The professional vacation rental industry is unique in that vacation rental managers (VRMs) all over the world are heavily invested in their communities and work tirelessly to improve the destinations in which they reside. In the new series “VRMs Give Back,” we will be sharing stories of programs that vacation rental managers have created to help others in their communities.
“The Feed NC Project started as an in-house idea with me and my wife, Holly, at our company, Topsail Realty Vacations,” said Harrington. “A local food bank group called Share the Table has been around for years and lives off of turnover-day food donations from vacationers staying in vacation rentals. While it has been successful, there really wasn’t a great way to logistically maximize donations. Our experience is that guests are very thoughtful and absolutely willing to help if they can, but we needed to find a way to make it easier for them to do so.”
The Harringtons reached out to their good friends, Jim Wallace of Intracoastal Realty and Tim Cafferty of Outer Banks Blue. Like others, Intracoastal Realty and Outer Banks Blue had been asking guests to donate unused food over the years in a similar fashion but had been challenged by logistics, processes, and reporting.
According to Harrington , “We thought a cohesive brand and communication strategy might help boost the visibility and importance of the real issue of lack of food for folks in our areas. We wanted to show the big hearts of the North Carolina Vacation Rental Management industry with something we all could get behind.”
With Wallace and Cafferty on board, Harrington reached out to other colleagues, including Stuart Pack at Resort Realty, Jim Kitts at Carolina Beach Realty, Whitney Sauls at Sloane Realty, and Kevin Futral at Bluewater Real Estate.
“This group is a real force of professional managers representing over 1,700 properties. As we continue to fine-tune our efforts and put our logistical expertise behind [the project], we feel good that we can really make a difference in our areas,” said Harrington.
Through the initiative, each company determines how food is collected and donated, and the Feed NC Project acts as the collective brand and mouthpiece for the group to promote their efforts and provide education and awareness of the hunger issues facing their communities. The participating VRMs are all committed to the Feed NC Project and are making concentrated efforts to improve it each year.
“We really hope to see more professional NC VRMs get involved and participate. We know everyone kind of does their own thing now, but just like the vacation rental industry, it is very fragmented and hard to really gauge how much we all do for our local communities and North Carolina as a whole,” said Harrington. “Because we are still feeling out how we want to proceed, we’ve been a little slow to really approach everyone, but we are certainly open to anyone interested!”
Harrington added, “Ultimately, we’d like to show the public how big of a force for good our industry is within North Carolina.”
The Feed NC Project serves as an inspiration to other VRM companies that are looking for new ways to give back to their communities. Is your VRM giving back? We would love to hear about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.