Is This The Vacation Rental Management Supply Chain of the Future?

Matt Landau

Ambassador
Staff member
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:

SUPPLY CHAIN copy.jpg

Challenge for Community Members: Because we're such a new industry, it's hard to understand where each piece of your business fits in relation to one another. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a 'map' (if you have one, please share) outlining the process of check-in to check-out. So from version 1.0 some discovery questions...
  • How would you improve this flow?
  • Are there additional "feedback loops" (arrows) that are necessary?
  • What changes are needed for owner-operators?
  • What changes are needed for larger property managers?
  • What pieces are not necessary or bad?
  • What pieces are extra good?
 

Debi

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
It might be helpful to have 2 different diagrams, one with home owner/manager and the other either like you have here, and possibly eliminating the home owner. My experience with owners who work through property management companies, do very little in the actual management of their homes. Folks who own/manage their own properties are probably following something like this model, but with less intensity and attention, just because it's difficult for one or two people to fully encompass things like marketing and distribution. Those would probably look like half circles, with the ability to expand and contract depending on the skill of the owner, assistance from others and desire to learn.

I do think there will be a flood of new hosts entering this industry. Some will be looking for a quick buck and some will be interested in learning how to be successful and professional. I wonder if the difference between the single owners/managers will cause a wider gap between them and the VR management companies. Another model of the above could be two circles representing the single owner/manager and the VR management company showing some overlap.
 

StaySavvy

Counselor
Inner Circle
At first thought, I'd consider Data to be a missing piece in this graph. Drawing insights from (useful) data is a hidden opportunity to enhance both operations and guest experience. Perhaps, in some way, it's connected to all of these pieces listed, but the practical collection and use of data likely a bit more limited for most operators.

A few examples of data sources and uses are listed in the attached pic. I'm sure @ConradO could touch on #1 regarding other data points in guest marketing, and @Terry probably knows the ins and outs of how tech plays a role in #3 and #4. There are a ton of data points that could be captured but the preliminary questions that drive sources and uses become:
  • "What data should we collect?"
  • "How do we collect it (and organize it)?
  • "Why is it important to have?", and
  • "What can (or should) we do with it?", or in other words, "How do we use it to make our business better?"
As an example of collection, I remember when we first got started with hosting, we sent a link to a google form in the booking confirmation message that asked for guests' stay preferences (music, temperature, foods, etc.). Implementing that data showed up at the property where the local host would set the environment in a way that matched the preferences we were given. I also knew that email marketing is a must, but I didn't know the first thing about it... regardless, the key data point to capture is the email, so the survey helped us collect that too (even if we didn't end up using it until much later).

An adjacent industry that shows a high proficiency in the collection and use of data is casino hotels and integrated resorts... working as an analyst with a few major players in Vegas and abroad has illuminated how important this piece of the puzzle is and just how potent it can be on the operator side, which makes me fantasize about how these things would translate to VRs.

Given @Matt Landau's point about how new our industry is, I haven't seen much attention been given to this area yet. Companies like AirDNA and Transparent are certainly beginning to scratch the surface, but there's a lot more room to play. Right now, IoT is in its infancy but starting to enter the early majority. PMS companies are beginning to open their doors and increase cross-platform functionality. OTAs are partnering with governments. The future is bright, for sure, and I have a hunch that data will become the new electricity not only in our industry but in many others too.
 

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ConradO

Envoy
Inner Circle
Maybe I think of this more like a pyramid visually? Some of these things are part of a cycle, yes, but some are the "foundation".

Without the home (property), you've got nothing else, so that to me feels more like the "base" or primary element of the system. Then once you have the home, you can start to build a system or way to take care of guests (hospitality), then you can price, promote and market the property, spread it far and wide to earn that booking, then take care of that guest to deliver an experience to them.

So the cycle then starts over again, but not always with a new house (property) but often just marketing again to find more guests for the same property.

The ingredients make sense to me but the visual doesn't tie back in there for me.
 

BSexworth

Envoy
Inner Circle
I am not 100% sure what we are trying to depict here. That said, if you are trying to identify all the players and the relationships between then, I think there may be a couple of models, and maybe more than that. Owner-operator vs property manager operated comes to mind and I'm not sure the distinction between large and small property manager matters. What seems to be missing from this is the involvement of an OTA. Their involvement in a guest reservation cannot be just pushed under "marketing" because, depending on the OTA and/or the owner's relationship/status with the OTA, the OTA may be a very significant 3rd party in the guest reservation. Airbnb is the most obvious example of what I am talking about, because at the end of the day they have almost all the power. Guest wants to cancel outside of your cancellation policy and get a refund? Airbnb ultimately decides. Guest wants to complete 20 nights of a 21 night stay and then declare that they had to leave because 1) someone rang the doorbell and they were scared or 2) they found bedbugs on their last night and oh they want a refund? Airbnb ultimately decides. Guest claims you had a camera inside the house? Airbnb can remove your listing and cancel your reservations pending you providing proof that such cameras do not exist. (Sorry, been reading a lot of forums at 3 am lately.) Even with VRBO, if you are not the merchant of record and are letting VRBO play that role, they are a significant member of the relationship beyond just the marketing.

Within the property manager version there are other variables as well, including how involved the owners are. Our owners are not involved in setting rates, minimum stays, guest approval or where/how we advertise. I believe some managers do allow owners to be involved in those decisions.
 

Will Franco

Efficiency Manager
Staff member
@StaySavvy I'm right there with you. Email health is one of the key metrics. The way in which the email is captured, relevancy of messages, and frequency at which they are sent. An email can be captured prior to check-in, during the stay, or during check-out.

How do you frame the value of the email messages and deliver on that promise?
 

ToonTownRob

Envoy
Inner Circle
A few thoughts...

Is this industry really 'that new?' At what point do we (I guess I mean some...) stop claiming infant status? People have been renting holiday homes in Europe since after the 2nd world war. The first vacation rental homes in the area of my villas in the United States were established close to 30 years ago. Would anyone in 2021 refer to the computer industry as a 'new industry'? Or would it be considered a mature industry?

The idea that what we are doing is 'new' is just another PR 'lie' foisted on the world, I think, by AirBnB, who like to pretend that they invented the concept. To me, it is vapor ware, just like the concept of 'home sharing' which they like to talk about. (To me, it isn't sharing if you charge the other person for something... that's called running a business.)

But I think it's high time we stop thinking of ourselves as somehow immature, and finding our way in the business world. I for one, knew exactly what I was getting into when I started, and I chose this business as something I wanted to do, almost twenty years ago now. And I came into it with another twenty years of experience when I finally got actually started twelve years ago.

I suppose I'm concerned that some may use a claim of newness as a sort of excuse for a lack of professionalism. That doesn't work for me... especially in an age when almost all of the information in the world is accessible to everyone at the click of a mouse.

Switching gears... As far as the diagram goes, I will be the luddite here and express my obvious lack of understanding... I just don't get it.

I understand a supply chain for a physical product, which may go through a number of processes, and various handlers and processors and manufacturers, with components and their sub components being sourced from different locations and suppliers; it forms a chain, as you see the various 'ingredients' moving along the chain, and various threads coming together at various stages, until the path reaches the end consumer. It often includes the physical movement of product from point a to b to c.

But "The Vacation Rental Management Supply Chain of the Future"? Huh? What about management moves around?

What 'chain' is there here? I doubt my Property Manager could describe one. She just does what she does. She has a few subtrades, and me and some other owners as customers. Three steps or levels hardly makes a 'chain'. And it's not like there really is anything moving along that chain.

The diagram strikes me as an attempt to link up or build relationships between a bunch of things that all simultaneously co-exist in such a state, and are so dependent upon the whole for their existence, as to not provide any amount of additional understanding.

How would you make a 'supply chain' for a stew, for example, when all of the ingredients come from one store (as far as the cook is concerned). They all come together, and co-exist, and support each other, and contribute to and compete with each other for the cook's attention, to make the whole.

Is anything gained by drawing a picture with carrots in one corner, beef in another, bone broth in another, celery on another, etc, and drawing arrows between them all?

Can one define and diagram a marketing funnel (as @ConradO suggests), or the journey of a guest with a particular vacation rental owner or company for one booking? Sure. And we've even done that here on this forum in various ways.

But, with apologies, I just don't get this. It seems to me to be 'buzz speak'... an attempt to give something more glitz and complexity than it warrants.

I apologize for this if it seems negativity. It is not my desire to poopoo on anything. I share this because it has been my experience that most people will go to any lengths to avoid saying "I don't know" or "I don't understand". But I find that I learn the most when I'm brave enough to raise my hand and say "I don't get this". I never let the fear of being seen as stupid prevent me from not being so. (By being willing to look stupid and admit what I don't know, I learn... a lot!)

Another thing I've noticed over the years is when I do raise my hand and say, "I don't get this" there is usually a murmur that goes through the crowd around me as others sigh in relief because they didn't want to admit to feeling the exact same as I was. But yet clearly lots of them were.

I ask questions, and I learn. So I will watch this thread with interest.

Before I could answer any of the questions posed at the start of the thread, I would need to know the following:
What is the point of this? What is being achieved by analyzing this in this way? Is this even the right way to look at this subject? Why are we looking at this in this way? What insights or understandings, might we hope to gain by doing so?

NOTE: I typed this while the previous two posts were being added to the thread. I haven't read them yet and apologize if I've covered ground they already have.
 

Matt Landau

Ambassador
Staff member
It might be helpful to have 2 different diagrams, one with home owner/manager and the other either like you have here
@Debi this is a great idea. Agree completely that there may very well be two models to begin with. @BSexworth makes the same point and I'm with you both.

The future is bright, for sure, and I have a hunch that data will become the new electricity not only in our industry but in many others too.
Love this thinking Michael. Perhaps the data is a layer that goes beneath it all? Or a cloak that is part of everything? @Christina check out Michael's drawing, it's similar to some of the pentagrams we made LOL.

I think of this more like a pyramid visually?
I like that! Almost like a hierarchy of needs. And I'll add one more twist to your Home = Foundation. What about regulation beneath Home?

What seems to be missing from this is the involvement of an OTA
Had planned for OTAs to go under Distribution. At least temporarily.

I am not 100% sure what we are trying to depict here
I think our goal could best be stated as a compass or map to understand approximately what pieces are part of the equation: the specific actions required to achieve end to end 'product' delivery. When you enter more established industries, you can benefit from models or frameworks: systems thinking more broadly being a way to help people unpack & understand complex problems. Maybe it's because I've been obsessed with this book that @Dana sent me: Thinking in Systems and Mental Models. From the summary, "Awareness of interconnectedness is key to solving the biggest and most complex problems we face in contemporary society." We're definitely not at final draft yet, but starting somewhere :)

Email health is one of the key metrics
Think I'd lump all Listing Site Independence items including Email Marketing in the Marketing 'department.'
 

Terry

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
Vintory
At first thought, I'd consider Data to be a missing piece in this graph. Drawing insights from (useful) data is a hidden opportunity to enhance both operations and guest experience. Perhaps, in some way, it's connected to all of these pieces listed, but the practical collection and use of data likely a bit more limited for most operators.

A few examples of data sources and uses are listed in the attached pic. I'm sure @ConradO could touch on #1 regarding other data points in guest marketing, and @Terry probably knows the ins and outs of how tech plays a role in #3 and #4. There are a ton of data points that could be captured but the preliminary questions that drive sources and uses become:
  • "What data should we collect?"
  • "How do we collect it (and organize it)?
  • "Why is it important to have?", and
  • "What can (or should) we do with it?", or in other words, "How do we use it to make our business better?"
As an example of collection, I remember when we first got started with hosting, we sent a link to a google form in the booking confirmation message that asked for guests' stay preferences (music, temperature, foods, etc.). Implementing that data showed up at the property where the local host would set the environment in a way that matched the preferences we were given. I also knew that email marketing is a must, but I didn't know the first thing about it... regardless, the key data point to capture is the email, so the survey helped us collect that too (even if we didn't end up using it until much later).

An adjacent industry that shows a high proficiency in the collection and use of data is casino hotels and integrated resorts... working as an analyst with a few major players in Vegas and abroad has illuminated how important this piece of the puzzle is and just how potent it can be on the operator side, which makes me fantasize about how these things would translate to VRs.

Given @Matt Landau's point about how new our industry is, I haven't seen much attention been given to this area yet. Companies like AirDNA and Transparent are certainly beginning to scratch the surface, but there's a lot more room to play. Right now, IoT is in its infancy but starting to enter the early majority. PMS companies are beginning to open their doors and increase cross-platform functionality. OTAs are partnering with governments. The future is bright, for sure, and I have a hunch that data will become the new electricity not only in our industry but in many others too.
@StaySavvy, very interesting, I like the stuff you are posting.

  • "What data should we collect?"
  • I collect and compare as much data as I can get my hands on. Names, spouses names, email address, phone number, physical address, birthdays anniversaries. I also use KeyData for hard sourced data and to a lesser extent PriceLabs which is scraped from one channel only (Airbnb).
  • "How do we collect it (and organize it)?
  • I collect it all either through my PMS or my CRM and that is where it is stored as well.
  • "Why is it important to have?", and
  • You can never have too much data and it is data you own and leverage it yourself and a digital marketing agency.
  • "What can (or should) we do with it?", or in other words, "How do we use it to make our business better?"
  • Retarget, retarget and retarget. You only pay an OTA once, then the guest is yours. Two things that can kill us is our rates and reviews. That is where KeyData sourced data and a Revenue Management tool comes into play. Reviews are so much more than the guest experience. A key factor is guest communication. That is where you can never have too much guest data and leverage it with personalized communication through your Pms, Crm, video emails and phone calls.
 

AlexC

Counselor
Inner Circle
Well this was wayyyy too intriguing of a post to not take a crack at a diagram of my own haha.

This is for a property management company in an urban area.

I am not 100% sure exactly what that first chart posted was demonstrating, so I apologize if I am off the rails on what my chart is getting at, which I created in 10min, so keep that in mind haha.

Ok the way I think about this is the end goal (your own profitability) should be captured through the lense of owner profitability since your management profitability should be directly tied to owner revenue performance, and therefore your profitability optimization long term is dependent on your ability to deliver owner profitability better than competitors, which is how you can capture more owners and sustainable revenue growth.

Basically, the fields on the far right are the starting points on key functions you A) need to have best in class systems on, and at the very least not be worse than competitors on and B) achieve the goal in the middle fields, which are best in class pricing and occupancy revenue vs market and B) best in class owner profitability.

A failure at any of the fields on the right basically means you cannot achieve the goal of the organization, which means read this from right to left. Funneling through these key goals vs. the more relational chart upfront I think might be a good start for a STR management company of the future, as the end goal/result is a competitive advantage in capturing profitable demand and the most profitable owners, thus ensuring a future where the most successful property management companies are successful because they are guest experience and owner centric with a framework that cannot work without considering how to improve results on both the guest and owner front....note there is nothing about company profit here, as its implied and I would group financial and accounting excellence along with that as being important, but sort of the final thing to consider as a part of your strategic framework.



1619650908598.png
 
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AlexC

Counselor
Inner Circle
Well this was wayyyy too intriguing of a post to not take a crack at a diagram of my own haha.

This is for a property management company in an urban area.

I am not 100% sure exactly what that first chart posted was demonstrating, so I apologize if I am off the rails on what my chart is getting at, which I created in 10min, so keep that in mind haha.

Ok the way I think about this is the end goal (your own profitability) should be captured through the lense of owner profitability since your management profitability should be directly tied to owner revenue performance, and therefore your profitability optimization long term is dependent on your ability to deliver owner profitability better than competitors, which is how you can capture more owners and sustainable revenue growth.

Basically, the fields on the far right are the starting points on key functions you A) need to have best in class systems on, and at the very least not be worse than competitors on and B) achieve the goal in the middle fields, which are best in class pricing and occupancy revenue vs market and B) best in class owner profitability.

A failure at any of the fields on the left basically means you cannot achieve the goal of the organization, which means read this from right to left. Funneling through these key goals vs. the more relational chart upfront I think might be a good start for a STR management company of the future, as the end goal/result is a competitive advantage in capturing profitable demand and the most profitable owners, thus ensuring a future where the most successful property management companies are successful because they are guest experience and owner centric with a framework that cannot work without considering how to improve results on both the guest and owner front....note there is nothing about company profit here, as its implied and I would group financial and accounting excellence along with that as being important, but sort of the final thing to consider as a part of your strategic framework.



View attachment 4014

I am also going to call out that chanel optimization is not a large focus here, as the booking channel, as I see it, is important as far as it relates to do you have best in class pricing and occupancy in the market for your comps. Channel choice, generally doesn't improve guest satisfaction in a differential way to booking on a direct booking site or an OTA. From my experience, from a guest perspective, their satisfaction comes from just about every BUT where they booked unless something happens that exposes them to a downside of one or the other as it relates to their stay in a bubble of having booked on a platform....Meaning, if someone books on Airbnb, pricing is the pricing, and not being able to book cheaper on a direct site has no bearing on value/experience to that point. Not trying to be anti-dependence here, my model just doesn't place high importance on the channel unless one allows you to capture more occupancy than the other and/or more profitable occupancy over time at best in class prices vs. comps.

Just wanted to clarify since I know the marketing part is a huge part of the previous diagrams.
 

AlexC

Counselor
Inner Circle
A few thoughts...

Is this industry really 'that new?' At what point do we (I guess I mean some...) stop claiming infant status? People have been renting holiday homes in Europe since after the 2nd world war. The first vacation rental homes in the area of my villas in the United States were established close to 30 years ago. Would anyone in 2021 refer to the computer industry as a 'new industry'? Or would it be considered a mature industry?

The idea that what we are doing is 'new' is just another PR 'lie' foisted on the world, I think, by AirBnB, who like to pretend that they invented the concept. To me, it is vapor ware, just like the concept of 'home sharing' which they like to talk about. (To me, it isn't sharing if you charge the other person for something... that's called running a business.)

But I think it's high time we stop thinking of ourselves as somehow immature, and finding our way in the business world. I for one, knew exactly what I was getting into when I started, and I chose this business as something I wanted to do, almost twenty years ago now. And I came into it with another twenty years of experience when I finally got actually started twelve years ago.

I suppose I'm concerned that some may use a claim of newness as a sort of excuse for a lack of professionalism. That doesn't work for me... especially in an age when almost all of the information in the world is accessible to everyone at the click of a mouse.

Switching gears... As far as the diagram goes, I will be the luddite here and express my obvious lack of understanding... I just don't get it.

I understand a supply chain for a physical product, which may go through a number of processes, and various handlers and processors and manufacturers, with components and their sub components being sourced from different locations and suppliers; it forms a chain, as you see the various 'ingredients' moving along the chain, and various threads coming together at various stages, until the path reaches the end consumer. It often includes the physical movement of product from point a to b to c.

But "The Vacation Rental Management Supply Chain of the Future"? Huh? What about management moves around?

What 'chain' is there here? I doubt my Property Manager could describe one. She just does what she does. She has a few subtrades, and me and some other owners as customers. Three steps or levels hardly makes a 'chain'. And it's not like there really is anything moving along that chain.

The diagram strikes me as an attempt to link up or build relationships between a bunch of things that all simultaneously co-exist in such a state, and are so dependent upon the whole for their existence, as to not provide any amount of additional understanding.

How would you make a 'supply chain' for a stew, for example, when all of the ingredients come from one store (as far as the cook is concerned). They all come together, and co-exist, and support each other, and contribute to and compete with each other for the cook's attention, to make the whole.

Is anything gained by drawing a picture with carrots in one corner, beef in another, bone broth in another, celery on another, etc, and drawing arrows between them all?

Can one define and diagram a marketing funnel (as @ConradO suggests), or the journey of a guest with a particular vacation rental owner or company for one booking? Sure. And we've even done that here on this forum in various ways.

But, with apologies, I just don't get this. It seems to me to be 'buzz speak'... an attempt to give something more glitz and complexity than it warrants.

I apologize for this if it seems negativity. It is not my desire to poopoo on anything. I share this because it has been my experience that most people will go to any lengths to avoid saying "I don't know" or "I don't understand". But I find that I learn the most when I'm brave enough to raise my hand and say "I don't get this". I never let the fear of being seen as stupid prevent me from not being so. (By being willing to look stupid and admit what I don't know, I learn... a lot!)

Another thing I've noticed over the years is when I do raise my hand and say, "I don't get this" there is usually a murmur that goes through the crowd around me as others sigh in relief because they didn't want to admit to feeling the exact same as I was. But yet clearly lots of them were.

I ask questions, and I learn. So I will watch this thread with interest.

Before I could answer any of the questions posed at the start of the thread, I would need to know the following:
What is the point of this? What is being achieved by analyzing this in this way? Is this even the right way to look at this subject? Why are we looking at this in this way? What insights or understandings, might we hope to gain by doing so?

NOTE: I typed this while the previous two posts were being added to the thread. I haven't read them yet and apologize if I've covered ground they already have.
Loved this post, which helped me configure my own graph, but keeping a goal in mind in terms of how a model works from the perspective of the type of company I’m trying to create, vs trying to define relationships behind functions that are connected but also independent. How they connect needs to be filtered through principles and end goals of the organization as whoever created the model sees as important to success,

anyways, nice one.

of course, we can’t have too many posts where we agree on everything, Rob, so I’ll say that while vacation rentals are not a new industry, the penetration and frequency of use of STRs has birthed a whole new...division? I dunno what to call it, but expectations from a guest or owner in non traditional vacation rental markets, effectively brand new markets to STRs, are very new and different from established markets. The technology, sophistication of management tools and systems, as well as new rules of how a STR meets guest expectations is, much to the chagrin of many traditional managers, is in infancy and what it develops into, in my opinion, will be fascinating to watch...especially if the traditional players decide to play against all the newbies entering the space without recognizing the need for a lot more than some hands off scalable system to compete against good managers....that would be quite the massacre of it happens before the newbies really get a foothold in markets and figure stuff out and start developing models to capture market share by...well being good and responsible hosts lol.

Just saying! Airbnb isn’t trying to change history of VRS, but they certainly open up what one could classsify as a new industry!

there, I evened out the praise with some debate arguments :)
 

Christina

Counselor
Inner Circle
Vintory
Maybe I think of this more like a pyramid visually? Some of these things are part of a cycle, yes, but some are the "foundation".

Without the home (property), you've got nothing else, so that to me feels more like the "base" or primary element of the system. Then once you have the home, you can start to build a system or way to take care of guests (hospitality), then you can price, promote and market the property, spread it far and wide to earn that booking, then take care of that guest to deliver an experience to them.

So the cycle then starts over again, but not always with a new house (property) but often just marketing again to find more guests for the same property.

The ingredients make sense to me but the visual doesn't tie back in there for me.
Wait, a triangle? Hmmmmm (lol @Matt Landau)
 

DMartinez

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
It might be helpful to have 2 different diagrams, one with home owner/manager and the other either like you have here, and possibly eliminating the home owner. My experience with owners who work through property management companies, do very little in the actual management of their homes. Folks who own/manage their own properties are probably following something like this model, but with less intensity and attention, just because it's difficult for one or two people to fully encompass things like marketing and distribution. Those would probably look like half circles, with the ability to expand and contract depending on the skill of the owner, assistance from others and desire to learn.

I do think there will be a flood of new hosts entering this industry. Some will be looking for a quick buck and some will be interested in learning how to be successful and professional. I wonder if the difference between the single owners/managers will cause a wider gap between them and the VR management companies. Another model of the above could be two circles representing the single owner/manager and the VR management company showing some overlap.
Thanks, Debi- you beat me to the punch (took time to post our who to vote for as BOD letter to our HOA).
I was a unicorn of an owner when we used a PM, especially as I encouraged THEM to be more proactive in applying best practices.
I believe some managers do allow owners to be involved in those decisions.
Yup- that was our relationship. Not only that I was "allowed" to have my own marketing too...as long as the booking was closed on THEIR site. In fact I dare say they benefitted more by it in backlink, SEO and referrals after MY home was already booked.
 

DMartinez

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
Is this industry really 'that new?' At what point do we (I guess I mean some...) stop claiming infant status?

Re infancy:
We can stop claiming infancy when we move from a random collection of individual lone agents into a formalized, well-recognized... group/collective/guild/agency/association/alliance/union😱/...????.

When we can put on our big boy and girl pants, and treat this industry as a business; when we are able to conduct ourselves professionally, ethically, and even manage a flow-chart effectively- no matter the direction the arrows point - then we have moved out of the infancy stage.

It's not so much the industry that is in its infancy- it's the onboarded owners who jump into this blindly - because they can- and now have a place to hide worn-out furniture, offset mortgage payments, and get deductions on income taxes.

And infancy stage may also be applied to some PMs who by virtue of being in the "HOSPITALITY" space are clueless that they now compete with the real big boys of HOSPITALITY- the hotels.

@Debi stated there are many new owners on-boarding. Some may have the benefit of initiatives such as Debi's Host2Host, others have FB-groups. Some just hand over their keys in one hand and wait for the booking check to be placed in the other.

Some stumble onto their awakening into STR-adulthood, others are dragged kicking and screaming when stifling regulations come hammering down on them or they get that first 1-minus star.

So now- with that rant out of the way...

As I didn't listen to the webinar and it is not recorded anywhere (is there a transcript, did anyone take copious notes) I'm flying by the seat of my pants to determine if it captured its essence.

Re: supply chain

I don't mean to sound so obtuse about this. I just am at a loss. Worse yet when I read "supply chain" the first thing that popped into mind was an actual supply chain - like the one that has dogged me the last year and a half as I still wait for supplies, furniture, and construction materials - thank you COVID, Texan freaky freezes, and Suez Canal filled with stuck ships that now forces me to cancel the month of July's bookings.

Clarity needed
As a circle then there is no beginning nor end... that all circles and spaces have equal weight... But as DISTRIBUTION arcs (a circle's version of "cuts the corner") to MARKETING does that make them essential, expeditious, or just more clever by jumping over, if needed, YIELD MANAGEMENT?

Can we simply break off the triad of DISTRIBUTION-YIELD MANAGEMENT and MARKETING...and if so does that leave the others above dangling in thin air?

The flow of a circle theoretically can start anywhere-yet by placing the HOME ~ my home ~ at the top it does imply importance, especially if this is geared for onboarding it into the PMs inventory.

But if this is directed to explain the emergence into "adulthood" to a PM then the circle needs to be turned one space, placing the PM at 12:00.

Who owns the monkey?
  • Does the diagram assume that HOSPITALITY is synonymous with the PM "owned" by PM?

    Given arrows flow back and forth between HOME (me the owner) and the PM, is the implication there is some sort of agreement, communication...lifting the owner from a state of infancy into a stage of professionalism?

  • What would happen if the OWNER owned HOSPITALITY? Or insisted upon it?
HOME feeds into the GUEST on one side and HOSPITALITY/PM on the other...
  • IF the PM who owns the Hospitality space, directs the Owner to be "hospitiable" in prep for the guest.. in what world of PM-dom's sense of proprietary ownership of the guest list, will that guest flow back to the owner? It would and should in this sense flow directly to the PM.

  • But then...Does that mean the Owner is not HOSPITALITY- because that space/task is owned by the PM?

  • It is conceivable there are repercussions to the owner by the PM if the guest offers a 1-star rating- then the flowing arrows make sense.
    Now can paint that arrow between them with a much broader stroke - the PM to the owner to improve their house's amenities / the owner to the PM to improve their services from inquiry-booking-legal- check-out, and better support the owner to take out the leftover furniture and buy new.

  • But what is the owner's direct connection to the guest? Does this presuppose the HOME/owner has moved out of the infancy stage into the adult/big business stage? I suppose that after a few 1-star reviews both HOME/owner and HOSPITALITY will gather the clue that more payout by GUEST especially in 5-stars = more bookings=more profit = leads to affording better MARKETING and YEILD

  • And if that owner is me... will HOME manage to do an end-run around the PM, leave the company taking both HOME and GUEST along with her?
 

StaySavvy

Counselor
Inner Circle
@StaySavvy I'm right there with you. Email health is one of the key metrics. The way in which the email is captured, relevancy of messages, and frequency at which they are sent. An email can be captured prior to check-in, during the stay, or during check-out.

How do you frame the value of the email messages and deliver on that promise?
Right now we send something along these lines after receiving a 5-star review, or if someone complements us (find a way to plug the 'ask')

Thank you for the review, so glad you enjoyed your stay! If you’d like, we can send you exclusive discounts on your next stay both at this home and our other homes located in cities like x, y, z.

And as more properties become available, you’ll be the first to know and have a chance to book before it becomes available publicly. Just reply back with a good email so we can keep you updated. We hope to host you again soon!


Delivering on the email marketing front is whole other ballgame in which we still have a lot of room to grow so can't offer too much on that (yet).
 

RuthM

Envoy
Inner Circle
Thought provoking thread!

Models are meant to help us understand something complex so I actually like the circle and label of “supply chain”.

I agree that the HOME is the starting point, whether we are looking at it from an owner/manager standpoint or a large property management company.
  • The Home Circle could be a different color?
  • I like @ConradO ’s comments about a foundation and a pyramid graphic representation (but graphics are not in my skill set).
What’s missing?
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Owner acquisition
 

AlexC

Counselor
Inner Circle
Right now we send something along these lines after receiving a 5-star review, or if someone complements us (find a way to plug the 'ask')
Thank you for the review, so glad you enjoyed your stay! If you’d like, we can send you exclusive discounts on your next stay both at this home and our other homes located in cities like x, y, z.

And as more properties become available, you’ll be the first to know and have a chance to book before it becomes available publicly. Just reply back with a good email so we can keep you updated. We hope to host you again soon!


Delivering on the email marketing front is whole other ballgame in which we still have a lot of room to grow so can't offer too much on that (yet).
Right now we send something along these lines after receiving a 5-star review, or if someone complements us (find a way to plug the 'ask')

Thank you for the review, so glad you enjoyed your stay! If you’d like, we can send you exclusive discounts on your next stay both at this home and our other homes located in cities like x, y, z.

And as more properties become available, you’ll be the first to know and have a chance to book before it becomes available publicly. Just reply back with a good email so we can keep you updated. We hope to host you again soon!


Delivering on the email marketing front is whole other ballgame in which we still have a lot of room to grow so can't offer too much on that (yet).

This is a great message that I think shows past guests a lot about how much you value their business even after a review! However, it also demonstrates an area of opportunity that I really think needs to start playing into the direct marketing discussion for the best PMs that are hopefully the ones best positioned to win once this becomes a more developed space and the mad scramble to capture a huge wave of new demand gives way to capturing existing demand in a crowded market. I know booking direct is obviously very important to this community (I’m not saying it’s wrong to focus here, I’m arguing for the ADDITION of a lens to filter priorities on. This lens is simply that of net profitability. I’m working on a post that explains that better, but for now, I’d pose a question my thinking leads me to when I saw your post.

Why are you offering discounts to repeat guests? Shouldn’t you charge more for something you already know they like? Assuming that could have been filled by a new guest, repeat guests end up being less profitable on adr alone if discounts are offered...or am I missing a part of that equation in direct booking profitability?
 

Gabor

Attaché
Inner Circle
One thought re. visuals / graphs / charts: it is fundamental to state if we want to present relationships or processes. That's why I had a hard time making sense of the model. I don't get a clear purpose.
I enjoyed reading the thread and the reference to data made a lot of sense to me. Thus is what I can share about the commercial accommodation industry's approach (excerpt from an article I wrote):
"The accommodation industry demonstrated impressive improvements in gathering massive amount of data about guests’ booking patterns, including lead time and distribution channel choices. Data on price resistance, total spend per stay and even unstructured data from social media sites helped us to improve revenue optimization.

Revenue professionals learned to harness the power of big data as most touchpoints of customer interactions became gradually digitized over the years. Potential guests leave data footprints at every step on their decision journey. Revenue professionals learned to connect these dots and target, plus retarget customers during their various stages in the purchase funnel, even when they were multi-device users like most of us, getting ideas and inspiration through a multitude of social media platforms. Actual trip planning may get started a on a smartphone, the selection of options can frequently get explored on a tablet, and the booking made on a laptop of the same customer.

We arrived at a stage where we know way more about our customers than ever before. There are customer relationship tools that help us build profiles including booking preferences, spending patterns, propensity of bargain hunting and all relevant behavioral attributes. We can ask our guests to opt in for location-based targeting while on our properties and can ping them digital coupons, upsell or invite them to attend flash sales, happy hours and pop-up shops to increase sales."

I suggest for VRBO hosts to collect only actionable data. E.g. if we don't change, or rearrange anything in our unit why ask a guest if he/she is right or left handed? But if we ask about preferred thermostat settings for fan speed and temperature, we'd better act on that.
 
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