It wasn’t that long ago where the “future” of vacation rental management was supposed to be leaving smaller, traditional companies and owners behind. Better technology, huge investment rounds, and PR spin dominated the headlines and opinion pieces. The VC funded “mega managers” and urban master-lease companies were just going to be too hard to compete with. In the current, and hopefully soon, post COVID-19 world, that narrative will no longer exist.
For the past few years as competition for attracting new homeowners (I’m not calling them inventory) has grown, well-funded companies have attempted to marginalize the small and medium businesses in the vacation rental industry by labeling them “mom and pop,” which translates to “not sophisticated.” This is not targeted at any one company, and they are not bad people for doing so as that was their model and belief, and they have been successful. However, at the end of the day it is becoming increasingly apparent that the business of vacation rental management is a more hyper-local, true relationship business, both with the homeowners you represent, as well as your collective guests that trust you with their vacation, than what has been portrayed.
In times like this the advantage lies firmly with the players that are truly invested in their local communities. They are working to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, whether this is ultimately good for their businesses at the time, or not. Most will take a short-term financial hit, but they will emerge stronger as a team, and guest and owner relationships will be cemented on trust. If I could sum it up, I’d say boots on the ground, knowing your local Mayor and commissioners, sponsoring the local little league team, and supporting the awesome local restaurants, that’s the secret sauce.