Tribune. Of course, those who have an apartment close to the Eiffel Tower will more easily find tenants on Airbnb – and at a much higher price – than those whose accommodation is located without an area without tourist attractions. But the determinants of the success of Airbnb’s offerings are more diverse than we imagine, sometimes surprising, even disturbing. Several recent researches make it possible to understand the logics at work.
First criterion, very important for finding customers: to please the platform. It is indeed vital for a host to appear on the first page of a search. Only a minority of candidate tenants will read further. So how do you attract Airbnb? The best is to have an idea of the 100 or so variables taken into account by its algorithm …
A new host, for example, always has an advantage at the start. Airbnb wants to allow him to quickly get initial contacts, make him appreciate the platform and thus retain his loyalty. The usual host will gain visibility if he knows how to be reactive. The platform has commercial interests. In order for her to make money, as many deals as possible have to be made. The hosts who hang around, hesitate, sometimes refuse candidates for hire, sink into the depths of the ranking.
Those who respond instantly are now privileged in an assumed manner. An evolution which favors professionals, very available and willing to rent to people of whom they know little, but which penalizes punctual hosts anxious to be made safe by several exchanges before handing over to someone the keys of their house.
The Airbnb algorithm takes many other factors into account. Homes with high occupancy rates in the past are highlighted. The textual analysis tools of the platform make it possible to identify accommodation whose comments are particularly positive, beyond the simple addition of the ratings assigned. The “Superhosts”, who very often rent a property, are responsive and highly rated, have first page honors, etc., which helps them find new customers.
How to find yourself in this envied situation? Arun Sundararajan, professor at the Stern School of New York University, showed how participants in collaborative platforms, such as Airbnb, but also eBay or Leboncoin, learned quickly from their first experiences and that many turned into micro-entrepreneurs capable of studying the competition to set suitable prices, choose flattering images, or even make some investments to increase their attractiveness (The Sharing Economy, MIT Press, 2016).