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

Prior to launching Season 9: Homerunners this week, Matt sat down with Breezeway founder and perennial Unlocked sponsor Jeremiah Gall to discuss highlights from last season and the state of the industry moving forward. Episode One of Homerunners featuring Lukas Krause of Skyrun Vacation Rentals drops with the VRMB newsletter Thursday September 8th. This episode is brought you by PointCentral...
IDEA An inside joke is humor that requires information only available to a group. It can be as small as a joke between you and your guest. And when pulled off, it forms a connection that deepens the relationship: making you more than just another place to stay, but a true insider friend. @StacyW recently shared with me this text message interchange between her team member Lacey and a Guest: Lacey: Good...
I first learned the phrase "creative destruction" from my co-founder in Esperanza Social Venture Club (gang intervention program). Brief Aside: Building a demobilization program was new and uncharted territory. No one had done anything like this in Panama. So with little experience, we assembled a team, raised money, planned a pilot intervention program with Gang #1 and it went surprisingly well. So well in...
I recently came across an insightful case study (attached) titled "From Niche to Movement to Mainstream" about the rise of the food truck movement (and hip hop). Reading it, I couldn't help but see the parallels with our work (and think about a similar discussion Can we copy the craft beer movement?)...here are some of the interesting nuggets I gleaned from the food truck PDF (attached): The catalyst for the...
I recently came across a scene from 'Sense of Place' Blue Ridge that I wanted to share because I know a lot of our members are thinking about staffing and team building. When I asked @CJ how he plans to grow, he says, "I'm going to invest in people." Watch it first... Investing in your people is one of the most impactful ways to allocate funds as a modern day vacation rental professional. If demands of the...
I've known Matt Hoffman for what feels like an eternity. I remember talking to him back when I was running my vacation rental business in Panama in 2008 and his passion and enthusiasm for vacation rentals has not faded since...if anything they've sharpened. Matt is the Senior Vice President and Product Leader at Kigo, which is a vacation rental management software company. Our conversation about Matt's...
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...
They say a rising tide lifts all ships. But what happens in a falling tide? Note: This is a question I have set out to research for my presentation at VRWS in Portugal by @Antonio in September (who's coming?! I will be recording a private version of this presentation for community members). ## I was watching an interview with a hotshot new golfer whose name I forget. When the reporter asked if an upcoming...
This week's podcast episode (embedded below) featuring @TomG of Mt. Laurel Chalets in Gatlinburg, TN includes a very special segment (starts at 11:05) about an idea Tom calls Hometown Heroes here's how it's described on his site: Every hometown has its heroes. The unseen caregiver who is called to serve. An unlikely achiever who tackles obstacles with a can-do spirit. Perhaps it's the unsung champion who runs...
Dana Young is one of those people who is just unyieldingly passionate about technology. But so are a lot of people. What makes Dana unique is the way he is applying that obsession -- specifically with voice activated devices -- to the vacation rental space. He got started in our industry managing a property with his mom. But the ramifications of his singular and relatively straightforward "Unlocked" tactic reach...
Good property names stand out and inspire. Even cooler, good property names drive repeat and referral bookings! But bad property names disappear from our memories the moment we depart. Settling on great property names is tricky. I am recently going through this process with @MeganM about her new property in Cocoa Beach, FL. It's located on the Space Coast where Megan grew up (she had friends whose...
Hospitality is one of the few sectors that customers touch, feel, experience, walk-into. Which makes us hyper-connected to our local communities. (We should really have a code of ethics, but I digress) And hyper-connected means disruptive: for better and for worse. Good disruption: guests spark the local economy, managers/hosts are closely tied to local causes and issues, business contributes as much (if not...
I recently came across this quote (above) and realized how many of the most successful vacation rental pros I know are masters of leverage AND how many of the most knowledgable vacation rental pros I know could use leverage in fun new ways to thrive (however they may define that). So I wanted to begin a thread about using subject matter expertise as a "force multiplier" -- giving members the potential to lift...
I just agreed to lease one of our long-term extended-stay rentals to a local family who live about a one-minute walk away from Skönhuset (Swedish for "the nice house"). Our neighbor's son is terminally ill with four to eight weeks to live. Hospice (and a hospital bed) will be...
In this episode you'll get a taste of what's to come in the next season of Unlocked themed "First Mover Status" in which we'll interview owners and managers who are gaining HUGE advantages by being first to market with new innovations. But until then, enjoy this brief audio essay from Matt's visit to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Where he visited Robin Craigen of www.movingmountains.com Link's Mentioned in...
This week’s discussion all about niche marketing ideas comes directly from the golf course! @CJ sent me the following photo of a vacation rental owner who scatters golf balls with contact information around the backyard of his golf course-front vacation home in Georgia. This is a cheap, creative, and focused way of speaking directly to his target audience. QUESTIONS/COMMENTS Where are your niche guests...
Report of Survey results - includes questions. Can be used by VR managers to better understand guest behaviour in order to tailor property amenities / services to them.
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...
"7 Reasons Casco Viejo is NOT For You" (original blog post from 2010 attached) was the single most profitable piece of content I ever created as a vacation rental marketer. In a way that affirmative marketing can not, this article clearly established who we were (as a vacation rental company in an emerging neighborhood) by identifying who we were NOT. The amount of guests who reached out and said how much the...
Storm Watching is a creative marketing strategy by the destination of Tofino on Vancouver Island in British Columbia...turning lemons into lemonade...taking a low season and turning it into something new and aspirational. Stoke the fire, pull a chair up to the window, and snuggle into a down comforter to watch Mother Nature assault the land and sea outside your hotel window. Gale force winds whip the ocean into...
As a follow-up to the popular discussion 8 Deep Adjustments To Your Listings, in this week's podcast featuring @Heather we talk about what is simultaneously the biggest challenge AND the biggest differentiator (when you solve it) for independent vacation rental marketers: standing out in a crowd. You can skip forward to 12:15 to hear that part of the discussion: Heather talks about the classic graphics like...
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 this final episode of Season 8 we speak with the godmother of vacation rentals, Heather Bayer of the Vacation Rental Success podcast, which has featured more than 440 vacation rental innovators and given an enormous wealth of knowledge to our community. Heather recently sold her vacation rental business after twenty years and we dig into that process, the state of the industry, and how well she has been...
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...
In this episode producer Stuart Hooper gives an update on progress at Mangofish Studios, an off the grid creative retreat center in Panama and talks to Matt about his recent article for Phocuswire.com on the challenge of scaling what cannot be scaled. Phocuswire Aritcle: https://www.phocuswire.com/challenges-scaling-vacation-rentals?fbclid=IwAR131IU5NxRVFt3T_SxGb4Mgfl_IKRin0XMHX5QbGl-fyqv8MwX4DVDsVvM...
Victoria O'Connell is the creator of GoLightly, a home sharing platform for women. In this episode we dive into the genesis of the platform, talk about creating accountability and deep ties in a network and discuss broader concepts in niche marketing. GoLightly: https://www.wegolightly.com This episode is brought you by PointCentral: https://www.pointcentral.com/vrmb/ the leaders in smart home automation...
A video by: Vacation Rental Show Direct YouTube Link - Matt Landau's HOMERUNNERS Episode 2 Sizzle ft. Casago
A video by: Vacation Rental Show Direct YouTube Link - Matt Landau's HOMERUNNERS Episode 1 Sizzle ft. VTrips
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...
Tom Goodwin of Mountain Laurel Chalets in Gatlinburg, Tennessee is celebrating 50 years of making limited edition memories for guests. In this episode we dive into his direct marketing techniques, which are among the most holistic and comprehensive we have ever encountered. Mountain Laurel Chalets: www.mtnlaurelchalets.com Rue Bar Rue: https://www.ruebarue.com Track: https://trackhs.com Bomb Bomb...
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