Tips & Tactics To Elevate Your Vacation Rental Business

8 Avoidable Instagram Mistakes Vacation Rental Owners Are Making

Are you rocking your Instagram, have NO CLUE what you are doing, never started, or gave up on it entirely? Read on because these vacation rental Instagram tips are for you!
Woman holding a cellphone with like and heart icons above the phone - JODI BOURNE - VACATION RENTAL WEBSITE DESIGNER

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Jodi Bourne

Jodi Bourne

Hey there!
I help vacation rental hosts elevate their guest experience, market their properties and destinations and get more bookings from guests they love.

Get to know me

You may be rocking your Instagram like nobody’s business, building a following, getting comments and hearts, and feeling super successful.

Or, you may have NO CLUE what you are doing and post some kind of image a couple of times a week and then wonder what to do next.

Or, maybe you have been told that Instagram isn’t the best place for you to be bustin’ your moves…so you either never started or gave up on it entirely.

No matter which of those people you are, read on because these vacation rental Instagram tips are for you!

Mistake # 1 Believing your audience is not on Instagram.

That’s just plain WRONG. How do I know? Because there are more than 20 million posts using some combination of #vacationrental #vacationhome #airbnb or something related. Those are posts by both owners and guests. Your target market is on Instagram searching for travel inspiration and you should be there showing off your destination and vacation rental.

Mistake # 2: Only posting photos of your vacation rental.

You should be posting images 3-4 times per week or more and only one of those should be of your vacation rental. Believe me, I know it is hard to come up with original content and captions, but you have to. If that is your problem, sign up for my free Instagram Action Planner for ideas!

SIlver sands instagram profile
When you look through the @silversandsvacationrentals photostream you will see that a number of posts include shots from inside their rentals, while others are things to do, fun quotes, and beautiful inspiring images. Their feed is so good, that they rarely ask for the bookings – they know they are inspiring their followers to book with them. They show how much they enjoy providing great, authentic content. 

Mistake #3: Not using the right hashtags (or not using ANY hashtags)

Using hashtags is how you will get found by more people. They search and even follow hashtags to find the content they are looking for.

So, if someone is looking for a vacation home in Austin, Texas they may be searching for #austinairbnb or #austinvacationrentals or if they are looking for a cabin in the Rocky Mountains they may search for #coloradocabins or #mountaincabins.

There are hashtags you should be using every time you post that are relevant to what you do #vacationrental, #airbnb, etc., and where you are. You should also be using hashtags relevant to local activities, the types of people that come to your destination, and other travel-related hashtags. Do hashtag research! 

Again, check out my free workbook – the Instagram Action Plan with a list of nearly 200 travel-related hashtags you should be using.

Mistake #4: Not using location tags!

The location of your business is super important, again, for people searching for things to do in your location. So, when you post an image from the local bakery and in the caption mention how close to the local bakery your vacation rental cottage is, be sure and add the location tag to the post.

Mix up the location tags. Don’t use the location of your specific cottage (after all, nobody knows where it is yet, so they wouldn’t be searching for it), instead use the town, region of the state, county, neighborhood, resort, nearby beach, etc. 

Mistake #5: Not engaging with your followers

You need to be talking to your followers and letting them know how much you appreciate them.

Follow them back, or if you don’t follow back, at least go through your follower’s feeds a couple of times a week, comment on their photos, double heart their stories, etc.

Let them know you are there and they will respond. When someone comments on your post, reply to them and ask another question. Get them engaged with you.

When you comment on your follower’s posts and share relevant information, their followers are seeing your comments – which makes them more likely to follow you too! I have another post all about how to engage your following – check it out for even more tips.

Mistake #6: Not following and engaging with others.

You should be checking out hashtag feeds and location feeds and commenting, liking, and following accounts that are relevant to your business, location, or amenities you provide. This is how you grow your following.

When you comment on a post and show authentic interest in the person or business, give helpful tips, or share ideas, other people will see this and want to follow you too.

Comment on their photos. If they are local businesses, let them know you support them. Say, “I recommend your wine shop to my guests all the time, I love the ____ wine you have.”

Treat Instagram and ALL social media as if you were in a bar, church, or networking event. Instead of standing in the corner waiting for someone to ask for photos of your vacation rental, go up to them, smile, shake hands, say thanks, and give them a compliment…social media works the same way! 

Mistake #7: Not using Instagram Stories and Highlights.

Stories can be so much fun. You can upload several images into a slide show, or create video snippets. Try to think of ways to have a beginning and end to your story. Create a story of a day trip from your destination to a local attraction.

  • Share a video story of an amazing sunset as it is happening.
  • Share a story of your writing thank you cards to your guests.
  • Share several images in a story of the house cleaners making the beds, mopping the floors, and cleaning the tub.
  • For your best stories, create a highlight to show it off at the top of your profile.
  • If you are having problems thinking of a story you can use, just add an inspiring quote with an image of your destination. Try Canva for free story templates.

Mistake #8: Not being your fun, authentic, helpful self!

You are the person behind the brand. You have a family, pets, etc. You love your destination. You care about your guest’s comfort. You enjoy decorating or cooking or walks…whatever it is that makes you, is something that will make people want to connect with you and book your property.

Share photos and videos of yourself and your family and pets and let your followers get to know you. In fact, introduce yourself to new followers about every 2-3 months.

Final Advice – Learn More About Instagram and Just GET STARTED!

I have a ton of free and low-cost resources to help you get started with your Instagram account including:

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Follow me on any or all of my Instagram accounts. Please be sure and say hello and let me know you read this and how I can help!





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Jodi Bourne

Jodi Bourne

Hey there!
I help vacation rental hosts elevate their guest experience, market their properties and destinations and get more bookings from guests they love.

Get to know me

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