Counting Down our Top 10 Moments in 2016

LiveRez Best of 2016

It’s hard to believe all that Team LiveRez has accomplished together in 2016. As we head into 2017, we’re looking back on all the incredible events that took place during our most recent trip around the sun. Check out the list below to re-live our biggest moments of the year.

2016 Partner Conference a Home Run

We knew it was going to be hard to top the 2015 Partner Conference in Sun Valley. So, in 2016 we went back to the drawing board, listened to partner feedback, and worked on planning the ultimate vacation rental conference. We made the conference easier to get to, divided it into two training tracks, landed a big name keynote in Daymond John, managed to bring back Marcus Luttrell, brought in industry expert instructors like Matt Landau, David Angotti and Michael Endelman (to name a few), and even added a sports theme.

The result was the biggest and best Partner Conference we’ve ever seen, with nearly 500 attendees from all across the nation and abroad.

LiveRez Releases New Technology

Our development team took things to the next level in 2016, building and releasing more technology than any year in LiveRez’s history. Here’s just a short list of some of the bigger projects they busted out in 2016:

  • LiveTrust – Brand new trust accounting system
  • e-Signature – Fully integrated digital contracts with e-signatures
  • Responsive Checkout — New and improved checkout process that’s fully mobile responsive
  • LiveScore — A big upgrade to our survey and review system that leverages NPS-style questions
  • LiveStay — A new guest experience portal that’s fully mobile responsive

LiveTrust

New Help Center and Community Strengthens LiveRez Network

One of our big initiatives in 2016 was to make it easier for partners to interact with each other, find answers to their questions, and let us know how we could make their lives easier. That’s why we launched Live Community, the new online forum exclusively for LiveRez partners, as well as a new and improved Help Center, filled with training videos and system documentation.

LiveRez Community

LiveRez Announces Plans for Channel Manager

One of the big announcements coming out of Partner Conference and the VRMA Annual Conference was that LiveRez would be building a Channel Manager and creating solutions that allowed partners to work together. Since the announcement, we’ve been in talks with many potential distribution partners and have started laying the groundwork for a cutting edge channel manager that includes a partner referral and distribution network.

LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz a Finalist for Innovator of the Year 

LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz was honored as one of the most forward-thinking tech leaders in Idaho this year, after being named as one of only three finalists for Innovator of the Year.

Tracy Lotz: Innovator of the Year Finalist

Destin Bootcamp

Way back in February, we held a LiveRez Bootcamp in Destin, FL. More than 100 managers attended from all over the southeast to get hands-on system training and catch a first look at LiveTrust, our new trust accounting system.

LiveRez Destin, FL Bootcamp

Partner Visits

In 2016, many partners went way above and beyond in their efforts to network with other partners. In addition to Partner Conference, regional events and online through the new community, a number of partners took the initiative to visit other partners at their headquarters, and we were happy to connect them. From north to south and east to west, partners were crisscrossing the nation to learn from each other.

LiveRez Partner Visits

Team Building

This year we found that the team that…

… paintballs together

… runs like six miles (seriously) the day before Partner Conference together

…and tackles some crazy Christmas party challenges together

Well, that’s the team that stays together. You can check out our teambuilding adventures in the videos below.

Support Team Responsive as Ever!

The support team managed to step up its already stellar performance in 2016. They resolved more tickets than in any year past, had a customer satisfaction rating in the high 90s and a response time that’s nearly 10 times faster than the industry average!

New Partners

In 2016, the LiveRez family grew by nearly 200 property manager partners. These new partners come from all across the world and bring a wide variety of skills and different perspective to Team LiveRez. We’re excited to start our journey with them, as we work together to grow their businesses.

New 2016 Partners

2016 was Incredible. 2017 Is Going to be even better!

 

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 a Finalist for Innovator of the Year Award

Tracy Lotz - CEO LiveRez

LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz was recently announced as a finalist for “Innovator of the Year” at the 2016 Idaho Innovation Awards.

The 20-year veteran of the vacation rental space was one of only three finalist competing for the award. Lotz joined eventual winner Because International Founder Kenton Lee and TSheets CEO Matt Rissell as top choices for the prestigious award, which is voted on by a selection committee consisting of leaders from Idaho’s business, technology and academic communities.

During his 35-year career as an entrepreneur, Lotz has proven himself as an innovative leader. He’s helped pioneer a number of advancements in the vacation rental space and has been a leader in bringing many aspects of the industry online, from advertising and bookings to management software and even the vacation rental home itself (through adoption of smart home technologies).

Here are a few highlights from the event.

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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Joy Ritter and Shane Carlson Take Home Honey Badger Honors This Month!

Congratulations to Joy Ritter and Shane Carlson, winners of this month’s team member Honey Badger Awards.

The monthly award goes to LiveRez employees that always put the team first, make others around them stronger, and exemplify the culture and DNA of LiveRez.

Let’s learn some more about this month’s winners!

Joy Ritter - LiveRez

Joy Ritter

Joy is one of the newest team members at LiveRez, but she’s already making a big impact. Joy works on our SEO team, helping partners to optimize their website content and create new content.

Additionally, she’s helping manage LiveRez’s social media accounts. Because of Joy, you can now find LiveRez on Instagram (and our Facebook posts have become noticeably cooler since she took the reins).

A few fun facts about Joy: she’s a total morning person, can recite the entire first Harry Potter movie from memory, is an obsessive organizer, and has killed every plant she’s owned. So, hire someone else for your gardening. But make sure you have Joy doing your SEO.

Shane Carlson - LiveRez

Shane Carlson

Shane is a key member of our web design team at LiveRez. He was the primary architect of our mobile responsive website framework and has played a big role in company branding initiatives, like designing the last two Partner Conference pages and redesigning the LiveRez corporate site in Sept. 2014.

Some of Shane’s hobbies include fishing, hunting, hiking, snowboarding, boating, soccer, photography and camping with his sweetheart and two little kids.

When Shane was 19 serving a mission for his church, he spent two years living among Incan descendants in places like Puno, Peru (altitude 12,500 feet!). And today when Shane is working on a special project for LiveRez, we sometimes move him to a different office in the building so he doesn’t get interrupted. In those instances, LiveRez VP of Operations Tina Upson tells the team that Shane is “in Peru” (which is code for let the man work!).

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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Asked and Answered: Am I Too Dependent on Listing Sites?

Editor’s Note
The following is a follow-up to Tina Upson’s June 18 blog post: “What I Learned on My Vacation Rental Road Trip“.

By Tina Upson
LiveRez VP of Operations

“Asked and Answered”

Tina Upson - LiveRez VP of Operations

Tina Upson, LiveRez’s VP of Operations.

I learned this new phrase a few weeks ago when one of my beautiful daughters was driving me crazy by asking over and over the same question, hoping, of course, that the “no” would somehow magically turn into a “yes”. Like many, sounding like my own mom was a road I was not ready to travel down. So, when my daughter asked again, I would have the original conversation with her (again), and then remind her that we had already discussed this.

Then one day a magical phrase was introduced to me: “asked and answered.” Short, to the point, easy to understand, and it WORKED!

Last month I wrote an article based on partner feedback from all over our partner base. And, although each partner has specific needs and concerns, the most common concern has been changes in distribution channels.

Hoping to answer the concern that a lot of partners share in navigating the changing vacation rental space, I challenged professional property managers to start by gathering data. But, I quickly realized that although I may have given partners a place to start, the answer to the actual question still remained: How specifically can we understand if we are “dependent” or “independent”?

So, while Part 1 of my blog dealt with the “asked” part, today I need to follow-through with the “answered” part.

Let’s start by diving deeper into the specific data you need to collect. Then, we can move on to how to use this data to answer the dependance question. And finally,  we can go over some ways to start addressing the issues.

Here goes…

Step 1: Institute Tracking

If you’re not already tracking your marketing data, you should start right away. Running a LiveRez sales cycle report with the “How Heard” option checked can give you a good start, but you’ll need to add some additional information to see the whole picture.  The final report needs to include:

  • The marketing source of every reservation
  • The total dollar amount of every reservation
  • The amount of commission you earned
  • Profit from any fees and mark-ups
  • Cost of every one of your marketing channels
  • BONUS: If you know approximately how much overhead is involved in providing the reservation

Here are some tools and processes you can use to find that information:

  • Google Analytics / Google Search Console (Tracking Web Reservations)
  • LiveRez’s “How Heard” Field (Tracking both Web & Phone Reservations)
  • LiveRez CRM+ Campaigns (Tracking Inquiries from Listing Sites)
  • Integration (Direct Bookings from Channel Partners – Tracked in LiveRez)
  • Whatever method you want to use to track marketing costs (spreadsheet works well)   

If you have this data, you have the building blocks for the next two formulas we’re going to look at. If you don’t have this data, start tracking it right away.

Step 2: Calculate Your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Also known as marketing acquisition cost (MAC), this metric will weigh the efficiency of your marketing efforts by channel. It will show you which channels are proportionally the most expensive compared to other channels.  

Start by creating a spreadsheet that has the following data PER MARKETING CHANNEL:

  • Total Money Spent
  • Total Revenue Generated
  • Your Share of the Revenue (commission, fees, etc.)
  • CAC – This is calculated by dividing your marketing spend per channel by the revenue earned from that channel (either the total revenue or your share of the revenue, depending on who pays the marketing costs, you or the owner)

When converted to percentages, your CAC numbers should probably be in the general range of what you’d see a football team score in a game. If you’re running in the soccer/baseball score range, you’re killing it. And, I don’t care how good a golfer you are, if it’s anywhere close to your strokes for 18 holes, you’re overspending.

Step 3: Calculate the Diversity of Your Marketing Portfolio

This is going to show you what percentage of your revenue each channel is bringing you.

Start by creating a spreadsheet that has the following data PER MARKETING CHANNEL:

  • Total Revenue From Channel / Total Revenue from All Channels

This will let you know how much each of your marketing channels is contributing to your total revenue. Go ahead and put this data in a graph, so you can see a visual representation of it.

If your pie chart looks like Pac Man, you’ve got some work to do. If it looks like a pizza, you’re in good shape. The idea here is to not be too dependent on any one channel.

Step 4: Create a Game Plan for Fixing the Issues

Now that you know what you’re dealing with, you can set goals and make a game plan for how to accomplish those goals. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Is your marketing portfolio lacking diversity? Are you too dependent on any one channel?
  • Are your customer acquisition costs (CAC) too high?

Other than finding ways to increase your overall revenue and profitability, these should be your two biggest concerns. Both of these issues can lead you down an unsustainable path and put you in a poor position to navigate any changes in the distribution landscape.

Ultimately, you want to start investing in your own brand (your own website, your own marketing database, your own following). Building your own brand will allow you to generate more direct bookings, create long-term sustainability, and give you more flexibility in choosing where to spend to marketing budget.

In short, it puts YOU in control.

In a future posts, we’ll go over some specific strategies for diversifying your portfolio and building your brand. But, until then, make sure to check out some of the great educational resources and learning opportunities we’re already making available to partners.  

Learn from Marketing Experts at Partner Conference

The coaches track at this year’s Partner Conference is heavily focused on marketing, and we’ve assembled some of the top marketing minds in the industry to teach you exactly what you need to do to build your brand and grow your business. Here are a few of the highlights:  

  • Matt Landau of the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog is widely considered one of the industry’s most respected authorities on vacation rental marketing. He will teach two classes on building your brand and diversifying your marketing portfolio.
  • Airbnb’s Content Strategist Michael Endelman is a highly sought-after content expert. A former editor for Rolling Stone Magazine, Endelman has developed content strategy for Google and has played a key role in increasing conversions for Airbnb. At the conference, he will share his data-driven recommendations for creating content that engages guests and gets them to book.  
  • David Angotti has helped build a number of brands over his storied career in marketing. Most recently as co-founder of SmokyMountains.com, he’s built his management company into one of the fastest growing firms in the United States. At the conference, he’ll explain how he’s used innovative competitive intelligence tools and tactics to grow his business at a staggering pace.
  • And don’t forget, the conference keynote speaker Daymond John is not only a world-renowned entrepreneur and investor, but also one of the world’s most respected branding experts.  

In addition to these AMAZING learning opportunities, all attendees will leave the conference with a marketing plan for 2017.

Click here to check out the schedule!

Access LiveRez’s On-Demand Vacation Rental Marketing Training Resources

To learn more about data-driven marketing and building your brand, check out the links below to access some of the educational resources we’ve created:

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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Perdido Realty Vacations Makes Big Gains with SEO Team, Wins Partner Honey Badger Award

Company Boosts Rankings, Traffic and Bookings, While Trimming Adwords Budget More Than 70%!

Perdido Realty Vacations Wins LiveRez Honey Badger Award

This month’s Partner Honey Badger Award goes to Perdido Realty Vacations. Founded in 1971, the company manages more than 125 homes and condos in Perdido Key, FL.

The company recently made the switch to LiveRez and has made some impressive gains since working with the LiveRez SEO/SEM team. They’ve moved to the front page on Google for three of their main keywords and have seen big increases in their traffic and online bookings, all while spending 73% less on Adwords.

“The first page is awesome, and it is working,” said owner Valerie Hawkins. “We are booking like crazy. It’s been a game changer for us.”

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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“Shark Tank” Star and Global Marketing Pioneer Daymond John to Headline 2016 LiveRez Partner Conference

Best-Selling Author and Branding Expert to Give Keynote Address at the Vacation Rental Software Leader’s Annual Conference

Daymond John - 2016 LiveRez Partner ConferenceEagle, IDLiveRez.com, the most widely used cloud-based software for professional vacation rental managers, today announced global marketing pioneer Daymond John as its featured keynote speaker at the company’s annual Partner Conference, October 10 through October 13 at the Lost Pines Resort and Spa in Austin, TX.

Best known for his starring role on ABC’s Emmy Award-winning business-reality series Shark Tank, John is a world-class entrepreneur and marketing expert, who built his lifestyle brand, FUBU, into a household name.

John has received a wide array of honors throughout his 25-year career. In May 2015, the White House appointed him Global Ambassador of Entrepreneurship, and he’s earned more than 35 prestigious awards, including Brandweek Marketer of the Year and Ernst & Young’s Master Entrepreneur of the Year.

He’s also penned three national best sellers.  His most recent title, The Power of Broke, debuted at No. 2 on The New York Times Best-Seller list.

“Our professional manager partners come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but the common denominator among them all is a true entrepreneurial spirit,” said LiveRez VP of Operations Tina Upson. “Daymond’s story is a true example that the American dream is still alive and well. And, I know our partners will be inspired and empowered as he shares his deep expertise in building world-class brands.”

John came from humble beginnings to build a global empire. From the streets of Hollis, Queens, John started a global movement from the basement of his mother’s house by capitalizing on the then fledgling hip-hop culture. Today, the streetwear market that FUBU pioneered is a $20 billion dollar industry, with FUBU eclipsing more than $6 billion in global retail sales.

He now helps other entrepreneurs to achieve the American dream. Through his role as an early-stage investor on Shark Tank, John has invested millions of dollars to help more than 60 companies grow their businesses.

At the 2016 Partner Conference, John will empower LiveRez partners to grow their brands through sharing many of the key insights he’s learned over his decorated career.

In addition to John’s keynote address, the conference will feature a big unveiling of new technology, a stacked lineup of classes from industry and software experts, and much more!

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).

LiveRez Implementation Team Sweeps This Month’s Honey Badger Awards!

Congratulations to Rhiannon Chavez and Jeff Latham, winners of this month’s team member Honey Badger Awards.

The monthly award goes to LiveRez employees that always put the team first, make others around them stronger, and exemplify the culture and DNA of LiveRez.

Let’s learn some more about this month’s winners!


Team Member Awards: Rhiannon Chavez and Jeff Latham

Rhi Chavez - LiveRez

Rhiannon Chavez

Rhi is a key member of our implementation team at LiveRez, and regularly pitches in to help support, too.

She says the best part about coming to the office each day is getting to work with an outstanding group of team members who all strive to do their best, as well as the amazing partners she talks with each day.

Outside of work, Rhi’s favorite thing to do is spend time with her family and friends. She’s also an active member of Boise CrossFit and enjoys outdoor runs, hiking, mountain biking and salsa dancing.

Jeff Latham - LiveRez

Jeff Latham

Jeff plays a true hybrid role at LiveRez, working with both the implementation team and the SEO team.

When he’s not optimizing partners’ websites or helping them get live, he’s normally somewhere outdoors (or wishing he was). He loves camping, climbing mountains, and skiing down them, too.

He’s also a die-hard Cleveland sports fan. So between this month’s Honey Badger Award, the Cavs’ NBA Championship and the Indians’ current pennant chase, Jeff is having a pretty good summer.


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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