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How is my search ranking determined? What are Booking Rate and Repeat Bookings?

Search is less about ranking and more about finding the right match! That’s why in March of 2016, we added Booking Rate to the Host dashboard — as a reflection of Guest-Host matching and how you engage with new Guests.

We’re listening to our community both about the information you need to make decisions about Guests being a good match and how the Booking Rate calculation was being displayed. We’ve heard from Hosts that the calculation wasn’t clear, and we’re changing it.

In the coming months, search will continue to change as we begin to require more information from Guests so that we can match them with the perfect Host who is available to watch their pup.

Where you appear in search is a function of a number of factors, including who is doing the search, distance, and your performance as a host.

As a Host, there are two main performance metrics that determine your visibility to a well-matched Guest. These metrics include Booking Rate and Repeat Bookings.

1. What does "Booking Rate" mean?

Starting July 13th, 2016, we simplified how we calculate the Booking Rate.

Your Booking Rate is now based on the last 10 new Guests who reach out to you. It’s reflected as the percentage of those 10 new Guests who book with you after contacting you. Guests do not see your Booking Rate on your public profile or in search.

It doesn't matter how many messages it takes to get a Booking.

  • For example, if a Guest sends a General Inquiry, followed by a Meet-n-Greet Request, and a Reservation Request, that is three different messages. If you send a Custom Quote, it's four.
  • This still counts as one unique Guest in your Booking Rate calculation.
  • From the time the Guest contacts you, you have 7 days to book with them.
    • If they book sooner than 7 days it will count towards your Booking Rate immediately.
    • If they book outside of those 7 days and that guest is still one of your 10 most recent new guests, it will also count towards your booking rate.

The Booking Rate on your dashboard recalculates twice daily so it may take some time to update.

Historic performance is still heavily factored into search ranking

Your search ranking still takes into account your historic performance on DogVacay. The change to calculate your booking rate over your last 10 New Guest inquiries will simply help you more easily manage your booking rate. Overtime, keeping your booking rate as high as possible will positively impact your ranking in search.

2. What does "Repeat Bookings" mean?

This is the number of Repeat Bookings from your Guests over the last four months. It’s a more accurate measure of the repeat business you’re building through the site and our best measure of a successful match and a Host who is providing a great experience. Guests will still see your total Repeat Guest count on your profile and in search results.

3. How can I improve my Booking Rate or Repeat Bookings?

  • You can track your performance for both of these metrics from the "My Performance" section of your Host Dashboard.
  • For Booking Rate, the most important things to do are to update your dog preferences, keep your availability accurate, and engage well when new Guests contact you. Engaging well means responding quickly, professionally, and accepting a booking when it’s a good match. For a list of tips on how to improve, visit our Host Success Center.
  • Your Repeat Bookings will improve by providing great Vacays to your guest, and continuing to engage with them after their first stay--everything from responding quickly to repeat requests and reminding them to book early for the upcoming holiday. For tips on how to improve, visit our Host Success Center.

4. Why is my Booking Rate so low? Why does it keep changing?

First of all, it is important to know that DogVacay does not expect Hosts to have a 100% Booking Rate. Unlike Response Rate, this is not an easy feat and we know that there are reasons that Hosts are unable to accept booking.

  • We are making changes to the site to improve the Booking Rate of all Hosts. Our goal is to improve Guest/Host matching so that Hosts do not have to decline as many Reservations.
  • That said, we know that there will always be factors that will prevent Hosts from accepting all Bookings - from Guests with expectations you cannot meet to Guest dogs who show signs of aggression at Meet-n-Greets.

As we improve matching, we just ask that you take small steps like updating your preferences and keeping your calendar up-to-date. Getting into these good habits now will begin to have a lasting, positive effect on your Booking Rate.

5. Are there other factors?

Distance: Our goal is to ensure that Guests find a Host they book with, and we know that distance is an important factor. That said, we also know that the distance that someone is likely to drive in one city is different from another, and we take that into consideration.

Guest Preferences: Search will vary based on each and every Guest's search, their location, and the preferences they enter.

Other Host Behaviors: As a Host, cancelling on Guests negatively impacts your search visibility.* On the other hand, getting a background check gives you a small boost.

*This means you, the Host, had to cancel the Reservation. If the Guest had to cancel the Reservation, you are not penalized. It does not matter who contacts DogVacay to process the cancellation.

6. Why am I lower in search?

There is no universal ranking for Hosts as searches are increasingly personalized by Guest based on matching preferences and requirements.

That said, your visibility in search to well-matched Guests is dependent upon your Booking Rate, your Repeat Bookings, and your profile quality (reviews, badges, photos, length of description). Improving each of those metrics will help you improve your visibility. For more information, please visit our Host Success Center.

7. What if I just want to take repeat business? Will I be penalized?

The purpose of search is to match new Guests with Hosts who are most likely to get them to a booking.

You don’t have to take bookings from new Guests, but not turning new messages into bookings will harm your Booking Rate and will negatively impact your search visibility.

You can prevent yourself from receiving new Guest messages if your are unable to accept them. Simply hide yourself in search from your Calendar page.  

8. How will my repeat Guests find me if I remove myself from search?

The purpose of search is to match new Guests with Hosts who are most likely to get them to a booking.

We've made it easier than ever for repeat Guests to book with their Host without having to search for them! 

When your repeat Guests come to the website, the first thing they will see is the option to re-book with you. New Guests find you through search, while repeat Guests will find you through their Guest Dashboard.


9. Is DogVacay doing anything to help Hosts improve their Booking and Repeat Rates?

Yes. In addition to helping Hosts to improve their Booking Rate and Repeat Bookings through initiatives like the Host Success Center, our team has begun to make improvements to the DogVacay platform. 

New Guests (Booking Rate):

When Guests search for Hosts on the DogVacay website, they now receive pop-ups asking them for their location, dates, and information about their dog.

This helps to ensure that we only match them with Hosts who are able to accomodate them.

Not only does this provide for a better Guest experience, it also means fewer unwanted inquiries for Hosts - and an improved Booking Rate.

Coming soon: vaccination + spayed/neutered status!

Repeat Guests (Repeat Bookings):

When a past Guest comes to the DogVacay site, they shouldn't have to use search to find their Host. They have already found someone they love, and it should be as simple as possible for them to re-book.

That's why we have introduced the new "Guest Dashboard."

As soon a Guests log into DogVacay, they now see their "Past Hosts" and are given the option to make a Reservation - all without having to navigate the site.

For Hosts who have opted in to Instant Book, Guests will be able to select the "Instant Book" option.


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