Preconceived notions about the function, benefits and best practices for social media may be holding your vacation rental company back. If you aren’t investing time in social media, you are likely losing out on bookings. Here are five myths about social media that may be hindering your business.
If you post the right content and truly engage with people on Facebook, your efforts will lead to bookings. We have seen it many times. For example, a vacation rental company in the Outer Banks of North Carolina recently posted about their military discount on oceanfront homes. It’s a rare discount in the Outer Banks market. That post caught the attention of a military family who then responded with questions. The rental company quickly replied with the requested information. Happy with the customer service they received via Facebook, the family booked a week-long summer vacation for 2014.
What if that vacation rental company hadn’t been on Facebook? They wouldn’t have gotten that booking, and they wouldn’t have gotten the potential repeat bookings that could result for years afterward. They also would have missed out on the chance that this military family will share their great experience with other military families, resulting in referral business. And there’s one more thing. When this family takes their vacation this summer, they’ll likely post pictures of it on Facebook. These pictures might include shots of the beautiful house they rented. It’s possible the family’s friends will see that house and want to know how they can rent it or one like it in the future. That’s another potentially missed opportunity for exposure and referrals.
Additionally, if your property management software is integrated with your website’s Google Analytics account, Google Analytics will provide a report of how many online bookings came from Facebook traffic. If you’d like help setting this up, feel free to contact us. We’re happy to help!
Myth 2: You Have to Be on Every Social Network
You don’t have to be on every social network. You just need to be in the social networks that benefit your business. For vacation rental companies, we suggest the following.
- Pinterest – This network is based on visual content, and vacation rental homes make for gorgeous pictures! Travel images and vacation destinations are very popular with Pinterest users.
- Facebook and Twitter – Because they are the largest consumer-facing networks, they provide great opportunities to answer questions and provide customer service.
- Google+ – Though smaller than Facebook and Twitter, Google+ will help strengthen your search engine rankings, especially when you post your blog posts to your Google+ site.
Once you have established a strong presence on these four social networks, you may consider joining others such as Instagram or YouTube. Therefore, you might want to create usernames and logins for other networks now to ensure your brand name is available on those networks in the future.
Myth 3: Social Media Is for Sharing Information About Your Company
If you’re goal with social media marketing is to share information about your business, you should rethink your goal. The purpose of social media marketing is to build relationships with your target audience by engaging with them and providing helpful information so they will have a reason to vacation with you. For every post that is directly related to your business, we suggest producing two posts that are indirectly related, like the types below. These are the types of posts that will get shared.
- Local events
- Family-friendly activities
- Local restaurant specials
- Local shopping tips
- Pictures and videos of local scenery and attractions
- Posts with trending hashtags
Trending hashtags can be very engaging if they are relevant to your industry. “Throw Back Thursday” (#TBT) is used in many social networks each week. To participate, you could post pictures of your rental area from different time periods. If your company’s owner is well known in the community, you could post an old picture of him or her from when the company first began.
Don’t be afraid to humanize your social media marketing efforts. Your customers like to know there are real people behind your social media accounts. If your employees aren’t shy, you could recreate and post a popular viral video, like the Harlem Shake. You can also post what your company is thankful for during Thanksgiving. You can even set up an office “Elf on the Shelf” and post pictures of him during the holidays.
When you do post directly about your company, we suggest providing the following types of information.
- Company blog posts
- Featured homes
- Specials and discounts
- Company charitable efforts
- Company events (such as employee birthdays, corporate celebrations, etc.)
Myth 4: You Should Delete Negative Comments
If someone posts a negative comment with a legitimate complaint, you shouldn’t delete it. It’s actually a great opportunity to show the public you care about your customers and that you provide good customer service. For example, if someone posts that their house was dirty when they got there, respond as soon as possible. Apologize that the house was not to their expectations and ask them to call or email you so you can discuss their experience further. Provide a phone number or email address and a specific name for them to contact. Stress that your highest priority is their satisfaction. This will appeal not only to the unhappy customer, but also to potential customers who want to know their rental company will help if they have a problem while on vacation.
The only time you should delete a negative comment is when someone uses profanity or is very malicious. Still, try to find a way to contact that person because you don’t want them going elsewhere online and posting similar messages. For advice on dealing with negative vacation rental reviews, check out “How to Deal With a Bad Review.”
Myth 5: You’re Too Busy to Keep Up With Social Media
For vacation rental companies, social media reaches too much of your target audience to ignore. You have to make time for it, and there are some free tools that can help you do it efficiently.
- Feedly – Many companies feel that finding something to post every day is time-consuming. Feedly is a simple news aggregator that automatically pulls the latest articles from websites you choose into one place. So, you don’t have to spend time going to several sites to find content.
- HootSuite – Social media management dashboards like HootSuite allow you to post to several social networks from one place. HootSuite offers a robust free version that is very user-friendly. It also allows you to schedule posts in advance. This is convenient because you can devote one chunk of time per week to choosing content and scheduling posts. Then, during the week you can just focus on responding to comments, retweeting influencers and posting any breaking news related to your industry. Don’t forget to schedule posts for weekends and holidays. Those are big family gathering times when people may be discussing their vacation plans.
Now that you know the truth about these five myths, you can engage with your target audience using social media more effectively. If you want more information, check out the Vacation Rental Marketing section of our blog. Don’t let preconceived notions about marketing keep you from growing your business!
5 Social Media Myths That Kill Vacation Rental Bookings was last modified: September 1st, 2015 by
This entry was posted in Blog, Inbound Marketing, Vacation Rental Marketing and tagged Social Media Marketing, Vacation Rental. Bookmark the permalink.
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