Who is the VRSS17 Mystery Speaker?


We are just a few weeks away from the Vacation Rental Success Summit (May 6-7) and on this weeks episode of the Vacation Rental Success Podcast we will be releasing the details of the last and final keynote speaker.

If you have not seen our amazing line up of speakers yet, you can view the agenda here <<

To make things a little fun we would like for you to male your guesses in the comments below as to who that speaker might be.

As a prize we will award the first correct guess with 2 free tickets to VRSS17 or VRSS18.

The speaker announcement will made made during Wednesdays episode that will go live at 9am EST.

Good luck with your guesses.

This competition is now closed and you can find out who our mystery guest is on Episode 173 of the Vacation Rental Success Podcast. Sadly no one guessed the correct answer.


8 Reasons to Attend the Vacation Rental Success Summit

When we were thinking about the why of putting on a face-to-face conference back in early 2016, we brainstormed a ton of reasons people would have to attend.

And then I saw this blog post from the founder of the Agents of Change podcast and organizer of the Agents of Change annual conference. It listed every reason we’d put on our wall-board.

We took these ideas and created the Vacation Rental Success Podcast and had our first event in May 2016. With over 100 attendees, numerous sponsors (including CanadaStays – Canada’s Biggest Listing Site)

So here they are – in no particular order and with our industry spin on them.

[Read more…]

Well, that’s a wrap!


As I looked around the now-empty auditorium with just the audio tech finishing off his packing up, I felt a little emotional.

Maybe it was still the adrenalin in my system, or the euphoria generated by the goodbye hugs and farewells from new friends who I knew I’d be in touch with again soon.

Or maybe it was the satisfaction of a job well done…you know…that feeling you get when despite all the odds, something you worked at long and hard came together successfully.

That’s how it was at the end of the Vacation Rental Success Summit.
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VRS074 – Selling a Vacation Rental Home with Rick Oster

If you are a reader of this blog and you listen to the podcast, it will not have escaped you that I have listed my two river front cottages for sale. I need to sell them before we begin to build on our Bahamas land, so as you can imagine, I’m quite keen to get a buyer.

The dilemma I face is that I haven’t been able to get anyone to value the cottages as ‘income properties’. Local agents are only interested in ‘comps’ – that is, what comparable properties have sold for in the area, and because we are so rural, commercial appraisers show little interest.

I’ve sort of stuck my finger into the wind and come up with a price that seems right to me, given the value I have put on the potential for income generation. I know what the cottages have made over the past 10 and 3 years respectively and understand the market enough to project the potential for growth.

However, creating a way to explain that to a buyer, who will then no doubt be looking for finance and getting an appraisal, is proving a challenge. [Read more…]

12 Pleas from a Vacation Rental Guest


Am I a nit-picky guest?

Yes, I probably am. After all, I have rented countless vacation homes over the past twenty years, in the UK, Europe, Canada, the US and the Caribbean.

Each comes with its own quirks, and I am very tolerant of most. I’ve owned many rental homes too and learned a lot over the years from the hundreds of guests we have hosted. However, there’s times when I’m mystified that an owner doesn’t think of what it’s like to travel a long distance by air, with no opportunity to bring along the comforts of home.

When guests come in by car, it is often loaded with cool boxes full of food and the sorts or herbs and spices they would use to cook up a storm at home. They might bring along their favourite utensils – a chef knife or a gadget they couldn’t be without.

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Cottage Blogger featured on the 1 Day BB Podcast with Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker


Today was a big day for us. It was the online equivalent of being invited up on stage to sing with Bruce Springsteen or being asked by online sensations Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker to share our website and have them critique it. Oh wait…. that is what happened…… the bit with Pat and Chris that is.

tweetGreat to see @cottageguru aka #cottageblogger featured on #1daybb with @patflynn @chrisducker Keep updated here

Let me give you a bit of a back story here to give you a foundation for this amazing event.

Mike and I have been working tirelessly for several years with Cottage Blogger and it has propelled me to a position of some authority in the vacation rental space. I’ve been invited to comment in main-stream media, featured on podcasts, and asked to be a guest writer on high profile blogs. I was asked to be the Director of the Owner Community for a leading rental listing site. Most importantly to me, I’m the host of a podcast that has thousands of listeners, where I spend close to an hour every week speaking directly to you, my amazing and engaged audience.

Why do I do this…. it’s simple. I love the Vacation Rental business and want to help you be as successful as you can,  while improving the industry by raising standards and challenging misconceptions about the market. [Read more…]

VRMA 2014 Conference Round-Up

vrma_2014_conference_round_upImagine spending 3 days of networking, attending presentations and learning sessions, interspersed with talking to industry suppliers and you’ll appreciate I’ve got a lot to share from the Vacation Rental Managers Associiation conference in San Diego!

The final count of attendees was over 1000 – a new record for the event and further proof that this industry is dynamic, growing and mainstream.

Even though the conference is targeted to rental managers, the education content and many of the products are just as relevant to the rent-by-owner market so over the next couple of weeks I’ll be sharing what I learned.

From new products on the market to help manage your business better, to innovative ideas for marketing and down-to-earth conversations with others in tbe business, I am still processing much of what was on offer.

My podcast this week touches on many of these things so this post is a more chronological version – more to put it into context for me, as well as to bring you a flavor of the conference. [Read more…]

Are You a Dinosaur….or Vacation Rental Mobile Ready?

ARE YOU A DINOSAURI don’t like to label myself, but in issues of technology I find myself overwhelmed sometimes with the speed of progress, the wealth of new gadgets and gizmos, and most of all, the ability of my 2 year old granddaughter to operate an iPad.

My label would be ‘recovering dinosaur’!

I’ve seen the light and now appreciate the need to get with the technology, and ensure that the way we market actually reaches those who are searching online.

Because they are doing it more and more on mobile devices.

There is a generation out there who grew up with mobile devices and are now starting their own families and taking vacations in rental properties. If we are still marketing to the buying habits of previous generations we could be missing out.

An article on Travel & Tour World backs this up:

“According to research by ABTA there has been a significant increase in the use of tablets and mobiles to book holidays online in the past 12 months.

Nearly a fifth (18%) of online bookers secured a getaway via a tablet compared to just 10% in 2013 and mobiles saw a steady 4% increase in usage over the past year”

While the PC (personal computer inc. Apple computers) remains the majority choice for booking, it’s clear we need to be fully aware of the growth in mobile use for search and this means paying attention to how our listings and websites look on a mobile device. [Read more…]

It’s A Pretty Safe Bet That No Vacation Rental Owner Can Beat These Results



Guest post by Matt Landau – Vacation Rental Marketing Blog



matt_landau_guest_postWe’ve all seen the makeover shows when an ugly guy or an overweight gal are — through the power of absurd dieting, expensive surgery, and a healthy dose of TV magic — transformed into sparkling human specimens in a period of 60 minutes!

But when I decided to make over Amy Firmani’s vacation rental marketing, step by step for all the world to see, I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so…dramatic.

Because Amy’s family had fallen on hard times financially and was in danger of losing her vacation rental, a beautiful 5-bedroom home in Las Vegas perfect for groups and families

The only problem?

No groups and families were inquiring!

[Read more…]

VRS040 – Affordable Design, Sexy Bedrooms, and Vacation Rental Branding with Mercedes Brennan

When I first started in this business the overriding attitude seemed to be that the rental was the last resting place for everything no longer wanted in the primary home. It was where mattresses, old sofas and relics of yesteryear went to die. Sadly, a short time spent looking at listing sites shows these properties still existand are being rented to guests who may believe this is the norm. [Read more…]