6 Tips for Communicating with Owners on Social Media
While attending a recent vacation rental management conference I was fortunate to sit-in on numerous sessions from some of the top experts in social media marketing. Each one had their own unique perspective and there were many good ideas for how to use these outlets to reach out to current and potential guests. Yet it seems to me that using social media for pro-active marketing is challenging in the vacation rental market, since most guests visit one time per year at the most. (There are exceptions of course as some markets have more frequent guests.)
While watching I was thinking that the biggest opportunity for vacation rental managers to actualize the potential of these powerful tools is to use them to communicate with owners. It is often said that, “Inventory is king; pricing is queen,” because without owners there is no inventory to rent.
Considering the ever-expanding services available to enable individual owners to directly market, rent and service their own properties, and all of the expanding distribution and guest servicing costs that companies need to pass along to their owners, it is more important than ever before to educate owners on all of the behind the scenes work that takes place at your rental company to maximize their ROI.
For example, if you are going to be asking your owners to share the fees to post homes on third party websites, vacation rental listing services and OTA’s (online travel agencies), you will want to share articles about the potential benefits of these services and why it is becoming increasingly necessary to at minimum have a presence there.
Many companies already have a quarterly newsletter that goes out to owners, but by using social media tools it becomes possible to continuously remind them of all of the effort that takes place on their behalf year round, and that there truly is no longer an “off-season” for managers.
Rental managers should think about having a private, members-only blog for their owners in which they could continuously provide updates on marketing as well as operations. Additionally, using Twitter to send periodic updates between blog postings would also be helpful.
So what should rental managers post on their blogs and tweet-out to their owners? Here are some ideas:
- 1. Updates on the educational sessions managers attend on topics such as distribution, marketing, pricing and social media marketing. Send “lessons learned” and share top ideas that you took away.
- 2. Forward on interesting articles from industry experts that support your business initiatives. There are many great sources, starting with the blogs, newsletters, and/or Linkedin user group updates from associations such as VRMA and various vendor publications.
- 3. Post stories of your guest services heroes and champions and give examples of the above and beyond efforts they make to meet unique guest needs.
- 4. Be sure to also talk about the challenging situations your guests present your staff with on a regular basis and how your team always comes through. This will make them appreciate that they do not get phone calls from desperate and upset guests in the middle of the night or on weekends.
- 5. The more we can do to educate owners on what it really takes to successfully market and service their properties to the public, the more they will appreciate our efforts and therefore understand why all of this costs money to provide.
- 6. By using social media tools to stay in touch with owners and to educate them on all you do to successfully market, rent and service their properties, you will maintain a closer relationship and gain buy-in when it comes time to talk about upgrades, service fees, and sharing marketing costs.
What does your company do to communicate with owners? What works, and what doesn't? We would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.
Source: VRMA Blog
By: Doug Kennedy
Published: Dec 04, 2014
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