So you’ve just created your first listing, it goes live and you’re sitting back and waiting for the bookings to come in… and waiting… and waiting.  You live in a popular destination, maybe it’s even peak season, yet nobody seems to be booking your place. Why is that and how do you get those first bookings so you can get those first five star reviews?  

In short, people aren’t booking because they don’t see reviews and don’t feel they can trust your property, after all who wants to stay somewhere uncomfortable when they’re traveling.  Guests are taking a risk when they stay at a property with no reviews and you need to give them an incentive to take that risk. Here’s how we ensure a new listing gets lots of bookings on AirBnb.

Rates

This is a no-brainer but I see it happen all the time where hosts will just price their listing with the market and not price it to get occupancy.  When you have a number of five star reviews you don’t need to be the low price leader, but when you’re asking guests to take a risk in booking your unreviewed listing, you need to give them a good reason to take that risk.  And there’s no better reason that a great rate, so to start, price your listing at 10% below market. Keep a close eye on the number of people who have seen you listing and if, after a decent number of impressions, you’re not seeing any traction then decrease it another 5% and repeat.  Keep in mind that you’re goal here is to essentially buy your first reviews. I don’t mean that literally, I just mean that you’re sacrificing some of your potential income in order to get those first guests in and more importantly, those first reviews.

Special Offer

When you publish a new listing AirBnb gives you the option to attach a “Special Offer” where the first 3 guests to book get 20% off.  While AirBnb doesn’t actually tell us exactly how their algorithm works I’ve always suspected that it gives a small amount of priority to new listings with a special offer attached. The other thing this does is to let guests know that your listing is new and show them that there’s a reason it doesn’t have any reviews.

Just say it

It’s just that simple.  Everybody loves getting a good deal and feeling like they’re saving money and finding something that’s priced great because nobody knows about it is a fantastic way to get such a deal/  Guests may see that you listing has no reviews but it may not occur to them that it’s a brand new listing and your rates are lower because of that. So we recommend putting that in the title of your listing. Saying things like:

“BRAND NEW 3 bedroom home in the heart of the city”

“NEWLY LISTED 2 bedroom beach property”

Titles like these make it extremely obvious to users that this is a new listing and not only are they in for a good deal but there’s a good reason why it doesn’t have any reviews.  

Pictures

If you have a new listing and you want people to overcome reservations about the listing’s quality without reviews then pictures are a fantastic way to do this.  Make sure you have great looking pictures but also make sure you have A LOT of pictures, more than you might normally have or that you see other listings have. When you have hundreds of reviews your listing doesn’t need a million pictures, but when you need a guest to get past a lack of reviews, an abundance of pictures that highlight the quality of your listing will go a long way.

Just remember, with any new listing, your objective in the first month is NOT to make money, your objective is to get great reviews.  Having 4.9 stars isn’t a stand out on AirBnb, it’s par for the course and the price of admission. Your listing will live and die by its reviews, especially in the beginning, so don’t look at your first month’s goal as bookings, look at it as getting five star reviews.