VRS100 – From the VRMA 2015 Conference in New Orleans

Wow. Episode 100 and in the same week the Vacation Rental Success Podcast surpassed 100,000 downloads. Its a big week but since I am in New Orleans for the VRMA conference this episode is a little shorter than most and covers some of the highlights from the seminars and the Vendor Showcase. Mike and I will have a bit of a celebration episode next week.

The Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA) conference is 3 days of quality education, networking and an enthusiastic collection of vendors all wanting to explain their products and encourage attendees to try them out. [Read more…]

VRS094 – Vacation Rental Pros with Steve Milo

This week’s guest tells the story of how he went from a handful of properties under management to 950 over a period of 10 years. At one point he was managing 125 single-handedly.

Like many people, Steve Milo started in the business with just his own vacation rental property in Florida. At that time the market was depressed and many VRMs were not accepting new homes into their management programme. Steve seized the opportunity to grow his portfolio and by operating a lean organization from the early days he was able to achieve rapid and successful growth while keeping a tight control on costs. [Read more…]

VRS089 – Keeping on the Right Side of Your Vacation Rental Neighbours

In this episode Mike and I sit down and chat about two issues that affect every vacation rental owner – neighbour relations and general safety, and discuss the importance of emergency planning.

I brought up the topic of keeping on side with the neighbours because I’m personally affected by super-noisy rental guests next door this week. Fortunately it only happens once a year but it got me thinking how I would feel if our neighbours rented indiscriminately every week of the summer. Then on the other side of the picture, Mike talks about the difficulties he faced with his neighbours at Sea Breeze when he started renting it out and shares his master stoke of genius to get them on side. [Read more…]

VRS085 – Elaine Watt from Holiday Let Success

It is always a real pleasure to speak to another podcaster and in this episode my guest is the host of the Holiday Let Success podcast – Elaine Watt. Does that sound familiar?

Well yes, Elaine also interviews vacation rental experts, owners and rental guests. She is also a vacation rental owner and passionate about her region, sharing this in her new podcast Live, Love, Worcestershire.

Go on – try and say that. If you are having a problem check out this video:

So, Elaine and I had a great discussion about her marketing strategies, the listing sites she uses and why her goal is to free herself of the gorillas. We also talked about Facebook as this is her platform of choice, and how she is using it to grow a loyal audience. [Read more…]

VRS083 – A week in the life of a vacation rental manager

Happy Canada Day! (and US Independence Day in a few days)

I love this time of year and the pride I feel as a ‘New Canadian’ but I do have a price to pay as the CEO of a Vacation Rental Management agency as the green flag is lowered on our high season. The festivities pass all too quickly and the memories fade but as each June comes around, it all comes flooding back just how busy we are the last two weeks of the month and the beginning of July.

From last minute bookings to over-occupancy requests, myriad questions and check-in issues to post rental claims and maintenance problems, our staff of seven is pretty much on the go from start of business until the end of the day.

And this is just the beginning of the season for our small vacation rental management company.

In this episode I give you some insight into how we manage all the different activities, the things that happen every day that have the potential to throw us a curveball, and how we go about keeping up the personal connection with our guests and owners. [Read more…]

VRS052 – How podcasting can benefit the vacation rental industry with Cliff Ravenscraft The Podcast Answer Man

I’ve been podcasting for around 2 years now and it’s been a blast. Not only has this grown my community online but it’s given me the opportunity to meet so many other podcasters and find out how it is benefiting them as well. I put a lot of this success down to the Podcasting A – Z Course run by Cliff Ravenscraft aka The Podcast Answerman, and in this episode I get to quiz Cliff on the ways this medium has grown over the past 8 years.

Cliff’s experience of podcasting is second to none having broadcast numerous shows since he first started in 2005. From a highly successful weekly show all about the TV series ‘Lost’, to his current shows that include Pursuing a Balanced Life (584 episodes) and Podcast Answer Man (381 episodes), Cliff continues to produce high quality content and is generally seen as one of the most prominent and sought-after experts in the podcasting field. [Read more…]

From 7 properties to 200 – Tips for starting a vacation rental agency

7_vacation_rental_properties_to_200As this business attracts more people who want to really succeed, many are seeing the benefits of either buying additional properties or helping others manage theirs.

Perhaps you are an Owner Manager.   You have your own vacation rental properties – maybe a couple of condos or houses in the same complex or area. Many followers of this blog fall into that category.

But what should you do when you decide this is a business you’d like to become a full-time job? Perhaps you’ve been approached by other owners who have seen your success, and would like you to replicate it with their properties. And they will pay you for the service.

Sounds good? Well, it can be a rewarding, fun and exciting venture; it can also be frustrating, disappointing and if you let it, soul-destroying.

How do I know this? I’ll tell you! [Read more…]

Why vacation rental owners and agencies should be podcasting – Part Two

heather_bayer_podcastPart One of this post explained why I really believe that podcasting should be in your marketing plan, and this Part briefly explores how you can get started, and just how easy it is.

I am not going to go into this too deeply as there are some really great tutorials available that provide everything you need to get your podcast published, so here’s a summary of what is out there: [Read more…]

Why vacation rental owners and agencies should be podcasting – Part One

heather_bayer_podcastI’m super excited because as I write this, it’s only 10 days till I fly to Dallas for the first ever Podcast Movement Conference. This looks to be an amazing event showcasing some of the top experts in podcasting with keynote presentations, topic specific sessions and a range of panels featuring podcasters who are making a difference in this medium……myself included. I will be speaking on the Social Media panel and will be sharing some great information on how to promote a podcast via different social media platforms. [Read more…]

A Month in the Life of a Vacation Rental Manager

house-keys2.jpgWe’ve reached summer and passed the longest day, and as the nights start drawing in and my annual vacation is a mere 12 weeks away, I figured it was a good time to reflect on our busiest month of the year as June closes with Canada Day (July 1st) and for those south of the border, who begin their long weekend today, Independence Day (July 4th).

I am the owner of two vacation rentals, Osprey Cottage and Kingfisher Cottage and both have been fully booked for the summer for months. In fact the majority of our guests in Osprey Cottage are back for their second, third, and in one case, sixth year, so it’s nice to be able to welcome people again, and know exactly how well our places are going to be treated.

Back in the office though it’s been a manic month as we finalise bookings for the 200+ vacation homes that we manage at CottageLINK Rental Management. When I say manage, I mean we arrange the rentals – we don’t look after housekeeping, or maintenance or seeing guests in and out. The reason for this is that our properties are widely dispersed – the furthest away is in the very west of southern Ontario, near the US border on Lake Erie (six hours) while the half dozen we have in Quebec are equally far. So, it is not practical or manageable to oversee the housekeeping of our cottages. [Read more…]