I have tentatively started out with a page on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/cairnsholidayhomes, and a Twitter account.
We are a small group of owners who have banded together to market our holiday homes in the Cairns area , Far North Queensland, Australia. At the moment we have only 125 fans, but it is hopefully providing some useful information to those who are visiting the area in addition to letting them see what properties we have on offer for their accommodation needs. I find FB a very useful place to post all the latest deals in the area, photos of the surrounding countryside, and the latest additions to our website. The best thing I think about FB is that people can share the information with their friends very quickly. If 2 families are thinking of holidaying together, one can say "have a look at this" with just a click of a button. The Twitter account allows me to keep in touch with what is happening in the Cairns area, and gives me ideas to post on the FB page.
I can not relate this to bookings, but it is a means of letting people know you exist and hopefully giving them something interesting to read at the same time!
Hi Jennifer and Lizzie,
I am so new to VRBO and Home away that its scary, and I have only rented our a couple of times so far, but I do have some social media experience for my work (ok other work). It took me a long time to figure out that its not just about posting, but its about responding and helping others...kind of tracks back to the kind of thing our moms warned us about.. To have friends you need to be a friend. ( Sorry I do not yet have a face book page and have not set up my website except for a flier template). The other thing to remember about the value of facebook is that you can post often and your followers will see you ( unless they turn you off) AND you can see information about them so you can understand your audience better. Twitter still has a reputation for marketers marketing to marketers, which is not awful, since marketers do travel and may want to stay at your place.
I'm adding my links here so if you have questions outside of this forum you can also ask them. I'm addting a postcard of our cottage since this blog format takes graphics and not many people use them and it seemed fun.
I have only set up a face book page for our Cottage a few months ago http://www.facebook.com/pages/Turtle-Cove-Cottage/205454296133365?sk=wall and only have a hand full of fans so far who are past or future renters. However, there seems to be a sense of "cottage camraderie" amongst those that have logged on. They seem to enjoy posting pictures and comments about their stay. (I really had to get used to idea of seeing strangers in our home space, however. The visual imact was uncomfortable at first!)
While we haven't yet gotten any initial bookings from FB, I think the sense of community generated may result in repeat bookings with our FB fans. Time will tell.
I set up a FB page late last year and after talking with Jennifer (thanks!) at the summit, I thought I should do more with it than just "have" a page on FB. A month ago, I set up a simple ad (no landing page or special offer) with a $100 budget. The campaign just ended and I ended up with about 100 likes, so it cost me about a $1 per like.
While I was thrilled to get our numbers of fans up from 125 when we started to 260 when we finished the campaign, the best part was that I found myself more engaged and wanting to find good info, specials, photos, etc to post. So it definitely drew me in to become much more involved than before when I'd check it once every week or two. As a result, I started seeing more people clicking the like button to my posts and a few comments. It's still a very small community but I'm committed to making it grow.
Some plans I have for the coming months include:
--Putting special framed signs in each cabin with the Facebook address to remind guests to upload their photos and comments while on vacation to our page. (I'm doing those next week while in TN, so I'll let everyone know in the coming months if the signs work.)
--Doing some contests with giveaways for our FB fans. I have sourced some really cool blue clear insulated cups for $2.80 a piece and tote bags for $5.50. I think we're going to do some gift packs and also use them as a thank you gift for our repeat guests and holiday rentals.
--Ask some businesses to be content contributors to our page. Particularly those smaller, local business near our cabins that I like to support and recommend to our guests. I like to call it small B2B for FB
--Find the software program developer that the local property mgt companies use on their FB pages that lets them list all their properties and you can click through to see more details. Haven't been successful in my google search yet, but I hope to find one soon. Anyone here know of any?
Has anyone tried Foursquare?
We were excited about Foursquare and registered our cabin but really haven't received any benefit yet.
We also have Twitter (@ParadisePines) and have our FB synched so that posts in one show up in the other (save on updates).
Amy, you always have good ideas. One thing we did was similar to your suggestion and printed this page on a full page magnet which we put on the frig.
Paradise, you are one busy social media butterfly! Good for you to test the water with different options. I've not tried anything beyond fb...most due to lack of knowledge about the other ones and my disdain for twitter LOL Please keep us posted on foursquare and your other efforts. It will be interesting to know how they work out.
Love your magnet idea for the cabins. I do that for our business cards at the cabins but that's a great idea! I have a 3M laminator and may just try something similar for a 'fridge magnet. Thanks
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Facebook is great for staying in contact with past clients on specials, vip rewards, discounts to bring in repeat business. The part that is missing is the networking with other vacation rentals owners as is done here. It's really hard to find vacation rentals on facebook for travelors, unless you know what and who you are looking for. It's exactly what Spring Hill Cottage suggested...Being a friend to others and developing friendships. But...you need that network! The best way that I have discovered to do that is structuring an entire facebook account around my vacation properties.This way I can find realtors, travelors, or people in my areas and connect with their friends and people they know to generate new business.
First - I would highly recommend going to google and setting up a gmail account. These work great for Facebook, Twitter, and other social websites.(Iphones too) Use your vacation property name for email address. Example: NewportBeachHoused@gmail.com
2nd - Literally set up your Facebook Account name as Example - First name: NewportBeach & Last Name: House.
Add tons of pictures of your property, location and the best features of your vacation home.
Fireplace, Pool, Jacuzzi, Get the good stuff! (The Drawing Factors)
3rd - Start Networking in your area. Your Vacation Rental Page is at a stand still until you have Likes and followers to communicate with...Connect with us by joining our new group of other like minded individuals on Facebook @ VACATION RENTAL HOMES group and give some imput..
4th - I've found creating a page to be very complex, especially if you are new to using facebook on a business basis. There is an awesome way to create your facebook page FREE and with minimal expertise and time. Did I forget to mention that you've created a professional vacation website that you can check out on a 30 day FREE trial basis for your vacation property as well. It's awesome because you can maintain your vacation marketing websites like Flipkey, VRBO, VacationRentals.com etc.
update all your websites information from one location...I love it!
5th - Now that you have both set up...run specials, post coupons, and connect. Literally after the first day I started receiving inquiries and booking...
I just set up my facebook business page yesterday. I am thinking that facebook has updated that a lot since the post on pagemondo because it didn't look too different except for tabs and since I just launched a facebook ad campaign today I don't want to mess with my link.
I made my first post on the page today as a youtube link to Silver Dollar City's Newest Ride hoping to draw some interest there.
I was told that I needed 39 likes to qualify for a separte url...I sent out a cry for likes, but since I am new to social media, I only have 49 friends and everyone doesn't log on that frequently....I am up to 19
I am trying everything out mostly to learn, I still am not sure if it will generate business except the ads are targeted for those looking to travel ot our area and rent...that may have a positive payoff. I will update on that at the end of one month.
Thank you Beth for this tip. I read with interest what Lauran from Twitter had to say. In fact i use a twitter account
@Rhakotisvilla and also have set up a Facebook page but apart from the pleasure to maintain both i have not seen any significant number of inquiries or bookings generated through these channels. I wonder whether there is an age typology of twitter / FB users versus decision makers in holidays booking ? Thanks