With 2.8 billion people using social media, it’s quickly becoming a non-negotiable for any business. As a vacation rental owner or manager, you also have a lot to gain from being active on social media.
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 – millennials.
If you’re still not convinced, keep reading!
Social media makes you more than a host – an expert
Social media allows you to share your knowledge, proving that you’re more than just another vacation property owner who won’t be of help in the event that something happens or goes wrong. In short: this shows guests that they’re in good hands when vacationing in your home.
For example, you might 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!
Social media is one part of a larger picture
Social media is so important 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 the right prospective guests and converting them into bookings, social media allows you to build relationships and brand authority.
However, simply scheduling posts and forgetting about them wont be all that effective. To make social media worth your time, you have to be involved and committed. Here’s how:
- Choose one or two times a day to respond to comments, thank people for retweets or “like” others’ photos on Instagram. Keep the times consistent – such as when you’re sitting down for breakfast and then again at lunch – to make it a regular habit.
- Don’t just share photos of your property or post sales pitches. Interact with your audience by asking questions. For example, you might ask, “What’s your ideal ‘morning coffee view’ on vacation?” Post a photo of the view from your rental to catch people’s eye as they scroll through their newsfeed. Don’t forget to like and respond to everyone’s responses.
- More than 90 percent of people polled said they follow brands on social media for access to promotions and discounts. So you could think about giving your followers what they want by posting deals and special offers regularly. Take holidays and seasonality into account, like Valentine’s Day or Labor Day Weekend etc. and plan discounts around them.
Millennials are on social media – and they love vacation rentals
When it comes to attracting millennials, the stats speak for themselves:
- Millennials make up 31% of the leisure travel market
- 41% of millennials use Facebook every day
- Roughly 25 to 30 percent of millennials use Instagram every day
Those numbers alone should give you enough reason to stay active on Instagram, the photo-sharing platform that’s used regularly by millennials. Staying current with Facebook marketing is also key in attracting more of these millennial guests. Try your hand at free and paid updates, such as:
- Facebook live tours of your rental (free)
- Facebook deals/discounts features (free)
- Facebook ads for popular times of the year (paid)
Cross-promote with local businesses
The opportunities for cross-promoting with other businesses are nearly unlimited as a vacation rental owner. 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 on social media:
“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.
What to take away
Social media really is an integral part of the entire digital marketing process. It can open 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.
If you want to find out more about social media and online marketing for vacation rentals, download our free beginner’s guide!
About the Author
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and spent the last five years in marketing. After stepping down from a senior marketing position, she’s focusing on growing her own startup and consulting for small businesses. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.