The 2021 Spring-Summer VRM Intel Magazine is here, and this issue is packed with articles for vacation rental professionals about staffing, marketing, business, technology, reservations, and more.
Table of Contents
Letter from editor below.
22 Careerists: From Entry Level to Executive by Paul Caballero
26 Competing for Talent by Sue Jones
30 The Front Line is Broken by Steve Trover
32 The Battle for Direct Bookings Is Hand-to-Hand Combat by Doug Kennedy
34 The Value of Asking Questions by Ali Cammelletti
69 Email Marketing for Today’s Economic Climate by Jennifer Perez
70 Using Social Influencers by Jodi Bourne
72 The Truth About Vacation Rental SEO by Jill Highsmith McGee
76 Shift-Sharing in Distribution Channels by Michelle Marquis
82 Vrbo’s Quizzing for Travel Preferences Provides Zero-Party Data by Wendell Lansford
84 Create Great Memories to Match Guests’ Great Experiences by Chris Taylor
21 Time to Tech Up Your Properties by Sean Miller
63 Technology and the COVID Silver Lining by Lino Maldonado
65 New Vacation Rental Data Standards by Melanie Brown
67 Adding IT to the Executive Team by Wendy Glover
78 Using Tech to Execute Revenue Management Strategies by Emily Pattillo
88 Remote Control Exasperation by Paula Caballero
37 Preparing to Sell: Staff and Management Contracts by Jacobie Olin
39 Avoid Costly Mistakes When Selling Your Business by Ben Edwards
40 An Inside Look at Casiola by Amy Hinote
47 Important Survey: The Industry Needs Your Feedback with Phocuswright + Letter from Editor about the Survey
49 Where is Vacation Rental Management Heading? by Jeremy Gall
52 Help Cut Your Homeowner’s Taxes by Jon Cunningham
56 The End of Property Management as We Know It? by Alex Nigg
59 Connecting Your Business and Personal Goals with a Plan by Bill Whichard and John Woolard
60 Canadian Groundhog Day: COVID Shutdowns Continue by Heather Bayer
54 3rd Annual Data and Revenue Management Conference, Aug 17 -18, Charleston, SC
90 2021 Calendar of Events
92 Vacation Rental Women’s Summit, December 1 – 2, 2021
The year is shaping up to be record-setting for most US vacation rental destinations, but our industry’s narrative is still a story of haves and have-nots as several markets (such as Hawaii) have been slow to recover. The vacation rental industry has taken quite a hit outside the US with continued restrictions and a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and variants. In Canada, for example, property managers are experiencing yet another shutdown period (Heather Bayer tells us more on page 56).
As disruptive as the past year was, the vacation rental industry saw an enormous boost in interest from travelers. According to the inaugural consumer study, “Vacation Rental Barometer,” released in May from Generali, “71 percent of travelers indicated they would book a vacation rental in the next 18 months.”
This is a shocking number for those of us who have been in the industry for over a decade. We remember when that number moved from 10 percent to 30 percent, and we thought we had arrived! I still remember working on the first issue of VRM Intel Magazine in September 2015 when Doug Macnaught asked me if there would be enough new information about the vacation rental industry to fill the pages of a quarterly magazine. Now, I’m throwing myself a nightly pity party because I can’t keep up with each day’s news barrage.
However, I realize I’m not alone in feeling unable to keep up. Staffing has become the most significant challenge in our industry. VRMs are working locally to execute strategies to source regional employees, but as an industry, we must come together to find ways to educate potential workers about the many career opportunities in this sector. In the previous issue, we started a series (continued on page 22) featuring people who started in entry-level positions and rose to high-level positions, building lucrative careers in the vacation rental industry. Imagine a national campaign highlighting career opportunities, starting with high school students. If you are interested in working on this, are already developing programs, or have ideas, please let me know.
A more positive challenge we face right now is revenue management. In the past, revenue management strategies largely revolved around discounting, but with the tsunami of demand this year, we’re looking at this discipline differently. Although it’s great that many companies are fully booked for months ahead, many have been able to raise rates, bringing in more revenue for homeowners. There is a great deal to talk about at the upcoming Data and Revenue Management (DARM) Conference in Charleston, August 17 and 18 (page 54). For VRM execs, marketers, and revenue managers, this is an event that will include more strategy sharing than any we’ve had in a long time. While on the subject of DARM, I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forward to seeing you in person again! It’s been way too long.
In other news, we’re seeing another influx of outside investment in the industry, and we will be discussing Vacasa’s next move, new SPACs, consolidation, and roll-ups over the coming months. I’ll continue to try not to opine about Sonder’s recent public offering—but no promises.
For those of you who have worked for decades to build this industry in consumers’ eyes, I want to offer you heaps of gratitude and hearty pats on your broken backs. Your tireless work has paid off, and the vacation rental industry is finally reaping a harvest from the seeds you have planted and nurtured. We no longer have to fight for recognition. Now, we just have to be smart about how we mature.
Many thanks to you for reading, and don’t hesitate to let me know what VRM Intel can do to support your efforts.
Amy Hinote, founder and editor, VRM Intel Magazine