You spend way too much time on Instagram (and TikTok and Pinterest and…), and guess what—your potential short-term rental guests do too. Why miss an opportunity to get in front of them when they’re dreaming about their next getaway? Why miss an opportunity to remarket to your past guests by reminding them how awesome your place was?
Don’t leave your fate up to the Airbnb algorithm alone. Take matters into your own hands and start building out and developing your own organic audience. While you do need to devote some time to channel upkeep, you shouldn’t need more than a few hours a week once you get going. Track how many people view your bio, and click through your booking link to make sure you’re getting ROI on your efforts.
Here’s what else to keep in mind:
Make a Business Account
When you set up your STR on IG, you can decide the type of account you want to create. We won’t go into how to actually launch a handle on Instagram here (we know you know how to do that), but when you build it, make sure to select a “business” account (as opposed to “creator” or “personal”). This way, you get access to the extra business features that will help travelers better find and interact with you, like your contact information and STR address.
Make sure to fully optimize your bio within the 150-word character count. Craft a few words about your amazing rental, making sure to include a few relevant hashtags, and make sure to link out to your booking site in the URL field, whether this is a stand-alone site or an Airbnb/Vrbo listing.
Post Regularly and Lean into Reels
Your shiny new account won’t do you much good if you never post. Your goal is to get into potential guests’ feeds with videos and images of your incredible STR, showing how much fun current guests are having there and what sets you apart from your competition. Drive that FOMO. Make sure your posts support your property’s brand.
In order to appear regularly in followers’ feeds, the IG algorithm wants to see you posting regularly, too. Try to focus initially on reels: Unlike stories and feed posts, which mostly go to your existing audience, reels are designed to be seen by people beyond your follower list. This is a great way to acquire new followers and build your audience.
Pick 10 to 12 hashtags that make sense for your post each time to help with reach. Vary them so the algorithm doesn’t start to see your posts as spam (repeated words can sometimes trigger this). See what your already-established competition is using, and steal some of those hashtags, too.
You can also create a bespoke hashtag for your STR—if you do, make sure to use it in every post and in your bio, too.
User-Generated Is the Best Content
If a guest tags your account in a photo they’ve taken on your property, this is content gold. This is real-life evidence that your guests are having the time of their lives at your place, and the very best kind of advertisement to convince future guests to book.
When Instagram alerts you that you’ve been tagged in a guest post, you can repost this content on your stories. This makes the poster feel special and heard and is the best kind of marketing. Make sure to go to your guests’ original post and comment there too.
One way to encourage more UGC (user-generated content) is to make an Instagram wall in your STR—something memorable and feed-ready inside or out that will inspire guests to snap a pic and post. If you do this, include a small sign next to it with your Instagram handle and STR hashtag so guests will use it when they post.
Share Stellar Reviews
Don’t do it every day (you want your channel to feel like a content channel, not a big advertisement), but every once in a while, when you get a great one, share it! Post it as text underneath a beautiful image of your place or the amenity they’re highlighting, or even as text on an image if it’s short and sweet.
Showcase Great Local Vendors
Let future guests see what makes your area so great. Post videos of the little cafés, parks, and restaurants nearby. Share your favorite order when you go to the coffee shop on the corner or the best place to grab lunch at the beach. Make sure to tag these businesses, and you will likely see them tag you in return!
In addition to things like posting cadence, the Instagram algorithm also prioritizes engagement. When your audience engages with your content, that’s a signal to Instagram that you’re posting worthwhile content, and you will show up in more feeds.
You can help stack the deck in your favor by asking questions when you post or by asking your audience to weigh in on something fun you’ve been considering, like:
What amenity should we add next?
1. Hot tub
2. Pool table
You get the idea.
Whatever you do, make sure it’s authentic, relatable, and fun.
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.