The good news is that the vacation rental industry is projected to grow 9.7% per year through 2020 (Statista). For vacation rental managers (VRMs), this growth comes with a new set of challenges. In addition to an overall increase in competition, Andrew McConnell of Rented.com notes that there’s been convergence in the marketplace. Travelers aren’t differentiating clearly between “sharing economy” accommodations, typically in someone’s home, and vacation rentals, typically a second residence or investment property. Further, as OTAs incorporate more vacation rental listings, “options across all categories… blur together” (Skift, May 2016).
This emerging trend makes it more important than ever for vacation rentals to set themselves apart, and VRMA National is the go-to event for discovering fresh strategies and tactics that can be put in place immediately.
Here’s where we think VRMs will get the most bang for their buck during the sessions (and have some fun doing it) at this year’s VRMA National Conference from October 16-19. We have outlined what we consider to be the best bets for walking away with strategies that will make money, not cost money.
Monday, October 17th
Session 1, 11:00am – 12:00pm
Driving New Revenue through 2nd Chance Bookings
Presented by Brise Carpenter, Director of Client Success, NAVIS
Did you know that reservation agents making warm, follow-up calls to “fence-sitters” have booked more than $108 million in reservations in the last 12 months? Do you want a piece of this revenue pie, worth as much as a 10% increase in your top line revenue? This “how-to” session will demonstrate the value of making second chance booking calls and will teach you proven best practices for establishing a successful program in your business.
Vendor Showcase Networking, 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm
With custom margaritas, the NAVIS booth should be your first networking stop. We can sip and talk shop together.
Session 2, 1:00pm – 2:00 pm
Reviews are People Too: Make Them Count
Presented by Sheryl Floyd, Manager, Onboarding Training, HomeAway;
Laura Howell, Senior Director, North America Sales Property Management, HomeAway
Reviews matter and complete the traveler’s expectations before booking your property. Get tips on soliciting reviews, the timing, and how to get the most out of your responses. This session will also highlight the data behind review effectiveness, how to take advantage of mobile devices and how property managers are using reviews to complete the customer experience.
Session 3, 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Lead Management versus Inquiry Management: Why They are Not the Same and Why You Should Care
Presented by Heather Weiermann, System Consultant, VR Industry Specialist, NAVIS
As the cost of leads continues to rise, effective lead management becomes even more important in today’s marketplace. However, there is a significant difference between lead management and inquiry management – but there is not yet terminology to clarify the difference. Learn about the differences, as well as how different approaches will affect your guest experience, your financial reporting, and your performance metrics.
Session 4, 4:30pm – 5:30 pm
Free or Almost-Free Ways to WOW Your Guests
Presented by Sarah Bradford, Owner, Winter Park Lodging Company
Let’s face it – we don’t have an extra billion dollars to give our guests limo tours, free lift tickets, or a gourmet dinner. A few years ago, we decided to really brainstorm ways to “wow” our guests without breaking the bank. Since we’ve implemented those ideas, our 5-star reviews have skyrocketed. Learn how we enhanced the guest experience without breaking the bank!
Tuesday, October 18th
Session 1, 11:30am – 12:30pm
Presented by George Volsky, Industry Consultant; Scott Leggat, CEO, LSI
Review tried and true revenue fundamentals that have been developed and shared by your fellow rental managers. Highlights will include the impact on VRM revenue of new fees being imposed on renters by HomeAway and AirBnb, as well as the growing influence of OTAs. This session is a “must-attend” for new managers and is also a valuable update for veterans. Learn about the relationship between commissions and fees. The revenue logic behind nightly and one-time fees, the strategy tradeoffs for add-on fees vs. fees buried in the rent, and how fees increase “effective” commission rates and insulate managers from discounting.
Session 2, 1:30pm – 2:30pm
Connecting with Other Owners and Other Senior Leaders – Management Company Owners, Presidents & General Managers
Presented by Kyle Buehner, CEO, NAVIS
From staffing to liability, to marketing, vacation rental executives have their hands full. Bring your concerns and questions to this executive-only session to discuss these issues with peers who have faced or are facing the same challenges. This session is driven by what YOU want to talk about; don’t miss your opportunity to walk away with the ideas, resources, and solutions you need.
The Power of Knowing Your Guests
Presented by Amber Mayer, Co-Owner, Perceptions by Mayer (Consulting); Eric Snider, Chief Research Officer and President, Lifestory Research
Learn how to leverage the guest data from your PMS system and work with different online tools and agencies to append your data with demographic and psychographic information to create a marketing roadmap that allows you to market to the right guests, at the right time, with the right messaging.
Live Auction & Party, 7pm – 10pm
We’re sponsoring the auction and party, and you’ll definitely want to get in on our auction prize, “The NAVIS Vacation Rental Master Pack” with
- VRMA Membership Dues for 1 year
- 2017 Conference Registration for two
- Full day of on-site training for your reservations agents
- Call Analytics Report
The general sessions are full of essential industry, strategy, and innovation experts including Jonathan Fader, a Team Sports Psychologist, and Douglas Quinby, VP of Research for Phocuswright. Sometimes we choose, but this time, we say make it to them all if you can.
If you’ve been to VRMA National before, you already know the best-of-the-best in the vacation rental industry consider it a must-attend. By attending these sessions we can guarantee you’ll walk away with more than ever before.