• Vacation rentals can be life-changing. But due to a surge in popularity, the requirements of the job are more challenging than ever. VRMB Communities is a private forum that helps thoughtful owners & managers automate and delegate tasks, so you can focus on the activities that win loyalty and direct bookings. Preview Private Forum Here

Feast and Famine

As the worst year ever winds to a close, some vacation rental professionals find themselves in surprisingly good situations whereas others are still completely stuck due to travel restrictions.

This applies to both vacation rental managers (VRMs) who manage other peoples' properties AND "RBOs" or rent-by-owner types who manage their own select property(s).

So what's a vacation rental hopeful to do? I've broken it down into Feasting VRMs and RBOs then Famine VRMs and RBOs. Please jump in below if you would like to add any perspectives to the mix!

Feasting Vacation Rental Managers (VRMs)​

Feeling like you've got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because at this moment in our emerging sector, the strong are getting stronger. Here's what you can do:
  • Zoom in on hiring: the best employees (aka. The most important assets of any business) are rare commodities in our sector in most every destination. For existing all-star employees, double-down on their promotions, improve your bonus structure, and train them in new tasks/responsibilities. Oh and also improve your delegation - now’s the time to relinquish control into the hands of highly capable helpers.
  • Property acquisition strategies: consider buying local vacation rental businesses or "poaching" away perfect properties from other managers who aren't delivering your level of results.
  • Re-examine processes: it’s at this juncture that if you don’t have good processes your growth will be significantly more difficult and costly. Swipe these processea from other VRMs in our Resources area or reach out to random managers and ask for the favor.
  • Invest in Listing Site Independence Stage 4 items such as dynamic pricing, PR, SEO/PPC. We are happy to recommend companies that do these things well to any VRMB Supporter (just send me a private message).
  • Invest in problem solving: Join a mastermind, take an advanced course, hire a business coach, or travel to meet an even higher-level VRM (find your Force Field)

Feasting Rent-by-owners (RBOs)​

Feeling smart (like you were onto something), validated, and fortunate to be a hospitality entrepreneur of the future. Here are some things to do right now...
  • Write an open-heart status update as the first post of your journal. Be open about the difficulties (without asking for pity), honest about victories of your business, and grateful for any/all support and share this update with your former guests, family members, and friends.
  • Hire someone! Now might be THE time to make that hiring leap! Whether it's a first major employee or second or third, focus on delegating tasks you don't like, aren't good at, or simply cannot do as a result of your distance. For thriving RBOs, now's a great time to think about growth and...
  • Property acquisition strategies (and by the way, this is how almost every successful VRM business get started -- with lots of bookings, a gift for the craft, and the desire to build). Crunch your numbers based on what you could do tomorrow with additional properties (based on your feasting today) giving you a strong projection: then assess properties that would be ideal on listing sites (or reach back out to owners who have contacted you in the past). This could be your coming out party!
  • Get serious about email marketing: segmentation and personalization allow you to better control, monetize, and project future bookings. Your list is the most important marketing asset you own, so it's time (with an excess of inquiries) to nurture market those contacts back to future bookings.
  • Nonproblems: Look for areas that are not problems and improve them: you can increase your prices, improve your home(s) features/amenities, or even draw up dream exit strategy (while times are good). Speak with @Jacobie about structuring your business for sale. He shoots straight and is very helpful.

Famine Vacation Rental Managers (VRMs)​

Feeling frustrated, tired, disappointed because things have changed and much is out of your control. Here is what to do...
  • Prune Properties: assess your property portfolio and identify worst-performing properties and (depending on how bad your famine is) remove as many of them as possible. Times are tough and you should use the circumstances to cut the cord on the thorns that are bothering you more than contributing.
  • Convert properties to mid- long-term stays for cashflow purposes. You need money to cover costs and ride out this storm -- invent any revenue streams you can to keep your head above water and find the light at the end of the tunnel (which in many destinations for vacation rentals has already arrived).
  • Complete Reset: You’re either famished because you aren’t competitive in your market OR your destination has been completely screwed (like Hawaii or Costa Rica) in which case there is no better time to scrap everything (throw it all on the floor, smash it to pieces) then pick back up the pieces/assets that matter and build an entirely new business. Rebrand. Restructure. Reorganize.
  • Consider selling your business to a feasting VRM -- again reach out to @Jacobie
  • Give it away: Make sure it goes into the right hands -- that someone who is right for the job will continue your vacation rental legacy.


Famine Rent-by-owners (RBOs)​

Feeling hopeful but also feeling reality. Here are some things you can do...
  • Write an open-heart status update as the first post of your journal. Be open about the difficulties (without asking for pity), honest about victories of your business, and grateful for any/all support and share this update with your former guests, family members, and friends.
  • Holding pattern: Consider long-term stays, stay in the property (to think about how you can improve). Use the down-time to really reflect and decide whether it’s really worth it anymore. Could be yes, no shame in closing this chapter either.
  • Sell the property (or give management contract away) to anyone who wants it. Use Evolve or Turnkey to get the stress and frustration off your back.
 
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ConradO

Envoy
Inner Circle
Get serious about email marketing: segmentation and personalization allow you to better control, monetize, and project future bookings. Your list is the most important marketing asset you own, so it's time (with an excess of inquiries) to nurture market those contacts back to future bookings.

I think this is as critical as ever! The big listing sites are of course obscuring and hiding all of your guest email addresses now. There are certainly different tools available to collect the real email addresses (StayFi).

But once you collect them make sure you do something with them! Starting your monthly newsletter is in my opinion the lowest cost and highest leverage marketing activity that you can do. Whether you have one property or thousand.
 
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