Social Media and Your Vacation Rental

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AMC’s TV series “Mad Men” follows Don Draper in his high-pressure world of advertising and marketing in the 1960s. Back then, people would hire advertising geniuses to bring brand awareness to the masses. Thanks to the Internet and technology, that bustling office space has been replaced by your smartphone, tablet or laptop. With a couple of easy tips, you can create an advertising and marketing campaign that would make Don Draper sit up and pay attention.

Sign up for the right service. With social media services like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube and others, it can become a little confusing and overwhelming to decide which one is best for you and your property. Here are a couple of handy references on three of the big social media outlets and how best to use them:

  • Facebook: Most common of all the social media services. Allows a lot of one-to-one interaction with users as well as a number of ways to advertise your page. Facebook is a great way to build your fan base, share personal links/photos/videos and provide incentives for people to book your property over others that are in your area.
  • Twitter: More fast paced than Facebook and other services. On Twitter, you have just 140 characters to convey a message to fans who follow you, so creative brevity is the key to success. The most important thing about Twitter is to create a hashtags (which will be explained later) about your property for easy searching and a link to where you want followers to go.
  • Instagram: Focused solely on taking and posting photos or short videos. You can use different filters to change photos you or travelers take of your property. Instagram also relies on hashtags to help people categorize and search for information.

While these are just the “Big Three”, there are a number of other social media services that owners can use to advertise their property. It may be tricky to keep track of each individual account, but many social media companies provide linking to other social media accounts, so you can post on a number of sites at the same time. There are also a number of sites and programs like HootSuite, TweetDeck and SocialOomph that can be your one-stop manager for all your social media.

Create a #hashtag for your listing. You may have seen the “#” symbol being used more and more in marketing and brands today. Your hashtag is a keyword that people can use to find information easily and quickly online. For example, if you have a cabin in the Adirondacks, you can use #ADKSCabin to have travelers find any posting that you have done where you use #ADKSCabin. Have a Swedish cottage for rent? #SwedeCottage would be a great way to differentiate your vacation rental from others.

Interact with followers. Speaking from personal experience, there is nothing better or more impressive than when I reach out to a company or a person on social media and they follow up with me. It shows that they care about me as a customer and are interested in what I have to say. While it is important to build a social media presence, it is imperative to maintain and build upon the groundwork that you have created.

Tell travelers about your presence. When a traveler checks into your property, provide them with information about your social media accounts so they can post to it. If your traveler takes a great photo of wildlife near your cabin, or a great shot of downtown at night, ask them to share it so other travelers can see all of the fun that people are having. Many people are already signed up on social media sites and are more than happy to follow and share!

Before taking the big plunge into social media, do a little research and figure out which service would work best for you and your property. Once you are on social media, have some fun with it! As an owner, you have the ability to showcase and promote your property however you want and to work with travelers to give your property that extra level of customer interaction that other owners might not have.