• Vacation rentals can be a life-changing business. But due to a surge in popularity, the requirements of the job are more challenging than ever. VRMB Communities helps vacation rental owners and managers automate and delegate tasks, so you can focus on the activities that matter for guests.

Forced Vacation

Matt Landau

Ambassador
Staff member
You're In The Vacation Industry But You Never Take Vacation. Follow These 3 Steps...


IDEA: Most vacation rental professionals tend to over-work because they wear many hats. This often results in lack of sleep, very limited relaxation, and loss of valuable perspective on the business (because one cannot get perspective when they are inside of it 24/7). Over-working is not sustainable...it will eventually burn you from the inside out.

ACTION: Take a forced break: that is an order! If you have time, travel for a few days somewhere new. If time is short, do a staycation at a cool hotel nearby. Schedule some fun non-business activities during this break or just do absolutely nothing. Do not think about your vacation rental during this period. No IC either!

Step 1. Schedule the days on your calendar

Step 2. Book travel

Step 3. Begin to make the necessary steps to ensure your business runs smoothly.

If this last step is difficult for you to envision, it's likely either because...

a) You have baked yourself into the business and everything relies on you, in which case the prep-time will be your chance to find/train someone to handle your tasks for those days. This is hard, but extraordinarily worthwhile.

b) You are a control freak and refuse to let anyone else do their jobs without your influence, in which case this forced break will be your challenge to relinquish a bit of control and build a more valuable business in the long haul. Just chill man. Your team will thank you.

c) In some rare cases, your occupancy calendar doesn't offer any breaks, in which case you should block off a week and eat the lost income like a vitamin.

Follow these three steps to engineer off-time into your vacation rental workflow. It will be an investment in the future of your business and your happiness.

Jump in below with where you are going, why this may be an issue for you, or how this type of decision has impacted you in the past?
 
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PMoore

Counselor
Inner Circle
Amen Matt! 12 years with loads of work and I love this business. I did have a short vacation scheduled recently that got delayed due to hurricane Dorian. We all need to have more fun!
 

RuthM

Envoy
Inner Circle
This is great advice! I am currently on day 9 of a 10 day vacation, in the high season of my second season of vacation rentals. My family wanted to go on a vacation, and rather than push it back until November (when I close my calendar for the winter), I decided to give it a try. Guess what? It is AMAZING.

The way to make it work?
1) I continue to run all of the communications with our guests but my check-ins are done by my neighbor, who helps me throughout the season with cleaning and hospitality. I pay her extra for the check-ins and my guests LOVE her. Today, she brought her 3 year old along (another reason why I love this business: flexibility!)
2) I made sure that all supplies were ready before I left and all maintenance was done. (Today we had a minor maintenance issue but we handled it, thanks to my neighbor and our handy man).
3) I had long weekend dates open but when I decided that we were going on vacation, I blocked them. Yes, I decided to earn less on those dates so that I could enjoy the vacation without worry.
4) Have a backup plan: yesterday, my neighbor could not do a check-in due to an unforeseen issue. Easy: I asked our luggage porter service to do the check-in.

Results? Guests are VERY happy and so are we.

Thanks Matt for starting the conversation and sharing the wisdom!
 
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Matt Landau

Ambassador
Staff member
This is great advice! I am currently on day 9 of a 10 day vacation, in the high season of my second season of vacation rentals. My family wanted to go on a vacation, and rather than push it back until November (when I close my calendar for the winter), I decided to give it a try. Guess what? It is AMAZING.

The way to make it work?
1) I continue to run all of the communications with our guests but my check-ins are done by my neighbor, who helps me throughout the season with cleaning and hospitality. I pay her extra for the check-ins and my guests LOVE her. Today, she brought her 3 year old along (another reason why I love this business: flexibility!)
2) I made sure that all supplies were ready before I left and all maintenance was done. (Today we had a minor maintenance issue but we handled it, thanks to my neighbor and our handy man).
3) I had long weekend dates open but when I decided that we were going on vacation, I blocked them. Yes, I decided to earn less on those dates so that I could enjoy the vacation without worry.
4) Have a backup plan: yesterday, my neighbor could not do a check-in due to an unforeseen issue. Easy: I asked our luggage porter service to do the check-in.

Results? Guests are VERY happy and so are we.

Thanks Matt for starting the conversation and sharing the wisdom!
Yes Yes Yes! Ruth, this is IT! @Sibylle ’s husband once described this kind of forced vacation to me as a “manufactured crisis” in which I would HAVE to deal with a bunch of things I had been avoiding. Like you, the business was better for it in the end.

Any new VR professional here in the IC should weave this into their business plan from day 1. All the veteran pros here may want to consider re-assessing where they are at.
 

Karla

Karla, Owner of Tropical Blessings
Inner Circle
@Matt Landau I’ve gone radical with my “vitamin” intake for 2020 and my spelling is simply awful: I keep mixing up the word “vacation” with “vocation.” For three years in a row I spent just about all of my net profit renting another place on St. John during high season.

This year I’ve blocked off February, March, and April for myself at Tropical Blessings, that’s most of high season but I really deserve it! I know myself well enough to call it a “working vacation.” Is that cheating??

One of your strongest messages to me this year has been “Don’t compromise your own terms.” At first I viewed that solely in the context of the many challenges created by the upheaval of big changes in the VR industry.

I promised myself not to low bottom my rates, etc. I later realized my own terms include not just being hospitable to my guests but also offering hospitality to myself too.

Over 8 years ago when I bought Tropical Blessings and unexpectedly landed in VR business, a venture I’d never planned, one of my first questions to myself was “What would I really appreciate if I was a guest in my own home?” With piles of laundry to fold and other endless chores
that are hard to keep up with at home the question seemed ludicrous. However, I’ve been exactly on that very mission ever since: to create a lovely sense of home with innumerable touches of TLC for those who stay at Tropical Blessings.

I look forward to testing my question out on myself: What would I really appreciate if I felt like a guest at my home? I’ll find out but my guess is that I’ll feel like a VIP at Tropical Blessings for three months and I’ll probably view the owner as an exceptionally thoughtful person. :)

I’m not going to feel guilty about this time either, hey, it’s called “Research and Development!” I have marching orders too: Go to the beach!
 
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Matt Landau

Ambassador
Staff member
@Matt Landau I’ve gone radical with my “vitamin” intake for 2020 and my spelling is simply awful: I keep mixing up the word “vacation” with “vocation.” For three years in a row I spent just about all of my net profit renting another place on St. John during high season.

This year I’ve blocked off February, March, and April for myself at Tropical Blessings, that’s most of high season but I really deserve it! I know myself well enough to call it a “working vacation.” Is that cheating??

One of your strongest messages to me this year has been “Don’t compromise your own terms.” At first I viewed that solely in the context of the many challenges created by the upheaval of big changes in the VR industry.

I promised myself not to low bottom my rates, etc. I later realized my own terms include not just being hospitable to my guests but also offering hospitality to myself too.

Over 8 years ago when I bought Tropical Blessings and unexpectedly landed in VR business, a venture I’d never planned, one of my first questions to myself was “What would I really appreciate if I was a guest in my own home?” With piles of laundry to fold and other endless chores
that are hard to keep up with at home the question seemed ludicrous. However, I’ve been exactly on that very mission ever since: to create a lovely sense of home with innumerable touches of TLC for those who stay at Tropical Blessings.

I look forward to testing my question out on myself: What would I really appreciate if I felt like a guest at my home? I’ll find out but my guess is that I’ll feel like a VIP at Tropical Blessings for three months and I’ll probably view the owner as an exceptionally thoughtful person. :)

I’m not going to feel guilty about this time either, hey, it’s called “Research and Development!” I have marching orders too: Go to the beach!
YES KARLA YES! Any anyone who needs a glimpse into what Karla does at her business, WATCH THIS NOW.
 

JPrugh

Envoy
Inner Circle
As soon as I return from Europe, I’ll schedule my next trip! Oddly enough to Lindsborg for the Open House for Stenhuset.
 

Mark

Envoy
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
What a timely post @Matt Landau. I’m currently on a 17 day holiday through Italy and Switzerland with my wife. As I type, we are on a Trenitalia train from Venice to Interlaken, after a very relaxing week in Tuscany last week and brief stop in Venice. I decided a couple of years ago to block off a few weeks a year on our rental calendar so I could truly be on vacation and not dealing with house/guest issues from significantly different time zones. If I had renters now, I would be constantly waiting for the crisis. Even little things that could be easily handled from home would become major problems to coordinate from Europe. It’s the only way to truly recharge!!
 
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DK

Envoy
Inner Circle
OK OK so a couple of years ago when we met someone with the initials "Matt Landau" we were given several "homework assignments" before he left our beautiful little area. Sound familiar to anyone who's spent some time with Matt?

One of those assignments was this - you gotta get away even if it's for a few days because you haven't taken any kind of break in how long? over 6 years??? Yep, it had been a while since Edna and I went anywhere together!

So a year ago with the gracious help of @Glenda we spent a few days in her absolutely beautiful condo in Gulf Shores, AL. On the way home Edna said we haven't gotten a long that good in a very long time. Neither of us were stressed while we were gone. A very different feeling than usual where one of both of us are trying to get everything done all the time. We took Matt's advice and for the most part didn't think about or worry about the business.

When it comes to our VR business I live and breathe b) - a control freak. I know this but like a lot you guys, I want every guests vacation to be as awesome as possible. I believe it's our responsibility to give them that and their right to receive it.

That said, thinking about Matt's challenge, we have to be responsible enough to ourselves, our business and our spouses/partners to do the same - have a wonderful vacation from time to time! Guess I've got to start planning something today...
 
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RuthM

Envoy
Inner Circle
What a timely post @Matt Landau. I’m currently on a 17 day holiday through Italy and Switzerland with my wife. As I type, we are on a Trenitalia train from Venice to Interlaken, after a very relaxing week in Tuscany last week and brief stop in Venice. I decided a couple of years ago to block off a few weeks a year on our rental calendar so I could truly be on vacation and not dealing with house/guest issues from significantly different time zones. If I had renters now, I would be constantly waiting for the crisis. Even little things that could be easily handled from home would become major problems to coordinate from Europe. It’s the only way to truly recharge!!
Good thinking @Mark ! I was just in NY in August visiting my parents...and I woke up in the middle of the night or started my day at 5am to deal with my 2 vacation homes in Italy (6 hour time difference). Yes, I loved being able to see my parents but not the vacation I was able to enjoy this past weekend when we were away and I had blocked my calendars to have no guests (true vacation).
 

Judith

Counselor
Inner Circle
Yes, Matt, a very timely post. As someone who has built a business over 15 years from 6 properties to 110, I have done the 90 hours a week when the economy is bad and held back on hiring more staff. About 5 years ago, we started attaching a vacation to a conference. So three or four days of education and networking and a week in a new place. From Austin TX to Santa fe NM and more. And i discovered that my staff did an awesome job without me and had to answer their questions themselves or between them. For the first time we hired a Marketing Director - wow what a difference. As we live and work on a beach in SW Florida, I make sure I walk down to the water every week to remind me of why people come here. Go have a margarita and watch the sunset (or whatever your local equivalent is) and remember why people come to your destinaiton.
 
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Matt Landau

Ambassador
Staff member
Yes, Matt, a very timely post. As someone who has built a business over 15 years from 6 properties to 110, I have done the 90 hours a week when the economy is bad and held back on hiring more staff. About 5 years ago, we started attaching a vacation to a conference. So three or four days of education and networking and a week in a new place. From Austin TX to Santa fe NM and more. And i discovered that my staff did an awesome job without me and had to answer their questions themselves or between them. For the first time we hired a Marketing Director - wow what a difference. As we live and work on a beach in SW Florida, I make sure I walk down to the water every week to remind me of why people come here. Go have a margarita and watch the sunset (or whatever your local equivalent is) and remember why people come to your destinaiton.
It was great to see you last weekend. For anyone considering a conference, this season is going to be like a focal point of upward growth for the industry. Please reach out if you'd like help selecting the right conference for you!
 
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