Dear hosts, in today’s episode I’m going to tell you about something that I’m trying out with Instagram. Yes, I’m still on Facebook at The Hosting Journey, Facebook at The Hosting Journey, but I have expanded my social media reach to Instagram and I wanted to share with you about an opportunity. Today’s episode is The 2020 Host Collaborative Challenge on Instagram.
Before you go and say, “Yeah, but I don’t have beautiful photos,” “I don’t have time,” ”Will my guests find me?” and the biggest objection: “I don’t know what to post,” let me reassure you.
I feel you, and that’s what this episode is about. I’m not an expert on Instagram and this episode doesn’t pretend to be a strategic marketing plan.
Nope, it’s a fun episode about a group of hosts who got together and did a 10-day photo challenge that started on August first. I found out about the challenge because the lovely Natalie Cacao posted about it, and she is one of the hosts who’s participating. (You may remember Natalie from one of your favorite Hosting Journey episodes, 110: La Casita Cacao Starting a Brand New Airbnb During COVID.)
That challenge happened and ended, and now they’re starting a new one and I want you to be part of it.
Trying New Things:
Ahh… new things—whether it‘s Instagram or getting on to a new platform like Booking.com. We, humans, resist change. At least I know I do. We get comfortable and don’t want to try something new… but remember: you tried Airbnb and the vacation rental world, and look at how you’re doing now.
Ok, maybe now might not be a great time for you to tell me how you’re doing since guests are a bit extra this year; you might not be making the same money and, well, we’re going through some challenges as hosts.
But it has been fun. Ok, not fun, but we have learned and grown as human beings. And here we are.
Please know that I’m not an expert on Instagram and don’t play one on TV (or anywhere else), but I’m into trying new things. So…
Let’s give Instagram a chance.
A Dedicated Account:
If you don’t have a dedicated Instagram account for your vacation rental, please open one up. You can have a personal account where you post your selfies and birthday photos, but you need a dedicated account just for your vacation rental.
Yes, you can have some personal photos of yourself in that account, too; but it’s about your vacation rental, not about your sourdough bread win.
It’s simple to go from one account to another, so no worries.
According to Hootsuite’s article, 37 Instagram Stats That Matter to Marketers in 2020
- One billion people use Instagram every month, that’s a billion with a b, my dear hosts.
- Instagram will reach over 112 million United States users in 2020.
- You will find that 47% of the users are age 30 to 49. Are those the folks that book your place?
- 67% of the users are 18 to 29. Right now I have a 27-year-old guest staying in La Casita in Puerto Rico. He is excellent.
You see, I have an Instagram account for Puerto Rico but not for New York. My New York home is rented more often by families and grandparents, and they’re mostly hanging out on Facebook.
Make sure that you’re using the correct platform for your vacation rental.
What To Post:
That is the biggest question, and this is where this amazing challenge will help you.
Instagram feels very collaborative, which I love. Remember there is enough for everyone. You’ll get booked, and there are only so many days in the month. Once you’re booked, you’re booked.
The Hosts Behind the Challenge:
Here’s a brief bio on each of them…
First, we have Natalie Cacao from La Casita Cacao. Her Instagram handle is @lacasitacacao.
As you know from Episode 110 A Brand New Airbnb Opens During COVID-19 – La Casita Cacao, she has a lovely place by the desert in California with Alpacas. We all love Alpacas.
Diana and Greg are the hosts of Rock Ridge Casita, located in Oakland, California. Their Instagram is @rockridgecasita.
They have a lovely casita that used to be a falling-down garage, they demolished and rebuilt it into a beautiful space for guests.
Next, we have Jesse and Priscilla with their Cozy Big Bear Cabin, located in Big Bear, California. Their Instagram handle is @thehoneybearcabin.
Also, Lauren and Cameron have The Hillside House in North Carolina, overlooking the Grandfather Mountain.
It’s a beautiful area – full of hiking, waterfalls, endless views, great restaurants, and farmer’s markets. You can find out all about it at their Instagram handle @the_hillside_house.
Then there’s Kenzie Faith who’s a Social Media Consultant doing Instagram Strategies for Bnb Hosts. Helping you take the guesswork out of social media. You can find her at her Instagram account, @oursocialstudio.
You’ll also find Klara & Brandon who are hosts of THERE Maui, an Airbnb in Hawaii.
They started as camper hosts with vintage VW buses and then they transitioned to hosting in their cottage. You can find all about their adventures at @livetravelbe.there
Why Who’s Behind the Challenge?
One of the rules to participate is to follow all the hosts behind the challenge. Hey, their challenge, their rules, right?
Now let me tell you what else you need to do to participate:
1) Post a photo corresponding to the theme of the week using the hashtag #TheHostCollaborative
2) Follow all the hosts I’ve mentioned above.
3) Every Wednesday the hosts who created the challenge will share their favorites of the week. That’s why you have to follow them because they might mention you in their stories.
What to Post?
Ahh… well, the hosts behind this challenge made it easy—there’s a calendar of what to post every week. Yes, you have an entire week, until Tuesday, to post your photo.
- “Welcome,” all about the entrance to your rental.
- “Favorite Photo” of your listing.
- “Summertime at Your Rental”… It’s ok if your summer is different.
- “How has COVID Changed Your Hosting?”
- “Before and After…”
There are 22 weeks of prompt ideas.
My recommendation is to create the content ahead of time and not be like me and do it at the last minute. Hey, I’m speaking the truth…
This group of hosts created this challenge to make genuine connections, collaborate and build community, but most importantly to HAVE FUN!
I know this is a lot of information and I decided to bring back Natalie so she can give her insight about the challenge.
Remember, we’re not alone, we’re a community of hosts and it’s great to learn from all of s.