I had to say no to the Kardashians. I was approached this week by their entourage, as Kim Kardashian and her family were arriving to St Barths, the French Caribbean island where I own 2 vacation rentals. Apparently, Kim’s sister, Khloe Kardashian, was interested in staying at BelAmour, my luxury designer villa for 2. I had to say no to her, not because I am a snob, but because the villa was booked up.
Now, how did the Kardashian clique find me? Well, darling, because I am big on Instagram. Not Kim Kardashian big. But St Barths big.
For the last 6 months, I have steadily built my presence on the photo-friendly social network and I now one of the largest accounts around. The Instagram account that I am using is @saintbarthcom, i.e. the account for my SaintBarth.com website where I promote my vacation rentals and blog about the island.
My humble account has been able to grow larger to those of established, famous St Barths hotels. I have use the same tactics daily, with a mix of posting photos of my villas, reposting photos of island visitors, using some hashtags and reaching out to influencers.
From Instagram followers to vacation rental leads
The goal here is for the account to be seen as a valuable, fun account, where visitors are happy to be mentioned or have their vacation photos featured.
But this is not about having the biggest account. This is about getting Instagram users who like St Barths to sign up to my newsletter. This is how I measure the success of what I am doing: not by my number of followers, but the number of people who I can convince to give me their email address. And, yes, Instagram has proven to be a great source of targeted leads for me. About 120 leads for my luxury vacation rentals, in 6 months, which is great for such a tiny, high end island.
Kim Kardashian, Instagram and Me
A side effect to this strategy is that https://instagram.com/saintbarthcom is now seen as influential. I am getting approached by local businesses, fellow vacation rental owners and, well, even the Kardashians!
I know what other villas the Kardashians ended up booking, but I am not allowed to tell (yet). But, you know, in St Barths, people have seen plenty of celebrities before and do not really care. We respect people’s privacy and this is actually what the island sells.
Instagram for Vacation Rentals Course
So, I am putting together an online course very soon to share with other small travel businesses the lessons of what I’ve been doing. If you are interested, contact me now.