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How Airbnb tries to make you invisible on Google

What you missed in the latest Airbnb update that will impact you

Everyone should have already heard about the latest big update from Airbnb but almost no one seems to have caught the subtext, already in full swing, that might really work against hoteliers! What is it? 


Well there is a good chance that the title on your Airbnb card has changed and you didn't even notice!


Now, instead of the name you gave it, a vague description of your property is displayed in the title of your property . 


Those who know about the Billboard Effect will understand the full potential of the negative impact this change might have for independent hoteliers. Regardless, we’ll break down the Billboard Effect for you in detail here, so you know the full extent of what the small print of the update could mean for you and your business. It's time to buckle up!




A hidden message in Airbnb 2022 Summer Release that nobody saw


As you may recall, Airbnb announced some changes back in May which have been transforming the way travellers book by introducing categories, split stays, and the extension of Aircover to all guests. Significant changes - sure- but everything looked still looked promising for high season. The most impactful thing went unnoticed by everyone but it was there right under our noses and now we've taken a proper look I assure you - this one might sting a little.


If you haven't already noticed, Airbnb now advertises your properties with titles they've created themselves. The titles are vague and generic, so viewers won't be able to find your properties on Google with a simple copy-paste of your title. This has already been deployed so there's a good chance that even as you're reading this your property is sitting on Airbnb advertising under a name you've had no impact in selecting.


If you don’t know the importance of being findable on Google I can summarise and say it is proven to lead to more direct bookings. The phenomenon behind this mechanism is called the Billboard Effect, and it is a very big deal for you.




Understanding the major impact of the Billboard Effect on direct bookings 


With this latest tweak, what Airbnb has placed the jugular of the modern independent hotelier  in a firing line of sorts as it basically aims to hinder the Billboard Effect. What exactly is the Billboard Effect ? 


The Billboard Effect is the phenomenon that occurs when hoteliers see direct bookings increase on their own website after signing up to an OTA, like Airbnb. 60% of travellers who search for hotels online see OTAs as search engines and catalogues. Before making any reservation, travellers systematically go to the hotel's own website, if they can find it on Google. This means that if you are listed on an OTA, Airbnb in this case, you can be certain that travellers will look for your website on Google and visit it, if they can find it of course. 



 

This is exactly where Airbnb tries to trip up the Billboard Effect. When they change your card title to their canned label of choice, the name you have given to your property is not visible to the viewers anymore and following on from that if the viewer types “very cool apartment with terrace in North Rome” in the Google search bar, they'll get so many answers they’ll either book another one entirely or best case scenario head back to AirBnb. Long story short, you will become invisible on Google and not only can you kiss your direct bookings goodbye it has the potential to hit you in the occupancy rate too.


3 Quick solutions to keep your direct bookings from Billboard Effect 


First of all, this is not the not the first time that an OTA has tried to collapse the Billboard Effect, so it follows on that neither is it the first time that hoteliers will need to take a stand in order to survive. As with so many modern struggles with big businesses the best way to fight against the power of big OTA companies is to be united and to make a lot of noise as one. The worst thing you could do - not just for yourself but for the industry at large - is to stay silent. Use your voice - write directly to Airbnb on social media or contact and alert your account manager or anything else you can think of - to make as much noise as possible.
That said, you’ll also need practical, actionable solutions that don’t depend on a thousand other voices crying out at once. Try these three: 


1) Put your property’s name at the beginning of your description


Whether Airbnb has already changed your title or not doesn’t matter, be proactive and take action right away. In your property description, start with the name of your property. This way it will most likely be picked up by Airbnb as your title. At the very least the potential traveller reading your card will know what to look for on Google to find your website. 


2) Show the name of your property in the pictures


A good way to let the person watching your Airbnb card know the name of your property, to find it on Google, is to showcase the name on the images. We suggest being subtle though, as Airbnb could flag your card and take down your pictures. One example is to have pictures showing cushions with the name of the property. Subtle but legible is the key here.


3) Optimise your SEO on your website


If Airbnb changes your title to a generic description try to take advantage of that. Let us throw a simple example. Your title is now showing “very cool apartment with terrace in North Rome”. Work on your SEO to implement keywords like apartment, terrace and North Rome on your website, so you can start ranking on Google with these keywords, and keep being shown in the results. 




Amenitiz has the perfect tool for SEO optimisation 


SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it has become an indispensable marketing tool in all sectors that have an online presence, so you can imagine it is very much the case in the hospitality sector too. 


The strength of SEO is to rank your business above your competitors and to make you visible on Google. As we mentioned just above, SEO can also help you counter attack when OTAs try to be sneaky and take over your direct bookings.


Amongst its all-in-one platform, Amenitiz has a website building tool which is perfect to create SEO optimised websites. The tool answers all the SEO needs, from content filled with rich keywords to meta title/description, via alt text on images. So if you want to make sure that your website is ready to compete with the big boys and that you will not become invisible on Google, the Amenitiz solution is a no-brainer.




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Once again, OTAs have pushed the boundaries and planned to be naughty in order to take over the hoteliers’ direct bookings. Thankfully, we are not to be fooled and we are ready to keep empowering independent hoteliers like you. Just like us, make as much noise as possible to create a wave of disagreement. And get in touch with us if you want to optimise your hotel website, our experts will be super happy to give you a free demo.



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Orange background with text How to create a hotel website which converts visitors into guests?
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