Airbnb Answers: Tips for getting more bookings

Airbnb Answers: Tips for getting more bookings

Bookings%2FPhotography Article.jpg

 

You asked: What can I do to get more bookings?

 

We went straight to the source for this answer: We asked guests what they look for in Airbnb stays, and we analyzed their booking behavior to find out what takes them from browsing to booking.

 

It turns out that, after price and reviews, photography is the most important factor. In fact, 60% of listing views start with a guest clicking on a photo, and over 40% of the time when a guest chooses not to book a listing, the last thing they clicked on was a photo. So photos matter, and they should be as good as possible. 

 

Check out our tips for taking great photos using your phone or camera, or if you’re ready to take your listing (and booking success) to the next level, consider professional photography.

 

We’ve found that pro photography can help your listing stand out and perform better than it otherwise might. Specifically, you can expect:

  • 16% higher probability of being booked
  • 39% higher total reservation amount (which means that guests tend to book longer stays)
  • 28% more nights booked
  • 26% higher average price per night

 

As a lot of you know, Airbnb can connect you with pro photographers in locations around the world. You can request a photoshoot at no cost up front; the service fee will simply be deducted from your future bookings.

 

If Airbnb’s pro-photography service isn’t available in your area, consider hiring a photographer that specializes in interior spaces.

 

Once you have photos that really do your place justice, it’s time to give potential guests some more context. Great photos need great captions. And guests really do read them. Captions are your opportunity to do two big things: direct potential guests’ attention to the unique and compelling perks of your place and help set expectations. So don’t just show them a pretty bed, tell them how comfy it is. Describe what they can’t see for themselves—that the tiles in the bathroom floor are heated, for instance. This is your chance to help guests imagine themselves in your space.

           

By taking the time to show and tell travelers how great your place is, you’ll attract more interest. Your attention to detail in your online listing suggests you’ll be a host who cares about the little things that count in person.

 

View this and other answers from the Host Q&A here.

53 Replies 53
Sean433
Level 10
Toronto, Canada

Also wide lenses are a plus for the viewer. Wide lensing a home shows the home as more accurate rather then misleading. When someone walks into a home, they see the home as wide if not wider than a professional camera shows. Thus, not misleading but painting a true picture of the home. The human eyes are capable of seeing a wide perspective so why not use a wide lens.

 

By doing wide lenses you show the space as how it would look when someone walks in. Also, the guest will spend less time analyzing the pictures to see where the rooms transition to other rooms. It is easier for the guests to visualize the layout of the home with wide lens photos than with an iphone. If they can have a better understanding of the layout and whether rooms transition into other rooms, that is a benefit.

Sean433
Level 10
Toronto, Canada

I am a big advocate for professional photos. I use them in all listings. Professional photos don't have to mean misleading photos. In fact, when you use an iphone to take a photo, you are misleading the guest by showing your space as smaller then it really is. You are underwhelming them thus less likely to get bookings.

 

Underwhelming a guest will probably lead to great reviews because people don't come with big expectations. However, if you want to monetize your place as much as possible, professional photos will help. I disagree when people say professional photos lead to false expectations. That is only the case when the photos are overly photo-shopped. If it is done in good taste and in an authentic manner, it will mainly serve as a positive.

 

In over 200 reviews, I only received one review that mentioned the photos make the place look better then it really is. 1 out of 200 reviews which is almost irrelevant. And that guest had a history of leaving critical reviews for his previous hosts so go figure.

Amanda1005
Level 1
Parkmill, United Kingdom

You have introduced the tips for getting more bookings  with booking for my property and reduced the price  for a reservation you have-taken without my consent. I have a strict rule  to  keeping. To my set price per night . And I don’t feel you have he right to make a decision on the price offered.  Due to this I have now lost  money on  this transaction as I have to still put in place all the usual. Cleaning and house sitting arrangements in place at the full price. 
I am requesting. That in future. You insult me before making he changes.  Amanda Fancourt 

Michael1989
Level 1
Washington, NC

Obviously, there are differing views regarding host listing photos.  I took time to arrange our Airbnb space and property surroundings exactly as it appears at guest check-in and used an i-phone to capture images. I suppose pro shots could make the place look like a million bucks, but I think my photos are appealing enough. My favorite comment from almost every guest is that the place is so much bigger and more beautiful in person.  I might lose a potential booking or two on the site because the photos don't 'wow' enough, but I'd rather surpass guest expectation than dissapoint due to photo scroll oversell.  In two years of hosting, we've been given perfect 5-star reviews from every guest.  We even have to block some dates to give us occasional breaks from non-stop bookings.  The Airbnb format works if guest satisfaction is priority 1 for the host.  Sure, we love the added income, but we work harder than we ever imagined to provide a a clean, appealing, safe space for travelers at a competitive rate for lodging in our area.  That's what we're proud of and what our guests seem to be responding to, regardless of amature photos, with very positive results.

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Michael1989  I agree and that has been my experience as well. I just list a private room/bathroom with use of common spaces, and my photos are definitely not "pro",. in fact over half were marked by the Airbnb bot as "too blurry" or "too dark". Yet guests say one of the things that attracted them was the photos, and when they arrive, several have said "Oh! This is much nicer than I expected." And yes, 2 and a half years of hosting and 5*s consistently (fingers crossed I don't ever get one of those guests who is seemingly impossible to please)

Richard-and-Nadia0
Level 2
Gulf Breeze, FL

How can I offer a 20% discount due to late cancellations?  

Thanks 

Nadia 

Devin-and-Sarah0
Level 3
Calgary, Canada

Airbnb hosting tips can be tough to find and many factors will affect getting a good review from your guests. Some of these tips have been borrowed from other hosts, some we learned over time ourselves, and some I found while I did research for this post. I hope everyone can learn something from these. Happy hosting! Ps this is just 10 out of 50. Check out our Source: www.AirbnbUniverse.com

 

If Airbnb hosting tips isn’t what you are looking for you, then check out our kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living room essentials.

 

 50 Airbnb Hosting Tips

 

Be Upfront – Every city, building, the landscape has difficulties. Whether your Airbnb has 100 steps, the toilet clogs or your wifi is choppy. Let your guests know exactly what to expect before arriving. If you’re upfront then your guests know what they are getting into and will be ready for any surprises.

 

Have Your Number On Your Guests Keyring – Some Airbnb hosts won’t feel comfortable adding their full address onto the keyring. We suggest only adding your phone number due to privacy and it normally fits nicely onto the ring.

 

Be Flexible With Check-in and Check-out times – It is definitely tough to be flexible if you have same day turnovers. Changing your bed sheets, wiping countertops down, and vacuuming takes time. If one guest checks-out at 11 pm and your next guest checks-in at 3 pm, things can get stressful.

 

We have had many guests ask to check out later then what’s in our Airbnb guidelines. We try to keep them happy. How we manage this is by automatically blocking off the next day for cleaning and preparing. To be honest it saves us from scrambling last minute or rushing home to prepare for the next guest. The only downside is the potential profit you would lose.

 

Read All Guest Reviews – By reading your potential guest reviews, you will find out instantly if they have misbehaved during any of their previous stays. Airbnb host reviews are normal very honest.

 

Response No Matter What – Regardless if it’s an inquiry, spam, or a simple question, just reply. A simple “No” is adequate and not replying at all will affect your response rate and could stop you from getting Superhost status.

 

Give New Guests A Shot – Every guest has to start somewhere and at the beginning, this will mean no previous reviews. Give those guests a shot, but remember to ask them further questions. Message them via Airbnb App asking politely “what are you coming for?”, “is this your first Airbnb stay?”, “what time are you planning to arrive?” or “who are you bringing with you?”. These questions will get you a better feeling on if the guest is good for your Airbnb.

 

Get A Co-Host – If you have a spouse helping you with your Airbnb then great. We would suggest getting a co-host to help with at least the messaging. It can be overwhelming replying to all the inquiries and messages, especially if you have multiple properties. A co-host can also help if you ever travel to a country where you have no data…. or just want to enjoy your vacation in peace! With the recent Airbnb updated, you don’t have to share profit revenue if you choose to.

 

Go One Step Further – For us, when our guests check-in we leave them one bottle of water per guest in the fridge and one beside their bed. We also have a fruit basket ready, which has got us many compliments. You don’t have to do this exactly, if some of you guys have a gym membership, offer that for your guests to use. Another idea would be handwriting a personalized note before your guest checks in. Whatever it is, your guests will feel welcomed.

 

Share A Meal, Story, Coffee, Or Drink With Your Guests – This really depends on what vibe you are getting off your guests and if you are living in the same property. Some guests want complete privacy, others would love to share stories and enjoy your company. This will change from guest to guest.

 

Give Your Guests Space – On the same topic as sharing a meal, on the other spectrum, if you get the vibe that your guest is introverted or shy then give them space. Do not push to have an awkward conversation, which your guest will most likely hate. Let them have privacy.


Devin & Sarah, Superhost and Bloggers
Kristen240
Level 2
Houston, TX

I have taken many of the suggestions above on board except professional photography.  I think my pictures are reasonably good.  I offer a private room in a historic home in one of the most popular neighborhoods in Houston.  I'm flexible with check-in and check-out times, greet guests personally, respond promptly, make coffee, offer filtered water, give my guests space, provide restaurant and activity recommendations when requested, offer a free pilates lesson for a 4 night stay, and sometimes provide fresh flowers.  I've even given a guest recommendations on elementary school options and found another guest a rent house.  I have 97% 5-star reviews (94) and have been a superhost for a year.  Many guests walk into my home and exclaim "it's so beautiful"!  

 

For the first 6 months, my place was booked solid but the following 10 months has been so-so.  There is alot of competition, but I've looked at the photos and the amenities are often equal and for a higher price.   A friend has a new-ish listing and is booked all the time.  Another friend gets more than 1000 views per month and I'm lucky to get 200.

 

I'd like to understand why I'm not getting views and what I can do to increase the level.  I've heard that Airbnb promotes new listings and once the listing is no longer new, it is no longer promoted .  What is Airbnb doing to market ongoing Superhosts? 

 

Marj2
Level 4
New York, NY

There are several pics that have been marked "dark" or "blurry" but were taken by your professional photographer, fyi. You don't take those down do you? What do you recommend?

Mildred6
Level 4
Quito, Ecuador

Hi,  My guests before said your apartment is beautiful, but your pictures won't do it, So I decided to hired a professional photographer and I am very happy with the results. Now,  guests are saying one thing they decided to booked my place, are the pictures and that they justify the place. Now I get more bookings. I will never go back to my own pictures. That is a nono.  

 

Jess78
Level 10
Eugene, OR

I read this post hoping to get some other tips besides making your place look nice in photos. Bookings have taken a very hard dive and I have a suspicion that there are other things at play. 

One item for hosts to check is that the displayed rate does not include cleaning fees— it now behooves hosts to drop price and increase cleaning fee to get more lookers. I suspect there are other algorithm pieces at work too—

just updating the listing has been said to help but I would actually like Airbnb to step forward with these tips in a forum like this.

in addition, I have thoughts that Airbnb as a platform is dwindling in popularity as word of the nightmare scenarios spread. For instance, I’m taking a trip soon and will probably stay in a hotel for the first time in a long time. 

‘What are the real reasons our reservations fall off, Airbnb?

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Jess78   The only reason I can imagine that your bookings have fallen off is that perhaps there's a lot more competition in your area? I looked at your listing and your place is so sweet, you have great reviews, and your listing description is personable and complete. And one thing I never see mentioned is that perhaps the economy has something to do with it- people maybe don't have much disposable income these days, or are worried about the economy, are therefore not travelling as much, or vacationing closer to home. So aside from holiday times like summer, Xmas/New Years and Easter,  that could be a reason that bookings are down.

We have been a super host for number of years and recently had the airbnb photographer take the photos  which were more than happy to pay phone. When the ad BMB Photographer arrived she said she could only take a maximum number of shots. It is important to note that even though you have paid for and maximum number of shots Airbnb curates / approves the shots prior to upgrade loading them.

 

I didn’t like and number of the shots for different reasons and asked AIRBNB that the specific photos be replaced with other shots taken on the day. This was declined by AIRBNB and given no reasons why .... even though it was myproperty, their photographer and I paid for the shots I was unable to select alternative shots from the package.

 

It’s incredibly disappointing that despise  asking several times different Airbnb people no help or clarification was given.   Well the photos are lovely I believe the host and owner of the property should also get an approval right so I caution Beechhurst when you spend the money there is a possibility that you may only like one photo 

 

 

 

 

Dave382
Level 2
Denver, CO

As a traveling couple (who book apartments in western Europe and stay for 4+ nights in each one), we want to see the following in photos:

1. The washing machine. I want it in the unit and not somewhere else in the building.

2. The master bed. We have to be able to exit the bed on both sides.

3. The kitchen. Can we actually cook in it?

4. The bathroom. How large is the shower?

 

What we don't care about in photos:

1. Artwork.

2. Tchotchkes.

3. TV - we never turn it on.

 

Photos do NOT have to professionally shot, but they ought to be OK. Fuzzy, dark photos are just not acceptable.

Mimi51
Level 2
Los Angeles, CA

We used professional photography for our space through Airbnb, and the pictures look amazing! When we recently completed an addition, I took my own photos of the new space, but am planning an additional professional shoot once some final pieces arrive to complete the new decor. That said, guests say that the house looks even more amazing in person, so in my mind, that's a win-win! The professional photography through Airbnb does not allow for additional lighting other than natural light, so the images are pretty true to form. I would say what leads to more bookings is having a well-designed, clean and organized space, with good reviews, good value, and a good response rate. Also, maintaining an upbeat tone when communicating with guests is helpful and brings out all around positive vibes on both sides. I also ask for feedback on any improvements in a private message as it lets guests know we care, but at the same time gives us a chance to get things right. There haven't been too many suggestions as I am a bit of a perfectionist, but the ones there have been I have taken very seriously and implement right away. I genuinely want to provide a good experience for our guests and I hope that shows!

Kira32
Level 10
Canary Islands, Spain

A lot of guests said that they where convinced to book at my place because of the many positive reviews on my listing from previous guests. 

 

Im now considering to have a proffesional photographer to take pictures of my apartment. Im so curious if my listings will stand out even more. 

 

Great thanks for the many tips from Hosts and AirbnB!

 

Kira!

Donnya-and-Gabriel0
Level 2
California, United States

I have been a Superhost for awhile now and was looking forward to the professional photography option. It finally came up on my listing and when I decided to use it the option was taken down from my listing. I called SuperHost Customer Service only to be told they made an error by placing the option on my listing. Even though I expressed my desire to have a photo session they didnt offer any options to make up for their mistake. I was hoping to at least get the names of the closest photographers that Airbnb might have availble in the next city or so. However, nothing I was left disappointed. Left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

So Airbnb has determined that guests book based on looking at pictures, reading reviews, and looking at the price. And they think we should be pleased with this information, and respond by working on our photos.

What is evident in this information is that the last thing a guest uses to make the determination as to whether to book a place is READING THE LISTING DESCRIPTION TO SEE IF IT WILL MEET THEIR NEEDS, which seems to me to to be the most important factor in ensuring that guest/host is a good match. This is one of the main issues for hosts and failure to thoroughly read the listing information is what leads to guests complaining about things that were never promised in the first place, cancellations, refund requests, etc.

Perhaps instead of pressuring hosts to use professional photography, they should be pressuring guests to read the listing descriptions instead of behaving like children and only looking at pretty pictures. 

Ali130
Level 2
Campsegret, France

We chose to get professional photographs taken and when asking guests why they decided to book with us they always say it’s because of the photos. When they enter the property they say “it’s just like the photos!”

@Lizzie - If you are talking about this page: https://www.airbnb.com/hosting/rewards

 

I absolutely only have a travel coupon option available to me: 

travel coupon.JPG

 

BTW - the Community Forums are super, super buggy right now.  I cannot select @ options nor can I "reply" to any post.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  

 

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