a few more improvements you can make to your Airbnb listings to start attracting guests more quickly:

1. Start working on your Superhost badge (yesterday)

Yes, this has to be number one, and you’ve probably heard it ten thousand times. But it’s very important. Not so much because you get a fancy little badge on your profile, but more so because of what goes into it.

If you’ve read the Airbnb SEO article, you already know about this. But for the rest, let’s just break it down quickly. All of the factors that Airbnb takes into account in judging your worthiness of a Superhost badge are also ranking factors.

So, as long as you’re working on / maintaining your Superhost status, you’re doing the same for your listing’s search ranking. It’s a win-win.

How do I know this? Airbnb told me so.

So, here are the things you need to work on for your Superhost badge / SEO:

  1. Completed at least 10 bookings
  2. Maintained a 50% review rate or higher
  3. Maintained a 90% response rate or higher
  4. 0 cancellations
  5. Maintain a 4.8 overall rating

Now those things probably don’t look like editable items on your listing. But they are – here’s some of the things you can do to make this happen:

  1. Keep your response rate up
  2. Improve your listing quality (explained in the next 4 steps, and here)
  3. Solicit reviews
  4. Be careful with Pre-Approvals
  5. Turn on the Instant Book feature

See this Airbnb ranking article for more in-depth information on how to work these angles!

2. Warm up your host profile

While there’s no peer-reviewed data on this, it’s generally accepted that a friendly appearance is conducive to more bookings. Is it a deal-breaker? Probably not, I would have to see your profile to say for sure. But it’s definitely a factor in both your booking rate and reviews.

Here’s a few ways you can warm up your Airbnb profile and appear more personable:

  1. Provide multiple forms of identification. Make sure you give Airbnb government-issued and photo identification. This will be displayed on your host profile and will improve perceptions of trustworthiness.
  2. Put a picture of yourself up. And try to smile please. You want to look friendly and easy-going, someone that’s going to be easy to communicate with. It doesn’t matter if the guest isn’t going to see you at all during their stay. The important thing is that your guests can associate a friendly face with your property and their experience. It’ll work wonders for your reviews.If you can’t help but appear like a sociopathic murderer, then just put a picture of a teddy bear up.
  3. Fill in your profile description. Don’t leave this blank. You can help improve your image as a welcoming host by including a little personal info. It doesn’t have to have the same level of depth as your dating profile, just scratch the surface. Tell them what your job is, where you’re from, what you enjoy doing, etc. Potential guests will feel more comfortable knowing they’re interacting with someone they can relate to.

3. Work on your property imagery

Again, this is something discussed in the Beginner’s Guide to Airbnb Rental Management and the Airbnb SEO guide. But here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

  1. Professional photographs. This is an investment worth making. Don’t think too hard about ROI etc. Just look at your competition – they all have beautiful photos right? You need them to compete, you need them to win over potential guests. There’s plenty of real-estate photographers who can probably make a trip over to your place today. Do yourself a favor and make the call.
  2. Change your default photo. Why? Because it’s the first thing any and every potential guest is going to see. This is the photo that will show up in the search results when someone types your location in. This is the photo that’s going to hook them in to find out more. You have to make it count.To ensure effectiveness, choose the photo that highlights your property’s strongest features. If you’re advertising a generic, modern suburban home, your default image should be the beautifully furnished master bedroom. If your furnishings are a little lacking but the front garden is in full-bloom, well…you know what to do.
  3. Sometimes less is more. Don’t put every single photo of your property up. Nobody wants to sift through 30 bathroom shots to get to the living room. Nobody wants to see every detail. Go through your photo sets and try to pick one photo for each room that displays its best features. Don’t get all artsy either – people need to see the property. Depth of field blurs and close-up abstract shots are not needed here.

4. Solicit reviews

This is, perhaps, the most important of all Airbnb tips you’ll receive. Reviews are the most trusted source of information for any property. Your booking rate depends on it – the more positive reviews, the more people are inclined to book.

There’s a slight issue though – not every guest will leave a review. It doesn’t mean they had a bad time, it’s just that they haven’t been nudged. When I say nudge, I mean that in the most gentle way possible – being tactful with this imperative.

You don’t want to flat-out ask guests for reviews like this: “Hi thanks for staying, please review me.” That’s not very compelling at all.

You especially don’t want to suggest how they should rate you either: “Hi, thanks, 5-star pls.” That’s downright off-putting for many people, and also against Airbnb’s policies.

So how do I compel my guests? The best way is with a simple, well-written follow-up email. You may choose to use automation software for this, or just keep an email template around. If it’s been 10 days since your guest has checked out and you haven’t heard from them, send them a nudge:

Example follow-up email for soliciting reviews

Hi [person]! We’d just like to thank you again for choosing [your property] for your stay. We were honored to have you as a guest and would be thrilled to have you again the next time you’re in [location].

As a previous guest of ours, your experience is important to both us and future guests. If you’d like to write a review to detail your experience at [your property], we’d be most appreciative!

Best regards,

Something like that. Notice how the sender is being indirect – the review is suggested or encouraged, not asked for. What’s in it for the reviewer? Well, their opinion will have value – everyone wants that.

They’ll also have a chance to make this nice host happy. The guest knows that the person who made their vacation that much more comfortable will benefit from this review. If you’ve done your job right as a host, created a friendly Airbnb profile, and maintained prompt communications throughout the rental process – your review will be a shining one.

For more tips on how to improve your Airbnb listing, check out the comprehensive Beginner’s Guide.