We recently hosted a webinar to answer your questions about the ratings you receive from guests, and how they can help you have more successful bookings. Chip Conley, Head of Global Hospitality, and Lenny Rachitsky, Product Manager of our Host Experience Team, walked us through search, ratings from your guests, and Instant Book. They also answered questions from hosts who tuned in to the webinar. We’ve gathered the highlights for you here.

We discussed how search works and how you can improve your listing’s placement.

  • There is no one single search ranking. The search algorithms are designed to find the best two-way matches between guests and hosts. You could search for your listing and find that it shows up on page 3, but a traveller whose booking preferences match well with your listing’s amenities might see your listing on page one or two.
  • There is no single metric or behavior that makes or breaks your position in search. Hundreds of signals factor in to each search placement, so even if your listing gets one disappointing review, favorable availability, location, category ratings and response times could signal the algorithms to rank your listing quite high.
  • Acceptance Rate is only one signal of many that can impact search rankings. The types of requests you pre-approve or accept suggest your preferences about requests you are likely to accept in the future. These signals influence search placement so your space is shown to guests who are looking for trips similar to ones you accept most often. You don’t have to accept every request to rank well in search—you always have control over who stays in your space. And we know you sometimes get requests that you don’t want to accept. No single decision to decline a request will negatively impact your search placement; however, if you decline many or most requests, this could negatively impact search placement.

We looked at changes to how performance stats show up in the dashboard.

  • Detailed information about the star ratings you’ve received can help you see your strengths and areas for improvement. Now, for each category, you can see how many times you’ve gotten each star rating, 1 through 5,  from your guests. Not all hosts have this feature yet, but it should be available to everyone by August.
  • For hosts who want to improve low location scores, it is important to set guest expectations. You can’t change your listing’s location, but you can help travellers understand the types of folks who love your location, and those who might not. Show guests what your area has to offer by creating a detailed guidebook.

Instant Book makes the booking process easier and faster for hosts and guests.

  •  We’re testing new filters to give you more ways to control who can book your listing immediately. We’re also working on new ways for guests to see and agree to your house rules before they are able to book.
  • Instant Book Trips and regularly booked trips are of similar quality. We’ve compared every quality metric, from guest and host ratings to customer complaints, and the trips are nearly identical.

We received dozens of excellent questions from hosts who tuned in. 
Here are a handful of questions and answers that further explore the booking process.

  •  Why do Instant Book listings get a boost in search? With Instant Book on, your response rate will go up and your response time will go down. Both of those signals can impact your listing’s search placement, because they indicate a traveller is more likely to have a successful booking. Also, because we want to match guests with listings they are likely to successfully book, the algorithms highlight spaces that can be immediately booked.
  • Does pre-approving someone block those days on the calendar? Pre-approving a guest does not block your calendar. It only allows the pre-approved guest to book with you as soon as they’re ready. While you wait for that guest to make their booking decision, you can continue to receive reservation requests and booking inquiries for those dates. Read more about pre-approvals.
  • Does response time to guest messages after confirming the booking affect Response Rate, and thus search placement? Your response rate is only a measure of whether you reply to the very first message from a guest within 24 hours. Read more about how we calculate response rates.
  • Are there improvements coming to the calendar sync function? Yes! In fact, we just launched a completely revamped calendar sync tool that is much easier to use and much easier to find. You can read about it in this recent blog post.

Thanks to everyone who tuned in and to those who sent in their questions. Your feedback is so valuable as we continually seek to improve your hosting experience and the ways we communicate details about product features and updates.