With 4.2 billion people currently using social media worldwide, it’s become crucial for any business. This is no exception for the short-term rental industry. Social media marketing for vacation rentals can dramatically skyrocket your bookings if done well. As a vacation rental owner or property manager, you have a lot to gain from being present online for your business.
As well as helping your business get in front of prospective guests and converting them into bookings, social media will expand your business on the whole.
Not only does it allow you to engage with potential renters, but Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest 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.
To help you learn more about using social media as part of your marketing efforts, we bring you the ultimate Social Media Marketing Guide for vacation rentals. You can download it for free by completing the form below.
Here are just some of the topics we cover in the eBook:
- What Is Social Media Marketing?
- Why Should You Use Social Media for Your Vacation Rental?
- How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Vacation Rental
- How to Successfully Implement Your Strategy
- The Most Important Social Networks for Vacation Rental Hosts
Why Should You Use Social Media for Vacation Rentals?
Vacation rental social media marketing is an excellent way to sway new users. On some platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, when a user interacts with what you’ve shared (photo, video, blog or post), it automatically appears on that user’s news feed. So something as simple as a “like” on your page or post can be seen by hundreds or even thousands of their friends.
As a result, it gives you further advertising (for free) and can reach people you would never have imagined. People will come across your page simply just by scrolling through their personal feed. Each post you make is an exciting opportunity to find new potential customers.
Below are just 10 of the endless benefits of social media and ways on how you can reach out to potential guests:
1. Go from a host to 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 if 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 truly connect with your guests. 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, likes and shares. And once you get those first few comments, be friendly and respond promptly daily. 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, domestic 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 for a rental and not a 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 most 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.
This can be a great free way to increase your bookings. It’s true that most social media sites offer paid advertising to promote your posts, but consider that every post is, in some way, an advertisement for your vacation rental. If you plan it right, you can get free publicity from these social network sites.
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 knowledge and further support your business as legitimate. 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 it. Travelers will repeat your vacation rental brand name when they return home, instead of “that rental we stayed in.”
7. Be a community expert
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 breathe.
Post about great local events and beautiful beaches around your vacation rental on Twitter and Facebook. When you become an expert in the community and a source for all the town’s must-sees you will organically captivate your audience. Then you can casually remind regular readers that you have the perfect rental for them.
To prove your expertise, you can also create a blog section on your vacation rental website. Use this platform to write in-depth articles about what’s going on in your town, and share the posts on social media afterward. Not only you will position yourself as a community expert, but it will also help you earn more credibility and online visibility for your site.
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 accounts, 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. Guests can envision a stay in your vacation rental
The selling factor when it comes to any vacation rental business is, of course, 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. There’s no limit on social media so share photos of the spiral staircase, backyard grill, or even the new duvet covers you bought! Upload whatever you think will grab the attention of potential guests.
10. Get more repeat customers
Previous guests are worth a lot more than just the reviews they leave. Not only do you want to attract new guests, but you also want to keep the old ones coming back. Placing a sign or writing your social media username on a whiteboard and placing it in your vacation rental lets guests know where to find you when their stay is done.
From here, you can continue to dazzle them with social media updates, videos, and photos of changes made to the property. By keeping them regularly informed they’ll keep you in mind for their future vacations to come.
Customer loyalty can be rewarded as well by featuring returning clients and offering them discounts or special offers. You can reward your existing customers while also showing new ones how much you value your guests.
It’s never a bad time to build your social media strategy for your vacation rental business, but before diving in, there are a few things to consider, like keeping your goals concise, knowing your audience, following the competition, and having a plan to analyze your progress.
Having a social media strategy is far more than simply posting about your business on your social networking sites. Likewise, the content that you post can impact your business positively or negatively. Having the right strategy for your vacation rental can ensure a positive ROI and social media experience.
Define your goals
Setting goals for your social media campaigns matters. The more defined and measurable your goals are, the more effective your social media strategy will become. Clearly defined goals allow you to adjust your campaign when goals are not being met. Unlike traditional marketing, social media marketing allows you the ability to analyze campaign performance in real-time. So, if something isn’t working, you can adapt your strategy to improve performance.
One or two main goals for your social media campaign is sufficient. Trying to achieve too much in one campaign often leads to a lot of work and little progress. That’s why you should keep it simple and focused.
Knowing your audience is also the key to a successful social media strategy. Who is your ideal guest? Know your target audience demographics like age, income, motives, etc., and build your buyer personas from there. This will allow you to send the right messages at the right time to appeal to your target audience.
Finally, any well-defined social media strategy goal should always include knowing your competition. Remember, their target audience is likely to be yours as well. Research your top three or four competitors to see what they are doing online. What type of content are they posting and which platforms are they posting it on? Knowing what is working for your competition will give you a better idea of what is likely to work for you too.
Plan your content according to when your guests are most likely to be online. If the majority of your audience lives in Italy, it wouldn’t make much sense to post it at 3 AM Central Eastern Time. Do some research and find out the windows for publishing your posts that will best reach the majority of your guests.
How often do you plan on posting? You also need to be clear and consistent about the frequency of posts. You don’t want to spam your followers by posting every hour of every day, but you also want to find a rhythm that works best for your business. Start small with 2 to 3 posts a week and see if it’s feasible and if it’s helping you reach your social media goals.
Make sure you’re planning your content in a way that doesn’t feel repetitive for your followers. Vary your strategy by adding variety and value-added content. This gives your audience something to talk about and a reason to come back for more.
Create your content
It’s important to plan when you’re going to post, but arguably even more important to consider what you’ll post. A little creativity in content creation goes a long way. Your content is a way to engage your audience and ultimately increase your bookings, so you want to be sure that it’s perfectly crafted to do that. What can you say that will attract more guests?
The majority of online users spend less than 15 seconds on a single page. That’s an incredibly limited time frame for keeping the attention of your audience. You only have a brief moment to make the last impression so it’s best to make your content short and sweet.
You can always start with a question for your followers such as “What’s your best vacation memory?”, paired with a stunning picture of your vacation rental. Questions and simple captions like “paradise is just a click away” help to draw in potential guests.
The more followers and post interactions you get, the more you can add to your posts. You don’t want to give away your life story to an uninterested audience. Start small, keep it interesting, and cater your content to meet the needs of your followers.
A catchy tagline isn’t complete without a compelling photo, of course! A lot of social media, like Instagram and Snapchat, is almost exclusively visual. You want your photos to create an image of what a vacation would be like in your short-term rental.
Guide guests through the luxurious master suite, upload a photo of kids playing ping-pong in the game room or show just how spacious the terrace is. Think of your social media as a digital pamphlet for advertising your space. What do you want to highlight? What can you photograph that will put on the wow-factor for guests?
Tags and locations
Most social media networks let you “tag” the location of your photo. You’re going to want to put your vacation home on the map, virtually speaking, for a number of reasons.
First of all, when you add the location of your rental this helps to build your credibility. When the listed location on your website matches what you’ve posted on your social media, this helps to confirm that your rental is legit.
Adding your location also helps to bring in potential guests that are just exploring the area. Remember that your social media doesn’t have to strictly be photos of your vacation home. You can also feature some of the best restaurants, museums, or parks in the area and tag those locations. When you do that, you pick up traffic from users exploring places in the town who will then be redirected to your vacation rental social media page. It’s a great way to reach a wider audience and get more bookings!
Tags aren’t limited to locations either. You can also tag people and other companies. As mentioned above, you can cross-promote with other businesses and tag them in your posts. If you tag them, there’s a good chance that they’ll share your post and then you can tap into their audience too.
Hashtags are like keywords for your photos. Remember that social media sites can’t “read” your photos so hashtags help to explain what is shown in your photos. You can hashtag what you want to highlight in the photo, but also add related ideas.
For example, if you upload a picture of your cabin’s porch you can add some obvious hashtags like #cabin #porch #porchswing, but also some more generic themes too like #offthegrid #gooutdoors or #adventure.
Keep up with the community
Just like a real-life interaction, social media is a bit of a back and forth. If you want followers to engage with your content, you’re going to have to be active on their pages too. Unfortunately, social media fame doesn’t happen instantly so you’ll need to maintain interactions with your followers if you want your page to gain more traction.
Just like the importance of planning your content, you also need to be strategic about your interactions too. Remember we mentioned that billions, not millions, but billions of people use social media every day. You’re not going to reach everyone but, honestly, you don’t have to.
It’s recommended that you focus your engagement efforts on the community you’re trying to reach, whether that’s your existing clients or potential guests. Share photos of guests’ previous stays, comment on restaurants’ posts in your area, or “like” the travel influencers who are from your city. The more you interact with your followers, the more likely they will be to give some love to your page too.
Audit your progress
Once your campaign is active, be sure to test and evaluate your efforts from time to time. Not everything will work for everyone every time. Sometimes, you need to adjust your efforts to hone in on what matters to your audience. There are a few ways you can do this. For example:
- Create audience polls
- Run analytics
- Check for fake accounts
Polling your audience on their content preferences allows them to give you direct feedback on what they like, dislike, and what they want to see more of. It also helps to promote customer engagement on your social media pages.
Another way to fine-tune your efforts is to run analytics on your social media campaigns. There are a lot of great tools out there to help with this. Two of the best-rated tools, according to TrustRadius reviewers, are NetBase and Spredfast. TrustRadius reviewers gave NetBase an 8.5 out of 10 while considering Meltwater Media Intelligence Platform, Radian6, and Brandwatch as alternatives. Reviewers rated Spredfast 8 out of 10 while also considering alternatives like Sprinklr, Percolate, and Hootsuite.
Social media analytics tools provide valuable information on how your posts are performing in terms of views, engagement, and which posts are outperforming others. With this information, you can fine-tune your strategy to bring your potential guests more of the content they like.
Finally, be sure to check your social media platforms for fake accounts set up in your business’ name. It’s not something we like to think will happen, but reality shows us otherwise. Eliminating false accounts by reporting them to the social media platform helps to ensure that your potential guests are finding and interacting with your real accounts –and that’s better for your social media strategy and your business overall.
Social media is always changing, so your social media strategy should, too. As your audience and engagement increases, adapt your strategy to success by creating new social media goals and continue to grow your online presence.
Although there is no one perfect platform, you might find that each social media site satisfies a unique need for your business. For example, you might post more millennial-esque content on Instagram, but keep your Facebook aligned with your older generation guests. Experiment with each different platform to see what works best for your business and your guests.
Instagram’s parent company is Facebook, so if you feel confident navigating the first platform you shouldn’t have too much trouble with this one either. The main difference here is that Instagram’s main focus is aesthetics. The majority of this content should be focused on photos and videos so make sure your Instagram marketing strategy reflects that.
Facebook was one of the first social media platforms in the business, and now it has more than 2.700 million active users per month (and growing!). With such an expansive site, you can share photos, give recommendations, go live, join groups, and even host events. This is a great tool for you to get creative with your vacation rental business and also reach clients in a number of different ways.
Join Facebook groups directed at travelers or go live to give a tour of your vacation home! The options are as endless as your opportunity to attract new guests.
This platform is all the rage for younger generations. From dance videos to art tutorials, this social site has it all. How does your vacation rental fit into this you might be wondering… great question.
TikTok is heavily trend-based. Getting in on trends like #PicturesquePicnics or #PlantTikTok are subtle ways to promote your brand and show off your vacation rental. The trends change every day so do your research first to make sure your content reaches as many users as possible.
Pinterest is a haven for DIY and interior design. Make yourself the expert on all things decor and inadvertently attract guests through a Pinterest strategy. If you upload content that shows how you refurbished an old bar cart or a before and after series of your bathroom renovation, you’ll start to gain a Pinterest following. Convert these crafters into guests by linking your website on your Pinterest homepage.
Unlike Pinterest or Instagram, Twitter isn’t as concerned with visual appeal. Twitter is a great place to share updates about your rental property. Tweets are short status updates limited to 280 characters. You can share things like long stay discounts, new dates available, or a recent addition built for your property. This space is great for keeping your audience informed and interested.
This form of social media is great for letting your creativity run wild! Most of the content on Snapchat is temporary, so you don’t have to invest too much time thinking about what to post. Keep the material light and fun to showcase the best parts of your property.
This is also a great platform for making your vacation rental business a little more personable. Feel free to add Bitmojis into your Snaps to give guests an idea of who is behind the screen.
What to take away
The world is going digital and that means your vacation rental should too. Social media is an excellent place to show just how great your property really is. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to wow guests with photos, video tours, or client testimonials on your social media pages.
Remember too 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! Download our eBook below and watch the bookings rolling in!