Advertise on Facebook to Generate More Rentals!

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Perfect picture for a dog friendly property.

I have a great article to share with you today. Whether you manage your own vacation rental home or list your home with a professional company, if you’re not on Facebook, you are losing out on a great advertising source … and it’s free! Once your Facebook Property Page is up and running, LIKE it through your personal Facebook page so that any content you post will automatically appear on your page … then share it with all your friends. Just think … you share it with your friends, they share it with their friends, and so on and so forth … and you’ve built a following. Now have fun with it but heed the tips listed below and don’t sell just the property, all the time. Post personal photos and stories from times when you and your family have visited the property or “share” area events and attractions which can easily be found in internet searches. The goal is to make your followers want to stay at your vacation home by showing them how desirable it is and what a great time they will have. In addition, Facebook is a great marketing tool that will not only build relationships with your potential guests but also generate a level of trust that surpasses that of a simple property listing.

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5 Must-Follow Tips for Marketing Your Vacation Rental on Facebook

Mar 15, 2013

by Jonathan Murray of MyVR.com

Social media isn’t just another medium to broadcast your message. It’s also a channel for building relationships and soft selling. Facebook is an excellent way to turn existing customers into repeat customers that also generate referral business. It’s a place to nurture past guests, nurture those who were interested in your home but didn’t book, and keep in touch with top influencers (i.e. family and friends who may not book directly, but will likely refer you to friends and colleagues who will book).

If you don’t have a Facebook Page for your vacation rental, set one up here. This is different than your personal profile – it’s the home base for your business on Facebook.

Then, make sure you’re following these top 5 tips for marketing on Facebook:

1. Don’t promote yourself all the time

Rookie mistake #1. If every post is “stay at my home,” “rent my villa,” or “check out my place,” you’re not going to have many fans for long. You can talk about your home once in every five posts (or less). Don’t try to sell too much on Facebook. It’s all about building and nurturing relationships with your fans. This means you’ll need to come up with other compelling content to publish, so experiment and see what fans interact with most.

2. Post photos and other engaging content

Photos have the highest engagement from fans (i.e. comments and “likes”), followed by videos, so give them what they want to see. Yes, that means having stunning photos of your home, but also include shots from the surrounding area and local attractions. Remember, people have “liked” your Page because they want to stay connected with you in some way. Not every traveler is ready to book today, so help them daydream about their next vacation and when they’re ready, they’ll let you know.

You can also post local updates, special offers and deals, recognize special occasions for travelers, ask your fans for feedback, or share personal notes. Here are 10 more specific examples for ideas.

3. Post frequently, but don’t inundate fans

You should post at least 1-2 times per week, but not so much that people are annoyed – no more than once per day. You don’t want your Page to look like a ghost town, so be prepared to commit at least 10-20 minutes per week to Facebook.

You can also use Facebook’s scheduling tool to post content up to 6 months in advance. That might be a bit overkill, but it’s great for when you’re out on vacation – just leave enough room for last-minute, spontaneous additions.

4. Understand the network-effect

Not every post you publish will be seen by all of your fans. Facebook only shows your post to a sub-set of fans on their wall. As people interact with your content, Facebook allows that post to be seen by more and more people – including friends of your fans who may not even like your Page yet. This is why it’s okay if you only have a 100 fans on your Page and all the more reason to post enticing content.

5. Track your success

The way travelers purchase on the internet has changed. They do a lot more research before they ever pick up the phone or send an email to talk to you. While you should track direct bookings that resulted through your Facebook activity, try to correlate the effect of Facebook as an influencing source on your inquiries and bookings.

For example, how many of those people who inquired on your property have “liked” your page. How many have “liked” your page after visiting your website or inquiring on your property? How many referrals did you receive from your Facebook fans?

These measurements will help you decide whether to keep up the hard work or focus your time and resources elsewhere.

6. [Bonus] Get ready for graph search

Facebook’s new feature, Graph Search, lets you search for what you’re looking for through your friends and connections. For vacation rental owners, this means more transparency for travelers about how they’re connected to you. Instead of operating on trust that you are reliable or have advertised your home truthfully, travelers can now see (and choose to rent or not rent) from owners within their network.

Travelers will also be able to search for friends who have stayed at a vacation rental in a specific location and see photos they’ve shared of their trip. It will make the research process even more transparent, drive referral business for popular rentals, and continue changing the way people rent online.

Graph Search is only available to a limited number of users, but expect it to be rolled out across Facebook by the end of the year. In the meantime, make sure to get your page live, continue building your social network, and follow the previous 5 tips to maximize your vacation rental presence on Facebook.

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FlipKey is a vacation rental marketplace with more than 300,000 rentals around the world. Find the perfect place to stay for your trip, and get great value along with the space, privacy and amenities of home.

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

FlipKeyThis week I am sharing a post by fellow blogger, Chelsa Tyler. Her recent post on the importance of “great photographs” should be of interest to all vacation rental owners. Chelsea Tyler writes “The FlipKey Bog,” which is the vacation rental arm of TripAdvisor.

I have personally taken thousands of property photos … and I’m not half bad at it … but should you settle for “not half bad” when you are marketing a product that has the potential to generate thousands of dollars? Vacation Rentals of the Desert encourages their owners to invest in professional real estate photos. Time and time again we have noted as much as a 50% increase in bookings on properties with “great” professional photos.

Be sure to clean and stage your property before taking the photos. Turn on all lights, open blinds and patio sliders, set the dining room table with plates, silverware and wine glasses, if you have cushions for your patio furniture, put them out, throw a couple of blow-up toys in the pool, turn down the beds, store away all personal items and toiletries, close the toilet lids.

Following is an excerpt from the May 5, 2014 FlipKey Blog titles “How to Create a Quality Listing for Your Vacation Home.    Click here to read the entire article.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words Dollars!

When it comes to listing your property on any website, we can’t stress the importance of great photos enough! The variety and quality of your photos could make a big difference in your rental income. In our experience, photos are the most influential way to get a traveler to click on your listing and ultimately book. Even if your home is small, old, or nothing fancy, a bad quality photo will only amplify any imperfections that the home may have. What does it mean to take a high quality photo? First, you don’t have to have a super expensive or fancy camera to do so – what’s more important is that you understand the camera that you have available to you. The most important feature of a quality photo is size. To take a high resolution photo, set the camera’s resolution to the highest number possible. Uploading large photos to your property page is the best way to avoid those grainy, pixelated, and borderline unrecognizable photos that are so often ignored by travelers.

Unless you’re a professional photographer with lots of experience, stick to using the automatic focus setting on you camera since poor focus is another frequent cause for bad photos. Experiment with the lighting in your home to find the best balance for your photos. Similarly, experiment with the framing and position from which you take your photos to get a good variety of angles. Take picture of both the home’s exterior and interior and label your photos with captions about where in the home you took the photo to give the traveler a better idea of the property as a whole.
Remember, just taking photos of your home as is doesn’t always put the best foot forward. Make sure that the home is clean and free of unnecessary clutter before going on a photo spree! Most of all, have fun with it! Get creative and enjoy showing your favorite parts of your home to potential renters.

 

 

Chelsea TylerChelsea Tyler is a Marketing Associate at FlipKey. During her time studying literature at Colby College, she traveled to Paris, France where she spent six months learning French and falling in love with the city. When she’s not writing for the FlipKey blog, she can be found sipping red wine, eating her weight in cheese, and loudly critiquing new film releases.

 

 

ear-restaurant-caffeeNOTE:  Vacation Rentals of the Desert is a member of FlipKey and are recipients of the TripAdvisor Award of Excellence for 2013 and 2014.  All of our managed properties are listed on the FlipKey website.

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