The ABCs of Turning Social Media Into Trusted Bookings for Vacation Rental Home Owners

There are a number of factors that come together and cause vacation rental owners to scrutinize the way they promote their properties with the greatest scrutiny. The soft economy is hitting homeowners on both the revenue and cost sides of VR regardless of where they are geographically, leading to a careful assessment of where to spend time and money to get visibility.

Additionally, the scam quotient is increasing and landlords are now skeptical of the legitimacy of their rental inquiries and protecting their reputation online.

This confluence of all these concerns has VR owners staring at social media. What is it? Does it work for a vacation rental? What works best?

Social media is simply another form of communication that can take the form of a blog (think Blogger), a social network (think Facebook), a microblog (think Twitter) and can include any number of alternative online vehicles such as YouTube or Flickr. All of these social media can help you promote your virtual reality.

Facebook alone added 100 million users in less than nine months, growing to more than 300 million members now. If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth most populous place in the world. This means that it easily outperforms countries like Brazil, Russia, and Japan in terms of size.

Now, Facebook offers its members access to an application dedicated to vacation rentals. The new application, Second Porch, allows owners to publish their property for rent or exchange, allowing their pages to be public or private. Facebook and Second Porch are low fruits, easy to join, easy to make friends, easy to use.

But like most social media, Facebook is not a vehicle to set it and forget it. Cultivation is needed. You will get what you put. However, with a little interaction, you will see your friends list grow exponentially. And with each layer of growth, your vacation rental can get more and more exposure. For example, Second Porch allows you to cultivate a community of future guests, past guests, and people who recommend your home. All of this can greatly influence future inquiries, but you should invite people to be a part of this community.

Twitter is a great way to spread your message in small chunks. The feature only allows 140 characters per message, so you can’t really talk about your VR. It is best used to promote your geographic area or your blog, but it will be an unwieldy vehicle for direct advertising of your property. Again, joining is free, and if you have a blog, it’s easy to tweet your most recent blog post.

The three functions, Facebook, Twitter, and blogging, are best used together, but any one of them alone can be effective. All three are free, easy, and high-impact over time. Neither will work overnight.

More challenging is creating a YouTube video that is engaging and effective. Sharing photos with Flickr is easier, and its excellent image can be a powerful way to show your VR location to an audience already eager to find the beautiful and unusual in the world.

Vacation rental owners who want to step out of the box and explore alternatives to traditional virtual reality portals will find a world of help on social media. It only takes the will to find another way.