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 far more than previously possible on your own.

Does Leverage Convert Knowledge to Power?
If you disagree with this statement, feel free to jump into thread below!

1. What knowledge have you accrued?​

  • Knowledge about your local market (pricing, occupancy, seasonality, competitors)
  • Knowledge about guests (tendencies, preferences, red flags to watch out for)
  • Knowledge about your team (what truly motivates them as individuals)
  • Knowledge about your properties (quirks, history/origin story, maintenance)
  • Knowledge about which technology works for you (and which doesn't)
  • Knowledge about your version of limited edition hospitality (personalization, parting thoughts, standard operating procedures, communication style)
  • Knowledge about your surrounding community (tips, local business contacts, neighbors, other STR/VR hosts)
Because so many of our members work on their own (or in small teams), you may forget that your knowledge about these things is greater than 99% of the public, making you official subject matter experts..but knowledge is only the first part...

2. Packaging knowledge for consumption​


Once you settle on knowledge you believe would be useful, there is tremendous ROI in taking the time to put it all in one place. Created once, these assets can serve an infinite number of potential guests/homeowners, basically while you sleep (not to mention, help reduce the amount of times you answer the same questions).
  • Blog posts: Probably the single best place to package your knowledge -- a "Help, Don't Sell" blog, where each posts dives deep into one topic not freely/easily available online (for some, a blog post even becomes a book)
  • Standard operating procedures and contracts (be sure to browse plenty in Resource Library)
  • Automated follow-up sequences or "drip campaigns" that can be set the moment someone inquires, books, arrives, departs...etc.
  • Videos are great ways to package knowledge: ROster ROster created drone golf tours to help golfers navigate the courses his homes are built on and KarenB KarenB invites her team members to make videos explaining storm warnings, local excursions, and my personal favorite -- how to use certain quirky coffee machines and keypads
  • Reports/PDF documents: Craig Craig shows (to anyone, even his fiercest of competitors) results of his Guest Experience Survey -- commanding authority, trust, and respect
  • Internal knowledge databases that centralize all your (or your team members') How To instructions (I love this WP theme)
  • Even something as simple as a canned message or a google doc from which you can copy/paste can qualify as "packaging"

3. Who would benefit from this packaged knowledge?​

Great knowledge packaged produces trust, respect, and helps you stand out in a crowd.

Even one guest, homeowner, supplier/vendor, neighbor, or competitor who comes across your knowledge produces meaningful returns -- both now and down the line. Here are some examples of groups corresponding with #1 above...
  • Knowledge about your local market > guests who want to trust, homeowners who need to learn, local newspapers/magazines who need sources, local investors, law-makers
  • Knowledge about guests > think posts for future guests who need anticipating, or annual reports for homeowners who need to learn
  • Knowledge about your team > future hires who are new to the business, homeowners who need to learn
  • Knowledge about your properties > guests staying in those properties, owners of those properties (and other homeowners)
  • Knowledge about technology > guests, fellow pros, vendors/suppliers, homeowners who don't fully understand your role
  • Knowledge about your version of limited edition hospitality: any partners or customers who may be otherwise suspicious of the "shared economy"
  • Knowledge about your surrounding community: visitors to your community who want to explore and residents in your community who appreciate support

4. Examples of leverage that "convert knowledge into power"​


Power is a charged word so I prefer the word freedom. Leverage converts knowledge into professional freedom. Said another way, by communicating your expertise, you drive up demand and respect, which allows you to run your limited edition craft on your terms.

9 out of 10 vacation rental pros I know are supremely knowledgable and probably leave 50% or more of that knowledge on the table (or in their head).

OTAs are probably the #1 leverage opportunities. Leverage Airbnb and Vrbo by placing your listing (packed with your knowledge) in front of millions. Do a good job hosting that OTA guest (here's a private thread about Converting OTAs to Direct Booking Tactics) and you have reached far more potential guests than ever imaginable.

Newsletters represent another fulcrum-like tool: with no more effort than is required to communicate one-on-one you are able to distribute your knowledge to an unlimited list of potential guests or homeowners, leveraging a tool to generate exponential bookings. Do this consistently and your efforts compound.

I am not a huge fan of Social Media, but it can be a good leverage tool if you know where your prospective guests/homeowners/potential employees hang out online. Wow them with your knowledge, your original thoughts, your vision. When your knowledge commands respect from vendors, employers, or law makers, you are in a better position to negotiate...your knowledge precedes you!

Strategic partnerships are also great ways to leverage one another’s knowledge and or resources: find an individual or company who can benefit from your packaged knowledge and propose an alignment!

Does "Leverage Convert Knowledge To Power"?​

Do you agree with any elements of this phrase?

Has subject matter expertise ever been a "force multiplier" for you?

Has leverage ever converted your knowledge into something else?
 

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As I read your post, Matt, I started thinking of how my attitude towards hosting has changed. When I first 'discovered' you back in 2009 or 2010, I was eager to learn all I could about marketing and I wanted to try everything you recommended. Over the years, I've added properties, scaling up in a small way, trying some of those things, and then reducing again. I like to write, but writing consistently in a newsletter or more formal way turned out to not be my jam. I enjoy having direct conversations with people and I do a lot of sharing that way. Now, as I'm older, I am not interested in scaling, but more in maintaining. Our properties are no longer mortgaged and my intention is to offer a quality stay for our guests. We are continually improving on the homes that we share. Word of mouth, reviews, pictures and reputation benefit our renting experience and I find that I'm content with that. I know what I'm doing is not very measurable, and some would say I'm not professional because I don't use a lot of technology. So that I can have the connection with guests, most of what I write to them is from personal experience and knowledge. I use a few templated messages, but even those I personalize, because I'm the one that sends them. If someone was to step into my shoes, there might be a bit of a problem, but it would easily be conquered. After 15 years in the business, I still love what I do, and I can count on one hand the issues I've had with difficult guests.
 
I enjoy having direct conversations with people and I do a lot of sharing that way.
Debi, I think you’re unique style of knowledge sharing with the creation of Host2Host, is among the most iconic examples of what leadership can look like on any size or scale — in fact I’d argue someone like yourself has contributed more to the ‘professionalization’ and leverage of independents in your region, and by that I mean standards and communication and unity, then some of the largest managers in the world, one of which happens to be headquartered near you! Heck you even wielded your power over Airbnb. That is pretty cool!

For me the beautiful running theme here is that you get to write the story: you get to do what you think is great!
 
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As I read your post, Matt, I started thinking of how my attitude towards hosting has changed. When I first 'discovered' you back in 2009 or 2010, I was eager to learn all I could about marketing and I wanted to try everything you recommended. Over the years, I've added properties, scaling up in a small way, trying some of those things, and then reducing again. I like to write, but writing consistently in a newsletter or more formal way turned out to not be my jam. I enjoy having direct conversations with people and I do a lot of sharing that way. Now, as I'm older, I am not interested in scaling, but more in maintaining. Our properties are no longer mortgaged and my intention is to offer a quality stay for our guests. We are continually improving on the homes that we share. Word of mouth, reviews, pictures and reputation benefit our renting experience and I find that I'm content with that. I know what I'm doing is not very measurable, and some would say I'm not professional because I don't use a lot of technology. So that I can have the connection with guests, most of what I write to them is from personal experience and knowledge. I use a few templated messages, but even those I personalize, because I'm the one that sends them. If someone was to step into my shoes, there might be a bit of a problem, but it would easily be conquered. After 15 years in the business, I still love what I do, and I can count on one hand the issues I've had with difficult guests.
Debi, I hear what you're saying about your attitude changing with time and circumstances. After being submersed in our small-community STR regulation battle, I was able to hear from hosts in a full range of life situations. I've come to have even more respect for this business of offering our homes (primary residence or not) as rentals. Not many income-generating activities allow this range of scale or this possibility for connection with others.

Your current paradigm is exactly the kind of perspective I'd like to amplify! We hear so much about scaling and profitability, that it's no wonder some community members question the possible effects of rentals in their neighborhoods. It's important to remember that for every property manager seeking to 10-X their business by the numbers, there are numerous individual home owners with a small portfolio who focus on the guest experience.

I celebrate you for accepting what is right for you, and allowing it to change with the seasonality of your life. I'll bet your guests celebrate you too.
 
Debi, I think you’re unique style of knowledge sharing with the creation of Host2Host, is among the most iconic examples of what leadership can look like on any size or scale — in fact I’d argue someone like yourself has contributed more to the ‘professionalization’ and leverage of independents in your region, and by that I mean standards and communication and unity, then some of the largest managers in the world, one of which happens to be headquartered near you! Heck you even wielded your power over Airbnb. That is pretty cool!

For me the beautiful running theme here is that you get to write the story: you get to do what you think is great!
Yes, Matt, absolutely!
 
Happy almost Independence Day everyone,

First of all - I had to look up the word leverage as it pertained to business.

Verb
Leverage: use (something) to maximum advantage.
"the organization needs to leverage its key resources"

I spent a decade learning as much as I could, surrounding myself with uber talented folks, and working to implement most of what I learned about SEO and marketing.

I absolutely agree that leverage converts knowledge to power.

This forum continually challenges me to think and grow.

I thank you Matt Landau Matt Landau for all you do for all of us!
Teena
 

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