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    VRMA International Conference Recap

    The VRMA International Conference in New Orleans is a wrap; it was definitely a conference to remember. Hopefully everyone is still recovering (in a good way)—as in, “that was a ton of education and I met so many people and have so many new connections that I’m still sorting it all out!” That’s what we were aiming for; hopefully we accomplished that for you.

    The survey results are in and the feedback regarding the education, networking and exhibit hall has been outstanding. My favorite testimonial—which may be partially due to my love of football—was definitely:

    “If you are in the vacation rental industry, the VRMA International Conference is your Super Bowl. You can't afford to miss it.”

    This is incredibly meaningful, partially because of this rapidly-growing industry. There are many organizations and individuals tapping into this market and launching new conferences and educational offerings, seemingly every other week. We understand the commitment of time and money that goes into attending any conference, and the fact that so many individuals attended ours—and have made it the pre-eminent event in this space—speaks volumes.

    Speaking for the VRMA team, we are incredibly grateful to serve such an amazing association and have the opportunity to work with such outstanding volunteers, exhibitors and attendees who made that event possible. We had over 2,000 attendees for the first time ever; we loved getting to meet so many of you while throwing the biggest party in VRMA’s history. So thank you!

    There’s a lot to unpack from this one, and fortunately, we have a lot of help these days.

    • First and foremost, Andrew McConnell with Rented has been summarizing these events for quite some time, so he has definitely earned top-billing here. Here are his take-aways, as shared on LinkedIn:


    • Our friends from Cleveland Research were back this year after first attending in 2018 in Las Vegas; they’ve put together a summary of the event’s take-aways. Find it here:


    • For the 3rd consecutive year, Sarah Bradford and Tim Cafferty hosted one of the final sessions at the conference, and turned it into a podcast in their popular series “Sarah & T.” Hear from 35 different vacation rental managers who provide their one big takeaway from the conference that they will put into action to improve their business:


    • VRMA’s friend Matt Landau with VRMB and the Vacation Show had the chance to sit down with Terry Whyte and talk about the conference as well as software, and he turned that conversation into an episode of his “Unlocked” podcast that he wanted to share “while VRMA is fresh in everyone’s minds.” Thanks to Matt:


    • Skift, a premier publication in global travel industry intelligence, also attended the conference. They shared some of the news-worthy items and take-aways from the event as it related to some of the larger players and trends in the space, including:

    Marriott: https://skift.com/2019/10/14/marriott-drives-deeper-into-luxury-short-term-rentals-as-a-loyalty-play/

    Booking: https://skift.com/2019/10/15/booking-coms-new-star-ratings-for-short-term-rentals-shake-sector/

    Airbnb: https://skift.com/2019/10/16/airbnb-homes-in-on-professional-vacation-rentals-in-resort-areas/

    Data: https://skift.com/2019/10/22/short-term-rental-managers-look-to-data-for-smarter-pricing/

    Technology: https://skift.com/2019/10/23/why-some-short-term-rental-tech-vendors-are-turning-away-from-independent-hosts/

    Back to the post-conference survey--one of my other favorite data points was in regards to this question posted to vacation rental manager attendees:

    “Did you find new companies in the exhibit hall that you would consider doing business with in the future?”

    91% said “yes.” That’s an outstanding number, and indicative of the caliber of company that partners with VRMA to participate in that exhibit hall. Many thanks to those 120+ companies who helped make the event such a success and brought great energy and innovation to the hall. Some of these companies even documented the event:

    To see how other attendees and exhibitors enjoyed the conference, just type “#VRMAInternational” into any social media platform and watch the posts roll in. We had a ton of engagement this year and look forward to continuing to grow those communities between events.

    Speaking of between events, VRMA is more than this conference. And we had an opportunity to talk about that from the main stage. So what did we talk about?

    We are proud to introduce the VRMA Accredited Professional Property Management Company (APPMC) Program. The APPMC accreditation program serves as a mechanism to distinguish vacation rental companies who meet defined industry standards of excellence in operating professional short term rental management companies. The program serves as the gold standard for doing business in the vacation rental industry. This designation is awarded only to those companies who achieve compliance with the standards in performing these defined professional business practices.  

    The very first annual Vacation Rental Week will kick off in March 2020, with the goal of recognizing and promoting the value and benefits of the vacation rental industry. Save the dates, March 9-13 2020! Much more to come.

    VRMA has been partnering with VRHP for years on education; they even provided three tracks of breakout sessions on housekeeping, maintenance, and laundry at this conference. We’re also working closely on some certifications that are launching in January. It made a ton of sense to formalize this arrangement and merge organizations. VRHP members won’t miss a beat; still all the great benefits and education from VRHP, still lead by the incomparable Durk Johnson, and still the same name. But we’ll be adding more. This is official on January 1, so watch for more info.

    Back to the conference, we also have quick daily recap videos that were shared onsite, put together by our friend Kelby Dolan:

    As well as an outstanding photographer, Stephanie Rounds, who has been taking pictures at VRMA events for years. Here is this year’s collection: https://bit.ly/2X9dxIL.


    Those are the highlights for 2019, and I barely even touched on the education. All of our breakout sessions were recorded; we are syncing the audio with the PowerPoint slides and will be making those presentations available in the next couple of weeks. More to come there, so stay tuned.

    There will also be much more trailing content on Arrival, on the podcast, in Weekly and elsewhere. Keep following VRMA everywhere to stay up-to-date.

    Thank you again for supporting our great association. See you soon!

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