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The goal of the Airbnb search ranking algorithm is to help guests find the perfect listing for their trip—and help hosts find guests who are a great fit for their space. We study nearly 100 different factors for every listing in every search (and don’t worry—you don’t have to perform perfectly on everything to rank well).
The exact list of features we consider is confidential, but here are the basic categories:
Guest needs: We review factors related to the guest, including where they’re searching from, their previous trips, which listings they’ve added to their Wish List or clicked on, and more.
Listing details: We consider things like the number of five-star reviews, price, location of the listing, if Instant Book is turned on, how quickly the host of the listing responds to requests, and many other factors.
Trip details: We note how many guests will be traveling, how long the trip will be, how far in the future the trip is, if they have set a minimum or a maximum price, and a variety of other factors.
If you’re interested in more detail, here are some specifics:
To understand how guests have responded to your listing in previous searches, we explore numerous signals, but two important factors are:
- Clicks in search results: When a listing appears in search results, we consider it a good sign if a guest clicks on that listing to learn more. To ensure that this is fair for our whole host community, we only count clicks from different guests.
- Requests from a listing page: We review how often guests request to book when they look at your listing. We find that successful listings do a good job of helping guests decide to book.
These are some of the factors that hosts have most control over:
- Reviews: Search ranking calculates the number of trips that have been completed, and the reviews and ratings that were left by guests. While good reviews are essential to performing well in search, a small number of negative ratings or missed reviews from guests will not necessarily have a substantial impact on your ranking.
- Price: We find that price is one of the big decision factors for our guests when comparing listings. For that reason, it’s important to set a competitive price within your market.
- Superhost: While the Superhost designation doesn’t boost a listing, the factors that earn you Superhost status do.
- New listings: To make sure brand new hosts can get established successfully, we make sure new listings show up well in search rankings.
Guest booking experience
The best way to ensure guests continue to choose Airbnb is to make sure their experience is positive, so we elevate listings with hosts that have a proven track record of responsiveness.
- Response rate and response time: All else equal, responding to requests within 24 hours is likely to improve your ranking in search.
- Rejections: For hosts choosing to use Request to Book, search ranking tracks how many guests make a request to book, but are denied. Occasionally rejections are necessary, so similar to other factors in search ranking we're interested broad patterns over weeks and months, rather than individual rejections.
- Instant Book: Guests on Airbnb value a quick and easy booking experience and are most likely to book an Instant Book listing. Search aims to show listings guests are most likely to book, so Instant Book listings tend to get favored by the algorithm. And, to be sure, if a Request to Book (or non-Instant Book) listing performs well on other booking experience factors, it’s possible to perform well in search ranking.
Search ranking attempts to show listings in locations that guests are most interested in booking. We’ve found that this helps guests find a listing for their trips, and also generates more bookings for our host community. To do this, we consider previous bookings from our guest community. We are able to learn that when a guest searches a particular town or city, where they are most likely to book.
Visibility in search
Although not specifically a part of search ranking, part of performing well in search is being eligible and visible for searches in your market. Here are some factors to keep in mind:
- Activation delay: In order to give hosts time to double-check settings, it takes between 6 and 24 hours from creating a new listing to it being visible in search.
- Minimum and maximum nights: To show up in searches in which a guest chooses dates, a listing must have the suitable number of minimum and maximum nights. Should a host wish to appear in the maximum number of searches, it’s recommended to reduce the minimum nights as much as possible, and similarly increase the maximum nights.
- Long-term stays: Some Airbnb guests are looking for stays longer than 28 days. In order for a listing to appear in these searches, it’s necessary to use a monthly discount on top of your base rate in order to present a reasonable price to guests.
We’re constantly updating our system to achieve the best results for hosts and guests on the platform, so these factors can be adjusted and tested.