Quick background: We have an in-law suite in our primary residence that we rent out as a separate apartment on Airbnb since December of 2015. Our first investment property just went live on Airbnb this week, and it's a 3 BR SFH. Both are in pretty good parts of town (one in a historic neighborhood and the other in an up and coming neighborhood next to downtown)
Does anyone do any social media or websites with their Airbnbs? I just started a facebook page, instagram, and website under our Vacation Rentals Omaha name that links to our listings on Airbnb. It's still new, but I have been posting pictures of things that we do around town, recommendations, what to do this weekend, etc etc. I've also posted pictures of our house right after it was built in 1910 for some added history.
My questions are: do you have Facebook, website, or Insta account specifically for your Airbnb properties? If so, what kinds of content do you post and how often do you post? Are you seeing an increase in traffic/bookings as a direct result of it? If you find that it has increased bookings, do you have any tips?
Hi @Jenessa NeSmith , thanks for the post! The thing is, you are not going to move the needle much compared to what AirBnB, VRBO will do for you already, BUT, even if you only get 1 or 2 extra bookings per year, it will likely be worth the effort you put into it (depending on your average booking revenue).
I also have a sign at our property that says 'Like Us on Facebook' now which is fun because people can share their photos and such and it creates it's own promotion cycle to their friends and family.
@Jon Crosby thank you so much! For example, I hadn’t thought of Craigslist...but many of our customers are from nearby cities in Omaha for a weekend getaway. We also get a lot of CWS fans every year, so I could use Craigslist to put ads in the cities that make it to the finals.
Have you used Facebook to provide recommendations? I was listening to a podcast (get paid for your pad) where the host posted different ideas for things to do and linked his posts to current events. Local businesses appreciated the advertising on Facebook and even provided discounts to his guests, and he said it cut down on guests messaging asking for recommendations before they come because he can direct them to the Facebook page.
And you’re right, even an extra booking a year will be worth effort. Do you pay for Facebook ads or just stick with word of mouth?
Thanks so much for the great tips!
Getting a social media presence is on my list to do, but haven't actually done it yet - I'm interested in possibly doing some pay-per-click Facebook ads too. I'm of the opinion that a social media presence gives you legitimacy and increases the chances of direct bookings, but I have no evidence to back it up yet!
I have some friends who have a little website with their properties and they leave business cards in their rentals, so guests can easily remember/find them again, vs. "Remember that cute little place? I wish I knew how to find them again..." (since not everyone thinks about just going to their past messages with a host).
@Jenessa NeSmith I will pay for ads in the off season months but usually only at about $5-$10 day (you can see how I do it in the link on the blog post). Since I'm targeting only the SF Bay Area and only those over 30 with families (that's the beauty of FB ads) then I get more audience for my dollar and don't need to do much more than that to get one or two bites.
I usually only offer discounts via FB to those that have 'Liked or Followed' my page as I want to reward those that have already stayed, invite them to come back for a discount and then I know I'm getting a guest that will treat my property well. The goal being they eventually think about our place to come to each year at the same time and think of it as their own little family vacation home..which they will treat better than thinking of it as a hotel room. :)
I haven't used FB for recommendations but that's a great idea! I do have recommendations in paper form on the property as well as my automated emails that go to the guest upon check in though. Thanks for the tip!
Social media is key! My wife and I bought a cabin in Vermont back in the fall and have been building up a presence on Instagram since then - we've been showing our renovation progress, new additions to the cabin, etc. We utilize both the posts and the stories. We also created a Facebook page which we'll use for advertising (we also will be running sponsored Instagram posts) and are in the process of building a website that will redirect traffic to our Airbnb page. We have little branding elements that we've incorporated throughout our channels too.
We just listed our cabin on Airbnb two days ago and have already been super successful!
I think it helps that this is what my wife and I do for a living as well - she does social media strategy and I'm a photographer (and learning the strategy ropes!).
@Allie Leepson thanks so much for sharing!! Congrats to you and your wife for such success!
We have a beach house that we rent on AirBnB and we have a web site, Instagram page, Facebook page, Twitter account, and Pinterest page. We primarily post new content and pictures on Instagram, and Facebook. For Instagram we post 1x to 2x per day and are building up a following.
For the type of content we put on Instagram we are varying it. We post pictures of the outside of the house, inside of the house, attractions in the area, and pictures of our dog to help emphasize that our rental is dog-friendly.
We also post pictures of individual decor or items in the house, especially if they are eclectic, or quirky, or have a story behind them. We also try and post pictures so that the guests can visualize themselves in that same situation to see the benefits they may get from renting. For example we have a rooftop deck with amazing sunsets, so we have some pictures of coffee cups and donuts in the morning while the sun is coming up. Something that helps them visualize "that could be my vacation".
I think the other important thing is that you need to personalize it a bit. I think that potential guests can only get so interested in house pictures....they need to see the people behind it all so more and more we are sharing pictures of ourselves, our dog, and other tidbits about our life within the Instagram pictures.
We have received booking requests and inquiries from Facebook and Instagram but I believe the majority of people are just finding us on AirBnb. I have also been playing around with Facebook and Instagram ads and those do seem to drive up the AirBnB inquiries.
Moderator Note: Links to your own social media accounts are not allowed in the forums.
@Mike Shemp using the dog in pictures to emphasize being pet friendly is genius! I bet someone would let me borrow their baby for the afternoon to show we are family friendly also. Everyone loves puppies and babies, right?
Do you encourage guests to tag your vacation rental in their photos? I am leaning towards it but I am also a control freak and wouldn’t want to be tagged in anything that I potentially couldn’t approve of first
Haha - yes definitely....even if people aren't searching for Airbnb, everyone loves puppy and baby pictures. Every time I post a dog picture I use hashtags like #airbnb #dogfriendly and things like that in case there are people using Instagram to scope out new place to stay at AirBnB.
So to answer your question about the tags, we have mentioned to our guests via our Welcome Book that if they tag a picture on Instagram during their stay with us, we will repost it on our Instagram feed. A few guests have done it and we have reposted those pics and they have all been of pictures from in and around our rental...so far it has worked out nicely for everyone as we get additional content, and they get additional exposure.
The other thing we are going to implement this year is having a Welcome Card with a gift card inside of it or a welcome basket for when the guests arrive. It seems like a win-win because the guests walk in and immediately get a gift, and that may create an "instagrammable moment" where they take a picture of the gift and post it on their own feeds. Everybody wins!
Hope that helps!
We’re about to close on a vacation rental property, and one of the ideas we had was to set up a twitter account for the properties for grass-roots marketing purposes. On a few of the household items (e.g. bottom of mugs, inside the lid of board games, etc.), we would have a sticker that said something like “tweet a picture of you using this product to @____________ and get 5% off next stay.” By doing this, we basically hit all of that person’s social media followers with marketing, promote family values by customers either eating in or having a game night, and also encourage follow-up stays and repeat customers. I feel like it is worth the 5% of next stay to target a group of people that we likely wouldn’t be able to reach with marketing otherwise.