Using Instagram for Your Vacation Rental

While talking to my Social Media Coaches (aka my 20 something children), I was told Facebook was for old women. That explains all the shared pictures of grandchildren I see! But if I wanted to reach real people (translation: anyone under 50), I needed an Instagram account.

Stephanie And Chris
Last modified: 4 years ago

Setting Up Your Account with Thoughtfulness

Don't underestimate the power of a grandma with disposable income and an intense desire to get children and grandchildren together in one place! They are my "bread and butter." But I did want to diversify and perhaps fill in some of my off-season openings that those grandmas seemed to avoid, since school was in and grandchildren's schedules didn't allow for full family reunion participation. It is time to tap the "Friends' Reunion" market by starting up a Business Instagram (IG) account. Keep your audience in mind.

If you have a personal IG account, you can add a business account easily. (See step 3, in the set up link below.) If you don't have an account it is easy to set up.

Using Instagram for Your Vacation Rental
Get Started on Instagram for Businesses
Learn how you can start a free business profile on Instagram with our simple guide as well as tips to tell your business story.

Some things you need to consider before set up:

  1. What is an easy and recognizable IG "handle" or hashtag. I use #tikihousepensacola since my gmail account is the same. But our title is "Tiki House Pensacola Beach VR." You may find someone else already has your preferred hashtag, so you will want more than one possible name for your account.
  2. Like Facebook, you will set up a profile with a description and website. Decide where you want to send people. You should consider that younger users aren't interested in research as much as instant quotes. If you don't have a quote tool on your website, use your Houfy listing instead.
  3. I set my account up on my phone, as the app isn't really meant to be used on a PC. But you can do it on a PC, just change the settings for this use.
  4. Instagram is for pictures and videos. So keep the wording short and to the point. And be ready to post!

Here is a link to my IG account for you to see. It isn't perfect, but it is getting some attention!

Using Instagram for Your Vacation Rental
Tiki House Pensacola Beach VR (@tikihousepensacola) * Instagram photos and videos
102 Followers, 77 Following, 76 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from Tiki House Pensacola Beach VR (@tikihousepensacola)

Posting to Instagram

Start with some great pictures or video. If the picture isn't good quality or clear, don't use it. Each picture is a first impression. And don't forget you can link it to your Facebook account. You get double duty out of each IG post! And then FILTER! Play around with the filters that put your picture in the best light!

Favorite pictures are beach shots of the water and sand, mountain landscapes, and blue skies. Strangers are not interested in people. If you do post people, think about showing people from the back (no faces) or as incidentals in the background. They are more interested in imagining themselves there, not who is there.

Now let the hashtags loose! As a new user, I find it annoying when people tag pictures. Just use a few hashtags in a mindful way. Here are some ideas:

  1. Hashtag your rental name for consistency.
  2. Keep your hashtags to a minimum. There are differing opinions on this. My "coaches" have told me it is only newbies who have a TON of hashtags. And the newbies are usually "old people" like me. Others think it looks needy and dilutes your message. Three popular hashtags are better than 10 never used ones. But do it any way you want. Experiment!
  3. When you write your caption and then add a hashtag, choose the most popular one that pops up. See the example below.
  4. And remember to add a location where the picture is taken, not where you are NOW, if they are different. The "Insta" part of Instagram means the app wants to default to "now."

Choosing a hashtag: Start a trend? Or take advantage of the popular trends.

Using Instagram for Your Vacation Rental

How to Get Noticed on Instagram

IG isn't just about getting noticed. It is a two way street. You will get followers and likes right away. But they may mean nothing. They may be bots that are just following and liking everything. They know if they like or follow you, they will get your attention. Or they may be real people interested in your post. But what you want are people who want to RENT.

This is where the real work come in. You know where your renters live and where they visit. To get their attention, find them. Search for hashtags that may help. I search for #pensacolabeach and find some great pictures to like. When you like their post, they often will check yours out and end up liking yours. I have gotten many followers this way. They have a great picture of Pensacola Beach or a local attraction, I like it, and then they start following Tiki House! When you find posts from people who are visiting your area and who want to return, you may find your next new renter!

But the best way to get noticed is of course great pictures! Videos are also popular. You can post pictures and videos from files or post them instantly from Instagram while on location. But beware. Don't over expose yourself and end up being spam. And don't like personal shots that make you look like a stalker. Be intentional in all your use. Hashtags, photos, likes and follows.

Following for Exposure

Don't be afraid to follow and comment on posts. I follow the local tourism sites, favorite attractions, and even the county sherriff (who is surprisingly informative and entertaining). If you follow someone, they are likely to follow you back! Before following someone, be intentional there too. Check out their posts to make sure it is appropriate to follow them. People can see who you follow and can make judgments based on it. But you can always UNFOLLOW too.

Commenting isn't always necessary, but can give you more exposure. Don't spam people, but invite them in! Think of IGers as skittish and wary of strangers (though they don't seem to be since they post so much public stuff). But there is the illusion of privacy when they are lost in the crowd. Most of them love the notice, but they want to decide on who gets their attention. Don't be the junk mail that shows up everyday in their box. You may just get blocked.

Some of my favorite IG accounts are local artists that I have found from visitors to our area. Think of IG as a huge spiderweb that is connecting people by pictures. The words are not as important and there are often NO captions. Just hashtags. Expose yourself, your vacation rental home, and start connecting.

Check out Tiki House Pensacola Beach on Houfy or on Instagram or on Facebook! We are trying hard to work social media and yet not overexpose ourselves. We haven't got all the answers, so would love to hear your comments and experiences too! Comment below and help us all learn together to be the BEST vacation rentals anywhere!

Using Instagram for Your Vacation Rental
Tiki House Pensacola Beach - Vacation Home rental in Pensacola Beach, Florida, United States
Vacation Home in Pensacola Beach. With over 3000 sq ft of room with a HUGE 1600 sq. ft. recreation room to spread out, Tiki House has it all! Steps from the beach! Beach and Gulf views from nearly every room and ...


Can we "Share" our Houfy stories directly to Instagram? I made shared my first Houfy story tweet

4 years ago

There isn't a IG share button. But you could share it as a copied and pasted link. But Instagram works best with pictures and little text. According to my millennial sources, younger audiences (like on IG) don't want to read that much! Ha!

4 years ago

Thanks for this great IG write-up. Based on your tip, I have started liking and commenting on local tourism sites and favorite attractions. Let's see what happens... Here is our @VillaAusblick IG site: " target="_blank">

4 years ago

Patience is the key. But make sure you tag them to get their attention when you post something they may be interested in sharing!

4 years ago

Great article! And I always ask Millennials to help, they know the ropes. You can also choose the option to make your IG account a business account, and then select the option to to link to FB and/or Twitter - then all your IG posts will automatically be posted on FB as well.

Regarding : I always have #houfy in my hashtags, so I appear on Houfy's IG account with my post.

Tags: Also, once you have selected a pic to post, added your caption and your #hashtags, you will find a little "person" icon, on the bottom left. Click on it, then you can tap on the photo to add tags. I always add tags such as houfy , villamaestraliskiathos (our IG name), Skiathos (our area) and the names of businesses in our area. Then publish. Once published, when you look at your post (pic) in your gallery, tap on it and you will see all the people you tagged. It increases outreach.

4 years ago
4 years ago
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Last modified: 4 years ago
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