Matt Landau
  • Founder, VRMB

No Matter What Happens, You Can Always Pick Up And Move To France

Last week marked the end of our third round of Keystone Retreats, which are small-group learning experiences for short term rental professionals (new but still ugly website here) and I’d like to share one of my favorite takeaways.

"No Matter What Happens, You Can Always Pick Up And Move To France"

We hosted this particular retreat at Spring Lakes Ranch which used to be a drug rehab facility.

When they learned the facility (where their own daughter had been checked in) would be shutting down, the new owners bought the property and turned it into a vacation rental ranch: 3 large homes, 1200 acres, goats, longhorn bulls, and some 20 lakes stocked to the brim with bass.

I looked up the word recovery and one definition is to regain possession of something stolen or lost. On reflection, all attendees regained a connection with nature during their visit: many regained a connection with themselves. How cool for a vacation rental property to foster something so deep!


Each Keystone Retreat has a theme and this one was: inventing vs. reinventing.

Inventing requires a unique style of opportunism, vision, and problem-solving and it is where many STR professionals shine. Inventing a job or a business concept or even an empire was the name of the game for the last 20 years. So many of our members are inventor extraordinaires!


But eventually, markets saturate, businesses change, people grow, disruption happens and a kind of REINVENTING is required. And for even the most experienced of inventors, reinvention is scary and uncertain. Reinvention requires letting go and taking new risks, which feels extra dangerous because you’re potentially sacrificing your invention.

My big takeaway from these retreats was that when entering that unknown, there's no better feeling than surrounding yourself with people that you admire. This could be your local STR alliance, a peer group, or an industry-specific event like the one we host. Here's a full list.


But be forewarned: community doesn't solve problems or predict the simply makes the adventure deeper and more meaningful for everyone involved. It makes taking the risk of venturing somewhere new more enjoyable.

"No matter what happens, you can always pick up and move to France."

In one of our sessions Jeff_I Jeff_I from HostGPO shared this advice from his grade school teacher as a way of approaching new life changes.

Put another way, what's the worst that could happen? It's worth taking some time and answering this question ahead of any invention or reinvention: the actual obstacles that many of us share are, upon investigation, not nearly as daunting as they originally seem.

Did you attend one of these retreats?

Please share your takeaway below!
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I attended the Keystone Retreat May 15-18th. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I wanted to meet other Vacation Rental Professionals and discuss our businesses. Lightning did not strike while I was at the Retreat, but since I have been home - I find myself instituting little changes to my processes and programs and making "To-Do Lists" based on the shared discussions we had at the Retreat. It's almost is if it was a recharging sessions for me and my passion for my business. Meeting Matt and Steve ( Not Scott....) and hearing their stories was really impactful. We had a great group of owners. Kelsey and Chef Alex and Joaquim were really great support staff for us as well. It was really wonderful to meet the ranch owners, we had a very high % of Realty TV winners with us !! I highly recommend the experience for any vacation rental owner or manager.
I loved being at the Marketing Retreat from May 18 to 21. What a location, what a great group of people, and thanks to a fabulous Chef, wonderful food. It was so nice to be with a group that not only cares about their business, guests, and owners, but they care about yours as well. Together we are all improving our industry while innovating through our mastermind opportunities. I am inspired and still learning with all of the after-class information through WhatsApp. Mahalo nui to Matt, David, and Steve. I so enjoyed this group of people and hope we all will connect again. Kelsey was our mother hen and made sure we were taken care of the whole time. This will not be my last Keystone. I love the small group and personal instruction!
Premeditatio malorum - Stoics approach to negative visualization. Seems a bit negative, but it helps build the fortitude to be practically and emotionally prepared for what may come.

I like Jeff's version better. :)

I attended Keystone in Jeff's group. It was a fantastic experience on a professional and personal level. The lessons and connections will last a lifetime.

I came away with practical ideas that are already being implemented.

Bigger picture, I think Keystone is a start of great evolutions happening across the vacation rental industry. In short, deeper connections - with ourselves, our colleagues, guests, and homeowners.

Tune into the Art of Hospitality podcast next Wednesday to listen to us discuss Keystone with Matt.
Ever since Heather Heather's first conference I had a great desire to attend a vacation rental focused event/conference. I would have made it there were it not for life interfering. My goal then and continues to be not only to gain knowledge and skills, but as mentioned above, to connect with community. In this case a community of owners and managers who held their businesses in such esteem that they would continue to learn, improve, form relationships and ultimately unite into a community of practice.

The key word (Keystone?) for me is building community.

At first I wondered if it would be presumptuous of me, an owner of just one little house, to attend an event billed for property managers, some with hundreds of properties. During discussions I was asked why would I even want to be there with just my one home and no desire to add to inventory.

The answer was easy. To be the best little business owner possible, providing an excellent service to my guests, and to bring my knowledge back to my community of others who only rent their one home. Those others number 400 in our coalition. They number even more as I communicate within various social platforms.
This event meet that goal.

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