At 10:05 of our latest Unlocked interview with Jeremy Gall, we talk about Brittany Blackman and her deep passion for vacation rental hospitality.



I go on to share how MikeH MikeH saw Brittany's "passion" as a downright game-changer.

'"They' can't compete with that!" Mike says.

The “they” in Mike’s sentiment is intentionally vague — it can apply to whoever you may have in mind.
  • They = venture-backed competition
  • They = run-of-the-mill property managers in your market
  • They = over-night success minions
So, I’d like to ask you: What are you most passionate about?

This exercise is sometimes magical in how — simply posting what you are most passionate about even if seemingly irrelevant to vacation rentals — how stating this is the first step to making it the front-and-centerpiece of your business.

Here are some categories to get you started:
  • Activities: hiking, boating, museums, restaurants/food
  • Subject matters: science, history, arts & entertainment
  • People: helping, teaching, touring, hosting, connecting, healing
  • Professions: style, finance, sports, sales
In addition to stating what you are most passionate about, consider sharing how that is currently (or could soon be) a part of your day to day business routine or part of your messaging or branding to guests?

Note: If it’s NOT currently part of your routine that’s great too :)

My working theory is that the more we can build your vacation rental brand around that thing you're most passionate about, the more bulletproof it makes you: the more inimitable you face up against your (read: any) competition.
 
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This is easy for me because I’m passionate about children. Having multiple families and multi generational families stay with us at Carolina Elegance is my passion.

Getting feedback and texts and photos from guests about how much their children love our two homes is amazing to me.
Each year we add things to enhance the fun the children have at our homes.
Nothing makes me smile more than those comments and photos.

this year I decided to send a balloon event and treasure hunt with a real pirate to the weeks when there were many children and full fare weeks. What an amazing hit!!!
 

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People!! I love talking with people, sharing mutual experiences with one another and getting my staff to reach their true potential! The last one I have slacked on as the result may mean they leave my company, which during a staffing crisis is scary. But I feel that is where I need to put my focus these days as it is probably my top passion, helping people succeed in life :) probably why my side hustle is being a life coach 🤣😜
 
Non-traditional destinations. Much of the vacation rental community is justifiably focused primarily on mountain and seaside destinations. As an example, 70% of VRMA membership, now exceeding 1000, are concentrated in only ten states. I’ll keep beating the drum for the Heartland and Midwest, so that OTAs, VRMA, KeyData and travel publications know that the Great Plains are great and NOT plain!
 
Behind everything that we do I can say that my passion is to meet and overcome challenges with outcomes that lead to great experiences. Vacation rentals provide opportunities for this in abundance.
  • Working with guests who have the highest expectations
  • Leading a diverse team toward a common goal of creating memorable vacations in exceptional homes
  • Working with homeowners who have a wide range of objectives from revenue generation to protection of their asset
  • Taking advantage of technology to operate efficiently and profitably
  • Contributing to our local communities that support us in turn
  • Meeting the challenges of an uncertain world where significant external factors (economy/weather/politics) can strongly influence our ability to succeed.
 
This is a great exercise, I love it! I'm passionate about authenticity, community, and moments of awe in nature. This driving force keeps me engaged with our guests in a meaningful way to help them to experience our destination from a deeper perspective. This not only generates return bookings and great guest experiences but helps me connect to my daily tasks with more purpose and passion.
 
No question, my passion is creating space for people to heal. As a recent cancer thriver myself, I literally healed my mind and body by spending time in Carmel-by-the-sea, working in the gardens, planting trees, crafting babbling water fountains, growing vines to attract hummingbirds, hanging wind chimes, and creating a nurturing, beautiful, and healing space that I can share with my guests.

A few months ago, I hosted a young woman who had just miscarried, and after her first night at the cottage, she texted to say that she had her first real deep, restful sleep in months since she lost her child. I set her up with a local meditation leader to take her on a 1 on 1 guided spiritual hike through the redwood forests in Big Sur. She said she was able to release her grief at last.

A middle aged father who grew up in Carmel booked recently because he was recovering from quadruple by-pass and wanted to spend healing time with his kids in Carmel knowing that no one is guaranteed a tomorrow.

Another woman who was going through chemo booked the cottage as a present to herself so she would have something to look forward to once she finished her treatments.

We all have someone we know and even love who is recovering from something devastating. These are the people for whom I’m passionate about creating extraordinary experiences.

These people are my tribe. These are the people who help me heal. This is why I do what I do.
 
Behind everything that we do I can say that my passion is to meet and overcome challenges with outcomes that lead to great experiences. Vacation rentals provide opportunities for this in abundance.
  • Working with guests who have the highest expectations
  • Leading a diverse team toward a common goal of creating memorable vacations in exceptional homes
  • Working with homeowners who have a wide range of objectives from revenue generation to protection of their asset
  • Taking advantage of technology to operate efficiently and profitably
  • Contributing to our local communities that support us in turn
  • Meeting the challenges of an uncertain world where significant external factors (economy/weather/politics) can strongly influence our ability to succeed.
LOVE THIS!!
 
I am passionate about striving for excellence. Sometimes the payoff is enormous, and other times it feels like a total bomb, despite buckets of effort. Here is an example from both ends of the VR spectrum:

On the big win side - last month, I received an email from the President and CEO of our local tourism association with an invitation to meet for coffee. She has been following Urban Shores - the outstanding guest reviews and our contribution to tourism in the area such as bringing in high-value guests, promoting other businesses etc. She admitted her board is stacked with hoteliers who have strong ideas about disruptive Vacation Rentals. She can see we offer something different and is looking for a way to bring us in. She wants to brainstorm. I feel honoured, systematic change initiatives excite me.

On the total bomb side, I have a book direct monkey on my back. I cannot seem to move the needle (at all) with direct bookings to our Urban Shores website. This goal, with this particular property, seems elusive. I am tackling loading some blogs this week, creating a new destination guide on our wine industry and going to the Book Direct Conference next month. I keep dusting myself off and getting back on the Book Direct horse. I am determined to make 2023 the year we turn the corner to LSI. My constant reminder - be proud of the effort, not the outcome.
 
No question, my passion is creating space for people to heal. As a recent cancer thriver myself, I literally healed my mind and body by spending time in Carmel-by-the-sea, working in the gardens, planting trees, crafting babbling water fountains, growing vines to attract hummingbirds, hanging wind chimes, and creating a nurturing, beautiful, and healing space that I can share with my guests.

A few months ago, I hosted a young woman who had just miscarried, and after her first night at the cottage, she texted to say that she had her first real deep, restful sleep in months since she lost her child. I set her up with a local meditation leader to take her on a 1 on 1 guided spiritual hike through the redwood forests in Big Sur. She said she was able to release her grief at last.

A middle aged father who grew up in Carmel booked recently because he was recovering from quadruple by-pass and wanted to spend healing time with his kids in Carmel knowing that no one is guaranteed a tomorrow.

Another woman who was going through chemo booked the cottage as a present to herself so she would have something to look forward to once she finished her treatments.

We all have someone we know and even love who is recovering from something devastating. These are the people for whom I’m passionate about creating extraordinary experiences.

These people are my tribe. These are the people who help me heal. This is why I do what I do.
Luv this one! I was looking for your website; where can I view the property?
 
I am passionate about striving for excellence. Sometimes the payoff is enormous, and other times it feels like a total bomb, despite buckets of effort. Here is an example from both ends of the VR spectrum:

On the big win side - last month, I received an email from the President and CEO of our local tourism association with an invitation to meet for coffee. She has been following Urban Shores - the outstanding guest reviews and our contribution to tourism in the area such as bringing in high-value guests, promoting other businesses etc. She admitted her board is stacked with hoteliers who have strong ideas about disruptive Vacation Rentals. She can see we offer something different and is looking for a way to bring us in. She wants to brainstorm. I feel honoured, systematic change initiatives excite me.

On the total bomb side, I have a book direct monkey on my back. I cannot seem to move the needle (at all) with direct bookings to our Urban Shores website. This goal, with this particular property, seems elusive. I am tackling loading some blogs this week, creating a new destination guide on our wine industry and going to the Book Direct Conference next month. I keep dusting myself off and getting back on the Book Direct horse. I am determined to make 2023 the year we turn the corner to LSI. My constant reminder - be proud of the effort, not the outcome.
Susanne, I have a quick tip for you regarding Booking Direct. Create a flyer to put in your homes to advise return guests that booking direct will save them $$. Have your cards there and invite them to take one and contact you for the next visit. We've built up to about a 30% return like this in 3 years. It might be slow, but it's almost zero effort to do this.
 
I'm always passionate about Host2Host, and I'm proud to say that we now have 2 positions on the board of our local DMMO in Portland, Oregon!

On the hosting side, I'm feeling passionate about the new mural we had painted on the side of our vacation rental. I'm including pictures so that you can see the miracle emerge. It creates (for me) a sense of awe and reverence when arriving at the property, setting a surprisingly emotional tone. I'm pretty sure our guests will love it!
 

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No question, my passion is creating space for people to heal. As a recent cancer thriver myself, I literally healed my mind and body by spending time in Carmel-by-the-sea, working in the gardens, planting trees, crafting babbling water fountains, growing vines to attract hummingbirds, hanging wind chimes, and creating a nurturing, beautiful, and healing space that I can share with my guests.

A few months ago, I hosted a young woman who had just miscarried, and after her first night at the cottage, she texted to say that she had her first real deep, restful sleep in months since she lost her child. I set her up with a local meditation leader to take her on a 1 on 1 guided spiritual hike through the redwood forests in Big Sur. She said she was able to release her grief at last.

A middle aged father who grew up in Carmel booked recently because he was recovering from quadruple by-pass and wanted to spend healing time with his kids in Carmel knowing that no one is guaranteed a tomorrow.

Another woman who was going through chemo booked the cottage as a present to herself so she would have something to look forward to once she finished her treatments.

We all have someone we know and even love who is recovering from something devastating. These are the people for whom I’m passionate about creating extraordinary experiences.

These people are my tribe. These are the people who help me heal. This is why I do what I do.
Wow Barry, this is all so moving. Thank you for taking the time to share.
 
Susanne, I have a quick tip for you regarding Booking Direct. Create a flyer to put in your homes to advise return guests that booking direct will save them $$. Have your cards there and invite them to take one and contact you for the next visit. We've built up to about a 30% return like this in 3 years. It might be slow, but it's almost zero effort to do this.
Thanks, Debi, this is a fantastic idea! Education about Booking Direct when they are there instead of relying on email marketing post visit that may or may not be viewed.
 
I'm always passionate about Host2Host, and I'm proud to say that we now have 2 positions on the board of our local DMMO in Portland, Oregon!

On the hosting side, I'm feeling passionate about the new mural we had painted on the side of our vacation rental. I'm including pictures so that you can see the miracle emerge. It creates (for me) a sense of awe and reverence when arriving at the property, setting a surprisingly emotional tone. I'm pretty sure our guests will love it!
Great idea!
Lynda Mapes just won the 2022 Washington State Non-Fiction Award for her book "Orca: Shared Water, Shared Home"! Here's the Amazon link for anyone wanting to learn about the current situation with our beloved west coast Orca whales. https://www.amazon.com/Orca-Shared-...rds=orca:+shared+Waters&qid=1663599075&sr=8-1
 
We just put together our 5th VR and then I saw this post (I do not know why they do not come to my email but that goodness I found it here)! And it really got me thinking. In setting this one up - what did we include that reflect us and our passions? We love to be with family and friends, and to do things with them - so we set the VR up to host many people in a comfortable environment with lots to do (games, moveis, lists of things around the areas, etc.) . We also provided a lovely office to help (we are passionate about what we do and need to work while on vacay - so we wanted to allow our guest the freedom to do so in an nice spot!). We gave it a theme (we are currently obsessed with the Bali / Boho look) and it came out SO good. We are heading back to give it a final review and I will be making a longer list to give it that final touch! Hopefully it works and the guests are happy!
 

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