AirBnB guest: “Wow, this is a great place you have here. How long have you lived in Vietnam for?”
Me: “A about 2 Months”
AirBnB guest: “WHAT!?!?.. and you’re hosting a guesthouse in Da Nang already?”
Me – “Yup.”
….True story 🙂
I never imagined myself becoming an AirBnB host.
It’s not like I had any interest in hospitality before I moved to Vietnam.
Yet within 2 months I was able to list a rental property on AirBnB and rank it at the top of Da Nang‘s search (You can see me there now if my listing is available!)
I wanted to share with you what I did to get my listing ranking high on AirBnB so fast.
After the first month, I was able to keep my rankings in the top 4 places!
I must confess though…
I had an unfair advantage.
I knew before I even picked a property that I wanted to do AirBnB and I knew all about these tips I’m going to give you. That gave me a big advantage in choosing the ideal location and applying of these principles.
But you might be wondering why I chose to start AirBnB in Vietnam in the first place…
Why did you start an AirBnB in Vietnam in the first place?
When I was traveling through Asia earlier this year (2015), I used AirBnB exclusively to book all of my accommodations. Not because I was a die-hard fan of AirBnB, but because hotels were crazy expensive and Couchsurfing was a pain-in-the-butt to secure a place to crash when I needed it most.
My choice to go the AirBnB route led me to meeting over 22 AirBnB hosts in 20 cities in 8 countries.
Every host had an very unique way of managing their AirBnB listing(s).
From hosts who offered an extra mattresses on the floor in their living room, to hosts with multiple luxury houses and apartments complete with staff to greet guests and to clean up.
Many of them were making enough money to support themselves while continuing to travel.
Seeing that with my own two eyes, I started to consider doing it myself.
I thought to myself, “I could make an AWESOME HOST!”
My best memories during my travels ALWAYS involve meeting people from different parts of the world and learning about their culture.
So I took what I learned from each one of those hosts and applied it here in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Honestly, I was shocked at how fast I was able to rank.
I cant take 100% credit for it though. AirBnB helps all newbies at first, but it’s up to me to remain at the top by providing amazing service lest I fall to the bottom of the search and weep bitterly.
WARNING: If you’re considering AirBnB in another country like Vietnam, know that its not all totally “legal” like in many countries in Asia. It’s one big GREY AREA to say the least. Here in Vietnam it is very important to register all guests with the local police by having the owner turn in copies of every guest’s passports and visas so everyone in the house is accounted for. Some home owners may or may not be cool with that. Be sure to do your homework first before you get started on anything in Vietnam or anywhere for that matter.
Does the AirBnB rankings matter much?
Hell yeah they do!
Just like a Google search, people are more incline to click through to your page (in this case your listing) when it’s the first thing they see.
When I’m in travel-mode and I’m looking for a places to stay, I will trust AirBnB enough to click on the first few listings they show me (if the price is right that is).
I know for a FACT that AirBnB wouldn’t show me a crap listing at the top.
What that means essentially is if you’re at the top… you’ll get more views…
more views means more bookings…
more bookings mean more money…
and more money means…..
well…..just more money.
How can I get my AirBnB rankings up?
The advice I’m about to give you is based on what I did with my own listing and what I’ve learned from the many other hosts I’ve met.
Things can change over time though. So do your best to stay on top of what AirBnB does by reading their blog and talking with other AirBnB hosts and asking them what works.
Having said that, I believe these principles are pretty solid so I’m sure if you just take this advice, it will surely help you get your listing to rank higher.
There are 3 to focus on:
- Having awesome photos of your listing
- Differentiating yourself from other listings
- Becoming a Superhost
That’s pretty much it.
You can literaly stop reading here and run with this advice and rank higher!
Because I wrote a lot more about it 😛
Let me go into the details of these 3 things and what I did with my listing.
Have awesome photos
I’m sure you know this already.
But lets face it…
If I took crap-photos, I would not have stood a chance at ranking so high, so fast.
I began by using my Canon D90 DSLR with the stock lens to take photos of my house.
The master bedroom
This is ESSENTIAL for getting people to look at your listing so don’t half-ass it!
If you don’t have a quality camera like a DSLR or even a point and shoot, find a friend who has one you can borrow.
Bribe them if needed. ( You didn’t hear that from me by the way )
Although AirBnB offers free Professional Photography for your listing, it can sometimes take forever to coordinate a time to have the photographer come over and wait for them to upload the photos.
I say don’t wait.
Start with nice photos UNTIL you get them done by AirBnB.
To learn more about AirBnB’s Free Professional Photography program here.
That’s exactly what I did.
Of course their photos were much better
Differentiate yourself from other listings.
These are some of the names of listing currently in AirBnB for my city.
IMO (in my opinion)……BORING!!!!!!
I’ve learned enough from marketing and business to know that the key to success is to find a “blue ocean” in the market (a reference to this awesome book.)
How did I then differentiate myself from these luxurious-sea-view-deluxe-vacation rooms???
By focusing on the one thing these other folks don’t have….
I called my listing “Edwin’s Lifestyle Designer Retreat”
In my description I shared a little about myself and what guests can expect when booking my listing.
Why did I call Edwin’s Lifestyle Designer Retreat???
I knew that that my competitive advantage me.
I knew that I would make an excellent host because I’m a foreigner who understands how tough it can be traveling to a country where I knew nobody.
So I wanted to be a guy they could count on to give them the guidance and pretty much be their friend during their trip to Da Nang.
The Lifestyle Designer part was a reference to Tim Ferriss’s book The Four Hour Workweek which played a HUGE part in getting me to move abroad to do business.
I wanted to attract other like-minded guests who would know that reference.
Of course many don’t but they still are intrigued by the name and will almost always click through my listing to read more.
I’ve found that many guests aren’t just looking for a bed and a sea view. Many are looking for a connection and an experience.
That’s what I provide.
That’s my unique angle.
How can I differentiate myself from other AirBnB listings?
Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What is it about my location that is different than the majority of listing already on AirBnB?
- What do I have or know that would makes me a unique host?
- Who am I interested in meeting?
- How can I add more value to my listing?
- What isn’t already being done in my city on AirBnB?
- What are some problems guests usually experience that I can help solve?
Answer these questions and write down the ideas that pop in your head.
Try to focus on one unique thing about your location or about yourself that you can offer that isn’t being offered.
Then write out your headline and description so that it conveys that difference clearly.
And don’t worry so much about describing your listing in the header.
When guests search for a place to stay, they will usually use AirBnB’s search filter in case they need a specific amount of rooms or other features.
Save that space in your headline for something better like what makes you different.
Become a Superhost
This is your new goal in life.
REACH SUPERHOST STATUS!
This is the best way to get ranked at the top of search in your city.
What’s a Superhost?
AirBnB has put together a program intended to celebrate hosts who have reached a set of qualifications that reflect their commitment, responsiveness to travelers, hosting experience, and the quality of their listings.
For more info on Superhosts, go here.
This is the secret sauce to getting your listing ranking high.
In order to qualify as a Superhost, you have to retain a 5-star rating and host at least 10 guests before AirBnB has their quarterly assessment. Once they assess your bookings and you’ve kept up your rating and response rate, they will grant you the Superhost medal along with other perks.
It’s not really a medal unfortunately. Its just an icon next to your profile pic.
It’s ok I guess 😛 (much rather have a real medal)
Other Perks include:
- Travel Coupon of $100 if you keep your status for 1 year
- Priority Support when you need to call AirBnB for help
- Product Exclusives which include event invites and previewing upcoming releases.
Having that badge really makes you STAND OUT too!
If you search through AirBnB for places to stay, you’ll always see Superhosts ranking at the top of search almost every time.
That’s because AirBnB wants guests to have a great experiences and these Superhosts are the people to do just that.
The fact that Da Nang had very few Superhosts played a big part in why I was able to leap frog over many other listings to show up at the top.
You might not be so lucky depending on where you’re listing is, but by striving to become a Superhost, you will improve your rankings and get more bookings.
If you’re ALREADY a Superhost.
You’re killing it and now you just need to keep that up.
That’s all I have for now.
I can assure you that if you focus on any one of these items mentioned, you will improve your rankings.
But of course I think you should do them all for best results.
If you HAVEN’T started hosting yet, then you’re in luck!
I have a referral link you can use that will give you $50 USD to start hosting HERE. I do get a small commission from AirBnB at no cost to you, just so you know.
Is there any other ways you’ve been able to improve your ranking?
Leave me a comment and let me know!