Touching down in a land of make-believe in the middle of a desert, you’d forgive anyone who hadn’t experienced the outlandish sights and sounds of the Las Vegas Strip for thinking they’d been transported to a parallel universe. Aside from its indoor Venetian gondolas, supersize casinos, Elvis-officiated weddings, and being home to America’s very own replica of the Eiffel Tower (because, why not?), the city has added another string to its bow: being the venue for the largest in-person event on the vacation rental calendar.
With around 2,600 attendees from the short-term rental and hospitality technology sector descending on the Entertainment Capital of the World for the 2022 VRMA International Conference, the Abode Worldwide team headed to the iconic Caesar’s Palace, keen to find out what’s hot in vacation rentals right now.
A jam-packed conference schedule offered plenty of opportunities to catch up with clients and industry friends, meet new contacts, and attend expert panels and speaker sessions. Some key themes stood out for us; here are our top eight:
1. Getting your tech stack right is key to business growth.
Smaller short-term rental operators are continuing to professionalize and are scaling often as a result of being able to improve their operations through smart tech. A big discussion at the conference was building a tech stack rather than single point solutions and the added importance of this.
2. Tech consolidation is needed. Property managers are overwhelmed by tech choices.
With so many players in the short-term rental technology space, property managers can be flooded with choices when it comes to making decisions about their tech stacks, especially newcomers to the market. Some tech providers talked of streamlining their services and consolidation to offer a one-stop solution for property managers of all sizes—managing them in one platform rather than having single point solutions. Andrew Kitchell, CEO of Wheelhouse, remarked that “interconnectivity is going to win,” and he was spot on.
3. Guest communication tools are in demand.
Koryn Okey from Breezeway’s panel discussion was on “Guest Communications: Best Practices to Increase Revenue and Boost the Guest Experience” and had a standing-room-only theme. There’s increasing demand from property managers for support on how to effectively communicate with guests. From service etiquette to timing and tips on remarketing, any platforms that help hospitality managers streamline their communication efforts to maximize the guest experience are hot property for property managers of all sizes.
4. VRMA is truly international.
This was the first sell-out VRMA conference. Attendees came from all over the world—from the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, Asia, and South America. Vacation rentals is now a global industry. The atmosphere was buzzing in the conference hall plus really engaged audiences were out in force at talks with lively Q&As and knowledge-sharing sessions.
5. The short-term rental market is exploding and maturing, but economic uncertainty is upon us.
Important issues were under discussion, such as “is the short-term rentals bubble about to burst?” Also under the microscope was how property managers choose to build their tech stacks in order to solve day-to-day operational needs. Energy cost rises, labor cost increases, and manufacturing cost hikes were all high on the agenda too. It will be fascinating to see what 2023 will bring in terms of economic challenges for the sector.
6. VRMA knows how to have fun, and podcasters were out in force.
With red carpet events, the Homerunners event, numerous podcasters, and glamorous parties, VRMA’s packed social calendar did not disappoint. With parties in high places, with incredible views of the Strip and even in the Hangover Suite (from the film The Hangover), networking and connecting with people was a huge draw for this event. A broad contingent of podcasters were in action, including Alex and Annie, Wil Slickers and co-hosts, Mateo Bradford, Paul Stevens, Bart Sobies, and more.
7. Operational excellence is at the forefront.
It was clear that property management companies are dedicated to operational excellence now and going forwards, striving for excellence across the board. Breezeway won an award for Operational Excellence for its cleaning solution, and VRMA gave advice on quality and safety standards plus regulations to keep the sector up to speed on the latest developments.
Looking Forward to More
VRMA 2022 was a stellar conference with an engaged audience—all hungry to learn, all hungry to grow their businesses and, in turn, the vacation rental industry as a whole. We will definitely be back in 2023 for more expert content and hope to see you there!
Rosie King and Laura Ross are PR account managers at Abode Worldwide, a B2B public relations and content agency focused on raising the profile of transformative technology solutions operating within the global short-term rental, hotel, and “living” property sectors. Interested to find out how Abode Worldwide can help supercharge your hospitality technology business? Book a discovery call with our founder and CEO, Jessica Gillingham.