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

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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
(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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 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...
In the post-pandemic travel landscape, the professional vacation rental sector is one of the best positioned to flourish. And as vacation rental professionals, we seek trends to invest in today that will reward us over time. How our guests, properties, and business practices interact with the environment sits at the very top of that list. VRMB Declares a Climate Emergency We’ve signed up to Tourism Declares, an...
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...
What is "enough" for your vacation rental business? In this short thread, I'll argue why your ability to answer that question is synonymous with your keys to the vacation rental kingdom. (And oppositely why, if you can't give an answer, you're missing out on perhaps our industry's greatest sweet spot for independent vacation rental entrepreneurs.) In Spanish the word is "Bastante." Ya basta! Or "suficiente."...
Questions or comments welcomed below...
Hello community members, I'm sharing with you my big trend for independent owners and managers in 2022, along with links to all mentioned resources below. Please use the thread below to share any trends you believe are worth doubling down on... Resources Mentioned: Vacasa has gone public [Skift] Matt Roberts on Unlocked Carl Shepherd on Unlocked The Agile Approach PDF Keystone Awards (software suggestions)...
Note: I first heard @AmyH mention this in an interview and I text messaged her and said, "Can I draw this out?" I then shared with @Christina and over the course of what feels like MONTHS of Christina telling me all the additional things that could be done with the model, she agreed to let me post :ROFLMAO: Challenge for Community Members: Because we're such a new industry, it's hard to understand where each...
I've organized the traits into categories so you can go through like a checklist. And if you would like any further information, please just jump into the thread on VRMB Communities here. Note: Profitability does not discriminate. Whether you own one property or manage 1,000, these should all apply to you. Pricing The most profitable VR pros know their value and have a clearly-defined pricing strategy that ebbs...
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...
In my obsessive pursuit to identify parallel industries that vacation rental owners and managers can learn from, I've found myself especially intrigued with craft beer. This is due in part to the fact that research tastes delicious. But it's also due to the last 10 years. In the face of consolidation and corporate goliaths, something strange and extraordinary has happened: the independent craft brewers have not...
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...
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...
Note: I learned this idea from Bryce Leonard of Key Data Dashboard at (where so much conference learning takes place) the hotel bar. Perhaps Obvious Fact #1: Technology is the single biggest game-changer that propels today's vacation rental pros (compared to their hospitality predecessors) to entirely new heights: so taking advantage of all the new technology is a no-brainer to make more money (and have less...
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...
Note: This is not a paid post (VRMB does not do paid posts) and I have zero personal or financial relationship with this company. Over the last few months I've attended a number of conferences and one of the benefits is you get to see companies making an effort to impress themselves upon owners and managers (some more gracefully than others). One of those companies is HomeToGo which is basically a metasearch...
Top