It’s a common complaint from Airbnb hosts – “I can’t find my listing if I search Airbnb in my area!”

But this doesn’t mean that potential guests aren’t finding your listing. As we’ve mentioned before, there are many factors that determine where your listing will be in the search results. And as we’ve also mentioned before, no one ever guaranteed that your listing would be prominently featured and there are plenty of reasons why it won’t be.

But there’s one huge reason that hosts tend to forget when they are searching.

That is, that almost every genuine potential guest who is looking for accommodation will input their dates and quite possibly any other criteria that will help them find a place that’s just the job for their needs. And this applies all the more so if you use Instant Book – more about that in a minute.

Think about it and it makes a lot of sense. (But the trouble is that sometimes – and this is simply human nature – we jump to conclusions too much). If I’m searching for a separate place for two in a certain area for certain dates, that must have air conditioning and will accept pets, then it’s no good at all if I search just for the area without adding my separate-place-two-people-AC-pets criteria, right?

I don’t want to see a room in a shared house that sleeps one person, has no AC and doesn’t accept pets.

I know it seems obvious but sometimes it’s just that knee-jerk human reaction – oh, where’s my listing?

Let’s look at a few things here.


You don’t know what your guest is searching for, that’s true. You can, of course, spend several days searching for various permutations of the services you offer, and the dates you have available, but Airbnb’s search may take into account:

  • The location of the searcher
  • Their history and places they have looked at in the past
  • If they have used Airbnb before, the places they have stayed in
  • If the guest has always used Instant Book before, places using IB may come higher
  • Whether the guest has visited a listing before

Most search systems use hundreds (literally) of different criteria. 

One person can search an area for a place with certain criteria for certain dates. Another person can search for exactly the same thing but get different results.


Airbnb lets you set a lot of parameters in your listing. For example, the minimum and maximum days permitted, whether you want a prep day between stays and several others. Are you taking this into account when you search? And remember, if you’re using an incognito browser window, you have no history whatsoever with Airbnb.


Remember too that a lot of the various factors that determine what a guest sees in search results are personalised to them. This is purely sensible as the whole aim of the search facility to for guests to find a place that’s just right for them.

If a potential guest has bookmarked (wish-listed) a certain listing or listings, then those are going to supersede yours. The guest has already expressed an interest in them so the search facility is going to serve them up before yours.


Yes, it’s true that using Instant Book will mean that your listing comes up higher in search results. Again, this is only common sense. Guests don’t want to wait to be accepted and approved – they want to book quickly and easily.

However, using Instant Book does have a downside when you are searching the site yourself for your own listing.

Have you determined that you want to only have Instant Book guests who have reviews? Or have been recommended by other hosts? If so, then your listing isn’t going to come up in your search unless you’re logged in as a guest, with reviews and with recommendations from other hosts. Of course, in an incognito window, you’ll be just that, incognito. No reviews, no recommendations.




JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.

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