Another well attended and successful event in Orlando! The vendor to property manager ratio was off the charts and for good reason. If there is any lingering doubt about the value of your business that was dispelled at VRMA. There was one particular keynote that caught my interest – “Is There a Future for Property Managers?”, it was a great back and forth on distribution and the realities of the vacation rental marketplace.
As I have always maintained, operational excellence is what drives the value of your vacation rentals business. A big component of that value is derived from your brand. Understanding how to effectively manage your brands distribution, particularly for those with “premium supply” will define your outcome down the road. Those that do not understand this value concept will struggle in this new paradigm. Keeping your brand front and center is the first step in refining your operational excellence.
There is No Lack of Distribution
Plenty of options are available to promote / distribute your properties. It comes down to what is best for your region, type of inventory and your goals. A few keys to success are:
a) Making sure you are working with an “open” property management system that allows you to take advantages of opportunities that favor your business.
b) Understanding where your traffic (leads and bookings ) are coming from and their associated breakdowns.
c) Making sure you are leveraging social media to maximize brand value.
Distribution is a double-edged sword. Does it makes sense to sign with a distribution channel if their demographics do not fit your data?
Brand vs Bookings
Having control of your distribution will help you better understand where your brand fits in your overall marketing strategy (hint: it should be a priority). Having a modular infrastructure that gives your brand control is a good start. Incorporating social media outreach should be a core component of your overall branding strategy. Other than local, it is one the few places where you have a competitive advantage over the big sites. Regardless of where you are in the “dependency cycle”, now is the time to have in place a brand centric strategy that touches the traveler pre, during and post booking.
The Reality of Our Marketplace
Your brand no longer exists to the traveler unless you take action. No matter if you are new to the industry or a brand that has been in place for years, the challenges are the same. The anecdote is also the same – having a solid retention strategy that brings guests back and talking about your brand. The math and the associated choices are about to become obvious.