After looking at the last 12 months of booking rates for my three Airbnb listings, our average booking rate was around 2.5%.
Elsewhere online, I’ve seen hosts reporting numbers between 0.5% and about 3.0%. It appears as though 2% is a pretty respectable booking rate percentage for an Airbnb.
What’s interesting though, is that our booking rates varied from 0% all the way up to 6.7% depending on the time of year. I’ll be attempting to make some sense of the large variability in my numbers and then looking at ways I may be able to improve my booking rates in the future.
Defining “Booking Rate”
Before getting into the data for my three Airbnb listings, let’s define booking rate. Airbnb provides hosts with some stats for each of their listings. One of those is booking rate.
The booking rate number has a definition on it:
“The percentage of guests who book after viewing your listing”Definition of booking rate from Airbnb
In my own words, your booking rate is the percentage of visitors that clicked in from search results to see your listing and ended up booking one or more nights.
My Last 12 Months
I recently wrote an article showcasing our view numbers for the last 12 months. These listings are the same three listings from that article.
Listing 1 is the first Airbnb we opened (in our basement) and has the lowest nightly rate. It has the fewest amenities of our three listings and gets the fewest bookings. It averages between 35-45 percent of nights booked.
Listing 2 is the second Airbnb we opened and is a single family home near our downtown area. The nightly rate is about 15% higher than the rate at listing 1. It has lots of great amenities and gets the most bookings of our three listings. It averages between 65-75 percent of nights booked.
Listing three is our most recent Airbnb. We decided to buy a bigger, nicer place and make it a luxury listing. We charge a considerably higher nightly rate and this place has just about everything a guest could want. It averages between 50-60 percent of nights booked.
Here were my average Airbnb booking rate percentages for those three listings between November 2019 and October 2020:
|Listing 1 ($)||Listing 2 ($$)||Listing ($$$)|
Making Sense Of The Numbers
First let’s get some averages.
|Listing 1 ($)||Listing 2 ($$)||Listing ($$$)|
|Avg. Booking Rate||1.83%||2.78%||2.99%|
So our overall average booking rate across all three Airbnb listings over the last 12 months was 2.5%.
If you compare this booking rate with our average number of views, which is 360 views, then we’re getting approximately 9 bookings each month on average (360 x 0.025).
Listing 1 had a booking rate of only 1.83%, while Listing 3 had a booking rate of basically 3%. That’s a pretty huge gap.
This would be the difference between 7 and 11 bookings, which would probably be somewhere around 8 nights and $800 per month.
So what might be causing the difference in booking rate?
One correlation is price. Looking at my three listings, the lowest nightly rate also had the lowest booking rate. And the listing with the highest nightly rate had the highest booking rate.
Another is amenities. Listing 1 just has fewer amenities. Potential guests may be clicking in looking for say a washer and dryer and they won’t find it. This would naturally lower the booking rate.
Also listing 1 is it’s own space, but it’s also attached to the house I live in. This is probably less than ideal for guests, especially in the age of Covid.
Another possible correlation is number of bedrooms. Listing 1 has one bedroom, listing 2 has two bedrooms and listing 3 has three bedrooms.
All our listings book better in the summer and fall than they do in the winter and spring. The higher booking rates I’m seeing in July and August 2020 might be explained by this.
My two worst months were December 2019 and April 2020. I believe the low booking rates in December 2019 are due to winter being our slow season. But the decline in April 2020 is almost certainly due to the sudden crash of our market when our Covid lockdowns went into effect.
In fact, from about March 15, 2020 to April 15, 2020 our Airbnbs were empty because of the lockdowns.
Long story short, there will always be outside factors affecting your booking rate. Even with the perfect listing, you wouldn’t have gotten many bookings when your area first got Covid related mandates.
Timing of bookings
Another important distinction is that guests don’t necessarily book for the current month. So our 6.7% booking rate at listing 3 in August 2020 may have included some August bookings, but it almost certainly included some September and October bookings as well.
This can make some of your booking rates a bit misleading.
For example, I had a 0% booking rate in December 2019 for listing 1. That doesn’t mean nobody was staying at that listing in December 2019. It just means that nobody booked a stay that month.
Is higher booking rate always better?
When I wrote about how many views we’re getting at our listings, I mentioned that more views isn’t always better.
In the case of booking rate, I think higher IS ALWAYS better. Ideally, every person who viewed your listing would book. But that just doesn’t happen.
With some quick numbers, 200 views per month with a 2% booking rate will result in about 4 bookings per month.
If your average guests stays for 2 nights, then you’re basically booking every weekend, which is respectable.
I think if you can hit those numbers, then you can at least break even on an Airbnb investment property. Then you can start working on increasing your profitability from there.
How Can We Increase Booking Rate?
After sifting through these numbers, I’m starting to wonder how I can increase my booking rates, particularly at listing 1.
Your booking rate is going to primarily be dependent on things that are on your listing page. Your cover photo already did its job because the guest is already looking at your listing.
So I will be looking primarily at four things.
Amenities are possibly the most important part of your booking rate (the possible exception is your supplementary photos).
They are incredibly important for views, too, because many guests will filter their searches by amenity. But many guests only filter by date, guest count and/or price.
If they land on your page without a search filter for amenities, then they will be wanting to see what your place has.
First off, make sure you’re getting credit for every amenity you already have, then look through the amenity list to see if you can easily add more.
According to Airbnb, the most requested amenities are WiFi, air conditioning, a kitchen and parking.
Airbnb is an incredibly visual platform, and in order to succeed you need lots of professional looking photos that picture a clean and well designed space.
Go through your photos and make sure they all leave a good impression. Then see if you’re missing anything.
More photos is better, but never post a photo that doesn’t look great.
- Surfaces must be clean
- No trash or dirty laundry visible
- Everything is organized (pots, pans, dishes)
- Beds are made with no wrinkles
When in doubt ask a friend to go through the photos with you and ask for honest feedback.
I’m not sure how many people really read the listing descriptions, but I do know it’s more than 0%.
Take some time and make sure to highlight everything you can think of in your description. If you run out of ideas, then look through your photos. Talk about the surrounding area and anything that past guests have complimented you on.
Remember some guests won’t even be able to see your photos if they have visual impairments. You want them to know why they should choose your place, and your description is a great place to do that.
Reviews are not the end all be all. Every Airbnb host starts with zero reviews and that doesn’t stop guests from booking with you.
Bad reviews will prevent some guests from booking with you, and good reviews will confirm a guests decision to book with you.
I think most guests use the photos to decide if they want to book, then they look at the reviews. If nothing looks off then they’ll go ahead and book.
But I do think some potential guests highly value listings with a large number of good reviews. There’s not a whole lot you can do except wow your guests with great service and thoughtful touches, and then let the passage of time increase your number of reviews.
Across our three Airbnb listings, our average booking rate percentage was 2.5%. Based on what I’ve seen of other hosts, 2% to 2.5% is a strong booking rate.
But there’s always room for improvement, and I’ll be revisiting my listings’ amenities lists, supplemental photos, descriptions and reviews to improve my bookings rates in the future.