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! 

46 Replies

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Molly396 

 

I'm going to see how it goes with these categories because currently the searches are super glitchy and it seems that even if you fulfil all the criteria, you don't necessarily show up.

 

So, I think you are right not to drive yourself up a wall. Just focus on what you are doing well and what attracts most of your guests to your space.

 

Of course we have the reviews/feedback at resources for this but sometimes I find it interesting to ask guests how they found my listing, what they were searching for etc. 

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

in
Green Valley Lake, CA
Level 4

I understand the idea of not driving yourself crazy about not being in a special "category." But... people travel to my remote mountain lake town to stay in a "cabin" and therefore they naturally hit the "cabins" category. Half of the cabins I manage disappear when that happens because the algorithm doesn't detect they are cabins even though they are obviously cabins, the titles say so, the descriptions say so, the photos say so, the reviews say so... yet our places don't show up under the "cabins" category. I think they should not have mixed AMENITIES like pools and views and chef's kitchens with ACCOMMODATION types like "cabins" in the new categories program. It is filtering out many hosts at no fault to the hosts! 😞

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

Level 6

@Martin91 100% everything you just said. It completely confused amenity, accommodation, location, etc and will probably lead to some guest disappointment. We have a unique high design unit, and would appreciate it marketed as such— the other units locally in that category do not compete (at the risk of sounding so pompous- but take a look at the ones in Pittsburgh under design and tell me if I’m wrong!). Also- you can search PGH for “lakeside” category and not “creative spaces” category— there’s no lake in the city so for some reason this is excluding huge numbers of highly creative city spaces. 

I have also learned that the search results change based on where you are searching from. I got different PGH category offerings and results than someone out of state who I asked to search. This doesn’t make sense to me. 

 

It also aims to promote hosts who are really great at their SEO— not necessarily the ones who are great at hosting. Ill attach here the response I got from elevating with Airbnb to an “engineering ticket”. It basically told me there is nothing I can do to guarantee placement in a category. “You may have a better chance of being featured but not guaranteed” or something like that.  It is decided by the algo and refreshed every two or so weeks. So one week you could be on the category list and the next week not. We show up at the top of our local general search. No where to be found in any categories. I’m incredibly frustrated and would appreciate if they acknowledged the roll out has had issues. I hope you are able to get your cabin accurately categorized as a cabin!!!! D7D2BD38-530B-4DF8-B109-29DD05275D2D.png

 

 

 

 

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

Level 6

@Martin91 I would be satisfied if they could just minimize the presence of the category feature! It’s dominating the guest experience 

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

in
Pensacola, FL
Level 10

@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.

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

Level 6

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 

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@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.

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

Level 6

@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?

 

94AF151B-E9CC-4BEE-BC0C-A89C700A68E3.jpeg

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@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.

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@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.

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

Level 6

@Andrew0  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. 

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

Level 6

@Andrew0 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… 

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@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.

Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

in
Mountain View, CA
Level 7

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.

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Re: Classifying my listing within a “category”

Level 6

@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 

 

 

0C78C489-7FFE-48D2-9132-6395A17AADBB.jpeg

91C53557-4435-492D-BEED-1FB9FE51080D.jpeg



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