It’s always great to have the opportunity to contribute to an issue of VRM Intel. The Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA) is excited to be partnering with the VRM Intel team and serving as the presenting sponsor of the upcoming Vacation Rental Women’s Summit this coming February in New Orleans. Thanks to VRM Intel for this opportunity and for the continued support of VRMA. The more education we can help bring to the industry, the better. Education is the very foundation of VRMA.
We are, after all, a trade association built and governed by vacation rental managers for vacation rental managers. Since 1985, and now more than ever, VRMA has been focused on raising the level of professionalism in the industry and distinguishing our core members—traditional professional vacation rental managers—from the bad actors and outliers who are drawing so much negative attention to our industry. Our education and advocacy efforts, driven by our board of directors, all have in mind the goals of raising the bar, elevating the industry, and advancing the great work this industry has been doing for decades. That’s central to our role in the Women’s Summit and of all that VRMA does.
Another example of these efforts is our brand-new Vacation Rental Management Certificate program. Launched in July, this program provides vacation rental managers the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive online certificate program designed specifically to acknowledge and differentiate our professional membership.
This assessment-based program provides a complete view of the roles and responsibilities of a vacation rental manager working in the industry today and is intended for managers (or above) who are in charge of multiple departments in their companies.
This program is not a new concept; this version has been in development for some time. In 2016, the VRMA board of directors commissioned a study to perform research and analysis on implementing a professional certificate program in the vacation rental management industry. This research confirmed that there was and is a high demand for a professional program to designate vacation rental managers who have demonstrated a standard of industry expertise. The study found a high level of support for VRMA, as a nonprofit trade association, to provide this certificate program.
That last point was key; as the only nonprofit industry association focused solely on vacation rental management, VRMA’s motives are clear. It is not a for-profit entity; there are no shareholders or principals. All proceeds from VRMA programs go right back into VRMA and its members. We want to provide more value to our membership through best-in-class programs like this and increased educational offerings both in person and online.
VRMA then began developing the program; key to this process and to the program’s success was the participation of over twenty subject-matter experts in developing the content and assessment. VRMA arranged focus groups of successful and experienced vacation rental managers and industry experts to articulate the subject areas and competencies that should be covered in this program. VRMA subsequently sent a survey to its membership to validate the work of these experts.
The industry experts worked closely with a VRMA staff certification specialist and an instructional design consultant to ensure that the content aligned with best practices in certificate development and principles of adult education. The VRMA board of directors reviewed the program’s content before finalizing it.
The result is what is available right now: a high-value program for all stakeholders that raises the standard of awareness and professionalism in the vacation rental industry, delivered in an accessible online format to maximize engagement.
The program contains five comprehensive online modules with information on topics ranging from accounting and finance to maintenance, marketing, and guest and owner relations. Critical components of the business, such as housekeeping safety standards, reservations and sales training best practices, compliance with employment laws and local and federal regulations, and management of dynamic relationships with owners and guests are just a few of the topics covered in this program.
To receive the certificate, an applicant must complete all five modules and achieve a passing score on the subsequent skill assessment. Those who achieve a passing score on the assessment can utilize the designation Vacation Rental Management Professional (VRMP) after their names and signature blocks to proudly display their accomplishment to colleagues, clients, and potential owners and guests.
Individuals don’t have to take the full exam to utilize these modules; they are also available for purchase on an individual module basis. Companies can also use these modules as part of their training and on-boarding.
Initial feedback has been very positive across the board. In addition to the high value that our educational content is bringing, many of our members have already taken and completed the assessment and earned their VRMP designation. These individuals will be recognized at our fall conference in Las Vegas and throughout the year.
We are very proud of this program and we are looking to use it as a building block for more to come. We’ll be announcing complementary educational offerings and programs in the very near future. Be sure to join VRMA if you haven’t already, or follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on our latest offerings.
We look forward to helping you continue to grow your association. For more information on the Vacation Rental Management Certificate program, visit www.vrma.org/certificate.