Classifying my listing within a “category”

Classifying my listing within a “category”

Can someone please help me optimize for the new category search feature? We have a very high end unit with a chefs kitchen. It’s displayed in photographs, mentioned in descriptions and captions, and we get stellar feedback from our guests. When I go to view the new category “chef’s kitchen”, it does not come up. In fact, no listings in our city (Pittsburgh) come up. I would understand maybe if there were better more equipped “chefs kitchens” in my area.. but there are zero being advertised, and we have one! Can anyone help me get our place classified? We have another unit that is a tiny house. It’s not coming up under category “tiny house”.


I would love some guidance! 

49 Replies 49
Level 2
Málaga, Spain

Hi all,


I realized that the subheading of the listing (to be seen under the location name when clicking on the map or looking at the list of properties) is key to get into the categories.


Categorized listings have the name of a lake or a national park here. Then it sais "Near XXXX" under the location fo the listing. In the attached screendump it sais "Near Laguna Dulce", which is the name of a lake. It it is on the lake category!


BUT: Where does the subheading come from? 

I cannot find it anywhere in the listings or in the 'edit' part of my listing...


Any idea where this subheading comes from?



Level 2
Bocas del Toro Province, Panama

We have two treehouses and none appear in the treehouse category... Other listings in the area that just have a cabin in between trees, not in a tree, do appear in Treehouses... Very confusing all of this.

Level 10
Mountain View, CA

Just a note from an almost programmer that knows a fair amount about how these things get trained and algorithms depend on certain features in the models.  I've posted a screen shot of the search that I just did on my browser.  I'm also an amateur photographer and to be honest a lot of the photos I see on the front page of the "Chef's kitchen" view are actually fairly similar if you ignore the colors and just look at the structure of the photo.  I'd be willing to bet the way to try and hit the "Chef's Kitchen" algorithms sensitivities right now are:


  1. Angled perspective photo with an off-center focal point/center-of-mass in the photo
  2. Include island
  3. Slightly elevated to look over the island so as to see as many appliances as possible
  4. Refrigerator is in the photo
  5. Pendant lights...DEFINITELY pendant drop lights! 🙂

I'm guessing the problem is the number of photos that AirBNB has in their training set is too small.  Over time they will supplement the training photos to give a better variation of what qualifies as a very nice kitchen.  I actually find it kind of funny that our kitchen didn't get classified as one, but I guess it's because of 4 aspects of my main kitchen shot:

  1. No refrigerator and no microwave/oven/warming tray
  2. At the wrong angle with a center of mass that is outside of the kitchen
  3. Raised island covering the gas range
  4. Too monochromatic 

I'm guessing AirBNB didn't anticipate the degree of nuance and variations in the photos.  Hopefully they'll recognize the issue and start supplementing their data sets with a wider cross section of representative photos.  ML/AI is only as good as the training set data you build it on no matter how fancy the algorithm.

Based on the above I'm almost certain I know what photo to take of our kitchen the next time I am there to "hit" that category.  My advice to others is to look at the photos when you do your own "Chef's Kitchen" search, find one that is similar to your kitchen but differs in some of the above criteria and retake it so it adds that and/or more than another criteria.

It's probably a similar story for the other categories.  If you want to get into a category, take a look at the photos that did get classified that way, try to ignore the details of the photo and just look at the overall structure (lighting, coloring, perspective, cross-section of objects in the photos, etc.) and try to replicate those aspects.


@Michael5689 Thanks so much this is a super informative and helpful list. I am revamping my photos with it in mind but stopping short of adding pendant lights. Do you think the photos below are a closer representation? Still can’t see many appliances. Appreciate any feedback you got here! Thanks in advance 





Level 10
Mountain View, CA

Hard to say but if I had to guess take the picture from a spot in between where you took those two shots.  The algorithm might have trouble picking up the contrast since it’s pretty monochromatic. Maybe put a low centerpiece on the counter?

Level 10
Mountain View, CA

I do think the first one is better though.  Tough though because you can't see the other appliances in it...

@Molly396  Chef here. You have a nice home kitchen, and there's nothing wrong with it. If I was searching listings mostly for the location and just wanted to be able to make an occasional light meal, it looks totally suitable for that.


But the "Categories" feature is designed for flexible searches, where some particular thing about the home is the guest's top priority. And if my trip plans involved so much heavy-duty cooking that the chef's kitchen mattered more than the location, your kitchen is not what I'd be looking for. I don't see anything resembling ventilation for the stove, there's inexplicably a carpet in the exact space where food is likeliest to drip, the useful items I need to grab quickly are hidden in vanity cabinetry, the cooking vessels appear too small for a full-on feast, the open-plan design leaves the kitchen chaos in full view of the dining area, and the prep space is too narrow for multiple cooks to comfortably take their stations. That is all totally OK for just about every normal use of a holiday rental, but if I specifically needed a chef's kitchen, to be brutally honest, it's a nightmare.


That said, if you really wanted to market your loft as a culinary destination, I see no reason why the algorithm should crock-block you. There's no empirical definition of a chef's kitchen - it's basically just a real-estate-agent euphemism for "owner who overpaid for shiny surfaces seeks return on investment" - and anyway, Airbnb is hellbent on making search results ever less accurate.

@Anonymous another question— any guess why they are investing so heavily in featuring such a select and small group of specialty properties? they’re almost all booked up anyways. 


It would seem to me this excludes so many hosts, and so many guests who do not have this flexibility… 

@Molly396  Mercifully, the conventional search methods are still available to guests whose travel plans aren't centered on Airbnb's whims. For them, the specialty stuff is just some distracting clutter on the screen. 


As a guest, my main problem with the redesign is that it's deliberately engineered to deliver search results that are completely different from what you search for.  That tries my patience; if the options I see on the first page of results are not a match for the criteria I enter, I'm not going to keep scrolling. The exact matches should always come first.

@Anonymous  Thank you so much for this feedback! The hood vent is retractable, it comes up from the island, but I see your point!


 And I agree, the search is becoming so strange. 

Level 10
Jersey City, NJ

@Molly396  Yeah that is what I meant, but it doesn't really add much in terms of photo appeal, maybe mention somewhere what kind of refrigerator it is, esp. if its sub zero which is maybe something the algo would pick up on.

Level 10
Pensacola, FL

@Molly396 if you are so keen on chef's kitchen....change your title. Also I don't see much description under each photo...that's important.... pretty sure.... especially with guests often not reading listing but looking at pics. Just an additional thought. I wish you the best.

I am less keen on chefs kitchen and more just focused on how we can maximize and use this much hyped new category feature. I will put some time into the description later tonight! Thank you so much for the feedback!! @Clara116 

Level 10
Jersey City, NJ

@Molly396  I would think for chef's kitchen you would want more photos of the kitchen itself, a close up of the stove,  a shot of the open refrigerator, some portrait type shots of presumably high end cookware/spices/other in the cabinets.  Possibly a shot of the island set up for a dinner. Also, a longer written description of what exactly makes it a chef's kitchen.  It looks very sleek & modern, but that is something different.

@Mark116 Thanks!!


! I will consider how I might be able to work those shots in. spices, dinner set up, is genius. I will put some attention to my descriptions as well. Maybe I’m really just curious how to get into any of these categories! So elusive! I did take a photo of the fridge open,.. is this what you mean?



Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Just out of interest, how does one classify a chef's kitchen, as opposed to just a nice, big, well equipped kitchen.


I looked this up, and there is no formal definition, but a few things that came up over and over were:


- A kitchen that a professional chef could cook in (also that multiple cooks could use simultaneously)

- A sub-zero refrigerator (I wonder if that's included in Airbnb's amenities list?)

- Gas range or cooker

- State of the art (or high end) appliances

- Lots of counter space and maybe a kitchen island


Other things I saw were:


- Ample storage

- Multiple sinks

- Multiple ovens

- Large dishwasher (or even more than one dishwasher)

- Warming racks

- Smart layout


Here's a useful article:


Just wondering if listing as many of these things as you have in your amenities, on the listing, including them in the photos etc. would result in inclusion in Airbnb's chef's kitchen category. I doubt it, as the categories search seems really, really glitchy, but you never know.




Although you have mentioned it in your listing description, it's not obvious to me from the photos that this is a chef's kitchen. I think you could include some more 'detail shots' of what that kitchen includes and don't forget to caption them accordingly.

@Huma0  Thank you so much. Basically, that is the description I have also found for chefs kitchen. I am going over to the property today and will try to take some great shots of the sub zero, hidden appliances, cookware. I tried to investigate properties that are currently being listed under chefs kitchen category for inspiration—- it does not appear they are doing something so different or have more descriptive photographs but I am going to give it a try! My confusion is that they also want “high end” type photos— I don’t know if the in-cabinet snaps I’m about to add will dumb it down and make it less high end! 

Level 10
London, United Kingdom



Yes, that is an issue RE photography, because I'd also be reluctant to add my own non-professional snapshots to the professional photos already on the listing.


I have added a couple to my listings, e.g. of one of my cats to make it crystal clear to guests who do not read that there are cats! I have also added one of the roof terrace because the professional photographers came in late Autumn/early Winter when it was a bit grey and not much was in flower.


However, I have additional, new bathrooms as well as some other updates that I have not added as I've been unable to take good photos myself. I think I will just have to pay for another photoshoot at some point.


So, I would suggest you just take the best photos that you can and then have a look at them alongside your others. If you don't think they are up to scratch, you can then decide if being in the chef's kitchen category is more important than good looking photos or not. Like I said, I am not even sure that having the right photos guarantees to put you in the appropriate categories anyway.


I mentioned on another thread about these updates that my listings are not showing up in the search for the 'shared homes' category in my area, even though I have photos taken by professional Airbnb photographers. Meanwhile, the listings that are showing mostly have poorly lit, amateur photos and don't look that great.

@Clara116 and @Huma0 


I am here taking some more photos! Would you mind looking here to tell me if any of them scream chefs kitchen better than others? I really appreciate your feedback and time so much. I am inserting some new photos here! 


BA8F416A-ABD1-4EBF-B302-DD09BFD8580D.jpegShoot it will only let me upload two at a time! I’m going to place two more below I think reflects a pretty different angle. Thanks!! 



@Huma0 @Clara116 



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