With so many LiveRez partners being members of the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA), it’s no surprise that LiveRez users flock to the VRMA Annual Conference and regional seminars each year. The annual conference is the largest gathering of vacation rental managers in the United States (maybe even the world). And, each year the brightest minds in the industry attend to network, to learn and to share their expertise.
All levels of managers, big and small, attend each year, and they all have different reasons for why they make the investment.
So, with the annual conference just around the corner, we thought it would be appropriate to ask our partners why they attend the conference every year. In the next few sections, you’ll hear firsthand from LiveRez partners on the reasons they attend. We hope the information presented here will help LiveRez partners and other managers who are still on the fence about making the investment to attend.
Meg Park, Beach Properties of Hilton Head
Meg Park, the marketing mind behind Beach Properties of Hilton Head, says the VRMA Annual Conference is essential for their company.
She said it gives the team a chance to escape the daily grind and really focus on new ideas.
“Attending such an industry recognized national event allows us the opportunity to view our company from the outside, away from the chaotic daily events,” Park said.
According to Park, the conference gives them not only the opportunity to network with other vacation rental managers and industry vendors, but also to learn new and better ways to streamline their business.
“The seminars offered showcase what is ‘hot’ within the industry,” Park said. “And, the conference is full of vendors whose products and services can better serve our team, guests and owners.”
Sara Moore, All Star Vacation Homes
Sara Moore, chief marketing officer for All Star Vacation Homes, said her favorite part of attending the conference is spending time with friends and colleagues.
“The VRMA seminars and national conference are an opportunity to connect with other managers and supplier members,” Moore said. “While many of us are in touch via LinkedIn, phone and email throughout the year, it is very beneficial to have face-to-face time to share ideas during the social gatherings and educational sessions.”
And, according to Moore, each year the team takes back valuable information that has a direct impact on their operations.
Said Moore: “We’ve taken back marketing strategies, operations tactics and organizational and general business ideas that have helped All Star generate more revenue and better serve our guests.”
Kelly McLean, McLean Company Rentals
Kelly McLean, vice president of McLean Company Rentals in Palm Springs, said the most valuable part of VRMA, for her, was getting to talk with other managers and finding out how they run their operations.
“I’ve taken back the biggest improvements from just talking to other managers and picking their brains,” she said.
McLean said that even in the seminars you get to learn from other managers that have first-hand experience.
“The seminars are led by others in the industry – other managers,” she said. “So you know it’s not someone getting up there and saying this is how you should do it, but someone who is saying this is how we do it and this is why it works for us.”
McLean said that with commission rates staying fairly consistent over the last few years, the big opportunities for improvement come in ways to save money or add additional revenue sources. And, she’s gotten great ideas for both at the conference.
Specifically, she said that after talking with other managers at VRMA, the company made the decision to switch from traditional security deposits to deposit waivers – a change that’s helped drive more revenue and save time, while offering their guests more convenience.
She’s also taken back valuable information on housekeeping and maintenance, social media and much more. And, three years ago, she even came back with a new software (LiveRez).
McLean said that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business – McLean Company Rentals has been around for 30+ years – you can always pick up new ideas and get better.
Dawn Huff, Miss Kitty’s Fishing Getaways
Dawn Huff, owner of Miss Kitty’s Fishing Getaways in Rockport, TX, says that the conference is great for them because it comes right after they finish up with a busy summer season.
“It really just rejuvenates us and gets us excited about the new year ahead,” she said.
Huff said that they always go into the conference with a list of items that want to improve. For example, one year the company wanted to build a maintenance plan. And, between listening to one of the keynote speakers who specialized in maintenance and talking to other management companies about how they run their maintenance programs, Miss Kitty’s came back with a solid maintenance plan they could put in place.
Like McLean, Huff said of the biggest benefits of the conference is getting to talk with other managers.
“The biggest benefit for me has always been meeting other property managers and the way everyone is so open and willing to share,” she said. “Most of the time, you’re not talking to your direct competitors; you’re talking to people who are doing the same business, but across the country.”
“And everybody’s been so willing to share what works for them and what hasn’t worked for them,” Huff continued. “That part of it is invaluable.”
Since 2010, Huff has attended the conference regularly. Initially, she wondered whether the information she would get at the conference would become repetitive, but to date she said she always learns something new at the conference.
“So far, every year that I have gone it’s been well worth the expense,” she said.
Attending the conference is definitely an investment. And, initially, when the company was smaller, the cost did detour Huff from attending. But, she made the jump in 2010 when the annual conference landed in San Antonio, a two and half hour drive from Rockport. Since then, she’s made the investment every year.
“After that first year, I was sold,” she said. “And it’s been good every year since.”
Laura Fisher, Ski Colorado Vacation Rentals
For Laura Fisher, owner of Ski Colorado Vacation Rentals in Breckenridge, CO, the opportunity to network is the most important part of attending the conferences.
“Networking is probably the No. 1 reason,” Fisher said, “so in the future you have someone to call on and ask them what is and isn’t working for them.”
One person Fisher has received great advice from is fellow LiveRez partner Steve Trover, CEO of All Star Vacation Homes in Orlando. Using Trover’s advice, Fisher hired the talent management firm Culture Index to help her hire the most qualified and best suited candidates for positions on her team.
“It has been phenomenal at helping me get key players into my business,” Fisher said.
Two other things Fisher picked up from the conference are adding live chat to her website (which she plans to implement soon) and some advanced formulas for price modeling and fees that have helped increase her overall revenue this past year.
Learn More About the VRMA Annual Conference
To learn more about the VRMA Annual Conference, or to register, visit www.vrma.com.
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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