Providing a forum for independent vacation rental owners everywhere to seek and share information and experiences.
If you’re an independent vacation rental owner anywhere in the world, a particular welcome to you as this is written very much with you in mind. Here I hope you’ll get fresh ideas for running your vacation rental as a business venture, share in the pitfalls and solutions which can make vacation rental owning so demanding yet so rewarding, as well as keep in touch with important developments which affect us as owners.
There were things I wish I’d known when I started as an independent owner renting out my first vacation property in Florida, 11 years ago. I bought it with the intention of renting it out as a vacation rental when not using it with the family. Until then, although I had invested in property for long term rental, I never realized just how much work was involved – or how much time I would have to devote to it to run a successful vacation rental business. I know I am not alone in this realization.
Time to automate my vacation rental administration and communications
I feel very fortunate though in having a background in software engineering and product development as well as being a business owner and entrepreneur. So as a hobby, alongside my professional career, I developed processes to automate much of the administration and communications I needed to manage my property effectively and to look after the guests staying there.
The result is that over the last decade I have had a solution that not only automates nearly 100% of the communications and activities required to manage my property, but one that saves me a large amount of time, has considerably increased my reservations and has certainly contributed to maximizing my revenues. More importantly, it has enabled me to focus more time on my guests, ensuring they have the best experience possible while staying in our home.
Over the last decade that I have owned my vacation rental property, the world of vacation rentals has changed almost beyond recognition thanks to the rapid growth and influence of the internet within the travel industry and, in later years, the vacation rental industry. There is now even a common term for us – independent vacation rental owners!
Part of a new industry but wanting to manage my property my way
This recognition of a new industry brings with it a very large variety of companies and individuals, including myself, who see the opportunity. We have all seen the proliferation of listing sites and the dominance of a few global businesses that have become the de-facto destination for guests seeking vacation rentals to stay in.
Although I appreciate there are many owners happy to have someone else manage their property and guests and to be tied to one or maybe two of the major listing sites (and being dependent on them for all of their reservations), I am not one of them. I prefer to actively manage my own property, to personally liaise with and get to know my guests and to be responsible for sourcing my own reservations.
I am not saying I do not value the listing sites. In fact, I have my property listed with many of them and am happy to use them with this proviso: I want the listing site to work for me (as the paying customer) – and not for them to expect me to play no part in a reservation process and financial transaction with guests staying in my property. Talking to many other owners I found they all felt the same way.
Frustrated by lack of support for independent vacation rental owners
So, prompted by my background and by my frustration with the lack of support for independent vacation rental owners, I am very excited to share some news with you. I have decided to focus all of my energy and time on developing my personal vacation rental management solution into a business service with the features and flexibility to support any independent vacation rental owner.
I am determined to ensure that independent vacation rental owners like us have a choice and we are able to continue to manage our properties independently, cost effectively, with a unique level of efficiency and insight. I want to empower and support all independent vacation rental owners and provide the best service and support in the industry.
While I feel I have learnt from my experience of being an independent vacation rental owner over the last 10 years there are always new things that can be learned and I’ve never been too proud to benefit from the experience of others. So I’m aiming to make this regular blog impartial, informative, stimulating, thought provoking and hopefully, entertaining.
Its focus will be on supporting you to successfully manage your vacation rental property and ensuring the very best experience for your guests. I very much look forward to hearing your views on the topics discussed, so please help me to make this blog a collaboration between ourselves and get in touch with your comments.
A great team to deliver a fantastic new service
Now I have shared my news, I am currently in the process of recruiting a great team to support the development of the service and the wider business and have just moved into new offices in readiness. I am sure much will change between now and when we plan to launch the service in early 2015 but I can confirm, publicly for the first time, that the service will be called ‘Homes and Rooms’.
For me, Homes and Rooms will be the outcome of over 20 years’ experience and the most exciting thing I have ever done professionally. I look forward to sharing the journey here with you here in my blog.
Independent Vacation Rental Owner and now CEO, Homes and Rooms.