Identifying Your Airbnb Competition

airbnb competitive strategyEarlier last month, Airbnb’s co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky tweeted that they’ve reached one million listings and are adding over 3,000 listings each day.  The extreme growth of Airbnb has led to an unprecedented abundance of choice for travelers looking to stay anywhere in the world.

As an Airbnb host, you need to ask yourself: How will the constant addition of new places to rent affect my ability to consistently get bookings at the best possible rates? The first step is to identify your direct Airbnb competition. Identifying your competition will give you insight into the constant movement, rates, and supply within your neighborhood or market.  We have given you two ways below; the easy way and the hard way.
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The Easy Way

TL; DR.  Use Smart Host to identify your Airbnb competition.
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“If you’re a new host, identifying your competitive set is crucial to determining your initial base rate and how to market your listing.” says Evan Hammer, CEO and co-founder Smart Host, a startup that helps hosts with pricing and market intelligence. He went on to give us some advice, “For a new listing without reviews, we recommend setting your nightly rate lower than the lowest rate found within your competitive set. If you’re not getting many inquiries, it’s not low enough. Once you’ve earned three reviews, you can start to raise your rates towards the market average. ”
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Using your Airbnb competition for dynamic pricing
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After taking a look at Smart Host, it seems that their dynamic pricing service is based on analyzing your competition. “Each one of our price recommendations comes with a set of similar listings you compete with. It’s important that we show the context of who you are competing with on a daily basis, as it’s one of the main factors that determines your listing’s value in the market”. At $19/month per listing, a service like Smart Host can save you a ton of time on the research needed to get the most bookings at the best possible rate.
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The Hard Way

Since Airbnb is a true marketplace, there is very little control when it comes to quality and booking activity for each listing. By doing some research on the active listings around you, you can see pricing, photos, headlines, or descriptions that make up a successful listing in your market. The best way to identify the active listings around you starts with using Airbnb’s powerful search functionality.
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Use Airbnb’s search filters to narrow down your competition

Luckily, Airbnb’s search functionality gives travelers the ability to filter results based on dozens of listing features and amenities. These same search filters make it easy for you to identify all of the listings that are similar to yours. You can also use Airbnb’s interactive map and neighborhood filters to define your competitive area.
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Example…
Let’s say you have a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. You offer the entire place, two beds, internet access, and a kitchen. From Airbnb’s initial Brooklyn search page, you can filter your selections by the dimensions seen below.
airbnb ammenities
Using these filters, Airbnb lists 242 rentals in the area. You know that Williamsburg is a large neighborhood, and parts are more popular than others (This is relevant to many neighborhoods throughout the world). You can zoom in using the map to find the exact area you’d like the listing results to be located. Once you’ve made your selections on the map, the search results will refresh, leaving you with 110+ listings:
 airbnb map
Make sure to bookmark the URL with your filtered search results so you can go back and reference the changes within your market on a regular basis. If you are trying to figure out your Airbnb competition for a certain date range, add check in and check out dates into the search to only see the available listings you’ll be competing with. Setting the dates will make the nightly advertised price more accurate without having to go into the listing’s calendar.
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Compile the results into a spreadsheet

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Now that you have your set of similar listings, it’s time to compile them into a spreadsheet for analysis. There’s the obvious manual data entry process, but that would take hours. (We’re all about efficiency!) We recommend using a web data extraction tool liked Import.io to help you automatically pull the search results into a spreadsheet.
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Here’s what Import.io looks like using our Brooklyn apartment example:
airbnb import
Pro Tip: When using Import.io, be sure to navigate to the second page of Airbnb results to get the entire set of search results.
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Analyze the spreadsheet to find trends

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Once you download the information into a spreadsheet, you can then parse the data to identify important intelligence about your Airbnb competition. Narrow down the results to match the number of reviews you have on your listing.
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Out of the initial data pulled from Import.io, you’ll be able to determine metrics such as:
  • Average number of reviews
  • Average nightly rate
  • Average rates filtered by number of reviews:
    • Less than 5 reviews
    • 5-20 reviews
    • 21+ reviews
It’s worth narrowing the list further to only listings that closely match yours by type, location, and reviews. Information like cleaning fees, deposits, and minimum stay will give you guidance of what is common within your market. Another fruitful tactic is reviewing the listing’s calendar to see which dates are available or have been booked. The availability of a listing is one of the leading indicators for how active it is. Add these additional data points to your spreadsheet for future analysis.
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When building or updating your listing, content is also important to catching a traveler’s eye. Look for common words or phrases used in the titles and descriptions on the most booked listings. These words or phrases could be referencing events, landmarks, or nearby transit options.
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The constant growth and change of Airbnb’s marketplace will definitely affect the future performance of your listing. Analyzing your competition on a regular basis with Smart Host will help you make adjustments to book more and earn more as well!
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What other tips do you have for analyzing your Airbnb competition?  Have you walked your neighborhood?  Talked with other hosts in the area?  Let us know below!

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3 Comments

  1. Lia + Garry
    February 10, 2015
  2. Mitchell
    April 3, 2015
  3. Jennifer Ross
    July 19, 2015

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