Social media has become a critical tool for businesses - and the short-term rental industry is no different. In fact, as a vacation rental owner or Airbnb manager, you have a lot to gain from being online for your business.
We understand that managing your social media can feel overwhelming, so we are here to help!
Below, we’ve put together a guideline on how to use social media to help you get in front of prospective guests and convert them into bookings.
Understanding Social Media
Social media is a term that describes the ecosystem of online platforms or applications that bring people together to communicate, collaborate and share. People use social media as a way to stay in touch and interact with friends, family and various communities. Not only does it give you visibility as an individual and brand, but it also allows you to share your expertise, and cross-promote with other local businesses.
In other words? Social media is a powerful tool. Accessed by millions around the world, it can be used to:
- Create brand awareness
- Promote confidence in your brand
- Cultivate a positive guest experience
- Generate leads
- Encourage reviews
- Build community
Finding the right platforms
For each social media channel, there are unique methods you can use to create and share compelling content that increases online engagement.
Facebook has many functions. On the one hand, it is a popular choice for those wanting to connect with friends and family. On the other hand, the platform provides many opportunities to market your business. Users can create a business page with all your important information as well as various community forums and groups that focus on supporting a specific target market. Together, these can help you build brand loyalty, a strong sense of community and increased engagement.
If you have a service that needs visual attention, Instagram is for you. The platform encourages users to like, comment on and share their favourite photos and videos that showcase your brand. The more engagement you get (such as comments, shares and likes), the more visible your brand or company becomes to others. Unlike Facebook which relies on both text and imagery, Instagram is purely visual. This means you have a great opportunity to share those professional photos of your properties' amenities in all their glory.
Pinterest is another great visual platform to look for inspiration and ideas for your interests and business, alike. The platform also reveals what people love to share (in other words, what's trending). By curating and sharing ‘pins’, or individual mood boards, you have the chance to reach customers as they're in the process of making purchase decisions.
As a short-term vacation rental business, it is up to you to choose how many platforms you want to market your business on. We suggest using these 3, to begin with.
Now that you are up and running on social media, you need to create compelling content that people want to engage with.
The first thing to remember is that the rental industry is visual. This is great because so is social media. This means you want all your photos and imagery to be beautiful, professional-looking and to provide value to those engaging with it. You want potential customers to see themselves in your property, making use of your facilities and enjoying all that the location has to offer.
Below, we've listed a few ideas you can run with to help kick-start your social media promotion:
- Post photos of the property’s location to highlight the benefits of the area; showcase the view, the surrounding nature and the access to local amenities
- Take photos of the special amenities the property offers, like a hot tub, backyard, BBQ and swimming pool
- Be detailed and emotive in your description so that those engaging with your post really feel as if they have been transported there
- Share tips and tricks in community groups to let others know you are a leader within the vacation rental industry
- Share posts that talk about the value you offer as a business and why homeowners need to work with you — remember, always put your customer first!
Spreading the message
A hashtag (#) is a symbol that is used to draw attention to and promote content. The hashtag acts as a search function, making it easy for people to find content that interests them. For example, when you post an image of a listing and hashtag #vacationrental, you have created a keyword, making it easy for people to find your vacation rental post on social platforms. Over time, using a # acts as a powerful way to reach new audiences and grow your account.
Below, we list popular hashtags you can use for the vacation rental industry in order to direct more people to your content.
#vacationrental #airbnb #vacation #travel #vacationhome #staycation #workaction #vacationrentals #airbnbhost #familyvacation #vacationmode #homeawayfromhome #homeaway #airbnbexperience #superhost #getaway #travelgram #instatravel #home #shorttermrental #hometime
As you can see, there is a lot to gain from creating a digital presence for your vacation rental business. While social media can be a challenge to navigate at first, it is well worth the effort. By starting with these basic steps, you are well on your way to reaping the rewards your business deserves.
For more tips, tricks and short-term rental advice, get in touch with Hometime - we love to chat!