Looking for new ideas? Our weekly discussions around guest experience and growth are designed to inspire and delight.

I think 2022 will be a watershed year for vacation rental conferences. A new covid normal and lots of pent-up networking energy, combined with PEAK money/influence/success that is riding 100% on our choice as core stakeholders (of a fragmented movement) to come together. So I'm encouraging any member who wants to up their game, to pick a conference to attend! My secret goal is to encourage first timers as once...
Note: Thanks to @ToonTownRob for posting this mini-revelation about the power of starting your email responses with a twist. It inspired this week's Motivation (and I decided to record it in podcast form too below). Listing sites like Airbnb and Vrbo rank as the top pound-for-pound allocation of your time to generate inquiries. All the various listing sites make up Stage 1 of Listing Site Independence...
I use the term "lifestyle brand" to describe a vacation rental business whose marketing leads not with the property, but the vibes (or lifestyle) guests experience when staying there. You can immediately feel a lifestyle vacation rental brand when you come in contact with it. For instance, @Kristi and Starship Landing Retreat. The property itself is still there. But it's not the centerpiece of the photography...
Is there a business, in any sector, that would not want to continue to grow and yet be greener and have a lighter impact on the environment? particularly if it can do so with no/low impact on costs. Add into the mix that a business could actually see benefits in terms of...
Our industry is at a pivotal juncture. Vacation rental demand at all-time high means... New owners & managers need guidance and... Guests need training or else... Unrealistic expectations produce... Bad actors who... Tarnish the craft and contribute to unfair regulation in your region Until our diverse community can agree on a common definition of "what makes us professional" -- our independence resembles not a...
After running my vacation rental business for 7 years, I burned out. The fun, excitement, and focus from my "start-up" days had faded. I was no longer passionate about the hospitality, which we always considered our greatest virtue. And after coming to grips with that fact, I sold the business. Part of me attributed the "burn out" to simply working 24/7 for 7 years. Gene Marks, author of The Small Business...
Upon just visiting @Debi @MichelleR @Megan C @Matthew and @BrianO in Oregon, I have settled on fresh local coffee as one of the lowest-hanging Limited Edition welcome gifts you can invest in. Consider approaching a local coffee shop about a partnership for the following reasons: Function: More than 50% of adults (ie. someone in almost every stay) will otherwise need to go out and buy coffee anyway. Fit...
(OK so I apologize about the title: it's something that early-marketer-Matt would have written. But I couldn't resist the cheesy sensationalization on this technique because it's worth the hype.) If there was one technique that I wish more owners and managers would try, it's talking head video. Talking head video is you: in front of webcam: saying something meaningful to your guests. It's like a voicemail but...
Niches are the next big thing in vacation rentals. They are the essence of Theory of Limited Edition: that if you do the things only/inimitably YOU, that no bigger/richer company can ever compete. Special interest and geographic niches possess significant profit: they are not scalable: and they tend to be more intimate than the big box managers... therefore less hazardous to communities. If you are an...
I am currently visiting @Godfrey in Sun Valley, Idaho where the supply of vacation rental properties is so limited (and the demand for this destination so great) that property owners and managers need to be extra intentional about how they spend their time. To a degree, I think this focus is increasingly playing out across the world. Every activity falls somewhere on the profit spectrum, but which activities...
Hey @EBadia -- what do you think about the word “boutique” to describe what makes vacation rental companies great? Used in all of our marketing materials and in our day-to-day, could "boutique" successfully convey what makes vacation rental companies great in ways that other words (we've come up with) can not? Side Note: For those of you who haven't listened, Evelyn and I are on a mission to define the word...
This past week with my parents in town sitting on the beach, we watched as plane after plane flew by promoting this, that, and the other. It made me realize: planes towing advertisements at the beach has been around for decades (what started off as standard letters have now evolved into aerial billboards). But largely, the practice hasn't changed much! If you're in a beach destination have you ever considered...
Disclaimer: This may sound stupid simple but it really works. I recommend you try. IDEA To solve a fellow VRMB Community member's very important messaging question, we recently spent $700 for one hour with a copywriting consultant. Yes, this is a huge amount of money. But I had been following this particular expert for many years, have listened to every one of his podcasts, admire his expertise and business...
Last week we talked about the actives that generate the most profit for vacation rental entrepreneurs. If you haven’t checked back recently, this thread has become filled with some really brilliant new perspectives. And this week we turn focus to guests in asking, “how do we cultivate moments of engagement?” "Moments of engagement” is one way of thinking about those special interactions in which you win over...
Disclaimer: I am directly swiping this from @StaySavvy of https://www.savvytravels.co/ who (as far as I know) invented the phrase and explained it on our Accelerator call last night. A walk-through is a protocol typically performed before (and sometimes after) a guest checks-in in which a knowledgable team member ensures that all other standard operating procedures (housekeeping, maintenance, and staging) have...
IDEA: Any vacation rental property can be made more “limited edition” with the introduction of a landmark feature: a structural, decorative, or recreational aspect of the home’s offering that is unique (in your competitive set), photogenic (for promotional purposes), and perhaps most importantly enjoyable for new and repeat guests. ACTION: Ask yourself any of the following questions... Are there any homes in...
***UPDATED NOVEMBER 2, 2021*** I’m departing the last few conferences with a lot to report back. My theme for this conference season is “first mover status” because that’s what all the attendees (advanced owners and managers) seem to be enjoying as a result of their choices and hard work. I've come to think of first-mover vacation rental leaders as "quintessential waveriders" who, with the right positioning and...
I just finished Dan Pink's The Power of Regret -- all about turning negative emotions into positive actionable lessons -- and the book includes this, one of my favorite quotes: By understanding what people regret the most, we can understand what they value the most. The book explains how "boldness" regrets ("things I didn't do") were almost 2x as common as action regrets (things I did). And I couldn't help...
This post is about newsletters: the single best way to stay in touch with former guests, generate new referrals, and keep your business brain sharpened and focused. I am something of a newsletter nerd. I sign up to receive newsletters (and assess them), I've spent every week for the last 5 years sending out VRMB's weekly newsletter, and prior to that, I spent a solid 5 years sending out one for my vacation...
At 10:05 of our latest Unlocked interview with Jeremy Gall, we talk about Brittany Blackman and her deep passion for vacation rental hospitality. I go on to share how @MikeH saw Brittany's "passion" as a downright game-changer. '"They' can't compete with that!" Mike says. The “they” in Mike’s sentiment is intentionally vague — it can apply to whoever you may have in mind. They = venture-backed competition...
Ever since I moved to Miami and started swimming in the ocean each morning with my crew of completely random but equally inspiring swim buddies (photo attached) I joined in on the unspoken practice of being grateful. There's no fee and no rules joining this swim group. Show up whenever you want, swim with the group however far you want, however fast you want. But at the beginning just as we're all in the water...
If repeat guests are the holy grail of vacation rental marketing: and if repeat bookings are directly proportional to the size of your email marketing list: then increasing the size of your email marketing list will increase your repeat bookings and lead you to the holy grail. When it comes to repeat bookings, one of the biggest untapped goldmines are the guests who stay in your vacation rental with a group, but...
Have you ever come across a product whose presentation is on point? Whoever put together the photos, copywriting, design was "on their game" or "looking sharp" in that it subliminally sucked you in and persuaded you to buy? Finca Victoria is a farmhouse style B&B on the small island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, and every vacation rental professional can take something away from their website...
IDEA: I've flown Southwest Airlines a few times the last months and noticed that due to Covid they are not serving alcohol, which is boohooo because there is no social lubricant I like more to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger than bourbon. But pre-covid I learned about a secret unwritten rule among most of the flight attendants that I refer to ask their free drink policy. Note: this is NOT...
This thread is for the general discussion of the Article Contrarian Perspective: Is there a VR Industry Bubble?. Please add to the discussion here.
IDEA Last weekend, I met a woman who rents out the studio above her garage and despite having ZERO other marketing, this woman is so insanely dialed in. There are no better words to describe the professionalism of an owner or manager than being 'dialed in.' The level of thought this woman puts into her hosting was more 'dialed in' than many property managers I've seen. Hand-written welcome notes, fresh limes...
Our special industry deserves it's own special metrics (and vocabulary). “We cannot improve what we cannot measure," is a popular small business mantra because it gives everyone on the team common metrics or benchmarks to measure. Occupancy, revenue per property, profit per property…etc. These popular metrics connect directly to your profit line (the single most important metric of all!) and if you’re not...
Once you've come to grips with the fact that few employees will likely ever have the same level of passion or commitment that you do, you turn to the next best thing: "How can I best incentivize them to reach their full potential and KEEP them at my business?" I wanted to start a thread of some great ideas I've learned in the last few weeks of attending conferences, with the hope that YOU can jump in and...
Trial and error 'metabolism' is one of the most popular ways to build vacation rental muscle. But once you've reached a sweet spot, trial and error metabolism tends to slow: either because you've build a seamless machine OR you've lost motivation for growth. One way to mix things up is to adopt the mentality that "everything is a test." "Everything is a test" gives us the confidence to try a myriad of mini...
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Hi All, It's been a while. Have a quick question for the group. Over the past two years it's become clear that our core markets are... a) family gatherings / reunions... usually multigenerational in high / shoulder season - summer, Christmas, Easter etc. b) group...
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