Join us for a special live event, Airtime: Managing photos & understanding search, on July 18th at 10 a.m. PDT. During this event, the Airbnb team will chat about managing your experience photos and will share tips on optimizing your experience page for Airbnb searches. Register here.
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.
The goal of Airbnb’s search ranking algorithm is to help guests find the perfect things to do, right when they are interested in booking. When guests are looking for experiences, they’ll usually find spotlighted categories at the top of the page and below these categories, there are ‘groupings’ of experiences.
Groupings are distinct sections that help guests differentiate and navigate search results easily. These groupings vary depending on the type of search, landing pages, and guest interests. For example, we group by city or by popular experience categories (e.g. wellness, nature, city walks). These categories are then shown in the order of their popularity.
After showing a few groupings, we always provide a link to ‘All Experiences,’ where guests can find all experiences with available dates. It’s important to note that we are constantly working on improving search and groupings to better match experiences with guests, so groupings may change over time.
How do guests find the right experience for them?
Within groupings, you might wonder how the Airbnb marketplace chooses to display experiences and in what order. We use powerful algorithms to rank and display results. These are always evolving, and they take into consideration a variety of factors. 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:
Guest needs and trip details
We customize search results to enhance the guest booking experience by considering certain elements unique to each guest, such as:
○ Past experiences or categories guests have shown interest in
○ The location of the guest and their trip
○ How long their trip will be
○ How far in the future their trip is
Experience settings, details, or activities
Here are some elements the algorithm considers when ranking results on experience landing pages or searches:
○ Booking settings (dates an experience is available or booking cutoff times, for example)
○ Page performance (we may consider the number of views or bookings your experiences has received over a timeframe)
In addition to these factors above, we also consider if your experience is new. To ensure that new hosts have the opportunity to get established successfully, new experiences appear higher in search rankings.
The search and ranking algorithms we use are always evolving, and we are working on more ways we can capture even more relevant data from hosts and signals from guests to increase host success and guest satisfaction.
Wonder how you might optimize your experience to help you get found in more guest searches?
Top search ranking tips
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
Search ranking looks at the number of guests booked, and the ratings left by guests. Good reviews are essential to performing well in search.
3. A compelling experience ‘cover’ & price can help
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.
Search results aim to display a variety of prices, but it’s still important to highlight a valuable experience and set a compelling price within your market. This article, Pricing Strategies for Experiences, shares a few strategies you might want to consider.
We hope these insights into our experience ranking system, and additional tips give you a deeper understanding of how guests browse and find experiences.