Airbnb Answers: Tips for getting more bookings

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Airbnb Staff
Airbnb Staff

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
Lizzie
Former Community Manager
Former Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

Hello @Alice-and-Jeff0,

 

Sorry for my delay in coming back to you, I just wanted to double-check on this.

 

So yes, if you have retained your Superhost status for 4 consecutive quarters, like with receiving your Superhost travel credit, plus if you are in an area where free photography is available you should see this option on your Superhost rewards page. This benefit is live now. 

 

From what you have said both of these apply to you, so I would actually recommend contacting our Support Team so they can have a look at you account. 

 

I hope this helps and you get this sorted.

 

Thanks,

Lizzie


--------------------


Thank you for the last 7 years, find out more in my Personal Update.


Looking to contact our Support Team, for details...take a look at the Community Help Guides.

Sion2
Level 10
SF, CA

I have been a super host for 12 straight months. I am a photograper. I still prefer my iphone pics...I am always booked so I know they are working and I love that gasp when they open the doors of their rooms. What a nice way to start your stay as a guest , happy at your selection, more then you thought you might be. 

 

Here is my tip for being a great host. Its all starts with the bed...I am shocked at how sloppy and small most beds are in listings similar to mine.  The thing the guests will use the most is the bed. Invest in a good one. I even hacked mine with an added platform so it makes no noise and does not move on the floor. I have a King size bed. This means more bookings...and people not in couples often book and use the wedge pillow. 

 

I just booked some places for my trip...it was the bed size that made or broke the deal. I am not going to squeese into a double with my husband in a hot climate. Queen or King only. 

Alice-and-Jeff0
Level 10
Durham, NC

Wasn't one of the "future options" for Superhosts to have new professional photography  as an option vs. another travel coupon?  Photography is available in my area and yet, I can't choose this "benefit".  It would be great to have new pictures taken now after 3-1/2 years since our last professional session. Things have changed in my home (like our old pictures have our now deceased old dog in one of them - people ask about her all the time, it's really awkward), landscaping has changed, we swapped out some furniture, added some art, and yet, even if I wanted to pay, I can't go through Airbnb.  They won't even give me a list of names of the professionals they use so the quality would be the same as the ones they are taking for other hosts.  

 

It was just more platitudes and promises from @Chesky0 that have never come to light.  

Lizzie
Former Community Manager
Former Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

Hello @Alice-and-Jeff0,

 

I hope you are good. 🙂

 

In terms of the option to choose between travel credit or a free photography session, I do believe this is available now.

 

When you go to your Superhost page (when logged in), are you able to see this benefit option at all or only the travel credit option? 

 

Thanks,

Lizzie

 

 


--------------------


Thank you for the last 7 years, find out more in my Personal Update.


Looking to contact our Support Team, for details...take a look at the Community Help Guides.

Karen1304
Level 2
Harrisburg, NC

In my mind correct staging of the space has to be just as or more important than the actual photo quality. My place is pretty sparse right now because of my personal situation, but when I've looked at booking I'm definitely attracted to listings that have nice decor touches......that's where I plan to invest!

Sherry128
Level 2
Washington, DC

I’m new to Airbnb and just became a Superhost (Yay!) and we have used a mix of professional and our own photos. The local pro was excellent and did a better job than I did in capturing an accurate yet flattering look of the space. So far guests have been very pleased. 

Vano2
Level 2
Tbilisi, Georgia

Hi everyone. 

 I am superhost also, not agree that the  photos aren’t important, I can 100% tell that   photos are so much important,  even when Someone ask me what can i do to get more bookings I always tell them take the great pictures first and then publish the listing. I have 4 apartments for rent and all of them made by professional photographers. Many of my guests  mention that the apartment are exactly as in the photos.

Vanchop15
Alex1276
Level 2
Newstead, Australia

How does the additional $ for extra guests affect bookings?

 

E.g. I have a 2 bedroom, and sometimes guests come and only need one bedroom, so I have a $20/pp fee for guests above 2. 

 

Would I be better off to have a higher base rate price?

 

It would be great if Air bnb would introduce a "extra room" fee instead of extra guest fee, as sometimes 2 people will stay in a 2 bedroom and use both bedrooms, so still need to clean both bathrooms and both bedrooms (same as 4 people). 

Kitty-and-Creek0
Level 10
Willits, CA

I have a mix of professional and my own images. I learned a lot from the pro work, including the wonderful Airbnb photographer.  I am here all the time, so I have a chance of capturing that spectacular sunset, the light on the garden, and the latest change in decor. Keeping my photos up to date is a creative process, not an end result. 

East-Mesa-Studio0
Level 2
Mesa, AZ

Better photos- really?  How about if airbnb stops trying to undersell my rental with pressure to lower my rates?  I've seen another neighborhood succumb to this pressure and now they're renting for $35/night!  Come on airbnb- how about figuring out ways we can increase our revenue instead of you increasing yours with the "better pictures" upsell?

Lizzie
Former Community Manager
Former Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

Hello @East-Mesa-Studio0,

 

Great to meet you and thank you for your feedback here.

 

 In regards to pricing suggestions, this is something that is asked about quite a lot here in the Community Center. A response and update on pricing was spoken about at the recent Host Q&A. I wonder if you have watched or read the information on this? Take a look here if not (question 7). 

 

I hope you find this information useful.

 

Thanks,

Lizzie


--------------------


Thank you for the last 7 years, find out more in my Personal Update.


Looking to contact our Support Team, for details...take a look at the Community Help Guides.

William629
Level 2
Kitchener, Canada

I totally agree that good photos are very important for a successful listing. And as a guest, they are key in my decision making.  I've been with Airbnb since the days when they offered free professional photography. Which I used to support local photographers. However, my experience was that in the end many of my own photos were better, and more disturbingly, the professional Airbnb photographer actually photoshopped out details that are important in giving an honest and real representation of the space. So keep it nice, but real.

Neaw-and-Stephen0
Level 2
Ko Samui, Thailand

I think theres an argument for both self taken and professional photos.It all depends on the photographers skill and eye.  i whilst most of us think we are budding David Baileys the fact is good photographers have great vision and ture understanding of depth and perception

 

I used to be a hotelier and I found i disliked professional photogrphers work as they take 20 shots of a room each time using a different light. Then they would merge them, this creates glowing pictures with impossible to recreate lighting.I have always hated looking at hotel shots and being dissapointed when getting there. I with experience learned to identify "false" photos by looking at the engles of light coming from their sources.

 

I found the solution that worked for me was to hire a professional but to insist that this creative lighting and colour sautration was not done. The maximum i allowed was a bit of soft back light(behind the camera. 

 

I also requested that little or no colour sturation used on garden and sky shots(which meant waiting for a sunny day but we have lots). When we retired we carried this policy over to our two holiday villas. The result is well taken shots with great angles and depth(because taken by a professional) that highlight the villas,combined with great customer responses saying "looks just like the pictures"

 

I also try and send short(home made) video clips to the guests. It would be great if ABNB allowed little 10-15 second video clips so we could truly highlight each part of our villas.

Colleen253
Level 10
Alberta, Canada

@Neaw-and-Stephen0  These are good tips and I'll use them, thank you! My listing is home-y and humble and I have avoided pro photos as I've feared setting up unrealistic expectations. Although a few guests have said 'the photos don't do it justice', so improvements can clearly be made, lol.

Stephanie842
Level 2
null

I've taken my own photos for our listing and they seemed to have served us well tho this year hasn't been as busy as last. 

I look at my pics periodically to see with fresh eyes if they're as good as they were when I loaded them.

   I'll continue to take my own but may use my Nikon next time.

Arthur-And-Megan0
Level 3
Montville, Australia

We have been Superhosts ever since we started hosting in early 2014. We have never used professional pgotography and we never will. The professional photography service provided by AirBnB does not provide the host with a genuine, informed ability to find the best local photographer to best depict their property.  We agree with several of the previous comments that this article appears to be purely aimed at encouraging hosts to generate more income for AirBnB rather than actually provide a service that is in the host's best interest. The article does not actually provide any tips and recommendations for increasing bookings, so the article is genuinely misleading. If you want to have professional photos of your listing then go for it, but at the moment you are better off researching photographers in your area yourself and that way you can also be sure that you are not paying (as with AirBnB's photography service) for something that may end up being completely unacceptable and unrealistic, with no recourse to recover your money. Professional photos, for the most part, present an idealistic and unrealistic image of the property. We want our guests to arrive at our stunningly beautiful property (actual comments from guests!) and then walk into their AirBnB accommodation and be blown away by how fantastic it is in 'real life' rather than feel their expectations have not been met because of professional photos. AirBnB please take note: the hosts who choose to list with you are your lifeblood and without us you have no business model at all. If you are going to persist with offering a professional photography service then you need to change your approach and provide hosts the ability to reject unrealistic and idealistic photos at no cost, and to reject genuinely poor photography at no cost: other booking sites have a reasonable and open approach to negotiate with hosts on an on-occurrence basis when there is a problem and before deducting a fee from the host, so why is AirBnB so stringent that the photography fee must be paid by the host when the resulting photos are unrealistic, poor quality or unusable? I'm sure this would happen in only a minimum of instances, so why isn't AirBnB prepared to wear the risk and the cost when a photographer AirBnB has proposed to a host is really not up to the job? Isn't that what you have business insurance for? Isn't that just one of the costs of AirBnB doing business? A more flexible approach on your fee policy for this service would likely see many more hosts take up the option, and to the benefit of the AirBnB business, the hosts and the guests.

We hasten to say that overall we are immensely pleased with the service we receive from AirBnB as  Superhosts.  We offer the above comments to hopefully engender some thought about how AirBnB can improve its business model to the benefit of the company and hosts, and lets not forget the all-important guests who want to be sure the property they have booked really looks like the photos.

Letti0
Level 10
Atascosa, TX

I am not sure if It's always better to undersell than oversell. Due to the new review process I now undersell big time. I removed 15 photo's and left only 18. I had alll my amenities listed in detail and have since remove them from my description. They are still checked off on the amenities list, but not explained anymore. I am a higher priced listing because of my amenities being high end. I am going to try this method for the next few weeks, if I don't get bookings I'll put them all back online. You can find out a lot of them from my reviews, so if anyone bothers to read them they'll have an idea. 

Vicki92
Level 2
San Diego, CA

I had AIRBNB PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER COME AND TAKE PICTURES OF MY CONDO IN POINT LOMA SAN DIEGO CALIFORNIA.I DO RECOMMEND PAYING FOR THIS SERVICE.MY GUEST SOME EVEN SAID AFTER THEIR STAY. THE PICTURES REFLECTED THE CONDO DECORE ACCURATELY OF WHAT THEIR EXPECTATIONS WAS. MY GUEST LIKE THE COZY COMFORTABLE FEEL OF THE CONDO.MY PLACE IS REGULAR BOOKED FOR THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF.I JUST EARNED SUPER HOST FOR A SECOND TIME IN A ROW.THE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER I FEEL DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE VICKI [Surname hidden]

Muriel174
Level 2
Totnes, United Kingdom

I did a mix: I have photos I took and some a professionnal took, the professionnal ones are better on light and colour than mine...so the mix gives a pretty realistic view 

Gaz--Gary-0
Level 3
Frankfurt, Germany

AirBnB want bookings, they don't care about a hosta's review - they want $ on the table so they want your place to look better than the Booking.com place.  

 

Why they don't allow us to make videos I don't know

Matthew-and-Debra0
Level 2
New Buffalo, MI

I agree !! I have been a super host for 13 months straight.  I have had several guests say the pictures don’t do the place justice. At first I wanted to change that , but then realized, they were over and over pleasantly surprised and their experience was better then they expected.  This has turned to into a win for us.  I’m not saying I want low quality photos.  I feel they look exactly as the home is and are a fair representation of what the quests are paying for. The home is old but super clean and tastefully decorated. I won’t get professional photos 

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