VRMA talks all things 2020 with VRMA President Toby Babich. Learn more about Babich, how he got his start and what to expect in the upcoming year.
VRMA: Congratulations on your presidency! What are you most looking forward to as president?
Toby Babich (TB): Our association is in the very unique position of leading the vacation rental industry through what will likely be another year of dramatic change. Speaking for the board as a whole, we are eagerly anticipating addressing the challenges ahead of us. I am most excited about the opportunity of being able harness the extensive knowledge, insight, energy and expertise that make up the VRMA Board of Directors to best address the challenges to come in 2020 and continue our growth as an organization. Our recently adopted strategic plan has laid out some very hearty objectives for the VRMA Board, and we are already working vigorously to achieve some of the goals and objectives outlined. I hope to see this board tackle the need for our membership to grow and diversify as the main focus of my presidency.
VRMA: What are your plans for the upcoming year? Where do you see VRMA heading as 2020 progresses?
TB: My initial focus will enter around the work we have done as a board in the realms of membership growth and advocacy, expediently and strategically advancing these areas of our strategic plan as this year progresses. 2020 is a critical year for our collective interests to be solidified, protected and advocated for on the local, state and national level. Over the next three years, our individual and mutual success as vacation rental managers will be built on the foundation of a structured collaboration of localized industry groups and businesses to stabilize and standardize the wave of growth of the last 10 years.
Too often, we allow our industry to be defined by others, often incorrectly and irresponsibly. VRMA must lead, engage and collaborate more effectively to reclaim our story and ensure we define our own future.
VRMA: How did you get to where you are today within the vacation rentals space? Where did you get your start and how did it lead you here?
TB: I had the good fortune to grow up in Breckenridge, and have always considered it my home. After building a successful real estate company in Louisiana and starting our family, we decided it was time for a new chapter. We relocated our life to Breckenridge, with only an idea of starting a business. Though real estate sales was the logical path to travel, we opted to enter the vacation rental industry in mid-2008. We began our company with just one condo in Breckenridge, and over the years have held every position and performed every job function possible as we have grown.
12 years later, we are at our chosen ceiling of 60 properties, and have expanded into community management, long term leasing and have even gotten back into real estate after a 10 year hiatus. I have found over the years of interfacing with other VRMA members, this is a common story, and something many of us share as a common origin. During my journey, I have been a member of VRMA every step of the way. This organization has been a critical component of my success, and in 2014, I had the opportunity to get involved on a committee. Over the past six years, I have been fortunate to be involved deeply in the organization, and I am humbled and honored to serve as President of VRMA this year.
VRMA: What is one piece of advice you would give to someone just getting started in vacation rentals?
TB: This one is simple for me, and 12 years into my career, still continues to be fundamentally true—Focus on making people smile, and the rest will take care of itself. We are in the business of fulfilling dreams, and delivering smiles. No matter if we are talking about a guest, homeowner, employee, housekeeper, contractor or ourselves—smiles are the currency that matters.
VRMA: Share a fun fact about yourself.
TB: In the six years I have been a board member for this organization, I have brought my wife and three daughters on almost every trip I have taken to attend VRMA Board meetings and events. In my life, I am always a husband and father first, and the ability to have my favorite ladies accompany me through this fantastic journey as part of VRMA has made every moment that much more gratifying and enjoyable. The first trip we all went on together was to New Orleans in 2014, when my oldest was still in elementary school. Today, she is in high school, and over the years we have built a wonderful assortment of memories and experiences as a result of our VRMA travels that we will always cherish.
VRMA: Is there anything else you’d like to add or comment on?
TB: To both our members reading this, and future members to come who are navigating this wonderful industry, I will ask only this—remember that as professional vacation rental managers, we owe a debt to those who precede us, payable to those that will follow us. Volunteer, advocate, get involved, educate, collaborate, network and understand that we can only succeed individually when we work together for the benefit of the entire vacation rental industry.