With 3.8 billion people currently using social media worldwide, it’s become crucial for any business. As a vacation rental owner or manager, you also have a lot to gain from being present online.
Not only does it allow you to engage with potential renters, but Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and the like give you a platform to share your expertise, cross-promote with other local businesses and even reach a wider audience, such as millennials.
So why should you use social media for vacation rentals? Below are 9 benefits of social media and ways on how you can reach out to potential guests:
1. Makes you more than a host – a professional
Social media allows you to share your knowledge, proving that you’re more than just another vacation property owner and who will be of help in the event that something happens or goes wrong.
In short: it’s an opportunity to show guests that they’re in good hands when vacationing in your home.
For example, you could post an update such as: “It’s spring cleaning time here on Firebird Lane. Cleaning out the gutters isn’t much fun, but it’s necessary to keep excessive rain from ruining your next vacation!”
This shows that you’re aware of what property maintenance and upkeep entails, and that you care about your guests – you don’t want someone’s vacation ruined because you forgot to clean out the gutters! You strongly care about hospitality.
What’s more, if there is a hurricane or a storm, like all other businesses, you want to show that you have taken the necessary procedures to protect guests and prioritize their safety.
2. Interact and Grow
Social media is a must-have for promoting your vacation rental because it’s just one part of a larger digital marketing landscape. As well as helping your business get in front of prospective guests and converting them into bookings, social media allows you to build relationships.
Be creative and interact with your audience by asking questions. For example, you could ask, “What’s your ideal morning coffee view on vacation?” Post a photo of the view from your rental with a coffee to catch people’s eyes as they scroll through their newsfeed. This way, guests will envisage doing the same in your property. You aren’t just selling a product, you’re selling the experience.
When writing posts and uploading images, consider how you can encourage comments, links and likes. And once you get those first few comments, be friendly and respond promptly on a daily basis. Thank people for retweets on Twitter and like other photos on Instagram too. The more followers you have, the more credibility your vacation rental business has online. By being interactive, your vacation rental business will grow, attract more clients and generate more bookings overall.
3. Expand your client base
If your property is only on one listing site, social media gives you further advertising, also for free! With all the different platforms available, you’ll be able to reach a more varied audience.
Social media allows you to connect with all types of guests: travel influencers, fitness and wellness travelers, millennials and international travelers. Think of all the travelers who normally stick to hotels. Social media platforms can help prove that vacation rentals provide the same experience as staying in a hotel. Therefore guests can see why they should opt-in for a rental and not the normal hotel.
With the high amount of active users on Instagram and Facebook today, people can easily come across your page simply just by scrolling through their feed. They can also find you via the location, tags, and stories, thus allowing you to connect with people you otherwise would never have reached.
4. Cross-promote with local businesses
The opportunities for cross-promoting with other businesses are endless. Anyone who goes on vacation will no doubt frequent the nearby restaurants, retailers, parks and tourist destinations.
Why not initiate a partnership with these local businesses to reach a new audience, and give your renters something they might not get elsewhere: discounts to the places where they’ll inevitably be spending money.
For example, you might share a deal like this online: “Anyone who rents for more than two nights in April gets a free drink and entrée at Mama Luna’s Grill, just a five-minute walk from our home!”
On the restaurant’s side, they may be willing to keep your business cards or flyers at the cash register, or schedule a few social posts promoting your rental in return for your promotion of their business. Find what works for both parties. Either way, you both have something to gain!
Don’t forget to create eye-catching graphics to give your deals the most visibility and boost the engagement factor.
5. Advertise sales and other deals
Everyone loves a great deal. So if you’re ready to offer a discounted rate for a three-day weekend, let your readers know. Facebook is a great way to get the word out quickly. Instagram is also a great tool, especially if your targeted audience is unlikely to use Facebook.
Nowadays a majority of travelers follow brands on social media to access promotions and discounts. So you can give your followers what they want by posting deals and special offers regularly. Take holidays and seasonality into account, like Valentine’s Day and plan discounts around them. The low-season is also a great time to offer added-value deals.
6. Earn credibility
Social media not only makes your business look professional but also gives you credibility. Think about how many brands have Facebook and Instagram pages. Guests who come across your listing will want further information, and social media will give them that information and further supports your business as real. They can also look at reviews from previous guests.
Having a brand name for your vacation rental is the basis for your marketing, and will help your rental make a name for itself. So once you’ve created a name, you can start using it across all your platforms, not only giving you credibility, but also higher exposure. A brand helps you stand out from the crowd and allows your guests to have a stronger memory of your vacation rental.
Moreover, with a brand name you can let your guests advertise your rental by using your name. Travelers will repeat your vacation rental brand name when they return home, instead of “that rental we stayed in.”
7. Share useful information
Excessively advertising your rental properties is an easy way to chase away friends and followers on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Instead, take a step back and breath.
Post about great local events and beautiful beaches around your vacation rental on Twitter and Facebook. Offer pictures of gorgeous sunsets on Pinterest or Instagram. Give guests a reason to go on vacation. Make your readers long to visit. Then you can casually remind regular readers that you have the perfect rental for them.
8. Encourage guests to share their experiences
A happy guest can be your greatest ally. Encourage clients to leave a review and share their vacation photos and experiences on their social media pages, tagging yours in it. They can also link directly to your vacation rental site from their own Facebook and Instagram account, or other social media platforms. Word of mouth is still the most effective marketing available, which is why Lodgify’s social media integration is so helpful.
Stay in touch with past clients. Building a relationship with past guests should be the goal of anyone in the hospitality industry. Use social media and your website to respond to reviews, answer common questions and thank people for their business. At the same time, remember you must do everything possible to avoid negative reviews.
9. Include pictures
And last but not least, the selling factor when it comes to any business: the property itself. Adding images to every social media post is a safe way to catch a reader’s eye. Plus, people want to see your vacation rental and the surrounding area before they book your property. Cater to their expectations by having plenty of great images to share.
Additionally, you can use those pictures to attract Pinterest users. Consider that Pinterest allows you to create your own professional business account, and will drive traffic to yet another website.
Remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. You need to allow plenty of time for your business to be exposed and grow. Seasoned marketers understand that social media is only a part of advertising. Continue with your other outreach efforts, and you’ll soon find that your rental properties will be booked year-round.
Social media really is an integral part of the entire digital marketing process. It opens up opportunities to give discounts, work with local retailers and more – all of which can really help you to attract more bookings and loyal guests! Just make sure your website builder integrates with social media tools.