Facebook Advertising Basics for Innkeepers, Short Term Rental Owners, and Airbnbs

Facebook Advertising Basics for Innkeepers, Short Term Rental Owners, and Airbnbs

As spring and summer get closer, you will see more ads in your Facebook news feed. Advertising your vacation space on Facebook is smart, but only if done correctly.  One of the most common questions I get about Facebook advertising is “what is the differences between boosting and advertising?” Once you understand the platform of Facebook, the answer to this question is very obvious. And YES, Facebook Ad basics for Innkeepers is a great component to your Direct Booking and Digital Marketing Strategy!

Let’s begin this discussion on Facebook Ad basics for Innkeepers.

Why choose Facebook for your business?

Many businesses are drawn to Facebook because it is a free outlet to connect with past and potential guests. The number of people and the reach of Facebook justifies it as an advertising platform that should not be ignored.  I have also noticed that the draw to Facebook is that it can be a highly creative space, which in my experience, owners of rental properties, Inns and Bed and Breakfasts really love. Facebook posts for lodgings predominantly are pictures of local events, a carefully laid out peaceful moment near the fire with wine, or nearby landscapes and views. These are all fun items to share with your guests. Here is where it gets difficult for most Innkeepers. There is a fine line between a social post and sales pitch. Facebook posts are supposed to be your business’s social outlet, not a place to sell your rooms.  Knowing the difference between social and commercial is very important here.


Understanding Facebook.

Most have heard Mark Zuckerberg’s story about launching Facebook in his Harvard dorm room with the intention of it being a platform for college kids to communicate. It was a new version of the already existing platform Friendster. Like most internet platforms, Facebook started out small and not generating revenue, but in time Zuckerberg found ways to monetize his creation.  Facebook is still true to its original intention of creating personal spaces for friends to connect. I do not think this core intent will change. The thing that is changing is the way its users can utilize the data that Facebook is harvesting. Facebook has created a revenue stream of selling their users data to advertisers. The data that Facebook has on its users is more than the data that you initially provide about school, relationship or workplace, it is the data that you put in each and every post. There are words and emotions that they track. If you simply write congratulations to a friend, Facebook could sell you a bouquet to send to a friend. This is very powerful stuff.

Biggest Advertising Mistake on Facebook for Innkeepers

Here is where I see the biggest mistake most lodging owners make with Facebook. Most users of Facebook do not understand the difference between a Post and an Ad. The casual nature of Facebook makes knowing the difference difficult. Facebook makes it easy to boost a post. But do you know what a boost is? Let’s break it down. Know the difference between a Boost and an Ad,

  1. A post on Facebook, according to the algorithm, is supposed to be an engaging status update. You have 63,000 characters to write, but ideally, you should use less than 80. The fact that you have more is important because it conveys that you can tell a whole story. A good Facebook post not only has a great image, but it has an engaging status update. Facebook gives you the option to boost every post. Facebook is betting that you are so proud of your post that you are willing to put money behind it and send it into the Facebook world. They have made it easy, pick a goal (which many innkeepers do not analyze first) place a budget and audience and hit boost. Facebook makes it wicked easy to give them money.
  1. An ad on Facebook, on the other hand, should only have 5 words in the headline, 14 words in the body and 18 words in the link description. This is a sales pitch! Setting up an ad is not that easy, and it shouldn’t be. Advertising is art. A good ad has a call to action, a perfect image, and copy editing. Understanding analytics is an important part of an ad campaign. Before embarking on an ad campaign, a plan should be designed first. An ad should not be your daily post.

SuiteRev helps you create Facebook Ads to achieve your goals.


Did you know that Facebook has a special category of Ads for hotels and the Travel industry? TRAVEL ADS

Welcome to Facebook Travel Ads. Facebook has designed an ad group specifically for those trying to market to travelers. Facebook knows if someone has been searching hotels and destinations and can help you target and retarget those specific people. These ads are dynamic, meaning they change. Creating one of these ads is very sophisticated and takes time to get right. If done correctly, it is a highly targeted audience and can be a very targeted and optimized campaign. Read more here: https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/facebook-create-ad-dynamic-ads-travel

What if I do not want to put the time and energy into dynamic ads?

Since this article is tailored to beginners in facebook, I do not expect you to try the Travel ads in the beginning. I mention them to help the reader understand that there is a bigger component to advertising on Facebook.

If you insist on doing a boost, let me help you understand your options. 

  1. Facebook does not show a boost to the same audience and does not give it the leverage like a well thought out ad campaign. Facebook acknowledges that advertising is a whole industry that takes years to master. Facebook is although, happy to patronize users into thinking they are ad experts by allowing them to “boost” a post.
  2. If you are going to boost a post, make it a dark post. One of the reasons you should not boost a post is because that very same post will show up in your users feed over and over again, instead of the new content that you are sending out. If you are going to boost a post, you can make it a dark post. Basically, a dark post is an unpublished post that you chose to advertise. It will not show up in your feed. Read more here: https://www.falcon.io/insights-hub/topics/social-media-strategy/what-are-dark-posts-on-social-media-2018/
  3. Use the carousel feature in your post. You can use up to 5 images in a post. It has been proven that carousel posts get more engagement.
  4. Use GIPHs or Video. There are so many options that have been dummied down for GIPHS and video for social media, learn about them or let a professional digital marketer for Innkeepers help you.
  5. Create a landing page. It is suggested that you do not link directly to your booking page. Guests need a little time to get to know you. This is done by sending them to a carefully created landing page that sells your property.
  6. Have a soft sell in your post. Just using the words Book Now can be too harsh. Consider using Learn more instead.

I hope this article has opened your eyes to more options on Facebook. Be careful not to throw money out the window. Continue to be creative in your Facebook space. Post every day and connect to your guests, but have a well thought out plan for your advertising and marketing. Take the time to learn more or contact me to start a well-managed digital campaign today. I hope you enjoyed this Facebook Ad basic for Innkeepers.

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