The state of the vacation rental market is one that is filled with challenge and opportunity. Changing market dynamics, higher expectations from customers and a range of new tools and processes at the fingertips of all professionals in this space continue to shape the big picture going forward.
We sat down with VRMA President Maureen Regan, of Seaside Vacation Rentals, to get her take on the biggest trends and opportunities facing the market as we move forward.
What is the biggest opportunity that vacation rental managers should be capitalizing on right now?
Regan: We have an unprecedented number of people who are trying vacation rentals for the first time, or who have just become aware of vacation rentals. This is our opportunity to shine. We all know what a unique experience staying in a vacation rental is, and this is our chance as vacation rental property management professional to make a big impact on those folks.
I think vacation rentals are the only truly authentic vacations because each property is uniquely a reflection of the area and the homeowners. Plus, your vacationer gets to know people in the area in a way they can’t in a hotel and experience the pleasure of staying, dining and living with friends and family that just doesn’t exist in any other form of travel.
Thus far in 2017, what has been the biggest trend that has impact this industry?
Regan: My opinion is that the biggest trend is the increase of larger companies buying up smaller ones. This includes management companies and the OTAs. I think that every company in this position, whether management or OTA, needs to reflect on making major changes because those decisions can lead to serious confusion on the part of the vacation rental manager and the traveler alike.
It’s exciting, but we don’t want to lose the important things in the shuffle. There is room in this business for everyone to make a profit and to keep customer service as a focus.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to vacation rental managers as they prepare for the second half of 2017?
Regan: Focus on what’s most important and don’t get too distracted. Go back to what your vision is and you’ll be ok. Make a profit and have fun while you help people have great vacations.