When it comes to vacation rental management (VRM) social media efforts, step back and evaluate social media accounts like you would if you were a potential guest. It is less about follower count and post likes. Some questions you should be asking are: Is there recent post activity? Are there reviews to read? What about comments on the posts from other guests?
Consider how potential guests might have gotten to your page in the first place. Perhaps a friend shared a post, “checked-in” or even posted a photo upon arrival with a casual humblebrag on Day 1 of their vacation.
Regardless, some recent posts and plenty of action from other guests on the social channel in question can quickly reassure potential guests considering booking just as seeing a bunch of unanswered, negative reviews will have them looking elsewhere.
But in order to successfully manage this type of online presence, you need to ensure there are people on your team who are equipped to manage it. From social media to Google reviews to TripAdvisor, it’s important that your team is consistently checking all relevant platforms for new reviews and responding appropriately. And you should be engaging with your “fans” who comment on your social media posts as much as possible. (Quick tip: An easy way to get more good reviews for your business is by asking those who leave nice comments on your recent social posts about their most recent stay to also consider leaving a review of your business!)
I have heard too many times that businesses shy away from encouraging reviews because of the potential for negative ones. While it does feel like some people are more inclined to write a bad review after a negative experience, that’s all the more reason to implement some processes on your social channels, during check-in/out or via a follow-up email or text asking for guests to leave a review (the positive will likely far outweigh the negative).
It helps if you can go that extra step of learning about their stay before a guest leaves the property in order to rectify anything before they can get home and write a review. Most people will leave a review if asked, so have someone on staff make a personal ask if the guest’s experience was good. (Quick tip: Have responses ready for negative reviews and do what you can to take the conversation off a public forum and into direct messaging or even better, a phone call or personal email.)
Aside from having processes in place to encourage post-trip reviews and quickly responding to them, it’s also important to remind guests to post about their experience while they’re enjoying it. So whether that’s a friendly note to “check-in” upon arrival or having a photo-worthy experience they’ll want to share on social media during their stay, it’s good to encourage the conversation throughout the stay. Not to mention the added benefit of finding out anything bad in time to fix it before the guest leaves – helping to head off negative reviews that will offset the good.
Lastly, while you’re encouraging all this feedback, make sure your guests know about your social presence so they can tag you in it. This is an easy way to get more user-generated content for you to use on your company’s social channels. 81% of people say UGC has influenced their buying (booking) decisions and guests who see their photos shared on your channels are more likely to comment or share that post.
Remember, it’s not as important to have the biggest social media following vs. curating a forum that will help influence repeat and future visitors to stay in one of your properties on their next vacation.
If you’re ready to step up your social content or if you don’t know where to start—let us help by performing a social media audit. It’s the first step to recognizing where you are and creating a deliberate plan to uplevel your social media efforts.