Do you want to know how to attract more Airbnb guests? I’m going to impart some wisdom to you that may seem perfectly obvious, but sadly it gets neglected by most people who try to make inroads into the short term accommodation business.
If you were planning a holiday to somewhere you’ve never been before and you decided to make use of the Airbnb system to find a space to suit your needs, what would attract your attention, given that there may be hundreds of listings for the area you’re going to? In your case, let’s just say that you are looking to visit Durban for a week. When you start your search you’ll enter something like “Durban” into the search box and Airbnb will bring you back a map with price tags on streets as well as a list of properties to choose from and filter down further according to your needs.
As you narrow the relevance of what’s available to suit your needs you will begin to select properties based on what you see in the featured photographs. This is called the “money shot” and it’s more important than you could ever begin to imagine.
Our brains are hard wired to pick out contrast and bright colours from homogenous items. If you’re looking at a lot of the same types of photographs and you’re suddenly presented with something that is starkly different to the rest of them, you will linger on that photograph longer. In the case of thumbnails of hundreds of bedrooms (which seems to be the predominant choice of featured image for most Airbnb rooms) the ones that stand out the most are those where contrast is highest and the colours are brighter.
To this end as the host you may want to consider the colour choices of your bedding, walls and wall art. The main colours don’t have to be garish. Using accent colours such as bright blue cushions in a predominantly white bedroom, or a high contrast black & white print on the wall will most definitely catch somebody’s eye than if you were using beige coloured accents which lead to homogeneity.
I have noticed after several years of photographing holiday apartments for a variety of clients that the ones who use this technique of catching the attention of a browser with bright colours and accents tend to be the most successful hosts. In one case a client reported a 300% increase in bookings the moment he started taking my advice and using the images with the most contrast for his feature image on Airbnb. Personally I have seen this too when I was an Airbnb host. I had taken an exterior shot at night during the blue hour, showing the entrance to my garden cottage which was warm and inviting. The moment I changed my feature image to a more bland shot of the interior of the space my bookings dropped off sharply. As soon as I put it back in pole position they improved again.
So, if you want to know how to attract more Airbnb guests, I’ve pointed out the obvious to you, but bear in mind that if you have a space to let out, taking the images yourself will require a bit of technical know how, not to mention getting your editing right. Why not hire a professional to do this for you? In many cases the service I offer costs less than a single night’s stay. You can order your Airbnb shoot with me from the shop.