Since its inception, Instagram has grown to become the ultimate platform for visual storytelling for its 500 million daily active users.
How is your vacation rental planning to leverage this huge audience?
If you’re still wondering why Instagram, read this …
According to Facebook, 70% of travel enthusiasts use Instagram to share their travel plans, 67% use this platform to find inspiration for new journeys, and 61% find things to do on Instagram while they’re traveling.
If you want to attract the lucrative millennial segment, then note that two-third of 18-34- year-olds admit that “instagrammability” of a place is the single most important factor for them when booking a holiday.
A visual storytelling platform unlike any other, Instagram is an essential part of the marketing mix for anyone in the travel and hospitality industry.
What you should be doing on this platform?
1. Posting regularly.
People follow Instagram users because they want to hear from you. Posting at least thrice per week is recommended when it comes to Instagram. Play around with the days of the week and timing of posts to see what works best for your audience. To make your life easier, consider getting a scheduling app such as Buffer, so you can line up your posts in advance.
2. Think about the theme and aesthetics.
Remember, Instagram is a visual platform –aesthetics matter a lot. Pick a theme for your Instagram wall – colours, people, style, etc. stick to it. Consistency goes a long way to build a connection with your followers on this platform. You can make your wall seasonal, matching the colours of the outdoors. Tell local stories or link to your blogs in rotation so a consistent Instagram content theme is also created.
3. Aim for engagement, not just brand promotion.
The more engaging your post, the greater the virality factor for it to go further. Build in a call to action in your post. Ask questions.
For example, captions like “We love a day in the sand under the sun at our happy place. Where’s your happy place?” encourages your followers to comment on your posts. Don’t make your Instagram handle a place to promote the only brand and offers; remember your followers are here for good stories.
4. Promote all things local.
If you live in the same area as your vacation rental, you have an advantage over those who do not. You have the option to give the area exposure, including noteworthy restaurants, attractions, things to do, and more. In-market managers and owners can show users what it is like to visit the destination itself and showcase the highlights. Travelers, especially millennials, are seeking authentic experiences or staycation deals – become this source for them to build a loyal clientele.
5. Use Instagram stories.
This is a post type on Instagram and a great way to show potential guests fun snippets of your vacation rental. Stories only live for 24 hours (unless you add them to highlights) so post at least one story a day for consistent exposure to your followers. Walkthroughs of your property, fun shots of what goes on in your city, and behind the scenes of your property show travelers how fun your place is! Stories are a great way to get your followers engaged (see the previous point on engagement). There are so many fun buttons and add-ons like polls, questions, and more that you can take advantage of to boost engagement. You can also use Reels to add your property’s videos with music sometimes.
6. Longer captions and hashtags.
Longform storytelling to match the visuals or videos you post has its set of followers on Instagram. Don’t shy away from posting longer captions. Another thing to remember is hashtags – must add to improve searchability and reach. Add at least one brand hashtag and one location tag along with other relevant tags to represent the post.
7. Follow people in your industry.
Build your social network by following people in your vacation rental and the hospitality industry on Instagram. This includes influencers, customers, and even competitors. When you are growing your Instagram account, you are also building your brand. It’s essential to connect with people from your industry and follow them back.
Before you set off on your Instagram expedition, set yourself some goals. How many followers do you want? What engagement can you expect? Then track your performance so you can measure your return on investment. What Instagram story format has worked best for you? Is there a campaign you are particularly proud of? Share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.