Category: Owner Information

Social media for holiday home owners: Is it worth it?

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Social media is everywhere. According to we are social, there are a staggering 3.5 billion social media users worldwide. That’s 45% of the entire world’s population. And this figure is increasing. Whether you embrace it, or ignore it, social media is huge and it is here to stay. Therefore, arguably, as holiday home owners we would be a little short sighted not to seriously consider using social media as part of our marketing strategy. You can communicate with past guests, future guests, and have the potential to reach out to hundreds of new guests around the world all at the same time. And it is free!

However, what you save in pounds you will need to invest in time. Whilst some holiday home owners receive an impressive number of bookings directly from social media platforms, it takes considerable time and effort to build up a successful social media marketing strategy. Whilst it is relatively easy to post content, it is harder to ensure your social media posts are being effective. It is sometimes difficult to know whether the hours spent updating your social media platforms are really worth it.  Are they likely to translate into bookings? And how do you know if your social media strategy is working or not?

It is difficult to give concrete answers to these questions. However, this article aims to give you a brief overview of how the main social media platforms work and how you can use them as effectively as possible as part of your marketing strategy to promote your holiday home.

Different social platforms

There are a number of different social media platforms. Whilst they all share the same concept of posting photographs, links and updates, each platform has its’ own unique audience. There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing which one to use. In fact, in order to reach as many different people as possible it is probably worth engaging with a few. The largest and most popular platforms are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you are new to social media it makes sense to start off using one or two of these.         


Founded in 2004 Facebook is the most popular social media platform. According to the last hurdle it is used by 32.6 million people in the UK. This is over half the UK’s population. Facebook is used by all age groups but research has suggested that the youngest age groups are now moving to other platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. Facebook posts are a great way of promoting your holiday house for free. When people like and share your content, your posts will be seen by their friends, who may in turn comment, or like and share your post again.

It is a good idea to set up a dedicated business page on Facebook for your property. This gives your page a more professional look and it also allows past guests to leave invaluable reviews. A business page also allows you to pay to ‘boost’ posts. As Facebook is increasingly becoming a ‘pay to play’ platform, with most businesses only really succeeding by paying to ‘boost’ their posts, this is a valuable feature and allows you to reach a wider audience. It is worth noting that a post that performs badly organically is also unlikely to perform well with money behind it, so it is worth seeing how well your post performs before you ‘boost’ it. It is also important to target the right audience on any boosted posts. Facebook provides a detailed summary of how your boosted post performed. By understanding how many people your post reached, how many people clicked on the link, or commented or shared your post will help you hone what works best. It doesn’t need to cost much to boost your post so it is worth doing it once or twice and seeing how you get on.

Another way to try and increase your likes and shares is to run a Facebook competition. However, you need to do your research as it’s very easy to break Facebook’s rules. For example, many people don’t realize that it’s against the rules to ask for ‘shares’, ‘likes’ and to ‘tag friends’ in order to enter a competition. You should also be aware that Facebook regularly updates its contest rules so you need to check these first.

Prizes could be anything from a two night out of season holiday, to a ‘free’ night tagged onto another holiday, or you could team up with a local business to offer a discount on a meal or day out. Avoid offering non-related prizes. It is better to attract a handful of people who are genuinely interested in your property, rather than hundreds of people falsely lured to your page on the promise of a free iPad. For the competition to be successful it is essential that you share your post with as many Facebook groups as possible and you might even consider boosting your post with a paid advert. But make sure that you adhere to Facebook’s guidelines as boosted posts are reviewed by Facebook.

It is also sensible to promote your competition on any other social media platform that you use.

Some people are very successful at running competitions. Not only can it generate a large number of new followers, but it could even result in additional direct bookings. However, they aren’t for everyone. If you don’t spend time researching and planning the competition it is possible to end up with 3 new likes in exchange for giving away a free holiday and a lot of lost hours on Facebook.


Launched in 2010, Instagram is a photo based social media platform that is owned by Facebook. In 2018 it was the fastest growing social media platform and it is likely that it will grow even bigger. The audience tends to be a bit younger that Facebook. According to Statista nearly 70% of Instagram users are under 34 years old.

The saying ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ couldn’t be more apt for holiday home owners when it comes to Instagram. It provides a great opportunity for you to show off your property and the surrounding area to potential guests. As well as posting on the ‘grid’, it is worth noting that more and more people are creating ‘stories’ on Instagram. So much so that some people only view stories and don’t bother with the grid at all. Stories only last 24 hours and they tend to be a bit more rough and ready than the grid which people like to keep looking pretty. They are great for when you might be out and about doing things locally as your pictures don’t have to be perfect.   

Instagram posts can be made more effective by using hashtags. Hashtags are labels that allow people who are searching for a particular topic to find your post. For example, if you have a holiday cottage in Devon that attracts walkers and people with dogs you might add #Devon #dogfriendly #walking to your post. If someone was searching for #Devon, they would then see your post in their search results.

Instagram allows you to use 2,200 characters and up to 30 hashtags on each post. However, make sure you don’t overload your post with hashtags and just use those that are directly relevant. It is a good idea to look at what hashtags your competitors and other local tourist organisations are using and check the content that people are using that hashtag for. You can follow hashtags as well as accounts. It is worth following the ones you use regularly so they come up on your feed and you can engage with them. If you would like some hashtag inspiration, take a look at our article on popular travel related hashtags and national days

It is important to try and post as regularly as possible but remember that generally quality is better than quantity. There is no magic recommended number of how many times a week you should post. With a bit of trial and error you will find out what works best for you. For example, if you were posting five times a week and you were getting lots of likes and comments, then you moved up to eight times a week and the engagement dropped off you know you are probably over posting.


There are currently 13.7 million Twitter users in the UK. While it is sometimes thought of as a platform for older users, the last hurdle reported that in 2018 the majority of Twitter users are under 34 years old and 45% of 16 – 22 year olds have a Twitter account.  

Like Instagram, hashtags are used in Twitter to create key words to enable your tweet to come up in a Twitter search. Twitter now allows you to post 280 characters, so it is good for short and frequent updates. Content moves incredibly quickly on twitter so to be successful you need to tweet frequently and at the rights times of the day. Posting once or even twice a day isn’t going to get you seen much. A useful way to keep the content coming and to engage with people is to retweet other people’s tweets – with your own comments. For example, if you tweet a last minute offer that you post on the Independent Cottages website we will try and retweet it.

Be sociable on social

All social media platforms need regular content updates. However, it is important to remember that constant advertising will not gain you many followers as people will become bored of your posts. Being on social media is about sharing knowledge and building relationships. Therefore, whilst it is a useful platform to ‘sell’ your holiday house don’t overload your content with special offers or promotional content. Talk about upcoming local events and do featured posts on local businesses or attractions. Show guests all the different things that they could see and do whilst they are on holiday. When posting pictures include ‘hidden gems’ such as secluded beaches or good local pubs and restaurants. Make sure you interact with people, ask and answer questions and reply to comments.

It is also a good idea to share and retweet content from other relevant posts. This enables you to network with other local businesses and share relevant information with your followers. The more people who comment or like your post the more people it will reach. If you help to advertise a local business, not only might it lead to a ‘real life’ connection, but they might share or like your post in return which will open you up to their followers.

If you have the time it is a good idea to write your own articles about the local area. Popular blog topics include things like ‘top 5 local attractions’, ‘favourite local restaurants’ or ‘best local walks’. These can be hosted on your website and shared through your social media.

It is all very well posting regularly, but there are also certain times of the day when your posts are more likely to be seen. On the whole the best time of day to post is first thing, lunch time and the evening, but it is worth trying to post at different times and see what works best for you. Tools such as Hootsuite enable you to easily schedule your social media posts. If you haven’t got the time to be posting several times a week it is possible to sit down on a Sunday evening and schedule all your social for the week. Hootsuite can also help you coordinate your social channels.  

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Forums and groups

A lot of people who are looking to book directly with holiday home owners now use Facebook groups to find their perfect holiday home. This list is by no means exhaustive, but groups such as Book your Holiday Direct, Holiday Direct – Including dog friendly and Holiday breaks in the UK – Including dog friendly are popular and active groups. You should also search for groups dedicated to specific geographical areas. Make sure you join these groups and keep an eye out for requests that match your property.

Facebook groups are also a good way of communicating with other holiday home owners. There are various ‘owners only’ groups on Facebook where you can share ideas and ask questions.

Will engaging with social media translate to bookings?

The question that we all want to know is whether the time and effort spent on social media will translate into bookings. Unfortunately it is difficult to monitor exactly how many bookings you get from social media. You can measure how many people view and engage with your post. You can also measure how much traffic you get to your website from social media. What you can’t measure is whether these people then go on to book or not. However, the main aim of your social media posts is to get people to visit your website. If it is achieving this then your social media strategy is working.    

It is also worth remembering that engaging with people via social media is not just about getting direct bookings. It is also important to be ‘seen’ and discussed online. It is widely believed that social mentions help to build a website’s trust and authority which, in turn, can influence Search Engine rankings.

A good social media strategy allows you to build relationships with holidaymakers and local businesses and it gives your holiday home extra credibility. For example, guests might initially find your holiday house on one of the OTA (Online Travel Agency) sites, but they then might google you before they decide to book. Seeing an active social history may also instil confidence into holiday makers looking to verify that a holiday home or owner is legitimate.  

To ‘like’ or not?

Whether you choose to embrace social media with open arms or completely avoid it is up to you. Used effectively, it is undeniably an incredibly powerful marketing tool and has the potential to have a real impact on your bookings. However, there is no ‘quick win’ social media strategy and it is therefore important to be realistic. It takes considerable time and effort to interact with your audience and get results. As holiday home owners, time is sometimes in short supply as we often juggle changeovers, marketing, bookings, second jobs and childcare. Updating your status once a fortnight with a few last minute offers and a nice picture of a sun set is not going to deliver results.

For those of you who are looking to expand to other social media platforms it could be worth engaging with Pinterest. It currently has over 200 million users worldwide and is still growing. Pinterest at heart is a search engine and is less about social interaction and more about ‘planning’ your life. However, it can be a powerful visual tool when people are browsing for holiday ideas and it is a platform that is rapidly expanding. 

Independent Cottages is active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Please follow us, like us and interact with our posts. We would love to hear from you!

Top tips

  1. If you’re new to social media we would suggest just using Facebook and / or Twitter initially.
  2. Remember that you are promoting your brand and local tourism at all times. Be careful with personal views and avoid political opinions, rude jokes and general complaints.
  3. Read new posts carefully and out loud. Check for grammar and spelling mistakes; ‘read twice, post once’.
  4. Set measures such as number of likes or use Google Analytics to measure traffic to your website.
  5. People often trust the recommendations of their friends. Encourage guests to post their experiences online and make it easy for them to include your handle / profile / page in their posts. For example, for Facebook you could place a notice in the visitor’s book along the lines of ‘Don’t forget to check in to xyz-cottage on Facebook’.
  6. You could also place a postcard in your property saying that a bottle of Champagne / local beer / etc will be sent to the most liked holiday photo shared on your Facebook page. The objective of this is for guests to promote their great holiday, and your property, to their friends. This won’t fall foul of Facebook’s guidelines as the ‘competition’ is promoted off-line.
  7. Facebook business pages can also be used as a free platform for collecting reviews.
  8. As with any other online service, make sure that your password is strong or you run the risk of your account being compromised.
  9. Don’t be daunted by the wonderfully glossy and seemingly professional images posted by others. You have access to unique photos and local events on your doorstep. Turn early morning walks, or trips to the local pub into an inspirational post. A particular view, or local scene that you might take for granted, could be all the inspiration needed for a commuter stuck on a train to make that all important enquiry.

2 thoughts on “Social media for holiday home owners: Is it worth it?

  1. Earl Meyer

    Thanks for posting such a wonderful article. Your site has given the best info are amazing
    and useful to all people.Please Continue.


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