We look at 15 ways to increase your Airbnb search rank in Colombia. Are you an Airbnb host in Colombia and want to increase your Airbnb search rank?
Gone are the days where I tell you to create a catchy Airbnb title or choose a bright cover photo to attract more guests.
In this article, we look at 15 strategies to increase your Airbnb search rank in Colombia. Some are more advanced, some should be foundational, but worth revisiting.
Luckily, advanced does not mean complicated. Instead, it means few Airbnb hosts in Colombia are taking advantage of all these opportunities.
In addition, it’s no secret that a lot of where your listing appears in Airbnb search rank has to do with your hosting abilities (i.e. 5-star Airbnb reviews).
Unlike Google and their search rank, Airbnb is momentum based. This is because your Airbnb listing does something for Airbnb that websites listed in the Google search don’t do for it. You directly make Airbnb money! But it goes much deeper than that.
If a first-time guest stays at your listing in Colombia and has a bad experience, the likelihood of that guest returning to Airbnb is low. You’ve lost Airbnb a stream of lifetime revenue. Airbnb does not like this.
However, if you consistently provide a positive guest experience in Colombia, you are making Airbnb money with every reservation. And, you are compounding their future revenues, as these guests are likely to return to Airbnb to book their next vacation and tell their friends.
Most of the below strategies make you appear in more search results. The theory is the more your listing appears in relevant search results, the more it will get booked. And, the more it gets booked (with good reviews), the more Airbnb will encourage more guests to book your place, and your Airbnb search rank rises.
About the Author
My name is Daniel Rusteen and I am a location-independent digital nomad having lived in 50+ cities exclusively sleeping in Airbnbs (1,500+ nights) while remotely managing Airbnb properties and helping Airbnb hosts to be successful.
I come from the days before the Airbnb you know today. I started working at Airbnb in 2013. I remember countless conversations with residents of San Francisco, the headquarters of Airbnb, who had no idea about the company even when it was valued at over $10 billion and 7 years old.
In the eight years that have passed since I first heard of Airbnb, I’ve become one of the world’s best at everything Airbnb:
- Worked at Airbnb from 2013-2016
- Wrote a best-selling book on Airbnb
- Founded an Airbnb property management company
- Slept over 1,500 nights in Airbnb properties, as a guest
- Am an Airbnb Superhost
- Creator of a popular Airbnb blogfor Airbnb hosts
Ways to Increase Your Airbnb Search Rank
Here are 15 ways to increase your Airbnb search rank on Colombia based on my experience:
1. Lower Your Minimum Stay Requirement
Every day you lower your minimum stay in Colombia is going to result in your listing appearing in more search results. Think about it: if your minimum is 3 nights, you’re missing out on guests searching for 1 or 2 nights.
I advocate a one-night minimum. This will require you to scrutinize guest profiles more to look for problem Airbnb guests.
You can use PriceLabs to keep your minimum at 2+ nights while using their ‘Orphan Night’ setting to have the software automatically update your calendar minimum night requirement if there’s an un-bookable (i.e. ‘Orphan) night based on your current settings.
For example, if you have a 2-night minimum with an open day on Wednesday, then PriceLabs will create a special rule in Airbnb to allow only this day to be booked as a single night.
Plus, you can also auto set a price increase of 20% or so (like I do) to avoid the guest who wants to throw a party (the most commonly cited concern over single-night minimums)
2. Eliminate Your Max Stay Requirement
If possible, completely remove your maximum night requirements. Some hosts worry that the guest will stay because, in some areas, a guest would have tenant’s rights if they stay more than 30 days or so. But how common is this?
It seems more common because every time it happens, the media covers it. Just like in 2019 for a period of a few months, the media covered every Airbnb host who allegedly had a hidden camera in their listing. At the time it seemed common, but it was/is not.
Judge your risk and make an appropriate decision. This one is quite obvious and simple to do, let’s move on.
3. Increase Your Booking Window
Consider opening your calendar to ’12 months into the future’ when possible. Obviously, you’ll appear in more search results. You can also charge a premium if a guest wants to book 3+ months out.
If you do not have a good handle on your area’s special events (i.e. festivals, conferences, concerts, etc.), then I recommend “3 months out into the future” as savvy guests are likely to book up Airbnb listings far in advance when unscrupulous hosts haven’t updated their prices.
4. Lower Your Pricing
At first, this appears to be ‘duh’, but I see so many hosts in Colombia overvalue their homes resulting in abysmal occupancy levels (below 30 percent).
No matter where you are in the world (with few exceptions), if you’re ever below 50 percent occupancy in a month, you’re doing it wrong.
Lower your pricing in increments of 10 percent and wait 7 days to see how it affects your occupancy. Again, the lower your price, the more search results you’ll appear in.
For those hosts starting with really high nightly rates ($200 USD+), you’ll experience the most increase in search rank visibility every $15 USD you lower your rate.
Plus, an Airbnb study put out in early 2017 showed that Airbnb heavily favors lower-priced listings. This makes sense as we know Airbnb’s Smart Pricing keeps hosts’ calendars cheap because the price is one of their greatest advantages over traditional hotels.
5. Relax Your Cancelation Policy
It’s no secret that Airbnb has been pushing a flexible cancellation policy. They have even forced it on some hosts. At a point, they were considering charging hosts 4% and 5% if they selected a moderate or strict cancellation policy, respectively.
Given how much Airbnb has promoted the flexible cancellation policy, it’s plausible they give a boost to listings with flexible cancellation policies. In a recent change to the cancellation policies, Airbnb has said the changes were “to encourage more bookings—especially for more flexible listings.”
In fact, I believe that Airbnb does give a search boost to listings with a flexible cancellation policy, as well as, an additional search rank boost for these same listings if there is a cancellation within 72-hours of check-in.
6. Add Places of Interest to Your Airbnb Guidebook
Add popular tourist destinations to your guidebook because these locations are searchable within Airbnb. For example, if your property is located near Parque Lleras in Medellín, make sure to include that.
You’ll also show up on the location’s individual webpage on Airbnb. That’s a link pointing to your Airbnb listing from Airbnb.
Does it matter? I’m not sure, but it most definitely doesn’t hurt. Plus, it may lead to an extra booking. After all, if future potential guest is looking at local recommendations, maybe they want to stay in the neighborhood?
7. Add a Self-Checkin Option
First, you need to have a self-check-in option to be a business travel ready listing.
Second, adding this allows you to appear in more search results in Colombia because this is a frequently selected option under amenities filters.
Think about it, after you travel for 24+ hours, do you want someone to greet you and ask you a bunch of questions and show you how different things work in the listing? Probably not. You’d probably like to unwind.
A self checkin option on your Airbnb can be high tech (digital keypad) or low tech with a lockbox. The point is, don’t require your guest to do a meet and greet upon arrival.
If the guest is asking lots of questions during the reservation, you can assume they’ll more likely want someone to meet them at the front door. However, if the guest books a month in advance and you don’t hear from them, probably self checkin is their preference.
Note this may not be needed in many high-rise apartment buildings in Colombia, which have a doorman (porteria), which can do a checkin to get a key.
8. Ensure Your List of Amenities Is Updated
Airbnb adds sections without telling anyone. They did this recently with the ‘People who clean my listing are paid a living wage’ checkbox under “Extra Charges” sub-heading in the Pricing settings:
They basically leave it up to the host to figure it out. Let’s turn this into an advantage by checking regularly and staying ahead of the curve. The most recent amenities added were ‘cleaning products’, ‘safe’, and, of all things, a ‘baking sheet’.
You can easily find this section under the ‘Amenities’ sub-section of the main page to edit your Airbnb listing.
Most of the amenities are not specifically defined, and should be marked off for 99 percent of listings:
- Dedicated workspace – As long as you have some kind of table and a chair
- Private Entrance – As long as the front door to the home is not shared with other people, even if it’s in a building
- Lock on bedroom door
Of course, if you are missing some amenities which you believe would make you more competitive in your area, consider purchasing a few extra. How about a ‘sound system’ aka bluetooth speakers?
9. Ensure Your List of Amenities Is Updated
I recommend marking this off if you allow guests to smoke anywhere on the property like a patio, backyard, or rooftop.
Most smokers don’t even smoke inside their home so this is an exception and not the rule anymore.
You can and should clarify in the listing, typically under house rules where it is/is not ok to smoke. Smokers are often aware of these special rules and check for them. Also clarify if the windows should be closed or the smoker should be a certain distance from the home.
Often, especially in apartments, the host requires the guest to step onto the street to smoke. This would be a no-smoking listing, as you need to entirely exit the space to smoke.
Note: This will disqualify your listing from being Business Travel Ready so check to see if you qualify (many listings do not).
10. Add All Home Safety Items
Airbnb wants to mitigate its risk and liability as much as possible. As such, it would make sense for them to give a search boost to listings with all available safety features installed.
In fact, you must have both a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector to qualify as a Business Travel Ready listing.
11. Speak More Than One Language
A guest is allowed to search by the language the host speaks. This definitely ups your search rank because everyone in the world does not speak/does not prefer to speak English, particularly in Spanish-speaking Colombia.
If you, your significant other, your housemate, etc. speak another language, definitely list it. But only if this person is reasonably available to answer inquiries.
This strategy, again, falls into the realm of making as many selections as possible in order to make your space available to the widest amount of future potential guests.
12. More Airbnb Wishlist Saves
Within each listing, the guest has the option to save your Airbnb listing to their wishlist.
Airbnb recently confirmed that having more wishlist saves positively affects your search rank. This is one of the only things ever said publicly by the company in regards to their search algorithm.
Ask your family/friends to save your listing to their wishlist and share to your social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) asking the same.
By doing this, you are creating backlinks to your own Airbnb listing, to the Airbnb website, and driving views to your listing. All of this likely results in bonus wishlist saves as more people see your listing.
13. Be a Pet Friendly Airbnb
How many times have you gotten a request from a future potential guest who wants to bring their pet, but your Airbnb clearly says pets are not allowed?
Notice I didn’t ask whether or not you had received this type of inquiry. I don’t need to. I know you have. And I also know the reason why.
Demand for pet friendly Airbnbs in Colombia is small, but the supply is even smaller.
For my math folks, assume demand for a pet friendly Airbnb is only 2 percent of total future potential guests in your city. But if supply is only 1 percent that represents a huge potential opportunity for your bottom line.
I challenge you to rethink why you don’t allow pets and if there are solutions to those worries.
15. Turn a Sofa Into a Bed
Even if it’s not a sleeper sofa, if you include it as a bed within Airbnb, you will appear in more search results and be able to charge more. Obviously, you’ll want to provide a pillow and blankets. That’s the easy way.
The intermediate way is simply upgrading your furniture at the same time adding an additional bed.
15. Be an Event-Ready Airbnb
If at all possible, mark off ‘Suitable for events’. Guests looking to use your space for a photo shoot, etc. will often select this filter.
This option is not as easy as selecting a filter. Guests looking to use your space for an event have different needs that you must cater to.
Remember, you can charge more for commercial uses of your space.
From personal experience, I had a start-up shoot a product on my rooftop and I was able to charge two nights. There were six of them in my home, but only for 3-4 hours and they were all very respectful of my space.
Medellin Guru’s Airbnb Series
Medellin Guru now has a series of several articles about Airbnb in Colombia:
- 9 Strategies to Find Killer Deals on Airbnb in Colombia
- 15 Things to Know Before Investing to Become an Airbnb Host in Colombia
- 10 Airbnb Best Practices for Airbnb Hosting in Colombia
- 9 Tips to Attract Long-Term Airbnb Guests in Colombia
- 7 Strategies for Airbnb Slow Season in Colombia
- How to Identify Problem Airbnb Guests in Colombia Before They Book
- 15 Ways to Increase Your Airbnb Search Rank In Colombia
- How Safe is Airbnb in Colombia? Is it Safe to Use Airbnb in Colombia?
- Airbnb Travel Itinerary for Your Airbnb Guests in Colombia
- How to Get Started on Airbnb in Colombia: A Guide
Are You Looking to Buy a Property for Airbnb Hosting in Colombia?
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The Bottom Line: Ways to Increase Your Airbnb Search Rank In Colombia
The above 15 ways to increase your Airbnb search rank in Colombia are based on my experience as an Airbnb host.
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