As if the vacation rental business wasn’t hard enough already, right? We have a little consolidation happening, equity groups consolidating industry partners, management company consolidation and software consolidation. I’ve said over and over, the only constant in the vacation rental industry is change. But, this change is different. This change, requires review, planning and on-going analysis.
As industry partners are gobbled up, it’s important to consider the future, the end game. What does that look like? What happens with my industry partner? Is this something that benefits me; does it benefit my business? With so many businesses under one tent, there seems to be a number of promising opportunities. Deeper integration, product efficiency and lower pricing for management companies are clearly opportunities. What about the concerns? What should you review and continue to analyze? Product advancement, service / support and pricing are near the top of my list. Make sure you are getting the best out of each business partnership, regardless of the partner, continue to measure and manage that relationship to ensure you / your business is ahead of the game. Business is just that, business, and too many vacation rental managers become comfortable and complacent with their partners over time. Our advice is to regularly review your return on investment and hold all partners accountable.
The industry watched two of the largest domestic management companies combine earlier this year. Congratulations to Vacasa, as I think it is fantastic for the industry. Personally, I think this will shed even more light on the industry from a public relations and awareness standpoint. Conversely, this does not mean the end of small business as we know it. As a young kid who cut his teeth at ResortQuest, that was a common concern among vacation rental managers 20 years ago. Smaller management companies will continue to operate and prosper. There is always room for smart, service-oriented vacation rental companies in any market.
In other news, HomeAway announced that it would fold its V12 and Yes Book It software systems into the Escapia software platform. After hearing about the additional software development and reading through the transition plan, it is our opinion that this is a bold new direction for HomeAway. As a user of HomeAway software, I’m excited about the enhanced functionality and new development within the system. Supporting one system, instead of three, will significantly enhance the user experience by centering the focus, development and financial investment on one software solution. Conversely, I know there is pause and concern about converting to Escapia, but as we discussed with numerous Weatherby clients and friends, this stands to be a logical and proactive approach to progressing the software and the user experience.
With the aforementioned changes in the industry, opportunity is just around the corner. Taking a positive approach to change, focusing on what you can control and proactively navigating the waters will ensure your business rides the wave of change, instead of being crushed by it. If your business is at a crossroads and you need direction, contact us.
From Arrival, Issue 5, 2019
BEN EDWARDS has been positively affecting the real estate and vacation rental industries for nearly 20 years. Weatherby Consulting can also help enhance the value and profitability of your Vacation Rental Operation. Please feel free to contact Ben Edwards at Weatherby Consulting should you have any questions about meaningfully increasing your profit margins via email at Ben@WeatherbyConsulting.com or telephone at 888.304.1405.