Congratulations! You are a super host! (not only a Superhost but a SUPER host!)
You go above and beyond to ensure your guests have a great experience at your property and destination.
Like many vacation rental / short-term rental owners and property managers, you pride yourself on your cleanliness, safety, guest communication, and hospitality. And your five-star reviews consistently show your efforts are appreciated by your guests.
Unfortunately, these are the things that are often hard to market to future guests (also known as your social media followers & website readers).
You can rely on excellent reviews to speak for themselves on your website and the OTA’s, but other than that, how can you show potential guests how awesome you are?
Using social media, email marketing, and your blog, you can create content that shows your guests who you are, why they should trust you with their money and how your vacation rental experience will wow them with excellent hospitality! (among other things)
1. Create Welcome Videos
This is one of my favorite tactics for welcoming new guests who book your home, but the welcome video can also be used to welcome new followers to your social media accounts and new subscribers to your email list. In fact, you can even put the welcome video on your “about page” of your website.
It’s easy to do. Grab an iPhone or other smartphone with a video recorder. Find a favorite spot that shows off your property or destination, such as the balcony with a view; in front of a cozy fireplace; a popular location such as a beach, hiking trail etc. If you aren’t near your property, no worries – just do it!
Grab a friend to record you as you say “hello” and welcome people to get to know you. Tell them a little about your “why story” and don’t use this as a time to try to sell your vacation rental. Be authentic, tell your followers a bit about who you are and why you love this business.
If this is for a social media account, be sure and tell them what they can expect from you in the future such as ideas about things to do, images, links to your blog, etc. Keep this video short and sweet – around a minute or minute and a half.
You can add this video to your Instagram story (you have to cut the video into 15-second clips, but this is easily done with various apps like I-movie). Then, you will want to set it up as an Instagram Highlight.
You can also add it to IGTV (Instagram Videos), Facebook videos, Youtube, and embed it on your website.
You can then share the video in your email newsletter or as part of a “welcome” email series when someone signs up for your lead magnet on your website.
Not sure about video? You can do the same thing with just a few photos added to an album or carousel post and say “hello and welcome” in the copy of your post.
2. Sharing From “Behind the Scenes” Of Your Business
There are a number of things you do each and every week to help your guests feel special and taken care of and it is important to capture these moments and share them.
For example, take a video or share images of stacked firewood and explain how much your guests love to have a roaring fire on a cold afternoon. If you send thank you cards or emails to guests, share a photo of the thank you card with your special note on the inside and let your followers see how much you appreciate your guests.
Take your followers on a shopping trip while you choose new sheets, towels, décor or other supplies. Ask for their input. This is a great idea for an Instagram or Facebook story.
I have a client who buys a bottle of local wine for every stay and “takes” her followers on a virtual trip to the local wine shop to help her choose the next month’s wine. She’s cross-marketing with the local shop, so they give her a discount and share the video with their followers as well!
Write a blog post on your website or extra-long caption story on Instagram and Facebook about your cleaning procedures, safety equipment, using an amenity or walking to a nearby pool, beach, etc.
There are a ton of ways to show how much you care about your guests, their comfort and their experience.
3.Highlight Your Reviews
I often see people posting full reviews on social media as screenshots from your Airbnb or guest book, but these are often overlooked by your followers because they are very hard to read and do not offer a lot of value to the reader. If you look at your post insights you will find they rarely create engagement without using these tips.
Make these reviews more interesting by using them to tell part of a story, accentuate an amenity or illustrate something you do for your guests.
For example, share a video of you reading a couple of lines of a review from your guest book, then tell a story about the guest. Why were they here? Where were they from? What made their trip special?
Of course, if you have more than a couple of properties or are a property manager it would be hard to get to know many of your guests, but there is nothing wrong with reading a review and telling the story of how the review makes you feel, how it is part of your mission to provide excellent care.
You know the feeling of excitement you get when you receive an especially great review? Share that when you read it out loud. People will feel your excitement and the genuine pleasure of receiving a great review which speaks volumes about who you are and the experience you offer.
You can also use “review snippets” as I call them, to highlight your hospitality or an amenity without using the entire review.
Let’s say someone leaves a review about how much they appreciated the bottle of wine you left for them, the heated pool or the cozy bedding, but it is part of a much longer, detailed review. Rather than using the entire review, take just a snippet of the review that illustrates the point about the heated pool and create a graphic in Canva or another tool using this short snippet overlaid on a photo of the amenity. Then you can write the full review in the content of the post with details about how you were excited to get the review or how much you enjoyed this particular guest.
Don’t forget to add special reviews at the bottom of email newsletters. You can make this a regular feature.
4. Tell Your Story
People buy from people they like and there is no better way to build this connection than by telling stories.
You can do this on your blog and share links on social media or you can tell these stories with videos or captions on social media or in an email newsletter.
Some stories I suggest to get started:
- Why you bought your first vacation rental or started your business
- Why you chose this destination
- Why YOU would stay here
- How you felt when you received a less than stellar review and how you changed since
- A specific memory of a guest stay and how you made their stay better
This list is an example of stories you can share that show off hospitality, but don’t forget to tell other stories as well! Personal reflections and authenticity will create a great bond with followers and customers. Don’t forget to make your guests part of your story. Tell how the experience or situation made you a better host and how it impacts their stay with you.
5. Create Destination Guides & Itineraries
So many vacation rental owners offer their guests a wonderfully long list or virtual guide full of things to do, places to see, and food to eat. But, typically they don’t send out the information until after the guests book, choosing to guard this as if it were a secret.
But this information is vital to those who are also thinking about a trip to your destination. The people who would probably book with you if you were the provider of the information.
There are multiple ways to create mini itineraries and guides for your specific target audience.
For example; are you pet-friendly? Create an Instagram Guide to Pet-Friendly restaurants. (Instagram Guides are a new feature, you can watch a video of how it is done in my Instagram videos.)
You can also create a carousel post on Instagram or Facebook and use images from local restaurants, shops, trails, businesses, and tourism groups. Be sure and tag these businesses in your post. (It’s okay to share their social media images on your social media accounts, but never take images from their website or share their images on your website without permission.)
I suggest creating beautiful print pdf destination guides with Canva and using them as a lead magnet for your email list. You can create guides to each season, to each target market, or just a general guide full of fun favorites.
Another idea is to create an infographic of your destination hot spots, tourism info or mini itineraries and share the image on your blog, social media, and email newsletter. Be sure and add info about your vacation rental as well as your domain name.
When you start marketing yourself, your authenticity, your story and your hospitality, you will notice more engagement on your social media posts and more inquiries from social media. It takes time and practice to set up a routine and understand what your target market is looking for.
If you are interested in more ways to reach the people who are most likely to book your property, check out my Perfect Guest Avatar Workbook!
Jodi Bourne is a vacation rental marketing consultant and website designer. She helps vacation rental owners and property managers increase direct bookings with her WordPress website design, content creation, social media, advertising and strategic marketing services. With several online courses and a live group coaching program, Jodi helps vacation rental marketers successfully use content marketing to increase website traffic and direct bookings. Jodi is a wife, mom, dog mom and road tripper who can often be found working from a vacation rental somewhere in Texas with her laptop, a cup of coffee and her lab pup Jolene.More about this business