The whole purpose of Instagram is to share photos of sunsets and delicious café brunches… Am I right? Wait, not completely. Before you dismiss it as irrelevant to your marketing efforts, hear me out. Instagram can actually be a great platform for driving more people to your vacation rental.
Let’s take a look at 7 key Instagram marketing strategies you can use to grow your Airbnb or other vacation rental audience.
We’ll start with the obvious one. Your vacation rental should have a dedicated account (i.e. don’t just post pics of it on your personal account alongside random cat videos and that pasta you had for dinner). And it should showcase your property beautifully.
Make sure you’re posting high-quality photos that really demonstrate its best features, whether its the interior decorating, the garden, or the views.[embed]https://www.instagram.com/p/BI75Z3pgTSx/?taken-by=windcliffranchmalibu[/embed]
Side note: if your property is lacking in the photogenic department, you may want to give it a design overhaul (hiring an interior decorator is one way to go) — a solid method is to choose a single design concept and commit to it. We'll get into that more in a future post.
Along with posting photos of your property, you can use the account to showcase the local area. This turns your account into something valuable far beyond the property itself and gives more people cause to follow.
Experiment with including things like travel tips for your city, photos of beautiful nearby locations, local events, etc. You don’t just want the account to be about your rental, you want it to be all about the destination.[embed]https://www.instagram.com/p/BUDAc18ALdv/?taken-by=thebeachlodge[/embed]
A great tip from this interview: If your property is in a location that gets a lot of repeat travellers, use Instagram’s location feature to find and interact with people who are here right now. They might well turn out to be next year’s clients.
Also remember that you’re better off having less followers who are relevant than a ton who will never actually visit or book with you. So aim for quality over quantity.
Don’t just show people what your property looks like; show them what experiences they can have. Make them want to be there.
Is it romantic? Relaxing? Cosy? Luxurious? These things may be in the style or decor, but they're even better represented by things like the light, the mood, and the activities taking place in your photos.[embed]https://www.instagram.com/p/BJzjIzEjRLS/?taken-by=hideoutbali[/embed]
It doesn’t matter what you’re using Instagram for, one of the key ways to build an audience is by making every post as discoverable as possible. That means using multiple hashtags (keep them relevant!) and also include a location every time. This is paramount for allowing people to connect your photos to your physical locale and adds another dimension of searchability.
In your guest book or other materials, include details of your Instagram handle and/or specific hashtags people can use when tagging photos of your place. Let them know that they can tag you and you may repost their content, as most people love the opportunity to spread their posts further.
Interaction is also valuable: like and comment and follow others to build Instagram relationships. This is true for guests, potential guests and even others in your area like local businesses (e.g. cafes, book stores, etc) — there’s a chance that if you support and interact with them it will land you on their radar, and they might spread word of you to their own patrons.
Lastly, make sure you’re capitalising on your Instagram traffic. Having people admire your property or enjoy your destination travel tips is great, but you want to convert that into bookings.
Include a link in your profile to your website or vacation rental listing. Another alternative is to drive them through to an email signup (in exchange for, say, a free location guide book) so you can capture some more concrete contact details. Also be sure to include some contact details and check your Instagram messages frequently to capture any questions.
Do you use Instagram for your vacation rental? We'd love to hear about your experience in the comments below.