The Benefits of In-Person Networking in the Vacation Rental Industry
In the vacation rental industry, where the entire focus is online, why do we bother flying halfway across the world to be at a conference in person? In the past month, the Guesty team has attended both the VRWS in Florence, Italy and the VRMA in Orlando, Florida. Attending these conferences focused on the vacation rental industry has been a one of a kind experience. We have learned more than we could have imagined and sharpened our knowledge with the most up to date information. These industry building opportunities can’t be found anywhere else.
Attending the right conferences gets our game to the next level. We are provided with new ideas that make us more effective and efficient at what we do best, improving the vacation rental industry. Good conferences have opportunities for attendees to mix and mingle, form new relationships, and strengthen existing ones. By meeting vacation rental industry experts and influencers face to face we are given the opportunity to share ideas and make connections that can lead to new revelations. We heard the struggles property management companies in the vacation rental industry are facing from the managers themselves. We were able to answer questions and have in-depth conversations not only about Guesty, but about everything that is going on in the vacation rental industry. Being able to meet major thinkers and influencers in the vacation rental industry allows us as a company to better understand what property managers are looking for and in need of, in order to bring them what they want through Guesty. There is no substitution for meeting someone in real life.
New learning opportunities were presented right in front of our eyes. Having the ability to attend presentations by some of the top experts in the vacation rental industry was unbeatable. Many of these experts have been in this business for over 20 years and have seen it evolve throughout time. These are educated and well-researched people with valuable information. It’s easy to read a blog post or listen to a podcast from the privacy of our own office, the challenge comes when it’s time to break out of our comfort zone. It is just the type of action we need to focus on for the future of the vacation rental industry.
Some of the key moments we, as a property management platform, took away from these conferences:
The vacation rental industry is growing quickly with PMCs busier than ever – All property management softwares must continue to release new features quickly to answer property manager’s needs.
Property management companies, now more than ever, are in need of an all in one solution. With all the single tools floating around in the vacation rental industry today (dynamic pricing tools, guest experience apps, etc.) the importance of having a software that offers an integration marketplace and combines everything into one platform is key.
Guest experience is extremely important. There are many solutions that help hosts to give guests a relaxed yet lavish experience. This provides guests with a stress-free stay.
50% of bookings are made from mobile devices. This creates a need for PMs to be as lucid and as quickly to respond to guests as ever – calling for the best messaging system. There is also no surprise therefore to see that the share of property management companies with mobile sites more than doubled from 30% in 2012 to 69% in 2016.
The vacation rental industry is slow in adapting to the PMS. Many management companies still rely on direct booking from repeat customers who call in year after year and make reservations. They rely on 30-50% returning customers rate, which is amazing. But two things are changing the landscape. One is the change in the way reservations are made. Today about 70% of reservations are made online. And when they are made online, be sure that your loyal customer is seeing many other options, and can easily choose another property. The other change is the growth in competition. There are many more newcomers in the vacation rental industry, and competition is going to make it a tough business. At VRMA this year about 40% of the audience were new attendees. This is why a PMS is now needed more than ever – to be able to instantly integrate with dozens of channels, from pricing optimization to guest services, all managed centrally and easily from one place.
Attending these conferences gave us the opportunity to grow and challenge ourselves. It’s all about being a visionary. It starts off as a small idea and grows into a successful and budding business venture. After attending these conferences we find ourselves more invested not only in moving Guesty forward but improving the entire vacation rental industry.
At Guesty we are constantly creating new features and tools creating to move property managers forward and grow the vacation rental industry. Guesty offers all of the features needed to succeed in managing vacation rentals and much more.