Instagram has long outgrown any reputation as just a selfie-sharing platform. As a social media tool, it also has enormous potential for your vacation rental: it can simultaneously provide you with free marketing and global visibility. To begin, 52 % of travellers use social media to research their vacation destinations and accommodations. Furthermore, the “instagrammability” of a place is one of travellers’ most important criteria when deciding where to go and stay for their holiday. This means of all platforms, Instagram, with its focus on breathtaking pictures, is growing exponentially more important for the travel and vacation rental industries.

Instagram as a Research Tool

Instagram is quickly becoming travellers’ preferred tool to research their next vacation destination – both the cities as well as the places where they will visit and stay. With so many users, the reach and power of Instagram’s condensed and beautifully-packaged information is undeniable. In 2019, one billion instagram accounts are used every month and over 500 million are used every day. In 2015, the tourism board of a small town in New Zealand invited influencers – the trendsetters with thousands or even millions of followers – to their region, hoping to boost growth. The result was a 14 percent increase – the fastest tourism spike the country had ever experienced.

The Importance of “Instagrammability”

Beyond using Instagram to collect research and inspiration regarding particular destinations or places, travellers are explicitly looking to stay in homes that photograph well for their own sharing purposes – homes we might call “instagrammable”. In one survey by a UK vacation rental insurance company, 40% of those interviewed under 33 considered precisely the “instagrammability” of a travel destination the most important factor when deciding where to spend a vacation. Quickly learning from this phenomenon, vacation rentals are seeking to create home environments and interesting interior designs to entice visitors’ Instagram shots. Some homeowners even establish accounts for their own properties, which significantly boosts visibility around the globe and generates bookings.

Vacation Rentals’ Instagram Accounts

Instagram accounts for vacation rentals can be used in various ways. You can post pictures of special amenities or spaces – like your kitchen’s local olive oil, your jacuzzi at sunset or the cosy nook with books and blankets – or you can share images of the family-owned bakery around the corner and secret, local spots. Either way, you will create hype about your area and your property. If guests take pictures within your home, you can furthermore repost these to your account, highlighting how relaxing, fun, or family-friendly your property is. When your visitors arrive, you can additionally encourage them to use specific hashtags if they want to be reposted on your profile. This satisfies Instagram users’ craving to share their whereabouts and daily activities with wide, international audiences and simultaneously serves as free advertising for you.

An Instagram Success Story

A great example of a vacation rental capitalizing on the power of Instagram is a beachside property in California called “The Beach Lodge”. Tiffany, the owner, initially began her Instagram account as she was documenting the renovation of a beach house built in the 1970’s. Now the proud owner of a stunning vacation rental, with cosy and unique interiors, Tiffany enjoys over 63,000 followers on Instagram. She showcases the property’s colors and textures, fluffy blankets and pillows, and child-friendly features. She also shows the attention she gives to guests by photographing the flowers she leaves for them on the table or the treats she gives them on their birthdays. Through these small gestures, she is additionally able to develop partnerships with local businesses, who are happy to have, for instance, their cupcakes featured on her feed. This instagram networking also extends to guests, as Tiffany furthermore reposts pictures of her guests absorbing the ocean view from the spacious balcony or of their children playing among fascinating antique furniture. Aside from highlighting beautiful ways in which her guests use the property, she is also encouraging future guests to take and share photos themselves.

According to Tiffany, Instagram offers a great opportunity to gain a competitive edge in the vacation rental industry. While discussing the advantages of the platform with us, Tiffany commented:

“With the vacation rental market ever growing, it’s not enough to rely on your listing to gain bookings. Instagram allows hosts a free opportunity to promote their homes beyond what they see on a listing. The voice that you create on your Instagram feed gives your home a personality. It provides guests a chance to get to know it and feel comfortable staying there. When there’s a long list of homes to scroll through, your home will stand out in people’s minds because they’ve already become familiar with it. They will already know what special details to expect because your Instagram feed already showed them what a memorable stay they’ll have.”

On her Instagram page, Tiffany also adds a link to her property’s website. You can easily self-promote your property in this way by suggesting that Instagramers click on a link to see your full account and description text on one of your property’s channels. Alternatively, you can include your vacation home’s ID number for a particular channel. What begins with piquing a travellers’ interest with beautiful images, results in attracting them to the booking page.