Home » Blogging » Vacation Rental Marketing – Social Media – What’s The Point?

By Alan Egan

 

What’s the point of social media when it comes to vacation rentals?

There are many ways of approaching a social media campaign.

Some could be seen as right and some could be seen as wrong.

You could look at it as black and white.

Maybe it’s greyer than that. After all it is, or can be, a grey area.

I was at the vacation rental managers association (VRMA) conference in Barcelona not long ago and I was approached by a VR manager that asked me if I was the “social media guru”.

I’m sure I blushed. I’ve never called myself any sort of guru.

Anyway this manager asked if I had some time to discuss social media.

Imagine my embarrassment when when she told me that she has over 300,000 followers on Facebook alone and that she regularly gets 2,000 to 3,000 likes on a post.

No grey area here. This puts me in the dark. I can lay no such claims.

But what was really interesting was the fact these followers and likes aren’t converting into bookings.

Things got interesting when we started to compare what we both do socially.

Popular or purposeful?

After chatting for a while it turned out that her social yardstick is popularity (something that she’s obviously doing very well) whereas my purpose is being informative and trying to inspire people to book.

We have very different approaches.

I find this fascinating and it got me thinking.

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If I wanted to be popular on social media I would create a page of funny cat videos. That would crush it on follower numbers (the above page has nearly 150,000 followers) and likes –

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]But followers and likes don’t pay the rent, guests do that.[/pullquote]

So before you start a social media campaign you need to focus on the goal of that campaign.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Ask yourself “What’s the purpose of what I’m doing”?[/pullquote]

Do I want a lot of followers and likes or do I want bookings?

Don’t get me wrong here. Followers and likes show social proof and that in itself leads to more followers and likes. This in turn builds brand awareness which has to be a good thing but if no one is booking we are pretty much wasting our time and time is our most precious resource.

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I see many vacation rental managers and owners sharing photos on social media. You know the sort of thing. A photo of a beach with the words “Wish you were here” or similar overlaid on the image (like the example above).

Without a shadow of a doubt these posts are super popular and they certainly produce likes and shares (the one above was liked over 2.7 thousand times), they cheer up office bound workers and the like because most of us would prefer to be sitting on a beach instead of sitting at a desk or whatever we do in our day to day lives.

In short they are popular and they inspire people to day dream. But they don’t inspire anyone to book a holiday.

I take a different approach.

I teach vacation rental owners and managers to share snippets of information about their destination.

Here’s a good example…

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Post insider tips, what’s on events and what to see and do in the region. By doing this I aim to promote a reason for visiting the area, to raise interest – I seek to heighten awareness of what potential guests can see or do on vacation. I want to give people an impetus for booking.

These posts aren’t as popular, they don’t get as many followers, likes or shares as the photo quote posts but the people who do follow or share convert at a far better rate because the content is more tangible. I aim to inform and informed visitors build trust and those that trust – book!

Here’s another example…

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So what have I learned from talking to the VR manager with over 300,000 followers?

I learned that she has a ton of reach and I’m way behind on that front.

I learned that that reach doesn’t convert into bookings.

I learned that my posts convert but aren’t anywhere near as popular.

I reaffirmed my long held belief that not all followers are equal, there are followers and there are followers. Someone who engages is worth far more than someone who only likes or shares.

So what am I going to do?

Well I’m going to look toward some middle ground. I’ll post the vacation rental equivalent of a kitten post once a week. I’ll use the “Wish you were here” type posts to increase exposure in order to get more eyeballs on my higher converting information type posts.

So what are you going to do?

If you are posting “wish you were here” type content then you may want to up your game and start producing more informative posts with a little more flesh on the bone that will bring local insight into peoples lives as opposed to the flash card soundbite post type.

Vacation rental marketing guy Alan Egan

Alan Egan is teaching owners and managers how to market their vacation rental homes in new and dynamic ways with the creation of destination based websites and the innovative use of social media.
Owners that he’s working with are having outstanding results.

 See what he’s up to and join other owners that are taking the responsibility for their own marketing athttp://bookingsplus4g.com

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