Social media is fast becoming the perfect place to advertise, market and, cultivate brands and businesses; this includes vacation rentals. Instagram mostly relies on visual stimulus; this means pretty pictures or more succinctly, an effective aesthetic. Although Instagram isn’t the easiest platform to carve out of compared to say, YouTube, where you can be paid for aids relatively simply, Instagram provides an incredible opportunity to directly advertise and essentially show how amazing your rental is. Instagram does this in the simplest way possible, photography. This can be intimidating for some; with successful advertisement relying on the perfect aesthetic, it can be hard to know exactly where to start. That’s where this guide comes in. In this article, we’ll walk you through some fantastic Instagram marketing ideas and provide some essential tips for advertising a vacation rental on Instagram.
If you want an encapsulated version on this guide, check out the slides below:
Where to Start
The first step to Instagram is, quite simply, making an account. If you’re a business or even just a property owner with a rental home, ensure that you create a business account rather than a personal account. Business accounts are fundamentally engineered to make your job a little bit more simple. They can also be linked to alternative social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube simply and quickly. This saves having to repost within every platform individually. Once you’ve made your account, another beginner’s step is deciding on an aesthetic. There are lots of different aesthetics on Instagram and many of these are based on location. This makes it easier when advertising a vacation rental as you can begin to tailor what sort of look you’re going for based on the environment in which the vacation rental is located, or base it on the décor that you’ve got inside of the rental. For example, if you have a cottage in the countryside, you could take photos that emphasize a pastoral theme, tapping into a genre dubbed ‘cottage core’ by the younger generation. Try using the draft feature here to temporarily post which will show you how everything fits together. If a post stands out, try editing to ensure visual cohesion. Doing this effectively will widen your target audience and increase the likelihood of you appearing on the search page.
What is the Search Page
The Search Page is where you want to be as an Instagram business, especially as a vacation rental. It’s a huge mass of different images that are tailored for individual users which seem to appear randomly. There is, however, an algorithm. It’s important to include PLENTY of hashtags (and we mean a lot). Your hashtags shouldn’t be random–ensure that they reference your property in some way, or by extension, the aesthetic your property is going for. Doing this will increase the likelihood of appearing on the Search Page and will massively increase the number of viewers your posts get.
Instagram’s aim as an app is to make photography as accessible as possible to thousands of users; this includes you as a vacation rental business! The app’s editing program provides multiple accessories that allow you to filter, trim, crop, and adjust your picture to optimize its appearance. It’s important to not get carried away here; the last thing you want is for your property to look unrealistic. Utilize Instagram filters carefully to accurately depict the property as best as you can. To use Instagram filters well, you might use a gentle color change to suit the mood of the post; for example, if you’re showing a warm, cozy image by a fireplace it might be a good idea to increase the warmth and thereby increase the yellow tones. If the image was taken in slightly poor lighting, you could brighten the image and slightly increase the contrast to compensate for the lack of shadow. To use Instagram filters badly, you might choose a random filter that suits your personal preference without considering the overall aesthetic of your count as well as the subject and tone of the image itself.
Taking the Photos
So far we’ve clarified how Instagram photography works generally, we’ll now get into the specifics of photographing your rental home. Despite how exciting it might be to set up more atmospheric photos like the mentioned cozy fireplace scene, your Instagram account will need to have practical images for customers to genuinely consider staying. An occasional artistic post is great and provides a way to mix up your feed, but try your best to ensure the bulk of the images provide ample perspective of essential rooms; like bedrooms, the kitchen, bathrooms, and living rooms. The photos shouldn’t be basic or stand out harshly against any artistic images that you attempt.
Using angles to your advantage
the same room can be perceived in a dozen ways depending on where you are in that room; optimize the best angles. A good way to decide which angles are best is to just photograph your favorite viewpoint.
Mix up your feed with corner shots
Flat walls can be beautiful, especially if you’ve got a feature wall. They can, however, lack depth and can appear as their name suggests, flat. A good way to mix up your feed is to integrate a corner shot; these provide improved dimensionality and can look effective.
Cycle your décor
No-one wants to buy new cushions each week for Instagram; by cycling the décor between rooms and ensuring that things look slightly different (without completely upheaving your overall aesthetic and the room’s theme) you can create an interesting feed. People don’t like looking at the same photos; changing the rooms ensures that your account stays interesting.
Emphasize a lifestyle
Vacations fundamentally offer a change of lifestyle; draw on this in as many ways as you can. Try popping a book that both suits the aesthetic of your property and is popular on the bedside cabinet. For example, for a trendy New York apartment, it might be fun to add a copy of Orwell’s ‘1984’ as a room accessory. Use cultural changes and trends as marketing opportunities wherever and whenever you can; i.e. marketing your rental property for Halloween and Black Friday.
Highlight the outdoors
No matter how perfect your property might be, it’s inevitable that your guests will at some point want to go outside. If you have a garden, take atmospheric images that again draw on a sense of lifestyle. Don’t photograph the flowers, instead present an evening meal spread on a garden table and photograph the garden as a background to the vacation itself. If you don’t have any outside space use windows as backdrops, or herb-gardens/plants can add much-needed greenery to inside spaces.
Seasons change, ensure your property does too
Despite how perfect your aesthetic might be, it’s worth making a few, even subtle changes to the mood of your photos as the season’s change. By seasons, we mean Autumn, Summer, Winter, and Spring as well as the Holiday seasons like Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. Depending on where your vacation rental is, it might be interesting to depict local Holidays too; for example, if you’ve got an apartment in Dubai, why not market it for Eid and attract a wider target audience. Think strategically and stay open-minded when cultivating an audience; not everyone that sees your posts will stay, but word-of-mouth spreads, and the atmosphere and mood of your Instagram will influence their opinion.
Despite being full of photography, Instagram does allow for the editing and uploading of videos. Videos provide a perspective that photos struggle to mimic; use them to capitalize on atmosphere and mood wherever possible. A trending vacation property on Instagram right now optimized on a snowy day; by accessorizing the weather with appropriate décor and props you can provide a glimpse of an alternative lifestyle – this is exactly what vacation-goers are on the lookout for. This does not mean filming an amateur movie or acting as a tour guide for your property. Remember, Instagram relies on an effective aesthetic, your video should not be more than 30 seconds, and ideally, less than 20 – you need to capture an image and this should be done effectively and quickly to optimize views.
Set the Scene
Your property, despite being a great place to visit isn’t the only building in the area. This doesn’t mean photographing other buildings or homes, but simply capitalizing on the wider environment and activities within it. If there’s a beach nearby, reference this in photos, have photographed of the beach within the home, or gather shells and use them as a décor accessory, detailing the local beach in the caption. If you’ve got a great view out of one of the windows, don’t be afraid to get closer to it. Whether it be a forest or a city your vacation property is in, more general photos of the area will help any prospective customers feel more comfortable with staying.
Starting will be hard as without feedback your property might seem hard to trust. Try contacting previous tenants and ask them to provide feedback on your Instagram. Offer promotions and giveaways; a great way to do this is with other businesses, such as the company you get your home décor from for example. By grouping your followers and encouraging tags from other users you maximize the number of people that see your account and increase the total of visitors.
Instagram is the perfect place to advertise and market; it’s so easy to communicate and visually illustrate just how beautiful your vacation property is. We hope our tips are useful and help you improve your account traffic and business.