Best Match Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t understand how best match works. Can you explain it?  

Best match is our new system that determines search results within subscription levels. It displays listings based on several factors that are most likely to result in a successful booking. This means more quality bookings for you.  Best match will continue to evolve and become more robust so that we deliver more highly relevant results for every search. Since the factors that matter to best match will evolve, a comprehensive list of what matters isn’t possible.

All of the things that will be factored into make the best match can be categorized into two buckets:

  • Traveler preferences, which may include things like filters, dates, location, reviews and price of a property.

  • The booking experience, which may include things like offering and using online booking, accepting online bookings you receive and quick responses.

Over time, we will continue to keep you informed on key learnings and things you can do to maximize your property's performance. 

I thought best match was different for every traveler; why am I not seeing it yet?

When best match was introduced August, we explained the vision of best match and search position going forward. That remains our vision (see more here), but like all things we do, we use data to inform decisions and ensure all changes are successful in delivering more bookings; some of these enhancements will take time. Search results will continue to become even more variable, and we will continue to make searches as relevant as possible using information we have about a traveler, a listing, and the booking experience for each listing.

What have you learned so far about what matters for best match?

We are constantly learning from our data, research, and from travelers. There are a variety of things that are important, above and beyond the components that are in your listing scorecard. They’ve been tested and proven to deliver more bookings and since they’re important, we want you to understand some of these signals and factors that help drive bookings:

  • Page views from search results - When travelers choose a particular listing based on search results, it’s a clear indication that travelers like the property. This could be for a variety of reasons including price, location, beautiful photos, reviews, a good description and more.
  • Contacts - The number of times a traveler contacts you with a travel inquiry or booking request is another signal that a listing matches what a traveler is looking for in a vacation rental.
  • Availability –When a traveler searches without entering specific dates, we look at the dates other travelers are searching for in that same geographical area and if your property is booked for those popular dates, it might appear lower than you are used to. When a traveler searches with specific dates and your property is available, you’ll likely notice your listing appearing higher in search results for these travelers. See question 6 below for more details on why you want your listing in front of the travelers that enter dates.
  • Calendar Accuracy –Using data and bookings on a calendar, listings that appear to not be maintaining an accurate calendar may notice they’re appearing lower within their subscription level. For owners and managers with more than one property, make sure you are advertising each individual unit to ensure you have accurate availability.
  • Response score - How quickly and frequently you respond to traveler inquiries and booking requests is a critical component of best match, as it is an indicator of whether or not a traveler will have a good experience with your listing.
  • Acceptance of bookings - Listings that have a past record of accepting a lot of bookings are likely to accept future ones. Within the next few weeks, you will get a new metric, called booking acceptance rate, which will help you understand how many booking requests you are accepting. See question 10 below for more details.

I feel like I’m doing everything right. Why am I dropping in search results?

As search logic evolves, other listings change things and new listings enter the marketplace, search results are constantly changing, so measuring your performance through search position may become difficult. Given how many variables do and will influence search results and your potential placement, we recommend that you focus on your bookings rather than search result placement as an indicator of success.

Also keep in mind that best match looks at past data so immediate changes to your listing or booking experience might not have an instant impact on your bookings. Keep reading the FAQs to learn more details.

It looks like people with lower listing quality than me are above me in search results. How could that be?

Many factors in your listing scorecard remain important because travelers have said those are things that matter most. However, the components in the scorecard aren’t the only important things to a traveler, and this is why best match was created and launched. We will continue to look at important components of listing quality and strike the right balance of these factors and other data we have about travelers and listings to maximize bookings.

Is there a difference between searches in which travelers input dates or not?

In all searches, both before we introduced best match and now with it, listings only appear in search results where a traveler’s specific search criteria is met. For example, if a traveler filters for a swimming pool, listings without a swimming pool will not appear in search results. Similarly, if a traveler enters specific travel dates, then listings that aren’t available for those dates will not appear in search results.

With best match, sort order is now different for searches with and without specified dates:

  • When no dates are entered, we look at booking and inquiry data from other travelers to find the most common timeframes on which travelers are searching. Based on these common timeframes, if a listing doesn’t have a lot of availability, then it might appear lower in search results because travelers will have a harder time finding open dates.
  • When dates are entered, assuming your listing is available during their desired period, you’ll likely notice your listing appears higher than it did when no dates were entered. Most travelers search using dates and more than 75% of inquiries and bookings come from these searches — this means your listing is a much more likely to appear in front of travelers who are more likely to book. These searches are a stronger indicator of performance and are the travelers you want your listing in front of.

How does my calendar availability affect best match?

When travelers do not enter dates when searching, availability plays a factor in the way listings are ordered. 

  • When no dates are entered in searches, we look at both booking and inquiry data from other travelers to find the most common timeframes travelers are searching for. During these popular timeframes, if a listing doesn’t have a lot of availability, then it might appear lower in search results because it is less likely a traveler will find open dates.

  • When dates are entered, and assuming your property is available during the desired period, your listing is likely to appear higher than it would have if no dates were entered and you had limited availability. These searches are the most important ones you want your listing in front of because most search using dates and more than 75% of inquiries and bookings come from these searches.

Keep in mind that search results are constantly changing based on multiple factors, but keeping your calendar accurate is important to ensure the best possible results. 

Does that mean I should keep my calendar open?

No, calendar availability alone does not determine search results placement. The search algorithms also look at the likelihood of a listing to accept a booking request and the number of confirmed bookings. If we can see that your listing has had inquiries or booking requests and there are no bookings on your calendar, it signals no one has booked your rental. Bookings are the strongest indicator that we have to know that your property is a best match for travelers, so be sure to keep your calendar accurate.

How does treatment in search results differ between pay-per-booking and annual subscription listings?

Subscription level is the first factor looked at when determining search position and those that have purchased an annual subscription will appear within the level they purchased. This means a Platinum listing will show above all other Gold, Silver, Bronze and Classic listings.  

Pay-per-booking listings do not have guaranteed search placement. Some of these listings may be dynamically added within subscription levels and then sorted by best match, some of these listings may appear at the bottom of Classic listings, and some might not appear at all.

Subscription listings continue to be the best way to influence your position within search results and have more of a guarantee of your placement on the websites.

What is "online booking acceptance rate?" What is a "good" rate?

The booking acceptance rate is new metric and it is the percentage of accepted bookings out of your listing’s ten (10) most recent booking requests. You should accept the most number of booking requests possible, and we recommend you maintain at least a 60% acceptance rate.

How is best match working so far?

Best match has proven to be successful in driving more confirmed bookings and inquiries. While the best match algorithm will continue to evolve, we will never make changes to it if they don’t prove to have a positive impact in driving more bookings. Learn more about how best match is tested

Will listings with online booking always show up above those without it?

Online booking is a critical component to search results placement because it is the clearest indicator that tells us travelers have found your listing, and successfully booked it.

If you do not offer online booking and are a good match for travelers, your listing will be better off in search results and performance when you enroll and use online booking.

Offering online booking alone, however, does not guarantee that your listing will always appear above those listings that do not offer it. Here are a few reasons why listings with online booking may appear lower than listings without it:

  • Failing to respond to booking requests within 24 hours, thus triggering the system to automatically decline the request
  • Declining all – or a majority – of booking requests
  • Keeping an open calendar with no bookings even though the listing has received inquiries and booking requests

Is there a difference in search results based on who manages the listing – owners or property managers?

No, best match looks at each individual listings the same regardless of who owns or manages the listing.

To learn more, visit our help center