How To Increase Your Airbnb Bookings
Part of our ongoing effort to help our clients improve their business.
A lot of you hosts may know me as I covered the photography for so many properties in the past few years for various agents/individuals. If there is one thing that unites all of you in this game, it’s your collective confusion of just what exactly Airbnb wants from you and as we did one contract directly on behalf of Airbnb, we also had to carry out property inspections during our shoots so I’ve a lot of insight I’d like to share with you.
Now before I reveal all of this I should address the elephant in the room regarding poor tourism in Phuket currently due to various factors! So after this article, take some time to checkout the alternative methods to Airbnb to get more bookings for your property which you will know how to make stand out after reading below. You will see this article also linked at the end.
Despite the amazing service Airbnb are offering, they seem to keep their cards to their chest regarding the secret recipe to becoming a Superhost, achieving Airbnb Plus status and getting plenty of traffic to your listing.
Now through having so many of you telling me of your troubles, your confusion, what you were asked to change, what style changes you had to make and knowing of which of you got accepted to the Plus Program(very few)… I’ve been able to summarize a unique checklist of the most common improvements people are told to make to their listings.
I should add I remember many of you were unhappy when asked to make improvements by Airbnb however on every occasion the requested improvements really made a positive difference. They have some of the best experts of all areas of real estate working for them so let’s not waste any more time rambling and here is a compilation of their feedback which you will notice is largely things that increase the visual appeal giving you the best real estate photography results, then I’ll follow up with more commonly known tips specific to increasing actual bookings, just in case you’re not aware of them.
The Most Common Requests By Airbnb To Clients
• Avoid Clutter such as too many ornaments in one place, messy wires, everything should be neatly placed with space to breath.
• Avoid bare walls, especially big bare white walls. You can get paintings relatively cheap to add some contrast and points of interest to an empty space.
• Living room sofas should have nice cushions. Try to color co-ordinate the room. Pick 3-4 colors and stick with them throughout. (for some reason this really came up probably in the top 3 things they request)
• Just one more time as it’s so important! Pick 3-4 colors max and try to get everything in each room to stick with those colors.
• No empty Tables, bedside tables especially but try to have something placed on every table or again it looks like a big empty space. Maybe a small vase, some candles, small ornaments… anything but tissues, Airbnb really dislike tissues and according to their guidelines photographers are told to remove them.
• Clean your windows! A lot of people have blinds down all the time or various other excuses but Airbnb Photographers have to open the curtains or blinds, revealing sometimes years of grime which is likely going to cause a fail.
• Beautiful Towels, preciously folded to look like cute little animals… Airbnb hates them, no towels on beds ever but Airbnb seems to like bed runners and possibly some ornamental flowers, anything that isn’t raised so wont block the view of the bed.
• Pillows on beds, make sure you have at least 4, they should look thick and comfortable, like you want to just sink into them and start dreaming of all your increased bookings! Try to put 1-2 decorative smaller pillows in front also to add extra color.
• Amenities… Tea, coffee, shower gel etc, it’s all in the guidelines and all basics that are so simple to include but some of you apparently didn’t pass for missing it.
• House Guide, Don’t forget to make a printed guide to your house, local recommendations etc. Airbnb really values it and I imagine guests are quite happy to sit and read it. Digital doesn’t count.
Some Tips to Exponentially Increase the Effectiveness of All of The Above
Color is so important to increasing the visual appeal of your listing and not only what the photographer will show but for the feeling your guests will experience on arrival! A professional featured photo on Airbnb will cause you to get more clicks, push up your listing, your photos look better so you get more clicks again, it basically snowballs into a lot more bookings. Here are some photography gallery links to help inspire you in choosing color schemes for your home.
A selection of inspiring color Schemes – https://www.bhg.com/decorating/color/schemes/complementary-color-schemes/
Pantone – Color Combos, the Best of Each Year, so much inspiration to be found here of what colors work well
If you really want to get lost down a rabbit hole, do some research on color psychology! Colors tend to manifest emotions and reactions which is why you will notice big restaurants, hospitals etc tend to use certain colors and it’s not just that they look nice.
If you still need some help after reading all of this, feel free to reach out to Imageforge’s Brand Marketing Specialist Chamaiporn Yadang. Before working with us she worked as Marketing Communications for various hotels, lastly J.W Marriott. Khun Roh (Thai Nickname), largely advises our own clients and is available for a free consultation before any photo-shoots, head over to Imageforge for contact info.
Optimizations for Your Actual Airbnb Profile
So your property is looking amazing, you’ve got some stunning photographs that look right out of a magazine and now you want to supercharge your listing! Aside from talking to agents, we’ve curated the best advice found in premium guides and tested with friends and the improvements were very positive! So here we go:
- Professional Photos, this goes without saying but in case you don’t know, this is probably the most important thing you can do. Here is a quote from a study by Stanford University which showed a 14.3% increase in bookings between pro and amateur pictures. That’s potentially 4.5 extra bookings a month depending how you break it down.
“Analyzing property images with a deep learning model, they classified the image quality along two levels, high-quality
(professional images) and low-quality (amateur images)3 . They found that the photographs played the role of an
advertisement and found the quality of photographs had a significant impact on the property demand, with high-quality
images increasing a property’s present booking by 14.3%.” –
- Professionally written descriptions of your property, your host and the photos. Pay a professional, we can recommend one if needed. The difference:
“Inspired by the glorious chateaus of France, Chateau Kamala is a sophisticated and luxurious retreat that reflects that magical merging of inspiration and architecture. Created by renowned architect Somchai and Son Builders, the estate is a masterpiece of design and craftsmanship featuring inlayed onyx, hand-planed hickory wood flooring, intricately handpainted ceilings, hand-carved table by Somying Shinatra, exquisite crystal chandeliers, plus an elevator to transport from floor to floor.”
“I got the idea to make a French looking house from my travels in France. The stone is natural onyx imported and as you can see it’s very beautiful! We have a wooden floor and big chandeliers you can swing on after a night in Patong”. I hope the difference is quite clear!
- Most of you are no longer in the early stages of running an Airbnb account but if you are, it’s very important to build up your 5 star reviews. You should be thinking short term to increase your rating and bookings so long term you have more steady bookings and can up the prices. A good way to do this at first is by giving irresistible offers, big discounts if you have some free slots and the customer will more than likely be over the moon with the value and give you a big fat 5 stars! 5 stars is also vital to getting Superhost status.
Under Promise & Over Deliver
- Guests generally will always want a bit more than they were promised, so a wise move is to add some extra cheap products as a nice surprise. For example some free food in the fridge, toys and group sporting accessories if you have a garden or for the beach, maybe some free drinks and make sure to have a good tv package just in case. Any thing you can think of to improve their stay and leave them feeling like they got
great value from you.
- SEO Tip (Airbnb Visibility) for your listing – Adjust the Calendar regularly. Adjust the prices(weekends and weekdays manually). Adjust settings, minimal days which can be booked and do this every couple of days. In combination with offering 1-day stays, this seems to highlight your listing in Airbnb’s Algorithms which helps you appear higher on the website. If your property has been “wish listed” this also increases your rankings.
As we earlier stated, please remember there are a lot of options other than Airbnb, which are especially needed with the current turbulent tourism situation in Thailand. To get more information on these visit our guide on Airbnb Alternatives.
If you would like more help or perhaps would even like to hire us to come photograph your property, contact us now