Disappointed with the way Airbnb search engine works

My cottage is near a popular tourist attraction , so people searching for a near by listing would put in my town or the next nearest town in search box. When I test this on my Airbnb app the first listings to come up are 15 to 20 minutes away accross the river. We are super host with 5 star reviews and we are buried 25 deep behind listings that are not even close. Why wouldn’t the listings show first for the town you are searching???

Yep the Air Search Engine is flawed but they seem to have no desire to fix it. Sometimes it depends on how the Search String is entered. For Example searing on something like “Loch Ness, Scotland” would give different search results than say “Loch Ness, Scotland UK” or some such…

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I really don’t like this phrase but it applies in this case - ‘it is what it is’.

We can do nothing about the search results. Bear in mind that we have to search as genuine guests do - with dates and filters. I know I’m not going to be in results for a month that I’m fully booked - but I will if people are searching for dates that I have available. That seems fair enough. So does the fact that if someone has entered the filter that they travel with a pet, I won’t come up in searches.

Airbnb’s priority is NOT to make sure people book with ME. They just want people to book with Airbnb - they don’t care who the host is. There are thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of accommodation options within a five mile radius of our rentals. Why should I be on the first page? Because we don’t have a right to be high in search results, then we have to promote our rentals ourselves, just like other businesses do. It doesn’t take long.

Regarding the location aspect, Airbnb search often doesn’t seem to know that there’s a difference between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Evidently we are a Miami suburb - sigh…


They dont care about you or what you think or if you make money.
Their goal is to show a property that will convert to a booking and make them money.
Period. The only way to improve is to provide more conversions and discover the secret sauce.
They show what has the biggest potential to book at first look.


It would be really nice if Air added an “include surrounding areas” checkbox in their search fields, like just about every major hotel booking site out there. That way, people can search for the specific city they want, rather than getting results for houses 20 minutes out in the suburbs.

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I always hope that at some point in their search people go to the map view and narrow what they’re looking at. I know I do when searching.


I would add that you could put in your listing title “walking distance to …”, or “2 blocks from…” so that once people do narrow their search a bit and are likely to see your listing, it will stand out.

Something similar happened to me so I changed my listing to instant booking and now I’m on the top of the first page.

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I am based in West Melbourne. But when you do a search for the area, the first few pages are listings in the CBD. So yeah, I share the same pain!

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I’m inventing the phrase ‘it ain’t what it ain’t’ to describe the search engine.


There are some things that you can do to boost your ranking. For example, by updating your calendar on a regular basis, your listing is going to be responsive and active as per the requirements of their algorithm. Also, the quicker you reply the better Airbnb is going to view you which will boost your ranking too. I hope this helps. Good luck!