When travelers search for a place to stay, our search engine shows them the listings that best match their criteria, and that they’re most likely to successfully book. This helps guests plan their trip, and helps hosts confirm more bookings. A lot goes into finding the best search results for each person, and hosts often ask us how we do it. To help you better understand how our search algorithms try to find matches that reflect both host and guest preferences, here are some things to keep in mind.
Excellent two-way matches are most important.
A booking is more likely to be confirmed when the host and guest preferences are a good fit. That’s why our search algorithms are designed to match guests to spaces that are right for their trip, and hosts to booking opportunities that are right for their hosting preferences. Every search requires a two-way match, so the results are unique each time a guest searches. In fact, there are more than fifty factors that contribute to each set of search results. And we’re always working on new ways to make matches even better.
Quality is an important factor.
Guests want to stay in a high-quality space, so listings with great reviews often rank higher. The algorithms consider both the star ratings your guests have given and the number of reviews you’ve received—both can impact where your listing appears.
The likelihood of successfully booking is also important.
A good match only works if the host and the guest actually book a reservation. That’s why the algorithms also consider factors that indicate a host’s likelihood of accepting the guest’s request.
Your response rate and response time can impact how your listing appears in search, because they show how attentive you are to the requests you receive. The more consistently you respond to guests within 24 hours by accepting, declining, or sending a message, the better your listing can do in search. That’s why it’s better to decline a request or inquiry than to allow it to expire.
If you have Instant Book turned on, your response rate will go up and your response time will go down. So by allowing guests to book immediately, you can make your listing more visible in search results.
The algorithms use guest preferences and the information they put into their search.
The algorithms try to understand a guest’s preferences and the characteristics of their trip so that they can surface listings that match those attributes. Search results vary, depending on who’s searching, where they want to stay, and what they’re looking for.
Travelers can filter their search by trip dates, location, neighborhood, price, the amenities they want, and the type of space they want to stay in. They see search results that best match these preferences. The algorithms may also use a traveler’s previous activity on the platform to guide the results.
The algorithms use hosting settings and the types of reservations you most often accept.
When you set reservation requirements, your listing will be shown to guests who meet them.
The algorithms also use your past booking decisions to make sure your listing appears to guests who are searching for trips similar to the ones you’ve confirmed in the past. That means that if you’ve accepted a wide range of reservations with diverse characteristics, they can show your space to more travelers.
For example, if you tend to confirm reservations that are several months away, your space will rank higher for guests who want to book well in advance. If you frequently confirm reservations for large groups, your space will rank higher when a traveler is booking for several guests.
The algorithms also use your turnover preferences—how often you book back-to-back reservations, versus spacing them out. Based on your booking history, they can see how you like to line up reservations in your space, and they’ll highlight your listing for guests who would help you stick with your routine.
Many factors that influence search are within your control.
You can optimize your listing’s search placement by focusing on the things that help you attract travelers’ interest:
- Listing Page—Use attention-grabbing photos and a detailed description to highlight what makes your space welcoming and unique. You can also use descriptive photo captions to help travelers imagine themselves in the space. Having professional photography can also improve your listing’s search placement.
- Price—Make sure your price is competitive with similar listings in your area.
- Response Rate and Response Time—Respond quickly and consistently to every reservation request and booking inquiry you receive.
- Commitment—Having a trip canceled is a very bad experience for a guest, so if you cancel a confirmed reservation it can negatively impact where your listing appears in search. If you don’t cancel frequently, the negative impact can go away over time.
- Verified ID—Verify your account to help build trust with potential guests. The more verifications the better, but at a minimum, be sure to verify your phone number and email address.
Our goal is to find more and more personalized, accurate ways to help travelers and hosts connect and confirm bookings. We’re always working on improving our search algorithms, so individual searches won’t always work in the same way. The best way to keep track of your listing’s performance is in your host dashboard, which provides a holistic overview of how your listing is doing.