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Changes in airbnb search algorithm

pricing
hosting

#1

Last 3 weeks airbnb changed the algorithm starting about second week of October 2018:

  1. “favorite”/“not favorite” rooms disappeared (last 3 years airbnb used to like some rooms from the same host more than other rooms without much of the reason)
  2. Rooms started mixing after you get a reservation. Ex. One of your five star rooms with 300 reviews will go to the first page - you will get a reservation for 3 nights in december - you room will move to 23rd page after rooms with 3 stars rating and 20 reviews. Period of mixing is unclear
  3. They started showing rooms of middle price range in the top
  4. Bookings went dry for hosts with 2+ listings

Did someone notice anything else?


#2

Interesting. We have 4 listings but for the same home. We have not had a lot of bookings but we are in the shoulder season and we have blocked off individual rooms over the weekends.


#3

Yes! I have an entire unit for rent but our rankings plummeted and they have had to work extra to move it back up.
I have noticed if you search for our city listings for the entire county now show up (multiple cities up to 35 mins away).


#4

What did you do to move back?


#5

I just go in several days in a row to change scenery pics, drop weekday prices a few dollars, unblocked some nights, rewrite description etc


#6

All search facilities change their algorithms often. It’s said that Google does so roughly 600 times a year. You can follow what the engineering and data science people are up to here:


#7

I wonder is having a guest request money through the resolution center affects rankings. We had someone book then cancel the next day. We told them we would refund even though we are on moderate cancellation. We told them we would once we received payment on day after check in, which was just several days away. They still requested money through the resolution system. :roll_eyes: That was a first and we noticed bookings did kind of drop after that


#8

@Altitudeadjustment I believe accounting department hardly communicates with other departments, however there is a still chance

when did you notice the loss in search?


#9

@jaquo Thank you. Any advice on which data to look for on the website you shared? I bet you already figured it out


#10

To be honest @Ivan_Joorevic these days I don’t concern myself too much with the Airbnb search facility. I prefer to promote our rentals myself both online and off. (Mostly online though - it’s quicker). Maye this makes me a control freak :wink: but I prefer to be in charge to some degree rather than relying on Airbnb. Airbnb has no interest whatsoever in getting bookings for me (quite rightly) as its interest is simply to encourage bookings via its system rather than with any particular host.

I believe that Airbnb offers hosts a great facility and is worth every penny of the host fees but I hope I’m right in thinking that I’m under no illusions - they are currently the industry leader and I need them much more than they need me. They will do what’s good for them and I’ll do what’s good for me. Seems fair…

I do like to keep my eye on that site though to see what they are up to.


#11

@jaquo I agree 100% with you and have so many questions for you. So to promote online do you do like google ads? and customers book on website? i was checking that out before and google ads want like 2-3 usd per click… so i am wondering how small businesses handle it. Also the big problem (i live in Thailand) is to charge someones credit card as it involves here opening a company, paying deposit, hiring accountant…

paypal is an option but not so many people actually use it apparently

also if you block dates on airbnb - they do drop you in the search immediately

booking.com is popular but for their 15% commission they dont provide any payments

Also do you charge security deposits? i noticed every 20th guest do something that i want to have one


#12

@Ivan_Joorevic - at the moment (and for the last three or four years) I have directed my own promotional efforts towards our Airbnb listings. I don’t promote our listings directly but write articles (on my travel-related site) that promote our listing without being too ‘salesy’. They then link to the Airbnb listings.

For example, I might write about an event that’s forthcoming locally and (of course!) where to stay if you’re coming into town. Or the best places to dine locally. Or what to do here in the summer (or the winter for that matter). Lots of ideas. Oh and I don’t use Google ads to promote the listings.

Now, regarding payment, PayPal is a good option. Guests don’t need a Paypal account in order to use it. If you use Wordpress or a similar system to create your website then there are any number of plug ins you can use to take payments. I don’t think the fact that you’re in Thailand is a problem.

Yes, if you block dates this is going to affect your search placement. In short, this is because Airbnb wants to make booking as easy as possible for guests so they prefer hosts who are always available. This is one reason why I use Airbnb exclusively and no other booking sites.

Because I have been doing this a long time, the non-Airbnb guests we get are repeats - and I don’t charge a security deposit to them. However, this is easy for me because I’m onsite which makes guests a little more careful. Although I do price to allow for replacements and wear & tear items


#13

@jaquo I used to do that, just after all 15 attractions i have in our city i run out of ideas for posts
which platform do you use for promoting your travel articles and how do you find inspiration to write anything new?


#14

BDC 15% don’t look too bad after 0 bookings from air for a month now.
Google Ads are good (if you know how to approach this thing) for high turnover businesses.
It’s a total waste for small STR properties, unless you are in Tonga.


#15

@summerfun so you are also experiencing it? what your solution would be?


#16

We’ve not noticed much of a difference over the past few weeks. Ok, bookings for November have dropped off but that’s to be expected in our area. Until the Xmas celebrations start in early December Jerez is a bit dead. It’s not just short term rentals, the hotels, bars and restaurants all get the November slump.

That said, we’re picking up 1/2 night stays from BDC which is starting to fill the calendar. The 15% with no cleaning fee is a bugger, but our prices on BDC are adjusted to reflect that.

As regards search position, both our properties regularly appear on the first page, and almost always if you filter for “free parking on premises”. Our first apartment was finished in August this year and the second in early September and these search results have been pretty consistent once started getting 5* reviews.

The top listing appear to be mainly superhosts with 100+ reviews, I’ve not noticed any discernible weighting towards prices.

No matter how they tweak the algorithm, I believe several factors will remain constant and assist your listing in the search:

Reviews (obviously!)
Reviews ratings
Response time (and rate of course)
Declined booking count
Manually blocked calendar dates
Last time listing was updated

To a lesser extent:

Character count in listing
Amenity count
Image quality (i.e. no “flagged” images)

These are simply my thoughts as someone who, in my previous life, spent a lot of time working with databases and search functions.

JF


#17

@JohnF agreed 100%, i was doing all that except “Last time listing was updated”
need to automate that somehow


#18

From my experience, after 2 years of living in Thailand, Air & BDC are the best.

You can spice up your blog with massage, coffee shops, restaurants, tours to local manufacturers. 5,000 Japanese companies have their plants there. Most surfboards and wetsuits are made in TH. All of Asia & Australia drive TH made cars. In TH the opportunities for blogging are endless … It doesn’t matter if you are in Rayong, BKK, or Chiang Mai.


#19

I’ve never run out and I doubt I will :slight_smile:
Of course, there are the local attractions. But bear in mind that everyone else is writing about them so an original take on them is better.

Often an idea for a article can be broken down into several. For example, visitors to any area will want to know where to eat locally, especially if recommendations are personal. But instead of one article that can be split into many:

Where to eat breakfast
Ditto lunch
Ditto dinner
Romantic places to eat
Vegetarian dining
Where to buy picnic food
Picnic locations
Where to dine al fresco
Etc. etc. etc.

Eating can provide at least a dozen articles! Local history is popular too, specialist sports, places that are dog-friendly, anything to do with children, great places for scuba, water sports, recommended bargain places to shop, hidden local gems, festivals, local landmarks, cycling in the area, where to rent [just about anything] safety in the sun,beach etiquette, walking tours, ‘a day in xxx’, what to do if it’s raining, museums, etc. etc. etc.

Then there are articles just about your listing - why it’s pet or kid friendly, why its suitable for businesspeople, for honeymooners, for people who like to hike, for golfers etc. etc. etc.

If I ever run out of ideas, I’ll let you know :wink:

I promote them mainly on social media. I currently get the best results from Flipboard, Twitter and (I’m afraid) Facebook, although I’ve used several others in the past. It really takes a lot less time than messing about tweaking listings.


#20

I’m sure I noticed somewhere that one of the third party dashboard (platform aggregator) apps has a facility to do this. Can’t remember which one though - I’m sure someone else will know and maybe post the details.

JF


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