All bookings on HomeAway begin with a search so it is no surprise that the way search results are determined are a critical part of delivering bookings to your listing. Previously, search results were determined by subscription level followed by a listings’ listing quality score. Beginning today, best match is the new system that determines search position within a subscription level. Best match aims at placing the listings in front of a traveler that are most likely to result in a booking. It does this by looking at traveler preferences, such as past searches, filters used, and location of traveler, and the booking experience of a listing.
Thinking outside of HomeAway, Google is likely the company that comes to mind when thinking about the best search company out there. People around the world count on Google daily to quickly and easily deliver what they are looking for. Google determines where to place things on their search pages by a very complex process that takes into account a variety of things like signals from other people who have searched the same thing, how long someone stays on a page they click on from Google, past browsing history and many more!
Until now HomeAway searches have been a one size fits all approach where travelers typically get the same order of search results without factoring in relevancy or any signals from travelers. Going forward, HomeAway searches will be more like Google and look at a wide range of factors to determine search placement.
We’ve been testing for two months and have found these changes will deliver incremental bookings. We will continue to frequently test the best match system and improve it when we find a way to increase the overall number of bookings that take place on the site.
While testing, we have also learned a couple key things:
- Accepted bookings are a good signal that predicts future bookings. So make sure you are always accepting bookings when the traveler is a good fit.
- Keep an accurate calendar – many calendars have been found likely to be inaccurate based on the amount of inquiries relative to reservations listed on a calendar. Listings that have data that indicate a calendar isn’t accurate are resulting in bookings not taking place. Those listings may notice negative movement in their search placement. If you have this issue, you can integrate your iCal feed onto HomeAway.
There are always a variety of things you can do to make sure you are maximizing your placement within best match:
- Enroll and use online booking – since the goal of best match is making more bookings happen, we need to know about your bookings. If you aren’t using online bookings, we have to make guesses around your bookings.
- Consult your listing scorecard- listings that provide a great traveler experience are meant to do well in best match. Consult this tool for tips on how to make sure your property has what travelers said they need.