Every now and then I come upon a listing with more photos of the neighborhood than the home. This is ALWAYS wrong.
More often I come across listings with 5+ neighborhood photos. This is SOMETIMES okay.
Occasionally, I come across listings with 2-3 neighborhood photos. This is USUALLY okay, but the wrong photos are often chosen to be showcased on your Airbnb listing.
For clarification, I consider a neighborhood photo, generally, a recommendation.
There is one type of Airbnb neighborhood photo: a high-quality recommendation. Click To Tweet
The reason we don’t place much emphasis on your neighborhood is because this is not a differentiating factor between your immediate competition. And, because most of the time your neighborhood is a standard one. The only exception to this is if you are next to a hotspot destination (touristy or not). We call this a micro-neighborhood. If you are one street behind the two-block section of Street Super Duper with all the coolest shopping and restaurants, then you’ll want to let the guest know and select ‘Specific location’ within Airbnb:
This blog will answer:
- When it is a good idea to include neighborhood photos
- What type of neighborhood photo should I include
- How many neighborhood photos to include
- Where in your photo sequence to add the neighborhood photos
Are you unsure if you need a photo of your neighborhood in your Airbnb? Click here. Click To Tweet
When to add Airbnb neighborhood photos
You will probably need a few neighborhood photos if you are renting a room, studio, or 1-bedroom home.
You can add a few neighborhood photos, given a few criteria, if you are renting a 2+ bedroom home.
If your Airbnb is a room, a studio, or a 1-bedroom then it’s likely neighborhood photos will be needed. This likelihood arises because I believe there is a minimum threshold of photos to have an acceptable listing in the eye of the Airbnb search algorithm. To be clear, Airbnb has never stated how many photos are a proper amount. My assumption is that you are safe with a minimum of ten photos.
If you are renting a 2+ bedroom home, then you may add neighborhood photos, given the following conditions are met (see next section).
What type of neighborhood photos to include
The following conditions should always be met for any neighborhood photo:
- The photo is high-quality
- The photo is not extremely obvious (sports stadiums, generic photos of landmarks, etc.)
- The photo is unique
- The photo adds value to the guests’ experience
A neighborhood photo in your Airbnb should be high-quality, unique, and adds value to guest experience. Click To Tweet
I want to highlight the last bullet point, first. If you are able to add value to your guest’s experience outside of the home while they are visiting your city then you are likely to get a better, longer review (I believe the length of your reviews are a ranking factor). Your review is a reflection of your home, your hosting ability, and the guest’s experience in your city.
Never list obvious destinations (popular tourist spots!). This is because an FPG is not going to come to your listing because of it, so it adds no value. Remember, someone has already decided on your city (potentially your neighborhood), now you need to convince them on your space. Your neighborhood comes second. But you mostly convince them by your neighborhood in your text (walk score, nearby main streets, public transport, etc.)
Your review is a reflection of your home, your hosting ability, and the guest's experience in your city. Click To Tweet
Don’t add a random photo of your street. Only if you’re in the heart of the action and you want to promote this (ie hey, you’re in the heat of the action. It may be a bit noisy, but you won’t complain about the convenience!).
Here’s an example of a neighborhood photo and the caption I add to one of my listings.
Book for my local tip how to enjoy Muir Woods without having to book or pay for parking!
Muir Woods can be argued is obvious. It is a major tourist destination, but the uniqueness of my tip outweighs the obvious factor. If you book my place, I’m promising a unique adventure and saving money. This is a local tip that you’re not going to find with a bit of online research. It’s my belief that this photo and related tip are so persuasive that I’ve received many bookings just because of it. If a guest is on the fence about 2 listings, they’re going to choose mine for this super unique tip, especially if they were going to go to Muir Woods anyways.
Other good options are unique hidden parks, great views, bars, restaurants, café’s, etc. in your neighborhood. Currently, I’m in Mexico City and there are a million coffee shops, but I found one that is thee-levels and a combination of a library, forest, and café. How cool! This would be a suitable neighborhood photo. Additionally, every city has hidden bars or hidden menu items. Share one with your guest.
How many neighborhood photos to include
Learn how many neighborhood photos you should include in your Airbnb listing. Click To Tweet
If you are renting a room, studio, or 1-bedroom, here’s what your photos layout may look like:
- Living room*
- Patio or outdoor space*
- Alternate angle of bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen*
- Other living space available to the guest*
- Photo of the exterior of the home*
The asterisk indicates the photo is optional. For example, if the guest does not have access to the kitchen in a room-only listing, there would be no photo of this room. Or, if there’s no patio or outdoor space available to the guest, this space would not be included in the photos. Take caution if you decide to add a photo of the exterior of your home, especially if it indicates your exact address number. In the wrong hands (a thief) this information could be used against you and your guests.
In these cases, you may need to add 2-5 photos of the neighborhood. You never want to add more photos of the neighborhood than of the actual space. If you have 10 photos then you are allowed 5 of the neighborhood, maximum. Other photos will come from alternate angles of the bathroom or bedroom, the two rooms that will be used most by this guest. Or, how about install a super cool shower head with some neat settings (massage in the shower, anyone?). Get creative, especially if you have a tiny space with no wow features. Always think: why would is a guest going to choose my space over my neighbors? Would I book my own space if I was visiting my city? What would improve my space?
If you are renting a 2+ bedroom home where you will have more than the 10-photo minimum recommendation, my general suggestion is to add no more than two neighborhood photos. You can add additional neighborhood photos in your electronic guidebook.
Where to add neighborhood photos in your layout
Generally, at the end. Simple as that.
If you think you have three really awesome local, unique destinations then add the most special recommendation around your 6th photo, and the last two at the end. Or, list 2 and save one for after booking to put in your electronic guidebook (if you do not have an electronic guidebook, make one! I’ll even make one for you).
IF you add neighborhood photos to your Airbnb, they should be in the second half of your photos. Click To Tweet
I would only add a neighborhood photo towards the front of my photo layout if the value add is significant enough to generate a reservation. This is what your photos are for: to get the guest to click the Rausch-colored ‘Book’ button.
How many neighborhood photos do you have? Has this post inspired you to delete some or update the quality? I read and love all the comments!
Also published on Medium.