A Detailed Look at Airbnb Instant Booking – Part 2

In this post, my goal is to dig even deeper than my previous posts. For some of you hosts out there, Instant Book(IB) is a powerful tool to increase search visibility and convert more bookings. For some, it’s not necessarily the right tool because of logistical challenges. While some of us fall somewhere between these two ends, my goal is to explain and clarify why IB is a must-have tool for hosts, especially new hosts.

I have written a few posts pertaining to IB and if you have not checked it out yet, please read it over below.

  1. A detailed look at Airbnb’s instant book- part one
  2. 8 tips to rank higher and convert more bookings
  3. Why smart hosts do not use smart pricing

How is this post going to be different? This post is an analysis of a paper published by Nick Child. Nick is a short-term rental manager that has a portfolio of properties in Cape Town, South Africa. You can read his actual PDF doc here.

His Findings

What makes this paper particularly interesting to me is its robust data collection method. Nick’s methodology is to scrape Airbnb’s database for properties in his area- Cape Town. The aim of this paper was to uncover factors that may influence the ranking of a listing. Particularly, any SEO hacks that can help a host to rank their listing as high up as possible.

airbnb instant booking

What impressed me the most about this paper was its thoroughness and the necessary expertise to use third-party software tools to collect, organize and disseminate data in a beneficial way.

airbnb instant booking

Nick is only interested in properties in Cape Town that have the capacity to sleep 6 or more guests. After pulling more than 2000 properties from 17 pages of data that fit his filter criteria, he then uploaded the list to Excel sheet. Below are the results that he has found.

** A quick note on correlation vs causation: the factors that Nick found are not a causation into Airbnb’s SEO, but has a high relative correlation score. There is no way to figure out Airbnb’s algorithm with 100% certainty unless someone from Airbnb actually discloses it.

airbnb instant booking

Sorry, if it’s a little blurry.


As you can see from his list of SEO factors, there are 27 factors that influence the ranking of a listing in Cape Town. What I learned from this dataset is that the higher the correlation result, the higher the impact that it has on ranking.

It is true that while some hosts that do not have or never had IB turned on is still featured on page 1 of the search result as the top 1 or two listing. I suspect it is because they are doing the other 7 variables really well. IB is number 8 on the list.

Is Airbnb Instant Booking right for you?

I’m an advocate for IB. If you’re a new host that is just starting out, then having it turned on will definitely help you list higher and convert more. Just be sure to follow best practices for setting up your turn around time to make sure you are able to handle last-minute requests.

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