Honey Badger Award: BRIC Vacation Rentals Goes Extra Mile in Giving Back

Each month at LiveRez, we give out our Honey Badger Award to partners and team members that are making a big impact. This month the partner award goes to BRIC Vacation Rentals, and the team member awards go to Mark Sams and Luis Calas. Let’s learn more about what makes them special.

Partner Award: BRIC Vacation Rentals


BRIC Vacation Rentals - Honey Badger Award

Company Gives Generously to Community, Helps Other Partners

On its website, BRIC Vacation Rentals highlights a quote from St. Francis of Assisi: “For it is in giving that we receive.”

But if the company’s actions are any indication, it’s more than just a quote: It’s a mission statement.

BRIC is serious about giving back, whether it’s volunteering to keep local beaches clean in its hometown of Playa del Carmen, hosting golf tourneys to raise money for Keeping Kids in School, or donating vacation rental stays to doctors performing pro-bono surgeries for children in the Cancun area.

Recently, the company has gone out of its way to help other partners in setting up businesses in Mexico. You see, starting a business in Mexico can be a tough proposition if you’re unfamiliar with local laws and practices. BRIC already has a thriving business in Playa del Carmen, and they’ve recently gone above and beyond in helping other partners wade through the process of getting set up.

BRIC gives and gives, and never asks for anything in return. And to us, that makes them the perfect candidate to receive this month’s partner Honey Badger Award!

Team Member Awards: Mark Sams and Luis Calas


The team member Honey Badger Award goes to LiveRez employees that always put the team first, make others around them stronger, and exemplify the culture and DNA of LiveRez.

Our winners this month are Mark Sams and Luis Calas. Let’s learn some more about them.

Mark-Sams-hb3

Mark Sams

Mark is a key member of our development team at LiveRez. Recently, he’s been instrumental in developing a number of soon-to-be-released features, such eSignatures and Responsive Check-Out.

Around the office, Mark is known as the resident pool shark. Beating him even once is considered a badge of honor. Mark was also a competitive racquetball player and still plays recreationally today. He loves being outdoors, camping with his family and seeing new places. While in college, Mark had a technical paper on an original data structure published in Dr. Dobbs Magazine.

Luis-Calas-HB

Luis Calas

Luis carries our design team at LiveRez (just see the photo above). Born in Cuba and raised in New Jersey, Luis has an eye for style (but not so much fashion yet, he says). He loves designing for web and print. For Luis, making it all come together is key, no matter what the medium.

Luis holds a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Computer Graphics from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He just celebrated his 18-year anniversary with his wife, Tiffany. In his free time, he enjoys coaching his three boys (Ian, Luke and Gabe) in baseball, basketball and football. Luis said his dream in life is to beat Mark Sams (this month’s other Honey Badger) three times in a row in pool.

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the most widely used software platform for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation and property management, websites with online bookings, trust accounting, CRM, housekeeping and maintenance, reporting, reviews and more. LiveRez is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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Airbnb Content Strategist Michael Endelman Joins LiveRez Partner Conference as Key Instructor

Endelman’s Background Includes Senior Content-Centric Roles at Airbnb, Google, Rolling Stone Magazine and More

Michael Endelman - AirbnbEagle, IDLiveRez.com, the most widely used cloud-based software for professional vacation rental managers, today announced that Airbnb’s Michael Endelman will join its growing roster of instructors at the company’s annual Partner Conference October 10 through October 13 at the Lost Pines Resort and Spa in Austin, TX.

Endelman, a content and experience strategist for Airbnb, is a highly-regarded expert in using content to engage travelers. His past experience includes a stint as a senior content strategist for Google, as well as editor gigs at Rolling Stone Magazine, Food & Wine Magazine and Spin Magazine.

“Securing Michael as an instructor was a huge goal for us,” said LiveRez VP of Operations Tina Upson. “Not only does he have deep experience in writing and editing content that engages travelers, but he’s tuned in on a daily basis to what’s helping hosts get more bookings on Airbnb.”

In 2015, LiveRez was selected by Airbnb as the first North American property management software it would integrate with. This came after Airbnb Head of Global Vacation Rentals Shaun Stewart met with 87 different software providers worldwide.

In the past year, hundreds of professional property managers using LiveRez (called partners) have found success advertising their properties on Airbnb through LiveRez’s real-time integration with the global leader. In addition to the convenience and cost savings of the integration, LiveRez partners are also seeing an uptick in revenue.

At the 2016 LiveRez Partner Conference, Endelman will teach a variety of classes on how managers can further optimize their properties listings on Airbnb and elsewhere, and use this content to better engage travelers and earn more bookings.

Endelman joins a stacked lineup of instructors at this year’s conference. In fact, he’s the second high-profile instructor LiveRez has announced in just the past week. On Thursday, the company released the news that it had secured vacation rental marketing expert Matt Landau as a key instructor for its marketing classes.

More big conference announcements, including the unveiling of big-name keynote speakers, are slotted for release in the coming weeks.

To learn more about the 2016 LiveRez Partner Conference, visit Conference.LiveRez.com.

About LiveRez.com

LiveRez.com is a complete, online, vacation rental property management solution, focused on making vacation rental property managers fully operational online and thereby increasing bookings. LiveRez.com offers an all-in-one cloud-based platform, featuring best-in-class websites optimized for online bookings, a full-featured reservation and property management system, a robust CRM system, an exclusive connection to QuickBooks for trust accounting, and a unique “Pay-for-Performance” approach, which provides a mutually beneficial partnership between LiveRez.com and its vacation rental manager partners. The company’s largest competitor is HomeAway Software for Professionals.

To learn more about LiveRez.com, please call 800-343-2891 or visit LiveRez.com. And, to receive timely updates from the company, follow LiveRez.com on Facebook, Twitter (@LiveRez) and Google+, or visit the company’s vacation rental software blog. LiveRez.com is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Vacation Rental Marketing Expert Matt Landau Joins LiveRez Partner Conference as Key Instructor

Landau’s Vacation Rental Marketing Blog (VRMB) is one of the most followed publications in the vacation rental industry

Matt Landau - Vacation Rental Marketing Expert

Vacation Rental Marketing Expert Matt Landau will be a key instructor at the 2016 LiveRez Partner Conference. (Photo Credit: Tarina Rodriguez)

Eagle, IDLiveRez.com, the most widely used cloud-based software for professional vacation rental managers, today announced that Matt Landau will join its growing roster of instructors at the company’s annual Partner Conference October 10 through October 13 at the Lost Pines Resort and Spa in Austin, TX.

Landau’s Vacation Rental Marketing Blog (VRMB) is one of the top blogs in the vacation rental industry. Each month the publication attracts more than 15,000 visitors and its Inner Circle (a private community that financially supports the free blog) has grown to nearly 800 members.

“Matt is widely regarded as one of the world’s top experts in vacation rental marketing,” said LiveRez VP of Operations Tina Upson. “And, we’re thrilled to have him join the LiveRez community as a key instructor at our 2016 Partner Conference.”

This year LiveRez is splitting the conference into two different training tracks, a “Coaches Track” intended for company leaders that focuses on growing your business, and an “Athletes Track” that focuses on intensive system training and is designed for team members that are executing a company’s daily operations.

The instructors in the Coaches Track will be made up primarily of the industry’s top experts in different subject areas, whereas the Athletes Track will feature a mix of LiveRez software experts, ranging from LiveRez team members to professional property managers using LiveRez (called partners).

Landau will teach two classes in the “Coaches Track.” The first class will focus on creating a balanced marketing portfolio, with an emphasis on building your own brand. The second class will walk professional managers through the process of building their 2017 marketing plan.

“The definition of what it means to be a successful property manager today is dramatically different than what it meant only 10 years back,” Landau said. “Industry events like these are vital to the well-being and sustainability of the vacation rental industry as a whole because they bring progressive thinkers together under one roof, and they prove that you don’t have to run your business the way big corporations expect.”

In addition to two separate training tracks, the conference will also include a big reveal of new technology, as well as exciting keynote speakers, which the company will begin to announce in the coming weeks.

To learn more about the 2016 LiveRez Partner Conference, visit Conference.LiveRez.com.

About LiveRez.com

LiveRez.com is a complete, online, vacation rental property management solution, focused on making vacation rental property managers fully operational online and thereby increasing bookings. LiveRez.com offers an all-in-one cloud-based platform, featuring best-in-class websites optimized for online bookings, a full-featured reservation and property management system, a robust CRM system, an exclusive connection to QuickBooks for trust accounting, and a unique “Pay-for-Performance” approach, which provides a mutually beneficial partnership between LiveRez.com and its vacation rental manager partners. The company’s largest competitor is HomeAway Software for Professionals.

To learn more about LiveRez.com, please call 800-343-2891 or visit LiveRez.com. And, to receive timely updates from the company, follow LiveRez.com on Facebook, Twitter (@LiveRez) and Google+, or visit the company’s vacation rental software blog. LiveRez.com is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

What I Learned on My Vacation Rental Road Trip

LiveRez VP of Operations Shares Her Insights from a Recent Trip to Visit Partners

By Tina Upson, LiveRez VP of Operations

Tina Upson - LiveRez VP of Operations

Tina Upson, LiveRez’s VP of Operations.

Earlier this month, my LiveRez team members and I took a road trip to go and visit some of our awesome partners in the southeastern part of the country.

In just one week, we were able to get into the offices of no less than 10 LiveRez partners. Plus, we had another two partners stay with us in our vacation rental – who said sleepovers have to end at 17?

We observed office procedures, coached on underutilized tools, and then worked our butts off to help partners with any work involved in implementing the new features.

Along the way, I learned a lot not only about our partners, but about myself as well. In this post, I’ll try to touch on the big things I learned and share some of the advice I gave to the partners we visited.

Vacation Rental Managers Are My Type of People

Our beautiful home for the week!

Our beautiful home for the week!

I have a reoccurring thing that happens to me, where I am talking nonstop about the Vacation Rental industry to just about anyone who will listen. Then, I see that look in their eye…They really have NO idea why I’m so passionate about what I do for a living.

Ultimately, I’ve come to realize that it’s the people in this crazy industry that I really love. Mostly, because they are my kind of people – fast-paced, social, hard-working, with about zero healthy work boundaries. Most of them are on call 24/7, striving to keep two people – the homeowner and the guest – happy at all times. Holding it all together is quite the accomplishment!

So, when we can make their lives even a little bit easier, it’s incredibly rewarding. And sometimes the best way to understand how we can help is to go visit managers on their home turf.

Changes in Distribution Channels a Big Concern

The common topic that came up at all of the onsite visits I did was distribution channels, especially all the changes we’ve seen in the past months. Overwhelmingly, this has been the topic of conversation throughout all of our partner base. But, sitting face-to-face with partners and walking them through what we are seeing across the industry made me realize the level of unrest there is right now. I felt like after each deeper dive into what partners need to know and what they need to do, there was more confidence and less fear of the unknown.

That being said, how in the world was I going to get an hour-long, face-to-face with each partner at LiveRez? The truth is, I cannot. So I’ve decide to blog about it, and see if I can reach a few more people and help add some transparency to a murky situation.

Distribution is NOT a new topic of conversation. Many people know that at LiveRez we have preached listing site independence and diversifying your marketing portfolio since the beginning of time. But seeing a problem isn’t the same thing as taking steps to fix it.

So let’s talk about Step 1 – the first thing that a PM needs to do in order to feel in control of their business – and that’s getting the data.

DATA is Key

Growing up my dad owned a truck scale company and always said, “You can’t improve what you cannot measure.” So my advice to all partners and others navigating this ever-changing VR space is to get data.

First, you need a list of ALL avenues or channels that bring bookings to your company. This would be any OTAs, your own website, and any other places where you list your properties or advertise your business. The data needs to be sorted by channel. And, here are the questions needing answered for each channel:

  • What percentage of your overall bookings does this channel bring in?
  • What is the Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)? That’s how much you spent on that channel versus how much money that channel brought in (shown as a percentage). For example, you spent $1,000 on HomeAway advertising and made $3,000 in booking commissions and fees from this HomeAway advertising (that’s a 33% CPA).
  • What’s the Booking Pace (rate at which bookings are made for a particular date)?
  • What’s the Booking Window (time between guest booking and arrival)?
  • What is your Average Daily Rate? This is the average a guest pays per night to stay in one of your properties.
  • What is your average Length of Stay? This is how many nights each booking is on average.
  • What are your margins? How much of your revenue is profit? Are you working harder to fulfill bookings from one channel versus another? Are increasing marketing costs cutting into your profit?

Once you have this data, you’ll understand which channels you’re most dependent on and how each channel is performing. Armed with this data, you’ll be ready to put together a plan to make the necessary changes to be successful.

I’ll cover Part II in an upcoming post.

Your Brand Matters

A huge part of taking control of your business is building your brand through a diversified marketing portfolio. Every partner I talked with wanted to build up their brand. They just needed a realistic plan to get started.

These conversations really reinforced my confidence in what we’re planning for the 2016 Partner Conference. This year, every company that attends the conference is going to walk away with a both a business plan and a marketing plan. And, we’re in the process of lining up some of the top experts in the industry to come in and teach them how to do this in our “Coaches Track.”

The other training track, the “Athletes Track,” will teach your on-the-ground team members how to better utilize the system…which bring me to my final point.

Getting More Out of LiveRez

Even before my trip, I had noticed that even our best partners could still get more out of their LiveRez software. As much as we try to let partners know about new features and how to use them, there’s still a lot of partners that don’t realize all the awesome things LiveRez can do. Others know there are parts of the system they could be using, but haven’t had the time to implement them yet.

In our visits, we were able to help our partners start implementing some of these time-saving features. And, just like our partners who wished they had more time to implement some of these new feature, I wish my team and I had more time to go visit every LiveRez partner and give them that final push to help them get set up.

It’s funny how sometimes a lack of time is what’s holding us back from implementing something that will save us a TON of time in the future. Sometimes all you need is a little push.

That’s why I think events like the Partner Conference are so important. Not only do I get to see all my LiveRez peeps from around the world, but it’s also a great time for them to focus on their businesses and take the time to implement all the functionality they haven’t had a chance to yet (and with the whole LiveRez team there to help!).

Closing Thoughts

If you take away nothing else, let it be this…

  1. Our Partners are Incredible People
  2. Your Brand Matters
  3. Get Your Data about All Channels before I Blog about Step II
  4. Register for Partner Conference (if you haven’t already)

 
Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the most widely used software platform for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation and property management, websites with online bookings, trust accounting, CRM, housekeeping and maintenance, reporting, reviews and more. LiveRez is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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Honey Badger Awards: Big Bear Luxury Properties Sees 40% Increase in Revenue Thanks to Airbnb Integration

Congratulations to the winners of this month’s Honey Badger Awards! The monthly award highlights members of the LiveRez community, both partners and LiveRez team members,  that are going the extra mile and making big impacts on their organizations. This month we highlight Big Bear Luxury Properties (Partner Winner), and Josh Hurst and Justin Borchardt (Team Member Winners)!

Partner Winner – Big Bear Luxury Properties

Company Grows Revenue 40% with Airbnb Integration

Big Bear Luxury Properties

Each month, we highlight a partner that is making big strides in their business. This month the award goes to Big Bear Luxury Properties in Big Bear Lake, CA.

Big Bear Luxury Properties is absolutely killing it on Airbnb. For the first quarter this year, their rental revenue has increased 40% year over year. And, a big part of that growth has come from their Airbnb bookings.

Jo Ann Cecil, owner of Big Bear Luxury Properties, said she’s definitely thankful that LiveRez partnered with Airbnb. She said not only has it “been a breeze” to add homes to Airbnb, but the support from both LiveRez and Airbnb has been great!

“There is never a question that goes unanswered from both LiveRez and Airbnb,” Cecil said.

One of the keys to the company’s success on Airbnb has been their team’s dedication to learning more about Airbnb and how it operates.

“We look forward to our continued partnership with LiveRez and Airbnb!” Cecil continued. “Here’s to more and more bookings!”

Team Member Winners

The team member award goes to LiveRez employees that always put the team first, make others around them stronger, and exemplify the culture and DNA of LiveRez. Our winners this month are Josh Hurst and Justin Borchardt.

Josh Hurst

Josh Hurst - LiveRezThe Do-It-All Programmer
Josh is a key member of our development team at LiveRez. Throughout his seven years with the company, Josh has worked in just about every department, except billing.

Some fun facts about Josh: He’s been riding the unicycle since he was 11, can beat his older brother Tyler (LiveRez’s VP of Sales/Marketing) in an arm wrestling competition, and is a self-taught web developer. In his free time, Josh reads programming books to keep up on the latest trends.

Justin Borchardt

Justin Borchardt - LiveRezA Black Belt in More Than Just Karate
Justin is a key member of our support team, playing multiple roles in addition to tech support, like handling SSL certificates, DNS updates and working with the engineering team on issues.

Justin has a degree in IT and is pursuing a degree in mobile application development. In his free time, he likes to spend time with his three kids, and enjoys tuner cars and outdoor adventures, like fishing and camping. He also holds a black belt in American Kenpo.

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the most widely used software platform for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation and property management, websites with online bookings, trust accounting, CRM, housekeeping and maintenance, reporting, reviews and more. LiveRez is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz Gives Epic Speech at Capital Connect 2016

LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz gave an epic speech today at the Idaho Technology Council‘s Capital Connect 2016 event today.

In the speech, Lotz talks about LiveRez’s growth and gives advice to other start-ups building their businesses. You can check out his full speech in the video below. You can’t miss this one!

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the most widely used software platform for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation and property management, websites with online bookings, trust accounting, CRM, housekeeping and maintenance, reporting, reviews and more. LiveRez is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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Honey Badger Awards: Big Sky Vacation Rentals Uses CRM to Boost Sales 38%

Honey Badger Awards

Each month LiveRez gives out its Honey Badger Awards to highlight team members and LiveRez partners that have made big strides during the month.

This month, we have a new partner award winner and two team member winners.

Partner Winner – Big Sky Vacation Rentals

Newsletter-Cover-Big-Sky

Each month, we highlight a partner that is making big strides in their business. This month the award goes to Big Sky Vacation Rentals in Big Sky, MT.

Big Sky Vacation Rentals’ Owners Mike and Kirsten King recently hired rockstar employee Shelley Henslee, who dug into LiveRez’s lead management system and revolutionized the company’s use of it.

Thanks to her efforts, the team has dramatically increased it close rate for leads. By utilizing the lead status field, Henslee was able to better organize the team’s efforts in working leads.

This led to an impressive close rate of 35% and a whopping 38% increase in booking revenue! Over the course of the year, this improvement in close rate could help Big Sky VR add more than $1 million in additional revenue!

Team Member Winners

Mike-Rob-312

Mike Luna (left) and Rob Holderness (right) are this month’s Honey Badger Award Winners.

The team member award goes to a LiveRez employees that always put the team first, make others around them stronger, and exemplify the culture and DNA of LiveRez. Our winners this month are Mike Luna and Rob Holderness.

Mike Luna

Mike works on our development team, helping build the world’s greatest vacation rental software. Most recently, he’s played a big role in developing LiveTrust, our new trust accounting solution.

When Mike isn’t burning the midnight oil laying down code, he enjoys playing with his two sons, performing science demonstrations for youth groups, playing basketball, cooking, watching movies and wood working (which he started when he built a cradle for his first child).

Rob Holderness

Rob executes LiveRez’s marketing and public relations efforts, plus writes documentation and manages the FAQ system. He also writes blogs (like this one).

A few fun facts about Rob: He wrote his Master’s thesis on a single episode of South Park, played baseball in college, and enjoys playing guitar, fishing and brewing his own beer.

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the most widely used software platform for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation and property management, websites with online bookings, trust accounting, CRM, housekeeping and maintenance, reporting, reviews and more. LiveRez is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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