Update: This article was revised on July 17, 2018 to include new factors and features of the experience search ranking algorithm.
Among all the experience listings out there, how does the Airbnb Experiences search ranking algorithm decide which ones to display in search and in what order? Search ranking systems are complex, but understanding some of the key factors that impact how experiences are surfaced in search can increase your chance of being found by guests. While the ‘special sauce’ that goes into the algorithm is confidential, we can share a few elements that the algorithm considers to help explain how search and ranking works. Keep in mind, these are always evolving to better meet the needs of guests and hosts.
This article will dive into the unique guest details that allow our search results to be personalized to each potential guest. We’ll also cover the experience details that help surface and rank experiences. Finally, once you have an understanding of how experience search ranking works, we’ll share our top tips for optimizing your experience to show up in the right searches, at the right time.
How do guests find experiences they are most likely to book?
Search results should help guests find the perfect things to do, right when they are interested in booking. The better we can understand what guests are looking for, the easier it will be to match them with the right experiences in search results. When search does its job correctly, we see more bookings for our hosts!
For this reason, experience search results are personalized for each potential guest based on a variety of signals unique to that user. This can make it difficult for an experience host to see exactly how they rank to potential guests, as different users are often shown different results. Let’s dive a little deeper into how the search algorithm surfaces personalized search results.
Here are a few of the unique elements related to a guest and their trip that are considered by the Experience search algorithm:
○ Categories of experiences that guests have recently shown interest in
○ Location of a guest’s booked home
○ Dates of a guest’s trip
○ Duration of a guest’s trip
○ Size of a guest’s travel group
What experience settings, details, or activities are relevant to search results?
Here are some elements the algorithm may consider when ranking results on experience landing pages or searches:
Page performance signals like:
○ Number of clicks
○ Number of bookings
○ Additions to Wish Lists
○ Number of times your experience link is shared
Quality signals like:
○ Number of reviews
○ Review feedback (see tips below for examples)
Availability signals like:
○ Dates an experience is available
○ Booking cutoff times
In addition to these factors above, the algorithm also considers if your experience is new. To ensure that new hosts have the opportunity to get established successfully, new experiences temporarily appear higher in search ranking.
How can I tell where my experience ranks in search?
It can be tempting to do a search in your city to see where your experience is ranked in search. Keep in mind, this is not always the most accurate way to understand how guests are finding your experience. Remember, we’re continually updating the experience search ranking algorithm to show personalized results that reflect a user’s unique details. Search results shown to you, an Airbnb user with very specific settings, are different than the personalized search results shown to other users, like potential guests travelling to a city on a specific date, with a specific home booked, and with a unique activity history. Another thing to note is that Airbnb surfaces experiences to potential guests in a variety of ways—search is only one of them. (Read more about how Airbnb is driving more guests to your experiences.)
With this in mind, you may be wondering:how will I know how my experience page is performing? One important signal for you to consider is your weekly page views, which you can find in your dashboard. This is a more accurate account of how many guests are finding your experience, as the search ranking algorithm is always evolving and results vary by user.
1. Consider optimizing your calendar
Part of performing well in search is being eligible and visible for searches in your market. Your booking settings and the dates your experience is available can have a big impact on how many times your experience is viewed in search results. Experiences with availability further into the future tend to get more guests per instance. Consider offering experience dates three months out to create availability for travelers who are planning ahead of time.
Also, keep in mind that a large percentage of bookings are made within two days of the experience. To make sure your experience is available to last-minute bookers, consider setting your cutoff time as close to the start time as possible.
2. Keep working on more reviews
Good reviews are essential to performing well in search. Many hosts follow up with their guests with a photo or memory of their time together, and also tactfully mention how meaningful reviews are to their growth and success on Airbnb.
Consider the options guests have when leaving a review, and make sure you’re doing your best to get the best feedback you can. Here are some of the options shown to guests:
3. Create a compelling experience ‘cover’ & price point
The search ranking algorithm considers it a good sign if potential guests are inspired by an experience’s title, photo, and price to click on the listing to learn more. If an experience has a higher click-through-rate than other experiences in the same category, this experience will rise in search rankings.
This is why having a strong cover photo, a compelling title and description, and a competitive price point can help an experience rise in search rankings.
It’s important to set a compelling price within your market. This can generate more attention from potential guests, increasing the clicks on your experience page. This article, Pricing Strategies for Experiences, shares a few strategies you might want to consider.
If you’re ready for more homework to help optimize your experience page, consider checking out The 10-point Experience Page Checklist.
The experience search ranking algorithm is always evolving, and we are working on more ways to capture even more relevant data from hosts and signals from guests to increase host success. We hope these insights into our experience ranking system and additional tips give you a deeper understanding of how guests browse and find experiences.
If you have feedback, we’d love to hear it! Fill out our feedback form, and make sure to use the keyword “Experience search,” so our search team can review your thoughts!