The Virtual Coffee & Chat calls with owners are getting slicker every time! The most recent one focused on getting more from your social media pages and we were joined by Katie from The Holiday Hive. As well as being a fellow holiday accommodation owner, Katie previously worked in marketing for one of the biggest holiday-letting agencies in the UK. Now she helps other holiday accommodation owners improve their digital presence and online visibility, to generate more bookings. We had so much to cover during this call that we ran out of time. So we scheduled a part 2 the following week. Here’s the key takeaways from both calls.
Try to post something on your social media pages every day. Or at least 3-4 times a week. You can use scheduling tools for this. Meta Business Suite is good, but there are others too.
Reels get more reach
The platforms are really pushing reels right now. They will show in the feeds of people that don’t currently follow you too and will also appear on your page. Katie hosted some live training covering An Introduction to Instagram Reels over on her Facebook group recently. If you join the group, you can watch the video: Buzzing Bookings Collective: Marketing Tips for Holiday Cottage Owners. Find out how to save soundtracks, use templates, add categories and more. I watched the video and found it really helpful. The key is to just give it a go. The more reels you do, the more comfortable you’ll get with doing them and so the better your reels will be.
Even though stories only last 24 hours, they are a brilliant way to stay current and at the forefront of your followers’ minds when the time comes to actually book their holiday. If possible, try to create a few stories on your socials every day. The recommended number is 6-9, but anything is better than nothing.
Profile not landscape
If you are posting a video (for stories, reels or posts), shoot it in profile orientation (not landscape). That looks better on social media on our phones and takes up the whole screen.
Don’t post links in the main post. Links don’t work on Instagram anyway and Facebook really don’t want you to take people away from their own platform. So your posts will get a higher reach if you e.g. post an engaging photograph or video but with a bit of text that says ‘link in comments below’ or in Instagram ‘link in profile’.
Think like a guest
When creating your content, think like a guest. What do they want to know? Read your reviews – is there something that previous guests say they love time and time again? Make sure you post about it if there is. It could be your home-made cakes or welcome hamper; a nearby waterpark or wild swimming spot; a dog-friendly café or woodland walk; cycle trails; things to do with children; an amazing food pub or a favourite beach.
Mix it up
When it comes to content, variety is key. Don’t use it for broadcasting only. Be social. Ask questions. Create polls. Ask guests to share their photos of their holiday and tag you in them. Post images, stories and reels. What’s really important is that you’re not afraid to be yourself. So let your personality shine through. Show your followers the people behind the scenes. Create ‘meet the team’ reels or ‘this is our street/farm/field/garden’.
Be a follower
Follow other local businesses that will interest potential guests. Comment on, like and share their posts or stories. Did your local restaurant receive an award or get featured in the press? Have they updated their menu? Has someone started offering Llama trekking / horse-riding / kayaking / stand-up paddle boarding / art classes / beach yoga etc? What do others bring to the party that will enhance the guest experience you can offer even more?
Join Facebook groups
If you’re not already active in relevant Facebook groups, have a search to find the ones that could work for you. Go to the search bar in Facebook and type, eg. dog-friendly holiday cottages in Devon or Large holiday home close to the sea in Norfolk and see what comes up in the Groups section of the results. I tried both of these search phrases and found Bookdirect Large Self Catering Cottages UK, Holiday Cottages UK, Dog-friendly Holiday Cottages UK and Dog-friendly Holidays. Join as many as you think you can stay active in. Look for how many members the group has and how often people post, join in conversations and get posting. If you don’t think the group is right for you you can always leave it.
What really came across is that we all just need to give it a go. When it comes to social media don’t overthink things – just get posting and sharing and join in. If you haven’t posted a reel before, go for it. The same with stories. And remember – at the end of the day, if you really don’t like what you create you can always delete it. Now, who wants to talk about Instagram Threads … ?
Resources: We have a few basic guides for social media, if you're just starting out you might find these helpful Facebook, Instagram, Alternative Platforms