Is Facebook dead for Vacation Rental bookings?

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You might be wondering why I haven’t posted an article about social media rccently.

It is because I haven’t seen much hard evidence of social media working for actually getting bookings for VR rentals, nor much hard evidence at conferences for high-volume sign-ups from social media. Many folks out there offer their social media services, but I’d be cautious about investing too deeply until you see hard results.

My wife and I have experimented with Facebook and found a very low payoff in bookings for a lot of time spent. I would go further and say it seems a low value-add use of your time. You will certainly get bookings from your loyalty newsletter, but you just might get the odd booking from Facebook.

All around the world folks spend a huge amount of time on Facebook and love it as a distraction from other things in life. However, a person has many conversations about lots of things that appear briefly for some of their Facebook friends to see. To get a booking, someone must rave about your place and someone else needs to be thinking about a holiday and see the post in its 90-minute half-life. Mathematically, these are not good odds. The same goes for Instagram and Twitter.

Given the reassessment of Facebook after the 2016 US election, and the drop in trust for it, society’s values are shifting, and the social media giants will try to adapt to these shifts. Where it will lead is unknown. We in the VR industry just need to keep a watching brief before jumping in.

Social media and SEO

There is some advice from SEO experts that social media activity can be used by Google as a secondary indicator of website authority, and therefore social media can help your SEO. Again, effects seem secondary, and it is a hard ask for a small VR owner to invest heavily for longer-term benefits. For property managers managing many properties at scale, the longer-term investment may be worthwhile and small per property managed.

Some Facebook options

If you enjoy spending lots of time on Facebook, you are there anyway, so why not promote your VR there and run lots of experiments?

On the other hand, don’t feel you need to spend a big chunk of time on social media just in case it works. If you spend extra time on social media, what are you going to spend less time on? Whatever you do, don’t just add social media to your list and spend more hours on your VR. Some people burn out and abandon their VR because they take on too much.

Although I am negative toward social media as a reliable source of bookings right now, that could change, and I have an open mind.

It will pay to periodically test the water with others to check if it’s working consistently or if there are shifts. For example, in 2018, there seems to be a surge in Instagram activity related to VRs. Mastermind groups, conferences, and networking can be very helpful in scanning others to check for success.

We can also use the wisdom of our readers.

If you use social media for your VR, do you get a lot of bookings from it, or not?  Please tell me your experience, and I’ll summarise the results —email [email protected]



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2 Responses

  1. Thanks Rex, I have often pondered this question. You have given me permission not to feel it is absolutely necessary to be across all social media. Perhaps I will just keep it social. I will be eager to receive/buy your book.

  2. Yes, it seems low key is the way to go for social media
    I’ve had another two readers of this post who have found social media of little value in getting bookings, so small sample, but same direction.

    It looks like Facebook is little help in getting bookings.

Comments are closed.

My name is Rex Brown. I live in Australia, on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. I run two of my holiday rentals here on the coast, and another in inner Melbourne . They are all quite different, but they all run at high occupancy. They are the sandpit that I play in, running constant experiments about what works and what doesn’t.

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