Recently, Airbnb has updated how your listing photos are displayed to FPGs (future potential guests).
Essentially, they’ve highlighted the photo caption.
Here is where the photo display and photo caption used to look like:
And, here is the updated photo layout with caption.
A huge improvement.
Put The FPG In Your Airbnb
If you can get the guest to picture themselves in your Airbnb, then you’re more likely to get a reservation says behavioral psychology.
I remember I saw one Airbnb in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam with a cute little lofted reading nook with a comfortable armchair and a short ladder leading up to it with an arched rooftop. I’m a big reader (and author) so I was thinking of the future with myself in this nook reading and relaxing in the afternoons.
A well taken photo will do most of the work here, but the photo captions are one aspect that you can optimize to further push you over the edge and above your competition.
Try this photo caption on your Airbnb listing photo of a living room or balcony: “Imagine yourself here relaxing with good conversation and a glass of wine..”
Explain Non-Obvious Or Hidden Features
This will be the most important point. Instead of adding four angle photos of a room plus some close-up photos, use the caption to explain things that are not essential, missing from the photo, or impossible to photograph. For example, do you have radiant floor heating in the bathroom? This would go in the caption. You might also want to call out what is behind that closed door in the photo. Does it lead to a private balcony? To a walk-in closet?
Check out these examples:
Highlight Your Most Positive Airbnb Reviews
While Airbnb shows the number of reviews and stars towards the very top of your Airbnb listing, the FPG has to scroll to the bottom for any more information. We know that FPGs start with the photos so why not make it easier for the FPG to know what your prior guests’ thought?
There are three ways to do this. First, take a screenshot of the star ratings and number of reviews:
Second, take a screenshot of the entire review and ideally one that you’ve responded to as a host.
Third, copy/paste a portion of an existing review into a random photo. I’ve seen some hosts add the name of the review and even the date. I think this is unnecessary as long as you add quotation marks.
Avoid Generic Comments
You do not need to add a caption to every photo. On average, one of every two photos should have a caption. Even though you can add a review quote to all photos, it’s overkill and defocuses the FPGs attention. If you have a standard one-bedroom apartment, you do not need to label the living room: living room.
Sell Your Airbnb
Pay attention! Most of you need to do a better job of this. Elevate your mindset to that of entrepreneur and you will automatically be one the best Airbnbs in your area as you’ll continually think about how to improve and stay ahead. In the example below, it’s obvious that it’s a backyard, but it’s not obvious that this is a highly unique amenity in San Francisco. Now the guest will notice that all of their other options lack a backyard.
The only thing better this photo can do is to be taken in the horizontal (not portrait/vertical) position.
Label The Areas Or Floors
While every photo does not need a caption, keep in mind that the FPG does not know the home as well as you. What might look obvious to you, maybe need explaining especially if there are multiple floors or multiple of the same room (2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, etc.). This is especially true of bedrooms which can sometimes look almost identical to a person unfamiliar with the property. Identifying what is the upper and lower floor is especially important for handicap, families, and elderly travelers.
Bonus #1: Add A Neighborhood Photo or Local Tip
You should have at least ten photos minimum. For standard listings with only a few rooms, this will be difficult. Consider adding a neighborhood photo. I’m not talking about a generic neighborhood photo of a coffee shop or park. See above, sell your listing! If you’re going to add a photo, you might as well sell it a bit. See below for two great examples.
Under no circumstances add a neighborhood photo without explaining what it is. Imagine if you saw either of the above photos without a caption? It would make no sense yet this is a common practice of at least 75% of the Airbnb listings with neighborhood photos.
Bonus #2: Add A Floor Plan Photo
I started using these custom hand-drawn Airbnb floor plans about a year ago. They set expectations phenomenally well. They also make a great cover photo for standard listings without anything to show off in the cover photo.
I want you to understand that your photo caption, along with everything else can be optimized. There is a best way to do things. While it will not likely get you a reservation by itself, it’s just another subtlety setting you apart in every way from your competition.
However, a photo caption is not always necessary. Remember our most important tenant: respect the guests’ attention at all times. When you do add a caption, keep it to as few words as possible.