Unlock More Bookings: Learn How To Master The 4 Steps Of The Airbnb Search Funnel

Navigating the Airbnb search funnel can be a daunting task. With a plethora of advice available, distinguishing between solid data-backed tips and mere myths can be challenging. This post aims to demystify the guest search journey on Airbnb and highlight how IntelliHost can be your compass in optimizing each step of this journey to secure more bookings.

Understanding the Airbnb Funnel

The concept of a search funnel is simple. It’s the journey a guest takes from initially searching for a place to stay to finally booking your listing.

A wider funnel indicates fewer lost potential guests at each stage, leading to more bookings. The objective is to identify and mend the stage where most guests are lost. For instance, increasing your visibility in search results (awareness) won’t matter much if your cover image isn’t appealing (interest).

The goal is to identify which step is losing the most guests and fix that step.  Appearing more in search (awareness) won’t make much of a difference if your cover image is terrible (interest).  This is what a broken funnel would look like:

Notice that a broken step 2 (interest) affects all the steps below it.  That’s why it’s important to start from the top and work down.  The Airbnb search funnel looks like this:

Step 1: Impressions

An impression occurs when your listing appears in a search result. This does not necessarily mean that the guest saw your listing, it just means you were in the search result somewhere.  Because this is the first step in the process, it’s also the most important. 

On Airbnb, you get impressions by showing up in filters.  A typical guest starts their journey by going to google and searching “Airbnb [City Name]”.  After that, they select dates and number of guests. 

Then they start selecting more specific filters to whittle down the options.  Getting impressions is about appearing in as many filters as possible. 

Here is a list of things to consider to get more impressions:

  • Min night stay
  • Bedrooms
  • Beds
  • Amenities
  • Pets Allowed
  • Home Type
  • Cancellation Policy
  • Price
  • Guest Count
  • Superhost
  • Instant Book
  • Accessibility
  • Unique Stays (Cabins, yurts, castles, etc.)
  • Smoking Allowed
  • Host Language

Step 2: First Page Impressions

A first page impression is exactly what it sounds like.  It means you showed up on the first page of all the available search results. 

This is the second most important metric because a whopping 75% of people never scroll past page 1!

Enhance the quality of your listing by focusing on:

  • Competitive pricing
  • High star rating
  • Numerous positive reviews
  • Quality of photos

Step 3: Clicks (Page Views)

This is every time someone clicks on your listing after seeing your listing in search results.  Once you appear in someone’s search result, there aren’t many ways to distinguish your listing from the other listings. 

As seen from the in red highlights below, these are things like cover image, star rating, number of reviews, title, # of beds, superhost status, and price. 

When it comes to getting clicks, the cover image is usually the most important.  When picking a cover image, make sure your listing stands out and appeals to the “lizard brain”.  Meaning that your cover image should “pop” out from the rest

In the below example, most people are much more likely to click on the image on the left because the colors stand out and there is something of interest there.  Unfortunately, picking the best cover image is more of an art than a science and it requires several rounds of A/B testing to find the best performing image.

Step 4: Bookings

Now that you’ve gotten the guest all the way to this step, you need to convince them to book.  Chances are, if they’ve gotten this far, you are one of a handful of options they are considering. 

The first thing they are likely to do is look at all of your pictures so make sure you have plenty of PROFESSIONAL images WITH CAPTIONS so they can tell exactly what they are going to get. 

Nothing on your detail page is more important than your images, so pay what it takes to get the best. According to our many studies, It will have the best return on your investment over anything else you can do for your listing page. 

If you are near a beach, show them drone shots so that they can see how far of a walk it is.  Include pictures of your wifi speed, and other key amenities so that there is no doubt in their mind what they will get when they book.  People don’t like to read so add your images as if they never read the description. 

The first 5 images should highlight the most important amenities in your listing.  If you have a pool for example, make sure it makes it into your top 5. 

After they look at your images, they are likely to scroll down to your reviews and start reading those.  Make sure that you are going above and beyond for your guests so that the reviews glow.  Also make sure to respond to EVERY review in a courteous and professional way so that guests can see what kind of a host you are

Negative reviews aren’t always bad, these can play to your benefit if your response is friendly, professional, and personal.  Here is a list of other things you can do to push your guests over the booking line

Description – hire someone to write a professional description.  Make sure the description is “scan-able” so that someone can quickly pick out the parts they are looking for (Think bullet format)

FAST response – Guests are likely to send the same question out to two or three options that they are considering.  Being the first to respond shows the guest how attentive you are and puts you first in line to get the booking.

Fees – We don’t recommend adding on lots of fees to make up for a low nightly rate.  Airbnb bakes these fees into the advertised price anyway so you won’t get any search benefit and you won’t build trust with the guest.

Cancellation Policy – Whichever cancellation policy you use, we recommend giving guests the option to pay less for a non-refundable option.

Length of Stay Discounts – It is very likely that Airbnb will start rewarding listings that offer length of stay discounts in search results (if they haven’t already).  This is a huge focus within Airbnb internally and is likely to incentivise hosts to do so.

Measure and Improve Your Airbnb Booking Funnel Using IntelliHost

Mastering Airbnb is about understanding which step of the funnel needs improvement and making the necessary tweaks to ensure a smooth guest journey. IntelliHost is your ally in this endeavor. With a free account on intellihost.co, you can:

  • Understand your metrics
  • Benchmark against competitors
  • Get Automated A/B testing (change tracker with no manual logging)
  • Receive personalized recommendations for your individual listings

Winning on Airbnb boils down to data-driven decisions. IntelliHost empowers you with the insights you need to outshine the competition and maximize your bookings. Sign up for a free 30-day trial today and embark on a journey towards becoming an Airbnb superstar.

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