With more than 500 million monthly users, Instagram is one of the world’s most-loved social media applications. Although it’s owned by the same people behind Facebook, the two social networks couldn’t be more different when it comes to the type of content people engage with – Instagram purely exists for photo and video sharing, and that’s exactly why vacation rental owners should be using it.
A recent study revealed that more than 60% of travel companies are using Instagram as part of their marketing, so it’s wise to keep up with the trends. If you’re not convinced yet, read on to find out why owners should start a vacation rental Instagram account to start taking advantage of the benefits it can bring.
It’s easy self-promotion
Photos are by far the easiest way to promote your business, especially when the majority of your bookings are taken on the internet before guests have a chance to see your vacation rental in real life. That’s not to say that your Instagram feed should just feature the same images as your website – far from it. Think of your vacation rental Instagram account as complementary to what your site is saying.
For example, if your listing description states you provide guests with a breakfast hamper to welcome them to your home, you can illustrate this with a beautiful example photo on your Instagram. Check out this welcome gift from Cicada and Hunter Moon Country House.
It’s a pretty simple idea, but it’s effective. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all! Plus, you can easily integrate the Instagram button to your Lodgify site so users can click through to your feed – here’s how.
You’ll excite your customers
Your Instagram feed is also the perfect place to showcase the experience guests will enjoy with you. Whether that’s a snapshot of your garden flowers in bloom in spring, or the local farm where guests can buy fresh produce, your pictures will weave a story that will excite them for their stay. Create a buzz by teasing them with the small details, like Moorland View Cottage does with highlights of their kitchen.
Instead of showing the whole kitchen, they’ve decided to focus in on the fresh herbs that are growing – you can almost smell the homemade tomato and basil pasta sauce you could be cooking there!
You’ll create location hype
It’s not just images of your home that will delight your guests, but selling the location is also key. Instagram gives you the opportunity to use this to your advantage, especially when it comes to the geotagging feature. When you upload a photo, the location services on your device already knows where the photo was taken. If you keep the suggested location, it’s likely your photo will form part of a large collection of photos taken in that area.
Given that more and more people are using Instagram as a vacation research tool, it’s always a great idea to use hashtags and tag the location on all your photos so your images show up in the search results. This goes for pictures of local cafés, beaches or nightlife spots that your guests will love. Give them a glimpse at what’s on offer in your local area, so like Bella Baita have done with this image, when users search terms like #italianalps, Bella Baita‘s photos will be what they see.
Additionally, if you use more general hashtags like #vacation, there’s a chance that viewers of the 42 million plus photos that already use this hashtag will see them.
It gives your place a personality
As well as being a space to upload (and show off) your own photographs, it can be used as a tool for reaching out to other local businesses, connecting with visitors to the region and maintaining an active online personality that matches your brand.
This can be as simple as a comment on your favorite nearby restaurant’s latest image – e.g. “I love that burger!”. Or you could go an extra step further and find people who are staying in your area using hashtags, and interact with their pictures giving a chillout bar recommendation or great nature spot close by.
Just remember, there’s no need to be salesy here, users will read your comments and be intrigued as to who you are. They’ll check your profile and once they see you’re a local expert, they’ll be grateful for the insider knowledge!
It’s all part of the sharing economy
Vacation rentals themselves form a huge part of the the 21st century sharing culture – let’s face it, 72% of those familiar with the sharing economy reveal they could see themselves being consumers in the next two years. So it’s no surprise that Instagram just reinforces this trend.
Instagram users love to share where they are and what they’re doing to their followers at all times of day, and there’s a way vacation rental owners can utilize this. Your guests will upload their photos at your vacation rental, tag the location, and lo and behold you can ‘regram’ (repost) their shots to your own followers. Just look at the example from NewLife Villas‘ feed.
Instagram is a two-way street, you just have to engage with your guests and they’ll follow your feed and like or comment on your posts in return.
We hope you’re inspired to start your vacation rental Instagram account! If you already have one, share your handle with us in the comments.