Social media has become an integral part of our existence. We share more than we probably should with our followers, from trivial things to the most intimate moments from our lives. With over 3 billion active monthly users, it’s no wonder that social media channels transcended into the world of business. Vacation rentals are no exception.
Many business owners turn to social media to reach out to and engage their target audience, but is it worth all the hassle?
The answer greatly depends on how you use social media, and what your expectations are when it comes to the results.
So, should you make social media part of your vacation rental management strategy?
Let’s break it down.
The most obvious uses of these platforms are for advertising. Social media ads are some of the cheapest promotional tools to date, and for vacation rental owners without a lot of money to spend on marketing, it can be the best solution for getting the word out there about your listing.
So, if you use social media in this regards, keep it up. Even just $10 on a Facebook ad can get you extra visibility and increases the chances of a booking.
Creating a community around an idea, brand or product is at the core of social media. People can follow you, directly interact with you, and keep updated on any news.
But, most importantly, guest can leave reviews directly on your Facebook page, telling others about their experience staying in your vacation rental. If they enjoyed it and have only good things to say about your property and the time they spent there, their recommendation may persuade others to book your vacation rental.
Even if the review is negative, there’s no reason to panic. Sometimes, people just have a bad experience, and they’ll want to reflect that in the review. Make sure to reply, and give your side of the story (either apologizing for any inconvenience or try to come with a resolution). That can show other potential guests how you handle complaints, or moments of crisis, which can reassure them they’re in good hands by choosing your listing.
3. An Immense Community
Social media platforms are essentially communities of people, and you can benefit greatly from them. If you have accounts for your vacation rental, people can tag you directly in their photos or posts. Their friends and family will see the posts and might get interested in your listing.
That is a very powerful method of word-to-mouth marketing, and it can often pay off more than other advertising methods. Moreover, on platforms like Facebook, you can search for and join groups that are relevant to your niche and promote your vacation rentals. Don’t spam everyone with promotional posts, though. Engage the members in conversations and offer helpful advice to their questions.
4. Bookings or Customer Service
You can also use social media to encourage people to book your vacation rental. But, consider that it is not an ideal way to handle bookings, as it can get pretty difficult to keep track of everything.
Instead, use it to answer customer questions regarding rates or availability. Redirect them to the place you regularly use for bookings (website or phone number, whichever you prefer).
Social media is an excellent way to build brand awareness and get some buzz around your listing. But, as far as vacation rental management goes, it would be better not to mix things. You can greatly benefit from cheap social ads or the community you manage to grow through these platforms, as long as you:
- Keep to a regular posting schedule (ghost accounts don’t give users the confidence they need to make a booking);
- Interact users (like their comments or reply, answer all messages, etc.);
- Monitor the reviews closely, and address all of them;
- Keep a friendly and approachable style on social platforms.
As for bookings, it’s best to keep them off social media and stick with the classic methods. You can have a lot to gain from social media and it is worth the effort, but not the way you expected.