In the competitive landscape of short-term rentals and vacation offerings, making a mark on social media is essential. And one of the best ways to do this is with a Destination Marketing Approach strategy.
Unlike typical marketing strategies that focus solely on the rental space, the destination approach goes beyond. It embraces the local culture and attractions, showcases guest experiences, and offers a more comprehensive digital experience that aims to really capture the essence of the destination.
This approach, when channeled through social media platforms like Instagram, not only elevates your content but also helps build a stronger and more genuine connection with your audience. Let’s explore how you can seamlessly integrate a Destination Marketing Approach into your social media strategy.
Exploring Local Resources
The first step is to use local resources for inspiration. One of the best resources will be your local tourism organization or chamber, as many of your potential guests will visit this site for trip-inspiration. Not only that, but you can see what the website highlights and focuses on and find ways to incorporate that into your messaging. Similarly, following local tourist centers/attractions on social media is another way to gain knowledge and inspiration as to what captivates travelers’ interests.
Tapping into local resources, like your Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), also provides invaluable insights into your target markets. For instance, a DMO might inform you that during October, your biggest potential market consists of empty-nesters with an interest in Sightseeing and History. Or, perhaps that families from Texas are your most common tourist in July. These insights allow you to seasonally adjust your content and offerings, ensuring you resonate with the right audience at the right time.
Fostering Local Collaborations
When your guests come to visit, they are doing more than just staying with you—they are traveling and exploring your local area. Crafting guides to local attractions or initiating partnerships for special discounts not only enriches your social media content (and Giveaway Potential) but also provides added value to your guests.
Doing this not only opens up more opportunities for cross-promotion between you and local businesses, but it also allows you to create specific packages that speak directly to your niche market. In other words, you can take what you have learned from your local DMO and then collaborate with local businesses to create packages for the intended demographic (i.e. a history tour package for the autumn empty nesters). This kind of collaboration can boost your visibility, increase your value and appeal. Not to mention, it can also help you tackle the lull of the shoulder season by providing enticing packages and itineraries.
Sharing Local Stories
Everyone loves hearing stories, and your social media presence should be full of them. From local history and lore, to highlighting community voices—this is a great way to engage your audience on social media.
Highlighting Local Festivals and Events
This is a fantastic tactic because not only does it inform your followers about local happenings, but it also positions you as an expert for your local community.
Creating Visually Appealing Content
When taking or sourcing your images/videos, make sure you prioritize high-quality and visually engaging content. Your goal is to inspire your followers and help them imagine themselves in the shown experiences.
Offer Local Tips
Again, positioning yourself as an expert, sharing local tips can be a great way to make your content more engaging. From best-kept secrets, to favorite local experiences, to trip itinerary ideas—the list goes on and on, and gives you an unlimited amount of potential content.
It’s essential to realize that potential guests are actively comparing vacation rental offerings. A rental that provides tips for the best local trails or recommends cozy cafés stands out and feels personalized. This rich content can often be the tiebreaker for a traveler choosing between a vibrant, local-driven rental and one that feels detached and corporate.
Guest Sharing and User Generated Content
Leveraging user-generated content is a powerful way to enhance your presence. When you share content created by your guests, you not only present your property in an authentic light, but it also makes your guest(s) feel valued. This added appreciation and personal touch can go a long way in fostering an ongoing host-guest relationship and inspire more to follow suit. User generated content gives you a strong testimonial without being overly ‘salsey’ and subtly inspires followers to book a vacation with you.
Keep in mind: always get permission before sharing any content from your guests. And when you do share, ensure to give your guests a shoutout and thank them for sharing their experience.
For example, in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, there are beautiful Wing-Art displays around the town. These offer fun photo opportunities for guests and great walking-exposure to downtown. As a vacation rental in Glenwood Springs, offering a custom map/guide to these different displays is a fantastic way to help tourists find these ‘hidden gems’ around town. Additionally, the host can ask to be tagged in photos or have those guest experiences shared, this User Generated Content not only connects to guest and the host, but also can help encourage future guests to visit.
Local Hashtags and Geotags
All-in-all, adopting a Destination Marketing Approach isn’t about making a hard pivot in your marketing strategy. Instead, it’s about letting your love for your local area shine through on your social media platforms and showing prospective guests that there’s a world of experiences waiting for them, right on your doorstep.
Diving into local resources, teaming up with local businesses, and sharing the authentic stories from your community are simple and engaging ways to enhance your social media content and build real connections with your audience. Bringing in user-generated content, local hashtags, and geotags adds more depth and discoverability to your profiles as you create a lively presence filled with genuine, inspirational, and useful content. Guests naturally gravitate towards rentals that not only offer a place to stay, but also provide them with valuable local insights. Just think about it: wouldn’t you prefer booking a vacation rental that shares tips for the best trails in town over one that feels impersonal and overly corporate? By aligning with the insights from DMOs, you can effectively target and cater to specific demographics, ensuring that your content strikes a chord with potential visitors and prompts them to choose you over competitors.
With this approach, your rental will transition from just a place to stay to being a memorable part of the adventure, and, in turn, will help you inspire your followers to become future guests.
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