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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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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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).

The Team That Paintballs Together Stays Together

Paintball1There’s nothing that builds a team faster than life-or-paint situations. On Monday evening, the LiveRez team literally had a blast at our paintball event here in Boise.

A couple things we learned from our paintball adventure on Monday:

  1. Paintballs hurt.
  2. It is possible to get eliminated in less than 3 seconds (just ask paintball magnets Tyler and Rob).
  3. Don’t get the big bowl at Mongolian Grill before paintballing. It makes you slower (see point 2).
  4. GoPro + Paintball = Awesome (thanks Heather and Justin for wearing the GoPro helment).

Speaking of GoPros, check out this video we made with the GoPro footage we took.

And, here are a few photos of all the fun we had!

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 Announces Tina Upson as New VP of Operations

Tina Upson - LiveRezLiveRez.com, the most widely used cloud-based software for professional vacation rental managers, announced today that Tina Upson has been named Vice President of Operations.

LiveRez CEO Tracy Lotz made the announcement.

“Tina started at the ground level and really learned the industry at its most basic level,” Lotz said. “Her passion and drive to truly work alongside our LiveRez partners made her a standout employee early on. Our partners and our entire team are thrilled with this promotion.”

Upson most recently served the role of Director of Support and Implementation. In 2015 additional responsibilities were added such as planning the company’s annual Partner Conference and working cross-functionally with the development, accounting, and sales/marketing teams to accomplish key company objectives.

Under Upson’s leadership, LiveRez had its best year ever in 2015, pioneering a direct integration with Airbnb, winning the Boise-Metro Chamber’s Travel Industry Excellence Award, releasing key technology upgrades, and signing up the company’s 1,000th property manager partner.

Upson is one of LiveRez’s longest tenured employees. She started with LiveRez the year it was founded, in 2008, and worked primarily on special projects. In October 2013, Upson joined the leadership team as Director of Implementation. During her time running the implementation department, she showed a keen ability to motivate her team, increase efficiency and get results. In May 2014, Upson absorbed management duties for LiveRez’s support department and shortly after assumed leadership of both LiveRez’s partner success division and its web design department.

“I’m confident that Tina has earned this role and that with her vision and dedication this will be a huge win for LiveRez,” Lotz continued. “She has tackled every challenge head on, and I am confident her leadership will take LiveRez to new levels.”

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).

Idaho Business Review Publishes Front-Page Story on LiveRez’s Integration with Airbnb

IBR-Front-Page

Just last week, the Idaho Business Review published a front-page (top-of-the-fold) story on LiveRez’s integration with Airbnb.

Among other things, the full-length article details how Airbnb selected LiveRez ahead of the 87 other vacation rental software providers it researched to pilot its expansion into the traditional vacation rental market.

This is the second front-page story the publication has written on LiveRez in the past few years, and one of many the Idaho Business Review has published in recent years.

To read the story at the Idaho Business Review, click here (or view the PDF Version).

And to the see the latest news and coverage of LiveRez, visit LiveRez.com/press.

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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