Episodes

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Episode 177: Listeners' Favorite Episodes Revealed

In this edition of the Vacation Rental Manager's podcast, Sarah and T turn the microphone over to the audience to reveal the favorite episodes of all time.  Whether you are a new listener, or have been with the dynamic duo since day one this edition of the podcast will take you back to the best this podcast has to offer.

Find all of Sarah and T's content at www.sarahandt.com
You can also follow this podcast on Instagram or Linked In

Special thanks to our podcast Partners:
Intercoastal Net Designs www.icoastalnet.com
KeyData www.keydatadashboard.com
Sojo www.getsojo.com

Episode 176: Tales from the Guestbook: Vacation Rental Shenanigans

In this episode Sarah and T have opened the phone lines once again to their loyal (and brave) listeners.   This time we share crazy stories that have happened in our rental properties.  Be prepared to be amazed and amused by these stories.   Be advised some of the content is not appropriate for younger listeners!

Find all of Sarah and T's content at www.sarahandt.com
You can also follow this podcast on Instagram or Linked In

Special thanks to our podcast Partners:
Intercoastal Net Designs www.icoastalnet.com
KeyData www.keydatadashboard.com
Sojo www.getsojo.com

Episode 175: Curing the Vacation Rental Conference Conundrum

In this episode Sarah and T tackle the question of how to breath energy into professional conferences in the Vacation Rental Industry.   In response to three listener questions our two intrepid hosts hit the subject head on and offer great insights into what they think makes an outstanding professional conference.

 

Find all of Sarah and T's content at www.sarahandt.com
You can also follow this podcast on Instagram or Linked In

Special thanks to our podcast Partners:
Intercoastal Net Designs www.icoastalnet.com
KeyData www.keydatadashboard.com
Sojo www.getsojo.com

Episode 174: Sarah and T Answer Our Listeners' Toughest Questions

In one of the most popular formats of this long running podcast, Sarah and T have opened up the show to the listeners.   Today's podcast offers a wide range of questions which are thought provoking.   We are sure you will get many takeaways from this episode.

Topics covered include: 
- what supplies VR companies should provide
- terms you use - STR vs. vacation rental, etc 
- after hours coverage
- cancellation policies
- accessiblity
- working with Realtors
- OTA success
- budgets for new homeowner acquisition

and more! 

Find all of Sarah and T's content at www.sarahandt.com
You can also follow this podcast on Instagram or Linked In

Special thanks to our podcast Partners:
Intercoastal Net Designs www.icoastalnet.com
KeyData www.keydatadashboard.com
Sojo www.getsojo.com

Episode 173: The Magic of AI in Vacation Rentals with Meaghan Moylan
Why AI? We asked Meaghan Moylan of Outpost why we want to even tackle this (time savings, writing quality, consistency, better decision making). 1) Vacation Rental Marketing

- Writing Property Descriptions

- AI algorithms can analyze customer data to identify potential guests, and personalize marketing messages

2) Homeowner Acquisition

- Writing marketing and email responses to potential homeowners

What is ChatGPT Pro? how does it differ from the free version?

3) Existing Homeowner Communication - discuss how you can input property data to create a response to a homeowner concerned about recent lack of revenue/bookings at their home

4) Guest Communication - Bots?? Use AI-powered chatbots to provide 24/7 guest support, answer common questions, and handle booking inquiries. Chatbots can streamline communication, reduce response times, and improve guest satisfaction

5) Setting Rates (aka Revenue mgmt)

6) Property Management: Utilize AI for property maintenance scheduling, cleaning optimization!!, and predictive maintenance

7) Personalized Recommendations: Leverage AI to analyze guest preferences, behavior, and booking history to provide personalized recommendations for activities, attractions, and dining options in the area. This can enhance the guest experience and encourage repeat bookings.

8) Reputation Management: Utilize AI-powered sentiment analysis tools to monitor online reviews, social media mentions, and guest feedback. These tools can help you identify areas for improvement, address guest concerns promptly, and maintain a positive online reputation.  

 Thank you to Key Data Dashboard for sponsoring this episode!  

 
 
 
Episode 172: The Boss at VRBO, Tim Rosolio
In this week's episode Sarah and T interview their friend Tim Rosolio, Vice President of Partner Success at Expedia Group (yeah, that makes him the boss at VRBO in our eyes).  Sarah and T get into it with Tim about bookings being down, wonky search results, the Vacation Rental Home of the Year, and why VRBO upset the entire country of Canada with a recent ad.   Lots of great information revealed in this episode!

Find all of Sarah and T's content at www.sarahandt.com
You can also follow this podcast on Instagram or Linked In

Special thanks to our podcast Partners:
Intercoastal Net Designs www.icoastalnet.com
KeyData www.keydatadashboard.com
Sojo www.getsojo.com

Episode 171: John DiJulius, The Employee Experience Revolution

This episode brings you the one and only John DiJulius.   He has a new book and our hosts have an advanced copy of this revolutionary release.   Get ready to write as John covers The Great Resignation, What really motivates employees, How to properly onboard a new employee, Radical interviewing techniques, and how to keep allstar employees for life.   You will learn a lot and earn a lot by listening to this episode.

Special thanks to our podcast Partners:
Intercoastal Net Designs www.icoastalnet.com
KeyData www.keydatadashboard.com
Sojo www.getsojo.com

Episode 170: Melanie Brown of Key Data Dishes Out 2024 Vacation Rental Trends
Melanie Brown is the top analyst of data from the Vacation Rental industry at KeyData Dashboard, and she gives us key trends in the vacation rental industry in Q-1 2024 plus what that means for vacation rental managers for the rest of the year.    Shorter booking windows? yes.  Less US travel? yes.  Get a pen and paper ready to take notes on this informative episode.   Excellent info shared that you can share with your homeowners in your next newsletter. 

Special thanks to our podcast Partners:
Intercoastal Net Designs www.icoastalnet.com
KeyData www.keydatadashboard.com
Sojo www.getsojo.com
Episode 169: The OG of VR returns! Carl Shepherd of Homeaway, Reprised.

This week Sarah and T reprise an episode from 5 years ago that is just as relevant today as it was when it first aired.   Carl Shepherd,  one of the co-founders of HomeAway (now Vrbo), was interviewed by Sarah and Tim in the fall of 2019.   The interview was wide ranging and filled with predictions about the future which have all come true.   Many consider this the best episode in the history of the program.   Sit back and listen to one of the true visionaries in the industry give a great rundown on the history and future of vacation rentals. 

Special thanks to our podcast Partners:
Intercoastal Net Designs www.icoastalnet.com
KeyData www.keydatadashboard.com
Sojo www.getsojo.com

Episode 168: Budgeting for Vacation Rental Managers

Budgeting, Although the word might scare some people off, it is crucial for your vacation rental company to maintain the log of your expenses and income. Budgeting helps to record, analyse and eventually predict the finances of the company. Worry not, Sarah and Tim are here to walk you through the budgeting process in three simple steps. 

You will learn from how to categorise your account heads to what to put in each category. This will help your company to know its exact financial withstanding in terms of working capital, expected income and cost incurred. Ultimately, assisting to fulfil your net income goals, preventing you to owe money you don’t have and ultimately going bankrupt. They also share different tools to help you budget efficiently. We can count on Sarah and Tim to share how they practise budgeting in their own companies.

Key Takeaways

-       Start budgeting

-       Create budget and stick to it

-       Maintain a detailed income and expenses

-       Use spreadsheet

-       Run actual vs budget every month

-       Share information with your staff

Episode 167: Be Amazing or Go Home with Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken, the Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations is a globally recognized customer service and experience expert. 


Shep is a prolific author with eight bestselling books under his belt. With those bestsellers, He has laid the foundations for transforming ordinary customer interactions into extraordinary experiences. 


In this podcast, Shep will bring his wealth of knowledge and decades of expertise to the table. Shep discusses the essential core of "moments of magic" to practical exercises outlined in his book "Cult of the Customer.

Shep further discusses the word you never want to hear from a customer,  FINE (the F-Bomb) which stands for F: Faking a smile, I: Insincere response, N: Never coming back, E: Emotionless. The customer experience is paramount. 





KEY TAKEAWAYS 



  • Importance of creating "moments of magic" to form the core of exceptional customer experiences. 

  • Book recommendations like "Amaze Every Customer Every Time" and "Cult of the Customer" are directly applicable to the vacation rental industry.

  • Three indispensable tips for effective public speaking—know your content, know your audience and know yourself. 

  • Facing fears can lead to personal and professional growth based on Shep’s personal experiences.

  • To be a better grammarian it is important to learn and improve continuously in personal and professional skills.



Whether you're a seasoned professional or a newcomer in the vacation rental industry, Shep's insights and passion for customer service promise to elevate your approach and leave you inspired. 

 

Episode 166: Optimize Your Logistics with Max Farley

Logistics, the mere mention of the word brings fear to some vacation rental managers.   Scheduling cleans, inspections, maintenance, getting the property ready for the next guest and providing all of the arrival amenities is no joke in the vacation rental business.  In this episode Sarah and T talk to Max Farley of Sojo about how to improve logistics for your firm.   Lots of great ideas and takeaways are in store.  In Not So Hot off The Press But Definitely Happening Sarah and T reveal the top 3 shows of 2023.


Episode 165: Takeaways From 2023's VR Women's Summit and DARM

Your Christmas present from Sarah and T is an episode that gives all of the takeaways from the recent Vacation Rental Women's Summit & the DARM (Data and Revenue Management) conference that was held in Nashville, TN in early December.  Sarah was there with a microphone in hand to get all of the best takeaways from the conference attendees.   In the news segment, Sarah gets a big surprise at the conference.

Episode 164: What is a Zoomer and What to do about it

In this week's episode we have a familiar name - DiJulius.   This time it is Cal DiJulius who is John DiJulius' son and an expert on the motivations of Millennials and Gen Z workers and why it is important to understand those motivations.   This is a fascinating look at what our employees are thinking and what motivates them.   A great conversation with a well informed guest.


Episode 163: EOS, (Not TS's Tour). A deep dive with Matt Durrette

Matt Durrette, along with his wife Jenna and co-founder Scott Heyman, has grown his vacation rental business significantly over the past few years. One of the key tools that has helped them achieve this success is the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). EOS is a complete business management system that helps entrepreneurs reach their business goals and improve the lives of everyone the business affects. It does this by providing a set of concepts and tools that help companies to: -Take baby steps and bring in transparency -Measure everything -Create a structure for the business -Identify and address core problems -Track key data -Make everyone accountable Durrett explains that EOS has been especially beneficial for his company because it is a very logistical and operation-heavy business. He spends a majority of his time in the "issue" component of EOS, where he meets with each staff member to identify and address core problems that are prohibiting growth. Durrette also shares his insights about working with overseas staff. Durrette also explains that EOS has helped him to become more efficient and effective. He used to be a bottleneck for the growth of the business, but now he is able to empower his team to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Overall, Durrette is very positive about EOS and believes that it is a valuable tool for any business owner who wants to scale their business and achieve their goals. Key takeaways: -EOS is a complete business management system that can help companies of all sizes to achieve their goals. -EOS provides a set of concepts and tools that help companies to take baby steps, bring in transparency, measure everything, create a structure for the business, identify and address core problems, track key data, and make everyone accountable. -EOS can be especially beneficial for logistical and operation-heavy businesses. -EOS can help business owners to become more efficient and effective by empowering their team to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Rapid fire: -Favorite EOS tool: The Vision/Traction Organizer -Biggest challenge with EOS: Getting everyone on the same page and committed to the process -Advice to other business owners: Start small and focus on one or two areas of your business where EOS can make a big impact.

14 Ways to Blast Your Email Marketing Into a Booking Machine

In this episode Sarah and T take on the topic of e-mail blasts.  Are you doing them?  Are you doing them effectively?    How do you know?  14 specific points are covered in how you can crush your next effort and know exactly how well you did.

1) Build up your email list & segment - all previous guests list, potential guests, by season, by type of property, etc.

- Every single email you get should be added to a list and segmented.  I recently stayed in a VR with a company. After we booked, they kept sending us promotional emails. Made me wonder if we had a booking! Make sure your upcoming guests aren't sent an email that you are now offering 40% off! 

- Booking Anniversary to previous guests on their booking date from last year

- Type of properties, size of properties, season they visited only?

2) Consistent (so you're there when it's time to book) - top of mind. Only way to pull this off is to make your emails interesting/professonal

3) Frequency of sending - at least once a month, ideally once a week (TIM & SARAH DISAGREE)

4) Not Always a Sales Email - way too many VR emails are like this "20% off for next week!" - think about your own perspective when you get an eblast.

5) Types of eblasts - introduce a new property (attracts Lookie Loo's), newsletter format - new restaurants/activities in the area, Resort developments (new gondola), groups of properites/themes, Snow alerts, local partners (make sure you show them they were included), booking anniversary, ...others, TIM? 

6) Professional looking, template so recognizable (idea - personalize by showing a person from your team at bottom), highlight properties at bottom, social links, videos, other examples

Paul Hanak from ICND says open rates don't matter! Listen to his reasoning mid-podcast. 

7) Call to Action - we always had "book direct & save" at bottom of every single email. 

8) Lots of links! Link logo and photos too

9) Always include all owners on your emails

10) Tracking code to conversion! Follow by email monthly - this is the WHOLE POINT. Don't send an email without tracking conversion. 

11) A/B testing - most platforms easily allow you to test everything from subject lines to send times - utilize it!

12) Stop gathering emails from "contests" just to have a bigger list. We've tested it! They signed up to win a contest, not to engage with your brand. Open rates are poor, so you wind up paying for all these extra emails without any payoff. Quality over quantity. 
13)  Subject Lines are the name of this game. Without a good subject line that captures attention and creates curiosity, that email won't even be opened.  Need some inspiration? Just google "Good email subject lines" and ask ole chatGPT.

14) Check and recheck for spelling/grammar errors - everything speaks! (sarah example of "piece") 


33 VRMA 2023 Conference Attendees Share Their Key Takeaways

Again this year Sarah and T have come through with their signature episode.   The VRMA Conference takeaways has become an annual must listen to podcast.  This year Sarah and Tim talk to more than 30 participants at the conference held in Orlando about what was hot, and what was not at VRMA.   

Some of our special guests include: 

 

Sherry Thompson 

Mary Beth Miles 

Clayton Kagi 

Yael Lederman 

Lauren Smith 

Miles Chew 

Lino Maldinado

Matt V from Cleveland Reasearch

Kayla Reed 

Tyann Marcink

Al Furlone

Brian Olson

Melaine Brown

Tiffany Moss

Valerie Gangas

Beverly Serral

Jonathan Wicks

Brian Harris

Heather Bayer

And our Pullover Partners: 

Daniel from Key Data

Brandon and Vanessa from ICND

Max Farley from Sojo



 

David Angotti, The Vacation Rental Content Marketing Dumbledore

We've waited 159 episodes to have the wizard of content marketing on the Vacation Rental Manager's Podcast.   David Angotti is on today's episode dropping knowledge about everything you thought you knew, but the secret is you probably don't.   The master is in the house.
In the news segment Sarah and T (and David) talk about the upcoming VRMA International Conference and how to get the most out of your time there.

Bed Bugs! It's Not If, But When. Be Ready.

In this episode our two fearless rental managers talk about the subject of bed bugs.  Don't pretend you don't think about this or haven't had this happen to you.   What do you do when you get them?  How do you handle them?  Will I catch them just thinking about the subject?   The answer to these and many more questions will be revealed in this episode. 

In the News segment Tim talks about the wildly successful ExploreFest 23 conference that VRBO and Expedia Group just hosted in Las Vegas.  Another can't miss episode with lots of takeaways to help your business!  Detailed show notes below:

 Bed Bug education - all from the great Durk Johnson who explains it better than anyone.  

- First, a fun fact - we are seeing a rise in bed bugs the past 10-15 years because DDT is outlawed. That's a good thing, but DDT used to kill bed bugs and they were going down in numbers of outbreaks.  

 

FACTS about BB's 

- size of a tick

- nocturnal

- attracted to our CO2 we breathe

- they can live for 365 days without food! 

- They like to live in wooden footboards, headboards, wall (check baseboard)

- Often the way to find them is to check for poop and blood stains on mattress or mattress pad. 

How are they transported? they are hitchhikers

- luggage (in other words guests bring them.  Guests don’t want to believe it, but it is true!  It is not a commentary on the cleanliness of a rental property)

- clothes (eggs are sticky)

 

HOW TO IDENTIFY: 

Teach your housekeepers to do the following BEFORE start cleaning every single time not just when reported: 

- Take flat sheet off & look at fitted sheet (look for long line of blood spots) 

- Then get down to the mattress 

- BTW, you need to have tight fitting mattress pad b/c they will live in the folds if loose. Yes, ALL beds should have mattress pads and even better, full encasements. 

- Blacklights will show them up or flashlight on phone - looking for poop & blood stains & exoskeletons! 

- then check box spring (between cover & spring) 

- check under the nightstand

- check behind the bed

 

This training also goes to your maintenance staff, inspections team, and of course you need at least one manager who can verify before you get to treatment because the treatment is EXPENSIVE.  

 


HOW TO TREAT

- Pest control. - With Heat thru entire house- generator, wires thru house - 120 degrees 

- Sprinklers need to be covered so they don't go off. (there are also bed bug sniffing dogs?)   Yes, there is.  

And How to Treat Your Laundry you bring out of the property AFTER treatment complete:  

-Bagging up all of the impacted linen in an airtight bag, keeping those items separated from your normal laundry, and the process of laundering those items, then getting the appropriate items back to the property after sanitization – bedspreads, mattress pads, etc.).  

- Trash the pillows

- Consider trashing the mattress if there is a sizable infestation. 



 

2) Have a Process Documented and Explained to all before it ever happens (this should also be part of new hire training!) 

- So, Tim is perfect as we all know, so he actually has a flow chart for this. I'm talking decision points - diamond shape - YES/NO and path to take like those choose your own adventure books.  

TIM:  explain the flow chart & get into ways to handle the laundry, & staff clothing



There are two ways you find out if there are bed bugs: 

- Reported by guest or homeowner

- Found by staff


Be sure your staff  knows what to do if THEY find them

- call supervisor & get out of the home



And be sure your staff know what to do if they are reported by GUEST & HOMEOWNER 

- Are staff supposed to go in and identify or call pest control immediately? As Tim said earlier, a manager needs to confirm because this is PRICEY


If staff goes, be sure they know to not bring anything with them when they leave. Leave everything for the treatment. Then when you get it after the "all clear", use long gloves to put those items into the washer.  No fear needed when washing b/c exoskeletons only. 


Staff also need to take their clothes off before going inside their own residence. Take them off before you enter your house. throw them away or right into the dryer on sanitize setting or right into the washer. And then shower asap! 


- Sarah:  We sent staff to the property (trained manager) and they would collect a sample if there was one or take a photo of it or both.  Then that was sent to the pest expert to confirm.  We also asked guest/homeowner to send photos of bites on human if they were ok with sharing.


After pest control has been called, wait for all clear from pest control to go back in.




3) Communication with Guests:  This is really hard.  If the guest has already left, encourage them to wash all of their contents of their suitcase on hot cycle and check for BB in their luggage. 

 

If they are still in house, communicate your plan - you're confirming, and if confirmed, you'll have to send pest control in which will turn up to 120 - they have to leave all of their belongings in there and stay somewhere else.  Sometimes this takes a few days so they are supposed to depart and they don't know what to do with their items.  They could wash everything and then leave. 

 

 

Communicaiton with Owners:  Tell homeowners as soon as confirmed.  Let them know of the next steps. 

PRO TIP - When you onboard an owner or for all existing owners, proactively THIS WEEK! make it a point to address this before it happens. Make sure you outline: 

-   The treatment is pricey - $2K plus the relocation of guests, plus possibly new furniture.    If you don't address up front, homeowners will often try to claim this is your problem because "your guests" brought them in. Make sure owners know what your procedures are. 

 - And of course your homeowner contract should spell this out.  

Then, when/if it happens, be very upfront with them and keep them updated.

 

 

Three Ways to Connect with Your Vacation Rental Homeowners
Homeowner gatherings - don't fear them, explain that owners won't conspire against you. 
- Pick a time when you see a lot of homeowners are in town (HOA meetings can be great times if you're in large condo buildings) 
- Just getting an invite is a win
- Happy hour cocktails & light food is best.  
- Get a guest speaker from the area (ex: CEO of Winter Park Resort) 
- Party favors 
- Lots of staff present
- Nametags and property name
- Have it at a property or conference area/rec center/restaurant in your area 

Surveys 
- so easy yet so many don't do
- Two questions - net promoter & why
- Analyze
- bi-annual

Annual Reports 
- or Bi-annual
- Send email with details of the home's performance - ADR, total rev, number of nights, average stay, owner nights (and compare to last year). Include a blurb whether they outperformed or underperformed the rest of your "like" homes
- Bonus points if you suggest what they could do to improve these numbers. 
Vacation Rental Fraud & the Quasi Hostage Taking Crisis

A few episodes go (I've Had It!), more than one vacation rental company owner said they have "had it" with being threatened by guests with bad reviews if they don't give a refund, an increase in chargebacks and fraudulent transactions (aka. stolen credit cards).  In this episode,  Sarah and Tim welcome 3 experts on to talk about how to tackle these frustrating events. 

This fresh perspective gives tips on new ways you may want to consider accepting funds, how to effectively approach chargebacks and win, as well as how to deal with those quasi hostage taking guests who seem to make a profession out of saying something was wrong at the end of their stay. 

Many thanks to Terry Whyte, Chris Savino, and Matt Gurley for joining us and sharing proven tactics against these shady actors. 

And thank you to Sojo, our sponsor of this episode! 

Don't Rely on the OTAs for Your Bookings, Damn It!
SHOW NOTES:
Part 1: Getting new customers to book direct and circumvent OTAs
- SEO
- Website rank
- add a blog a week with keyword and relevant content
- social media
- Reverse search in OTAs (show your logo where you can, make sure description says your company name, and add that you company's "Difference" is at the bottom of all of your OTA descriptions 
- AdWords (You have to be at least just below OTAs - not much farther, so this can be pricey - what's your market average CPC?) 

Part 2: (much easier) Getting previous guests to book direct
- Branding - when you answer the phone, texting, web chat, all email communications, arrival note, signage, plastic pool cups, etc.   Be sure they also learn the house name too if there is one.
- Education - it's a bit awkward to educate guests on the extra money they spent before they get there - we like to do it on their welcome note, and in the check out email/text/call, plus all direct emails you ever send them again. Offer a discount when they return and book direct on your site or by calling. no return guest discount given on OTA bookings.
- Experience - Of course, they need to love the home but also the experience with you - this requires eventually analyzing every touch point and being honest with yourself about what is working and what isn't optimal. Fix the non-optimal. Best way to do this is a secret shopper. 
- Email Remarketing - from the time they leave until the time they book again, you should be sending them an email at least once a month. Bonus points for remarketing the property where they stayed, remember their booking date, or even better, remembering their birthday, etc. 

You have to offer your guests something that feels different from all the others...that wine/cheese plate. Special and quick service.  Personal touch.  That makes someone learn your brand and get loyal. 

Be sure you are measuring:
- figure out how to see if a guest booked on an OTA more than once with you - this is negative measurement but a good one!
- see if you can find a way to look at repeat guests & how many originally booked on OTA and 2nd time direct...this is a WIN! 

-- k it comes within 15 minutes of New Buffalo. Should I stay at one of your homes for the night and give you a shit ton of feedback?? It would be Jun 3 or Jun 4...not sure which yet. Not sure that even will be the right time for us to stop - but just an idea! We can stop on the way home too in late August. 

- Email Remarketing - from the time they leave until the time they book again, you should be sending them an email at least once a month. Bonus points for remarketing the property where they stayed, remember their booking date, or even better, remembering their birthday, etc. 

You have to offer your guests something that feels differently from all the others...that wine/cheese plate. Special and quick service.  Personal touch.  That makes someone learn your brand and get loyal. 

*Look in Track and figure out how to see if a guest booked on an OTA more than once with you - this is the thing you don't want to see. Or on the flip side, see if you can find a way to look at repeat guests & how many originally booked on OTA and 2nd time direct...this is a WIN!  Part 1: Getting new customers to book direct and circumvent OTAs

- SEO
- Website rank
- add a blog a week with keyword and relevant content
- social media
- Reverse search in OTAs (show your logo where you can, make sure description says your company name, and add that Juniper Difference at the bottom of all of your OTA descriptions - like the wplco example I showed you on my old site) 
- AdWords (You have to be at least just below OTAs - not much farther, so this can be pricey - what's your market average CPC?

Part 2: (much easier) Getting Previous guests to book direct
Branding - when you answer the phone, texting, web chat, all email communications, arrival note, signage, plastic pool cups, etc.  We even made all internet passwords our brand name so they had to type it.   Be sure they also learn the house name since they can find that as well if they forget Juniper's name. 
Education - it's a bit awkward to educate them on the extra money they spent before they get there - I like to do it on their welcome note, and in the check out email/text/call, plus all direct emails you ever send them again (You've seen my "Always Book Direct" on our emails). Offer 15% when they return and book direct on your site or by calling. no return guest discount given on OTA bookings.
Experience - Of course, they need to love the home but also the experience with you - this requires eventually analyzing every touch point and being honest with yourself about what is working and what isn't optimal. Fix the optimal. Best way to do this is a secret shopper. ODD side note - I am driving to PA on i80. I think it comes within 15 minutes of New Buffalo. Should I stay at one of your homes for the night and give you a shit ton of feedback?? It would be Jun 3 or Jun 4...not sure which yet. Not sure that even will be the right time for us to stop - but just an idea! We can stop on the way home too in late August. 
- Email Remarketing - from the time they leave until the time they book again, you should be sending them an email at least once a month. Bonus points for remarketing the property where they stayed, remember their booking date, or even better, remembering their birthday, etc. 

You have to offer your guests something that feels differently from all the others...that wine/cheese plate. Special and quick service.  Personal touch.  That makes someone learn your brand and get loyal. 

*Look in Track and figure out how to see if a guest booked on an OTA more than once with you - this is the thing you don't want to see. Or on the flip side, see if you can find a way to look at repeat guests & how many originally booked on OTA and 2nd time direct...this is a WIN! 
 
I've Had It!

We asked for our listeners to call in and share what they have HAD IT with in the vacation rental world lately.  Thirteen stepped up and delivered including:  Jeff Thomas, Terry Whyte, Mike Beltracci, Lance Stitcher, Adrian Johnson, Robin Craigen, Tom Goodwin, Georgie Bishop, JL of ParlayVous marketing, Valerie Gangas, Dana Moraru, Doug Starkey and the infamous, Lauren Madewell. 

Enjoy the rant! (and software developers, you're welcome - this is a focus group of what's needed in our industry)

Vacation Rental Decor with an Expert Flair

Cara Shimizu joins Sarah and Tim this week to give advice on what brings in the bucks as far as decor of a vacation rental.  

Your VRBO Listing Blows!
 
This episode isn't as obnoxious as the title. Oh wait, yes it is.  Notice how the title got your attention though - same goes for your OTA listings!
 
In this episode, we give you lots of ways you can make your listing shine which means more $$ in your pocket and your homeowners.  It's also a great selling point when you're talking with a homeowner about why they should go with you vs. do it themselves. 

We cover: 

1. Listing Titles:  Most fail big in this zone.  

2. The Primary Photo

3. Other tips for your listing: 
- How to encourage Reverse Search
- How your description should exude hospitality
- Ordering of Photos
Get a professional - always.   Refer to episode 97: Photos Can Make or Break You for more info here. 
- Creating a beautiful photo of all of the supplies you provide & add to your listing
- Show the surrounding area and what you can walk to especially! 
- How to respond to reviews
 


Vacation Rental Employees vs. Contractors? Here's What You Need to Know

Most of us started as one person company.  Then, you had to get a housekeeper and some maintenance contacts. Eventually, you grow and have more and more labor needs but when do you hire vs. outsource? Do you build it and they will come? Or do you let it build and then hire? Today, we will be digging into this very question and sharing our experience of who to hire when.  


Payroll can eat up your profit pretty quickly. But not having staff can make your profit never materialize because you are outsourcing everything at top dollar, or you don't have the bandwidth to land the next property on your program, follow a budget, and pay attention to all facets of this complicated business. 


Let's discuss outsourcing vs. in house hiring, ideas on where to hire/grow first and potential ways to structure your organization and then a smattering of tips to keep in mind as you go down the challenging yet rewarding path of growing your business.  


1. Outsource vs. In-House Team


Pros of outsourcing: 

- easy to "fire" or stop/start using them

- quick to get up to speed (barely any training needed) 


Cons of outsourcing: 

- not building expertise/value in your company

- $$$$

- can't totally control the work/outcome

- Tim's IRS 20 point checklist on determining if you are treating a subcontractor as an employee.   If you fail any of the 20 points you could be in trouble and face penalties and be required to pay back employment taxes. 


Pros of In-house: 

- less $$ 

- higher commitment and focus

- build expertise in house

- team building/culture


Cons of In-house: 

- Not enough work at first for specific job roles

- the drama (aka HR)

- much harder to hire & fire

- training effort/cost


2.  Where to Grow First? 

Ask yourself: what's your weakness and/or what are you not interested in doing? energy drain? That first... then, here's a natural progression although there is no one-size-fits-all answer: 

- Housekeepers & Inspectors (as soon as you have #? properties)

- Reservations/Sales & Guest Experience (together at first, then split!)

- Property Care/Maintenance (take pools/hot tubs in house asap)

- Owner Manager (can be Owner Acquisition too)

- Finance/Accounting/HR - can also help with insurance, vehicles, credit cards

- Marketing (I can't believe how many people don't have this in house!)

- Build a laundry and take in house


and the ultimate - a General Manager that oversees everything above. 


3.  Remember these tips as you grow: 

- Training!! Training!! Training!! And checking in regularly with each new person

- A place to gather (office, etc...) - get in person often

- Be sure you are putting the right butts in seats and not hiring too quickly….But definitely firing quickly

- Communication systems (Slack? Email? Asana?)

- Create team culture - be open, explain other parts of business, share budget/actuals

- Profit Sharing

- Continue to refine structure and roles and communicate clearly on this

- Be generous with benefits - health insurance, vacation time, other perks

- Include housekeepers in any happy hours and parties! 

 

Listen to Our Advice Here

 

Insurance Needed for Vacation Rental Managers: Are You Covered?

Do you have insurance?   Of course, everyone who runs a vacation rental business knows you need insurance.   Do you have enough insurance?   Do you have the right insurance?  Are you SURE you are covered in the event of anything that might happen?    Maybe the answers to the last 3 questions are not as convincing as the first question's answer.   

In this episode Sarah and T are out to save your backside.   We assure you that you will learn some things in this episode that could save your business!  So listen up and get ready for our hosts to drop some knowledge on you!

Key Points: 

Disclaimer: we are not insurance agents nor do we play one on TV. Everything we say here should be verified with your insurance agent and not hold us liable for anything we say that turns out to be incorrect.  

Many thanks to Tim's insurance agent, Larry Barker of Towne Insurance Agency in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina for giving us the 411 on insurance of all types in the vacation rental business.   

In this episode, we cover: 

- Liability Insurance

- Workman's Comp Insurance

- Errors & Omissions 

- Vehicle insurance for employees driving company vehicles & their own vehicles

Vacation rental managers small or large are ultimately responsible for finding and keeping tenants (aka "guests") on someone else's property.  To be successful at this, they must do the following five things: 

1) Negotiate, sign and enforce leases (aka Guest Agreement or Contract)

2) Collect rents 

3) Make repairs

4) Conduct routine maintenance 

5) Ensure the safety of guests

Each one of these five comes with its own set of risks and that's why there's property and liability insurance designed to protect. Let's talk about the protection you need to cover these five activities: 

1) Professional Liability insurance aka "errors and omissions"  coverage.  This coverage protects you when you forget to purchase appropriate property insurance, resulting in a loss for the homeowner, wrongful or negligent evictions, discrimination claims, and other failure to perform professional duties according to your contract.

**big reason to get this - commercial general liability may not provide coverage for any expenses related to professional liability claims or suits.  

It does need to be said that errors & omissions does NOT usually include criminal, fraudulent, or malicious acts, bodily injury and property damage, workers compensation claims, and punitive damages.

2) Property & Liability Insurance - two biggest risks in our line of work relates to property maintenance and contract negligence. There are often questions about who - the manager or the property owner - has the "insurable interest" on the building. 

a) Commercial property insurance - this protects the VRM's assets after a physical loss due to smoke, fire, wind, hailstorm, vandalism, and other events. It all depends on the wording in your contract as to whether you are responsible for keeping this coverage on buildings you manage. 

b) Business income insurance aka "business interruption insurance" - this is typically included in a commercial property policy.  It protects your earnings if you can't collect b/c of storm, fire, etc. 

c) Commercial General Liability - (read from Larry's doc - I have it printed and ready to go)

If you want to get everything we have discussed to date, ask your agent about a BOP - business owner's policy which includes property coverage, liability coverage, AND business income insurance. 

ADDITIONAL insurance coverage to consider: 

1) Non-owned auto liability coverage - should be purchased if you or your employees drive personal vehicles for business

Click to Listen

Not So Obvious Tips to Have A Great Vacation Rental Property!

Sarah and T have big news in this episode.   Not only do they bring you great content in this edition to help you grow your business, but they have a big announcement to make.    Listen in to hear the great news and then get a pad and paper ready to pick up on tips that will make you money!   Like always, Sarah and T deliver for you.

Click to Listen


Who’s Your Morris?

“Huh??” You say? I know, weird title. Spoiler alert – Morris is the GM of Brian Harris of Harris Vacations in the panhandle of Florida. This episode covers how Brian, thru the help of mentor, Alan Kemper of Lead Advisors, gave up control and hired the perfect “executive” so that Brian could be the Owner and Entrepreneur.

Get your pencil & paper ready.

How Many Guests Is Too Many? Rent Responsibly’s Summit Session
John DiJulius – Customer Experience Guru (Part 2)

He’s back and better than ever! John DiJulius, head of The DiJulius Group, is back for a two part series on customer experience. In these two takeaway-filled episodes with a few “bleeps”, John covers:

– 4 Guidelines for customer experience moments

– how to offer personal experiences even at scale (hint: use their name and yours)

– customer experience action statement

– Eliminate “employee roulette”

– why “hustle” got cancelled

– how to connect with employees at a distance (allow for “rabbit holes” and use Big Talk) 

Skip Small Talk https://youtu.be/WDbxqM4Oy1Y

– Chat GPT – how it may be used in the vacation rental industry

– Subrogration

– Ryan Reynolds trying ChatGPT

– Every generation is relationship disadvantaged now – there has been a significant decline in relationship-building skills. Here’s 5 skills to teach (John claims one skill is unteachable – ya either got it or ya don’t)

Be Authentic 

Insatiable Curiosity

Incredible Empathy

Be a Great Listeners (“Listen Like You’re Wrong”)

Love People – filter for this since it cannot be taught

– Day in the Life (refer to Ep. 33) 

– FORD (Family, Occupation, Recreation & Dreams) – in personal life, narcism barometer

– Always & Never List’s remove personal interpretation from customer service expectations

– Encourage all to attend: John DiJulius’s Secret Service Summit – Oct 11 & 12, 2023. Tim and team will be there!

Listen to Part 1

Listen to Part 2

John DiJulius – Customer Relationship Guru (Part 1)

He’s back and better than ever! John DiJulius, head of The DiJulius Group, is back for a two part series on customer experience. In these two takeaway-filled episodes with a few “bleeps”, John covers:

– 4 Guidelines for customer experience moments

– how to offer personal experiences even at scale (hint: use their name and yours)

– customer experience action statement

– Eliminate “employee roulette”

– why “hustle” got cancelled

– how to connect with employees at a distance (allow for “rabbit holes” and use Big Talk) 

Skip Small Talk https://youtu.be/WDbxqM4Oy1Y

– Chat GPT – how it may be used in the vacation rental industry

– Subrogration

– Ryan Reynolds trying ChatGPT

– Every generation is relationship disadvantaged now – there has been a significant decline in relationship-building skills. Here’s 5 skills to teach (John claims one skill is unteachable – ya either got it or ya don’t)

Be Authentic 

Insatiable Curiosity

Incredible Empathy

Be a Great Listeners (“Listen Like You’re Wrong”)

Love People – filter for this since it cannot be taught

– Day in the Life (refer to Ep. 33) 

– FORD (Family, Occupation, Recreation & Dreams) – in personal life, narcism barometer

– Always & Never List’s remove personal interpretation from customer service expectations

– Encourage all to attend: John DiJulius’s Secret Service Summit – Oct 11 & 12, 2023. Tim and team will be there!

Listen to Part 1

Listen to Part 2

Vendors You Can’t Live Without (Part 2)

VR Vendors Our Listeners Love

We invited 17 vacation rental company owners and managers to the show and asked them one question, “What VR vendor can you not live without?”. The answers were all over the place with only three companies getting a double mention (Track, TouchStay & Beyond). From linens, to grocery delivery service, to softwares of all types, our listeners surprised and delighted.

We couldn’t fit it all into one episode.

First enjoy Part 1 and then move on to Part 2.

Vendors You Can’t Live Without (Part 1)

VR Vendors Our Listeners Love

We invited 17 vacation rental company owners and managers to the show and asked them one question, “What VR vendor can you not live without?”. The answers were all over the place with only three companies getting a double mention (Track, TouchStay & Beyond). From linens, to grocery delivery service, to softwares of all types, our listeners surprised and delighted.

We couldn’t fit it all into one episode.

First enjoy Part 1 and then move on to Part 2.

Get Involved to Get Better!
The VR Industry’s Dirty Little Secrets

Dirty Little Secrets

There’s something tantalizing about talking about things you shouldn’t right?  Well, if that is the case you are going to be super excited to listen to today’s episode.  Sarah and T cover some very seldom talked about topics in the V.R. Industry.  Our dirty little secrets we don’t want people to know!  From sex toys in the hot tub to employees hooking up in the properties this is a non-stop episode.

In not so hot off the press our hosts roast Airbnb, Vacasa and Airlines!

Dirty laundry aired here.

Do What Your Competition is NOT

Do What Your Competitors Are NOT Doing

We are continually surprised (and discouraged) by how many VR operators are NOT doing the basics. Be different, Be bold! This episode digs into some big – and small – things you can do to rise above your competition.

Topics discussed in depth include:

1) Creating a “I would never leave” relationship with your owners

2) Being Bold 

3)  Being meticulous about the properties you take on and those you KEEP 

4) Personalized welcome notes and gift

5)  Direct Marketing – at the very least to your return guest list! 

6) Creating a tone with owners and guests of Connection vs. Standard Customer Service. 

Thirty minutes of wisdom here!

Most Popular Episodes & Pullover Moments from 2022

Top Episodes of 2022 (& Pullover Moments)

Tim and Sarah went back to all 26 episodes and recapped the 10 Most Listened to Episodes of 2022. While recapping, they pointed out the pullover moments so you can either go back and listen or get the cliff notes here.

Which one do you think was #1?


2022 in Review and What’s to Come in 2023

A 2022 Review & Predictions for 2023

We reached out to many vacation rental leaders for this one – we asked them to send in a prediction or two for the coming year. Lots of chatter about Vacasa’s future, as well as the impending recession, and new technology and business mergers that may occur.

Many thanks to Claire Reiswerg, Peter Reeburg, Andrew McConnell, Stacy Charlton, Tom Goodwin, The Stitchers, Steve Milo, Matt Landau, Brandon Sauls and more…

Listen here or on your favorite podcast app.

Ryan Bailey of Track (TravelNet) on Vendor Software Consolidation

Consolidation of VR Vendors

Ryan Bailey of Travel Net Solutions (Track PMS) talks with us this week about their company’s approach to tackling what no one yet has – a one stop shop for VR software. Their goal is to help VRMs get rid of 20 logins, passwords, and APIs and have it all under one roof. Not only that, they want to be “best in class” for each area of software. With recent majority ownership going to BlueStar investment group, they have the cash now to buy up some VR vendors and add to their platform organically as well.

Listen to it from the horse’s mouth.

Tim Rosolio of Vrbo

Tim Rosolio, VP of Partner Success

Jeff Hurst left vrbo this year, and Tim Rosolio is his replacement (ish). We chat with Tim about OTA strategy, how vrbo views property managers, amenities guests want, and the subscription/PPB debate.

Correction on this episode’s content – Tim followed up and shared that you CANNOT get a subscription if you already don’t have one in your property mix. This is a big deal and it wasn’t made clear on the recording.

Check it out here.

PM Roundtable Questions Asked & Answered

PM Roundtable with Sarah and T

Sharon Walker, of Walker Luxury Vacation Rentals, was kind enough to collect the questions posed by VRMs around the country at the VRMA Property Manager’s Roundtable and ask us a few of them on this week’s episode. We “try to” tackle everything from how to create a QR code, how we handle chargebacks and how we avoid them, all the way to whether we pass along OTA fees to owners or guests and if so, how.

Lots of pullover moments in this one especially one from Tim .


VRMA Takeaways From 32 Attendees

32 Takeaways from VRMA 2022

The last session of the conference was the best, if you ask us. A packed room participated in our recording of the podcast by sharing their “one thing” that paid for their trip. We asked for specifics – what is one thing you are taking back home and implementing?

Thirty-two brave souls raised their hand and grabbed the mic from the well known Steve Milo & Andrew McConnell to the newbies we hadn’t met yet. Many thanks to all who contributed.

A sampling of the takeaways?

Attend your City Council meetings because whether you like it or not, they have a perception of you. Be there to curate it.

Remind & Repeat – say the facts over and over in marketing

Currently 70% of guests don’t remember the property management company where they stayed – add in branding to the property and all you do so your guests remember you and book direct next time!

Share good reviews with owners, not just bad ones.

Have a weekly revenue meeting with other staff – marketing, accounting, owner relations, and reservations.

Listen to the other 27 here.

Eight VR industry players pitch their VRMA session to us

So you think we should attend your session?

On our last episode, we recommended one session from each time slot at the upcoming VRMA International Conference in Vegas. We ended with a challenge to anyone who didn’t get chosen – sell your session to us and convince the audience to attend! Eight brave souls came forward.

Many thanks to Tyann Marcink, Ali Cammelletti, Michelle Marquis, Koryn Okey, John DeRoulet, Ryan Dame, Steve Trover, and Jeremy Gall!

Check it out here.


Sarah and T’s ‘Don’t Miss’ VRMA Int’l Sessions

 

Sarah & T Pick “Don’t Miss” Sessions

We went thru the upcoming VRMA International Conference in Las Vegas (Oct 23 – 26) and chose what we believe are the “don’t miss” sessions of the conference. It was hard to choose, so we also challenged anyone who wasn’t selected to reach out and sell us on their session in our next episode!

Take 30 minutes to hear our recommendations and make the most of your time in Sin City.

Our Listeners’ Questions Asked and Answered

Listeners’ Questions Answered Live

Eight vacation rental professionals called in and asked Sarah and Tim whatever they wanted this week on the podcast from the best way to revive employees to laundry to how to evaluate buying another company’s contracts.

We tried to give the “right” answer. Get all of our responses here.


GOSsiP: 4 Measures of VR Company Health

GOSsiP: 4 Measures of VR Health

We have all seen VR companies who seem healthy on the surface but the numbers don’t lie. Tim and Sarah recommend this easy way to monitor your company’s health so no one is “gossiping” about YOU!

G: Guest Health

O: Owner Health (aka Homeowner/Property)

S: Staff Health

P: Profit Health (aka Financial/Net Income)

Listen how to stop the Gossip!

How to Win…Or Lose…Property Owners

The ONE THING That Will Lose You Homeowners

Oh, the suspense…what is it? You’ll find out on this episode where we will discuss In or “outta” house, how to organize it, how to manage it and its tasks, how to communicate their work to homeowners, supplies, expectations, and recurring issues. Enough of a hint? See if you’re right here.

The King of Data, Jason Sprenkle

Jason Sprenkle, The King of Data

We had Jason back on the show (he was on early in 2021) to share what he’s seeing 18 months later as far as booking trends. He shares the latest on ADR (rates), occupancy, booking windows and length of stay. He even tells us the “hot market” right now to have a profitable vacation rental. And we get back to Rapid Fire, where we get Jason to tear up.

Thank you, Jason!

Parenting in the VR Business

Parenting & VR Business

First time it’s ever been covered? We think so. Tim and Sarah dig into strategies to get your kiddos working in the VR business alongside you, as well as suggestions on how to disengage from the business during family time to be a present parental unit.

Here’s to the moms and dads!

Greg Lindsay: Orthogonal Ideas for the VR Industry

An Interview with Greg Lindsay

Greg was the keynote at this year’s Expedia Explore22 conference in Vegas and somehow we got him to be on the show! Greg studies the future of cities and housing, and has recently dug into the vacation rental world we know and love.

Listen in on his comments about how we can convince homeowner’s to upgrade their home according to a hierarchy of needs, as well as learning from the boutique hotel movement of the last 20 years bringing a brand promise across different properties.


Learn, Earn, Return with John Suzuki

Smile No Broke Your Face

That’s the bumpersticker that John Suzuki has made his motto in life. John spent 18 years at Vrbo and then Expedia and served many of those as the chief evangelist.

He’s retiring! And sharing all of his wisdom here.


Explore 22: Expedia Has Big Goals

From the Press Box…

Tim was invited to the Explore 22 conference – Expedia’s massive travel conference in Vegas last month as part of the press. He interviewed key execs and took dubious notes to share with us what futuristic initiatives Expedia is focused on, plus lots of trends to help us as we navigate the upcoming months and years. Super interesting – hope you enjoy.

Big News: Sarah & Chris Sold Their VR Companies!

Sold!

The Bradfords have some big news – they have sold their vacation rental companies (Winter Park Lodging Company & Steamboat Lodging Company) to Sunset Management, a small outfit owned by Allan Rowe. They own Big Sky Vacation Rentals in Montana as well as three companies on the coast of South Carolina.

Do not fear! Sarah will continue with Sarah & T podcast with Tim just as always. In fact, she’ll have more time to devote to it now.

Here all about the process, and the decision here.

12 (or 16?)Tips on How To Sell to Homeowners

A Potential Homeowner Calls. Now What?

There’s lots of talk out there about all of the marketing you can do to get a potential homeowner to reach out to you, but very little on what to do at that point.

We walk thru 12 – which turn into 16 – tips on how to make that contact turn into a homeowner signing up on your program. This includes how to handle the potential homeowner’s dog sniffing you in all the wrong spots. Ok, we didn’t solve that one!

Sarah thinks Tim had one of his best pieces of advice in this episode. It involves “throwing mud”.

Dig in here.


Sibylle Kim: An RBO We Can Learn From

Sibylle Kim – An RBO We Can Learn From

Sibylle owns a large home in Vermont near a popular ski resort. Just one. Manages it on her own from the Boston area. Claims wild success and even attended the most recent VRMA conference in Chicago!

We sat down with Sibylle to find out what makes her tick and how she can pull this off without the drama we warn homeowner’s of who want to do it on their own. Most interesting to us was why she decided NOT to hire a vacation rental manager and why she has a good case for the word “professional” not just applying to VR companies.

We can all learn from looking at the other side.


It’s As If You Were There (Spring Conference Recap)

It’s As If You Were There

Too busy to attend the conferences this Spring? No worries – we asked several attendees (plus ourselves!) what the key takeaways were and we cover them in this week’s episode including best conference schwag, Steve Trover’s distinctive hat, and how VRMA Advocacy raised almost a half million in one sitting.

Takeaways available here.


VR Website Pet Peeves Revisited

Focus on Your Website

With more and more bookings coming directly from your website (or let’s hope they are!), it’s essential you revisit your property pages, and booking pages at least once a month to be sure they are top-notch.

In this episode, Sarah and Tim share their latest vacation rental website pet peeves. Make sure you’re not on this list!

Here ya go.


Lorraine Woodward: Tips to Creating Accessible-Friendly VRs

Lorraine Woodward & Accessible VRs

Lorraine has made it her mission as of late to bring more vacation rentals to the marketplace that are truly accessible – not just for wheelchairs but also expanding that to autistic, end-of-life trips, and other disabilities we don’t always include in the discussion.

Here how you can focus on this niche more and make a difference and some dough while you’re at it!


Kumbaya: How To Make Your Company Retreat Rock!

The Company Retreat: How to Make it Rock

You get everyone away from the office. You’re paying them. You’re supposed to bond, come up with goals, or review the year. But how?

Tim and Sarah review ways they have created days to remember with their staff that has produced much more profit than it cost to have them off work for a day or two. And, they also discuss the pitfalls (the employee that takes over the convo, packing too much into the day, or not having enough food!).

Get your Kumbaya on here.

TTT: Time Tested Tactics to Keep Your Employees

Part 2: TTT: Time Tested Tactics

We all wonder “why” when our employees give their notice. We wonder what we could have done to keep them. Tim and Sarah tackle that topic in this episode where they cover ten reminders of how to keep those valuable staff members.

You can thank us later.

How To Lose Key Employees Without Even Trying

All The Ways You Can Lose Employees

Tim and Sarah dig into our biggest struggle lately – keeping employees! They walk thru a list of goofs of which we all may have been guilty in the past – micromanaging? check! Not involving staff in decision making? check! Irrational dress codes? check!

Next week, they’ll cover Part Two of what to do to keep those key employees.

Hear it all here.

Jeff Hurst on Sarah & T: Trends and More!

Jeff Hurst of Expedia/Vrbo

Jeff is back on the podcast for the third year in a row. Sarah pipes in her comments with a pixie dust intro to each, and Tim throws the tough questions.

In this episode, Jeff covers his personal experience as a second homeowner on a VR program, his interpretations of trends that are here to stay and we attempt to corner him into a comparison of vrbo and airbnb.

Enjoy this one.


How To Rollout New Ideas at Your Company

How To Rollout a New Idea

We turned to the pros out there on the Internet for this episode as we know rolling out the latest and greatest idea in any industry has its pitfalls.

Tim and Sarah walk thru clear steps to be sure the idea you have in the shower one day translates into a consumable, repeatable process or technology in your business.

They cover many “fails” of processes, ideas, or tech that they tried too quickly without buy-in, budget, and thinking it through.

Here ya go.


A Look Back at 2021 and 2022 Predictions

Top 10 Podcasts of 2021 Reviewed + 2022 Predictions!

We made it thru another year of Covid and vacation rentals, everyone! In this episode, Tim and Sarah review the most listened to episodes of their pod in 2021, as well as give predictions for what’s to come AND what you can do to prepare and embrace those trends.

Happy New Year all! Here’s the last one of 2021.

Exclusive! An Interview with Amber Hurdle, Keynote at VRWS

Amber Hurdle, The Bombshell Business Woman

“Bombshell” doesn’t mean what you think it means, Mad Men fans! Amber was the kickoff keynote at the VRM Intel Women’s Summit in New Orleans earlier this month and she wow’d the crowd and brought them to tears as well as loud laughs.

This episode is for all genders – talking to that inner voice that tells you it’s not possible, how to approach the world as a woman and a fun Rapid Fire at the end.

Enjoy all the Amber has to share here.

How to Create, Deliver, & Integrate Your Company Mission

Create and Successfully Implement A Mission

Tim and Sarah dig into how they created their mission and value statements with their teams and how to infiltrate it throughout the company and all teams. It’s one thing to create it, it’s another to keep it alive.

Tim refers to this Ted Talk titled “How I was Secuded by Exceptional Customer Service” and how to pull off ever-entertaining spaghetti tower marshmallow challenge.

The No.111 episode about Mission and Values is here.

Hottest VR Property Amenities in 2021

Fast Wifi? Desk Area? Hot Tub? What’s Hot NOW?

Tim and Sarah revisit a list they made over two years ago – the Top Amenities guests are looking for in vacation rentals. Some stayed on the list but others were booted off for new and somewhat surprising adds.

Check it out and see if you agree.

One we left off – information for guests of “how to workout” – location of gyms, trails for hiking, running and biking. How do I get my sweat on!?

Tiffany Edwards Talks STR Advocacy Approach

Tiffany Talks Approach to STR Regulations

Tiffany Edwards actually has experience in Washington vs the rest of us pulling up our bootstraps and trying to navigate the ever-complicated political scene whether locally or at a state level. She sheds light on how to approach and maneuver the STR regulation landscape plus she shares how she got into this business at age 7, and much more.

Enjoy this one.

A Little Help From Our Friends: VRMA 2021 Takeaways

Over 50 VRMA 2021 Takeaways from 8 VRMs

Tim and Sarah sat down with eight prominent VRMs in our industry and asked them to share their top takeaways from the VRMA conference in San Antonio earlier this month.

Many thanks to Robin Craigen, Mike Harrington, Ryan Dame, Amy Gaster, Paul Becker, Chris Bettin, Sharon Walker, and Steve Schwab for sharing their notes and comments with all. 

We counted over 50 shared…something for everyone here! Get your pen and paper out.

How Was YOUR Season? Best Idea? Regret?

How Was Your Season? Best Idea? Regret?

In the spirit of being at VRMA even though we are not physically present, this week’s episode gives you an idea of what to do if you ARE there. Ask other people questions about how their year went, and the best ideas others are implementing. We ask each other popular questions just as if we were at a table together in San Antonio. 

Start the interview here.

Not In My Backyard: 8 Ways to Approach Gov’t Regs

Not In My Backyard

Episode 106 is live this morning…8 Ways to Approach Government Regulations on Your Short-Term Rental Business. This may not be the funniest episode, but it’s possibly the most crucial one yet. Encourge you to listen to and act!

Shaun Stewart Interview at DARM

Shaun Stewart, Interviewed

Somehow Shaun Stewart (and Aussie!) has eluded us thus far, but he sure came on to the scene at DARM with a bang. His keynote was full of insightful nuggets and he sat down with us for an interview afterward.

Get your pen and paper ready because he touches on everything from how to organize and approach STR regulations to why Vacasa might make it and how to win against the big guys.

Here ya go!

Travis, CJ and Kent – Three Guys’ Takeaways from DARM

That DARM Conference!

Tim and Sarah had a fun time emceeing VRM Intel’s Data and Revenue Management Conference for Vacation Rentals (a mouthful!) in Charleston, SC last week. They sat down with some heavy hitters in attendance – Travis Wilburn of Stay Charlottesville, C.J. Stamm, III of Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals, and Kent Zelle of Nauset Rentals to get their pullover moments from the conference.

Get it all here!

Switch! We air Matt Landau’s Unlocked Podcast with Alex Cruz

Switch!

Switch! Like the world needs another change. We partnered up with Matt Landau this week and re-aired one of his latest episodes from his Unlocked podcast interviewing Alex Cruz of Welcome Home Club in San Antonio, and Matt is airing our “You Never Get a 2nd Chance to Make a 1st Impression” in the coming weeks.You’ll hear how Alex Cruz does the opposite of most of us – he uses Airbnb almost exclusively and hasn’t had the need yet for his own software. Check it out.

You can subscribe to Matt’s Unlocked podcast on any podcast app.

Overview of DARM conference with A. Hinote

2021 DARM Conference

Tim and Sarah will be the master of ceremonies at the Vacation Rental Data and Revenue Management Conference in Charleston, SC in August. Amy Hinote, of VRM Intel, the hosts of the conference, joined Sarah and Tim on this episode to share the overview of the conference, key tracks, keynote speakers, and more.

Hope to see you all there. Listen up.



When Busy, Still Do These Things

Crazy Busy? Don’t Forget These Tasks

We’re all feeling the stress. Pandemic dwindling and travel is soaring. That’s great for our bottom line but not for our brains. We are overloaded!

Tim and Sarah cover the essential weekly tasks you can’t forget about even when your schedule (and brain) is full. And they kept it to 20 minutes this week so you can fit it in as you drive from one thing to the next.

Here’s the list!


Our 100th Episode: A Celebration

100 Episodes!

A big milestone for Sarah and Tim – they have recorded their 100th episode!

To celebrate, they invited avid listeners to share their favorite episode, takeaway or “pullover moment”. Cameos made by Steve Milo, Amy Hinote, Matt Landau and more.

100th episode can be found here.


Top of Bed: A Recommended Approach

Top of Bed

Our dirty little secret in our industry has been hidden for too long – we don’t wash the bedspreads! In this episode, Tim essentially interviews Sarah on her company’s recent approach to replace all top of bed linens with washed-every-time duvet covers.

Listen in on suggestions about which product to choose, how to operationally pull this off and how to introduce the idea to owners and guests. Hint: Guests love it, and owners do too!

Kevin Locraft of vrbo/expedia Interviewed

Kevin Locraft Talks Expedia/Vrbo

Kevin Locraft has been with Vrbo since the Carl Shepherd days. We cover a myriad of topics with him including why VR isn’t getting a lot of traction on Expedia (yet), how to make your Vrbo listings shine, and how Vrbo is activating on the government relations front. He also explains what “Partner Success” means and why some clients get reps and others don’t.

Listen to Kevin’s interview here.


Photography Makes or Breaks a Listing

Top 16 Photography Tips

Everyone says it “Photos have to be good on a VR listing.” Ok, but tell me more. How do we get them to be world-class and bring in more bookings because of them? Sarah and Tim tackle that ever elusive topic in this week’s episode and share research they have done to identify the top 16 tips in VR photography.

Check it out here.


CEO of Vrbo Talks All Things VR

Jeff Hurst, President of Verrrbo

Jeff was kind enough to join us again in 2021 after his popular interview we did with him back at the end of of 2019. Jeff heads up Vrbo and has a sharp eye on the VR industry. He shared lots of goodies around what Vrbo is doing, how he sees demand this year and beyond and he identified what he thinks is the biggest issue in our sector.

Listen to Jeff here.


What you SHOULD do on your website

Should On You

Take a listen this week at our Top 15 things we think you should be sure you’re doing on your website. We call out a lot of great VR companies and give examples of who is “doing it right”.

Here’s the show!

VR Website Pet Peeves

Top 11 Pet Peeves on VR Websites

We cover 11 areas where all VR managers should double check their websites for annoying, confusing, or just flat outdated pages, from pop-ups to blogs.

Next episode, we turn it positive and will be highlighting what you should do on your website.

Get your pen and paper ready – we get detailed here, but it will get you bookings!

The Elevate Conference Wrap Up

Elevate Online Conference Wrap Up

Tim and Sarah were asked to host the final session at Breezeway’s Elevate conference a few weeks back with a “live” recording of the podcast and have special guest, Jeremiah Gail, join them. They covered the takeaways from the conference and some good ‘ole lightening round question and answers with “Jeremy” as those close to him refer to him (and Tim and Sarah have known him a long time back to the days of Flipkey).

Enjoy the conversation about pricing tools, back of the house management, and a new idea about the check out experience.

Here ya go.


You Never Get a 2nd Chance to Make a 1st Impression

The First 15 Minutes to Make a First Impression

In this week’s episode, Tim and Sarah dissect those first moments the guests arrive and walk into the vacation rental. They are vital and too many of us do not think these moments through.

We cover SIX key areas to focus on including pre-arrival communication, nuances in directions, the “welcome”, providing food/drink, and if it’s easy for them to ask for help. And, then Sarah adds her real life experience recently of her arrival to a vacation rental in another town – what a hoot!

Listen in here.

VRM Intel: Myth Busters +++

A Review of VRM Intel’s Article “Myth Busters”

Trying lots of new things this year including a review of the latest VRM Intel article written by Jason Sprenkle. Jason covers four trends he’s seeing backed by data and debunks a few trends we thought were true.

Tim and Sarah add their trends (not backed by data other than theirs!).

Check it out. 

A Talk with Property Owners in our Program

Dare We Did! A Talk with Real Property Owners

Tim and Sarah chose one property owner each and invited them on the show. They asked everything you wish you could ask an owner, and then some. Plus, they asked questions submitted by their listeners on their Facebook page.

Great insight into an owner’s mind. Here is the finished piece.


A Baker’s Dozen (Questions Owners Should Ask)


 

13 Questions an Owner Should Ask

We turn the tables this week and give potential owners a baker’s dozen of questions to ask a prospective VR company before signing on.

Do you have answers for these questions? Make sure you do and feel free to send to any owners you are “courting”.

Data to Take Your Company to New Heights

Data to Take Your Company to New Heights

We have a surprise expert on this episode as we dig into “needle movers” in your business – Jason Sprenkle (of 360 Blue vacation rentals, Glad to Have You, and Head of KeyData Dashboard).

We dig into how to figure out the profit of each property, evaluate maintenance and housekeeping efficiency and quality, and other tough subjects that we all can tackle in 2021!

It’s right here.

Review of 2020 and Predictions for 2021, Plus Most Listened to Episodes

2020 in Review, Top 10 Episodes, and Predictions for 2021

Back to just Tim and Sarah this week as they review what predictions they made in 2019 for 2020 (oops! They missed a big one, there!) and they take a stab at what might be in store for 2020. Hint: Sarah has a good news prediction for summer 2021!

One prediction they got right for 2020 – Mobile bookings are up as are online bookings.

Bold prediction for 2021 – vrbo will go up in usage by VRMs and airbnb will tank.

And the #1 most listened to episode of 2020 of Sarah and T? Listen here to find out.

Brian Moffatt of Royal Destinations

Brian Moffatt – Royal Destinations

He landed the plane for us! Our final seminar series interview starred Brian Moffatt of Royal Destinations with 130 homes on 30A in Florida. Brian talks about luxury, pricing and revenue meetings, his thoughts on Airbnb’s approach vs. vrbo, as well as trends he sees coming our way.

Great show!

Matthew Tesdall of Family Time Vacation Rentals

Matthew Tesdall – Utah to Oregon

Listen in to Matthew Tesdall and how we went from one home that he owned and decided to rent during the 2008 downturn to several companies – Family Time Vacation Rentals and Sisters Vacation Rentals from Southern Utah to Central Oregon. He is working “on” the business not “in” in the business and has taken on revenue management into his own hands.

He shares lots of nuggets of good info – rate management, how to grow, tools he’s using and our favorite, a very true statement about how complicated it is to run a vacation rental business right now…too hard for private owners anymore!

Favorite quote from this episode, “You have to be willing to do what other people won’t in order to be successful.”

Aaron Linfoot of Meredith Lodging

Aaron Linfoot – Sees Failure as Opportunity

Aaron heads up the large operation of Meredith Lodging on the West Coast, mostly Oregon. With a wide range of properties over hundreds of miles, somehow Aaron keeps his team moving forward as one and is having fun doing it. Take a listen to his recent takeaways about Covid survival, process documentation, and team building.


Beverly Serral Meets the Flockers

Beverly & The Flockers

Beverly Serral founded and runs Beverly Serral Properties and Best Nest Vacation Rentals on Hilton Head, Island. Oh, and she’s also a big time Realtor in the area. She doesn’t cave under the pressure of owners not wanting to upgrade or go with the “look that sells”. Listen here to how she achieves this. Hint: It’s called Determination.

Danielle Johnson’s Ice Cream & Cheese

Danielle Johnson from Manzanita

That’s just fun to say…MAN-ZAH-NEE-TA! Danielle Johnson felt like Sarah’s twin but living on the Oregon Coast. A mother of boys who has built up a thriving vacation rental business from scratch.

Danielle threw out takeaways so fast, it was hard to jot them all down.

Take a listen to the second guest in our Mini-Seminar Series.

Audrey Miller’s Maine Thing

Audrey Miller’s Maine Thing

Audrey Miller has been owning and running The Cottage Connection for longer than Brian Chesky has been out of high school (and maybe much longer)! With a season only 8 weeks long, Audrey has learned how to be as profitable as possible in a short period while focusing on what really matters in this business – making memories for guests.

Take a listen to our first interview in our new Mini Seminar Series.

 

Sarah and T Talk About What’s Hot

New Series!

We took a week long break and are back and better than ever! We are starting a new series of interviewing VR company owners around the country – maybe world? – to ask the questions we all want to know…best idea? where is VR going? biggest mistake? and more.

These will be 30 minute or less chats with so many pullover moments, you probably need to go ahead and stock your car with pen and paper.

This week we kick it off by interviewing each other….Sarah can’t think of a new idea to share, but other than that, Tim carries the episode and adds insight on revenue management, as well as what the future holds.

Take a listen.

Creating An Emergency Plan (where’s your football?)

Fire! Flood! Hurricane! Covid!?

In this just over 30 minute episode, Tim and Sarah outline five steps to create a solid plan for your company in the case of emergency.  It’s vital you create your plan BEFORE disaster strikes. Heck, Tim has even picked up new houses because of it!

In the Not So Hot Off The Press But Definitely Happening segment, Airbnb’s latest moves are discussed including telling PMs they can’t remarket to guests who booked on Airbnb, and the impending IPO.

Dear Property Owner

Dear Homeowner

Tim and Sarah usually speak directly to you, the vacation rental manager, but in this episode we add a new audience – our homeowners. This episode is a “Dear John” format of what we want all owners to know. We cover refunding, cleaning, upgrades, and how much to set aside yearly for property upkeep.

Feel free to share with your owners and let us be the “bad guys” that says it like it is!

Ali Cammelletti Talks Leadership, Organization and Self-Care

Take Care of YOU!

Ali Cammelletti of Cammelletti (two m’s, two l’s, two t’s) Consulting gives Tim and Sarah a  bit of a needed therapy session on how to take care of ourselves as Vacation Rental Managers in this unsettling time.  Ali works with VRs across the country not only on these topics but also on coaching VRs on team building and dynamics, ways to structure your organization and lots of other advice we ALL can benefit from.

Relax, close your eyes and listen here.


Sue Jones of HRVR Discusses Employee Topics in a Covid World

Sue Jones, Expert in HR for Vacation Rental World

We invited our good friend, Sue Jones to the table this week and gave her some tough questions to help us work thru the odd shortage of labor during the pandemic, as well as how to handle employees having fear or other issues coming back to work.  We also cover Sue’s favorite interview question, advice on how to find quality new employees, and how to work to relate with and even embrace the millennial staff in our midst.

Listen to Sue here.

Top 10 Pressing Issues Found on VR Forums

What are VRs asking about these days?

Sarah and Tim scoured popular Vacation rental forums on social media this week and chose the top 10 most pressing questions asked lately.  They gave their take on the way they would answer questions such as:

What do you do when the owner brings their dog to the vacation rental but won’t allow it to be pet friendly?

Should each queen and king bed have four pillows each – soft and hard options?

Security cameras at properties – what’s legal and what’s not?

What do you give guests for their welcome gift

and 6 more…

Listen in and let us know on our Facebook page, “Sarah and T”, what you thought and if you have additional insights into these daily operation conundrums.

Our Biggest Fails, Part Two
John Ruhlin: Doctor of Gift Giving

The King of Gift Giving

Sarah and Tim scored big on this one. John Ruhlin, the author of Giftology, was a guest on their show.  Listen in on how you may have been gifting all wrong in business. No time like the present to correct those faux pas and get on track to give to owners, guests and influencers in a way that is meaningful and helps you grow and prosper.

Listen to John here.

How is Business? Sixteen VR company owners chime in.

A Trip Around the Country

Tim was patient with Sarah’s crazy idea this week and indulged her in interviewing 16 fellow vacation rental companies around the country asking about booking trends and one bright idea during the Covid crisis.

Oh, the difference in answers!   Here is the whole 89 minute episode full of lots of rich content from these impressive business leaders in our industry.

Michelle Williams talks VRHP’s new Covid cleaning standards

Clean is the Name of the Game

Durk Johnson is finally vindicated! All of a sudden, everyone finally cares about cleaning standards.  In the episode, Michelle Williams, GM of Atlantic Vacation Homes in Mass. and also a member of the VRHP Board, chats with Tim and Sarah about the latest cleaning recommendations published by VRHP.  Michelle also explains the difference between sanitization and disinfecting – who knew!

We even get back to normal on this episode with a lightening round!

Clean it up here.


Silver Linings with Sharon Keefe & Matt Landau

Silver Linings with Landau & Keefe

Still deep in the land of Covid-19 crisis, these two thought leaders join Tim and Sarah to find the silver linings of this untracked path we are all heading down.  In less than 38 minutes, Matt and Sharon dish up innovative ideas around email marketing, high-touch guest communication and the ever-scary and awkward topic of…video!

You’re sure to uncover some new ideas in this episode to survive and even thrive in this environment.

Here ya go.

Sarah and Tim Share Lots of Ideas to Survive Covid-19

Tons of Tips

Tim and Sarah share two call-in guests comments to their Google Voice line, as well as share everything they can muster about how to trudge thru this time of no travel, almost-no bookings, and lots of uncertainty.

They share ideas about open communication with guests, owners, and staff and much more. Here ya go. Stay healthy!


Amy Hinote Interviewed about Covid-19 & some OTA banter

Amy Hinote on Covid-19 & OTAs vs. Google

We recorded this episode on March 10th which now, 12 days later, feels like a year.  Still, many relevant comments in here to help us in the days to come plus a phone number to call us and let us know what’s happening in your neck of the woods so we can have input on our next recording.

Listen here. 

Andrew McConnell chats about Google VR, Book Direct & Covid 19

OTAs Are The Key, Not Book Direct? Huh!?

Andrew McConnell of Rented.com, and a frequent visitor to VR panels and the speaking circuit, joins us to discuss what “Google VR” really is and why we should be deathly afraid. Plus why we may want to look at OTAs in a different light…a positive light.

We also all discuss the Covid-19 virus and ideas of how to handle the mayhem and panic.

Check it out.

Our Biggest Fails…Revealed

What We Wish We Had Known

If only this episode was available back in the early 2000’s…Tim and Sarah could have avoided so many costly and time-consuming goof ups.

They share what they wish they would have known back then and dish out the goods on their biggest fails.

Avoid these mistakes! 


Safety Dance with Justin Ford

Safety Tips with J. Ford

It’s not sexy…it’s safety.  Thinking through and creating processes and procedures around safety measures in vacation rentals is of the utmost importance, however.  Tim pointed out in our New Year’s episode that it will be one of the hot topics of 2020.

Justin Ford, the industry’s well-known guru of safety, weighs in on the top areas VR managers should be focused on as they create their safety plan. Hint: Trips & Falls are #1.

Buckle up & listen.

An Interview with Airbnb’s Clara Liang

Clara Liang, Airbnb Interview

Clara Liang, head of Professional Hosting and their Luxe brands, spends 30 minutes or so giving us the low down on her background, how she is working for VR companies thru adapting Airbnb’s original one-property-one-host system and much more.

Check it out! 


4 Ways to Fend off Owner Drama

Avoid the Drama

Ever want to throw in the towel in this business due to tension between owners and you? Tim and Sarah discuss proactive tips to avoid such drama, and when it does happen – which it inevitably will – how to handle it with poise.

Take a listen here to our first episode of 2020 and Number 63 of all time!

Jeff Hurst – Head Coach at “verrrbo”

Jeff Hurst Interview – Head “Coach at Vrbo

Jeff Hurst recently took over the chief position at Vrbo after being at the company for 10 years or so. Jeff surprised us by sharing candidly how it’s going, how he sees the Vrbo customer, the VR landscape and he even personally takes responsibility for the debacle last year of Vrbo giving the impression they were going to audit all of our reservation data.

Cheers to transparency, Jeff! And big words…

Listen here.

Top 10 Episodes of 2019

Top 10 Episodes of 2019

Here you go folks…Tim and I share the top listened to pods of our season from 10 to 1.  No, Matt Landau wasn’t #1! 

We also give the biggest takeaway from each, so this is a good way to catch up if you can’t listen to them all or give you an idea of which you want to be sure to go back and review before 2020.

Link to the episode.

Here’s to a new year and a new podcast season!

Planning for 2020 – Setting Goals, Budgets & Personal Ones too!

Reflect on 2019 & Setting Goals for 2020

Tim and Sarah break down how to set goals with your team for 2020 into Four Steps.  Check it out!

Carl Shepherd: The Father of OTA’s
Ben Edwards: Are You Making Meaningful Profit in Your VR Biz?

Meaningful Profit

Ben Edwards of Weatherby Consulting and also the owner of more than one vacation rental company in the USA lays it down for us in this episode, calling out all VR company owners about their fiscal responsibility.  Are you in trust? If you don’t know that answer or try to look the other way when the subject comes up, take a listen to Ben here.  He also covers other $$ topics like how to determine if you’re really making a “meaningful profit” or just cranking out a paycheck for yourself every month in your business.

Thank you, Ben – we enjoyed it!

The One Thing That Paid For The Trip: VRMA 2019 Episode

The One Thing

At VRMA in New Orleans last week, we asked our audience of VR Managers, “What is the one thing that you learned at this conference that will pay for your trip?”  Over 35 offered up their one thing.  At the end, a surprise guest for the “Lightening Round”.  Pay for 35 trips by listening here.

The book referenced at the end was Gift-ology by John Ruhlin.  Read it! You’ll never give out logo’d schwag again!


Angela Leone of Coconut Condos in Maui or ‘The Giving Back’ Episode

Angie Gives Back

Sarah here…I am loving this episode with Angela “Angie” Leone from Coconut Condos on the West coast of Maui.  Angie surprised me with creative, don’t-break-the-bank ideas of how we all can give back to the community with our vacation rental businesses. The ideas are meaningful, yet practical and gave me goose bumps while I listened too her passion.

Angie is not just a philanthropist, she’s also a smart business woman, and mother of four!  Hear what she has to say here.

Travis Wilburn, Stay Charlottesville

Travis Gets It Done

Woah, this guy must work around the clock.  In our 55th episode, Travis Wilburn explains how he started and runs Stay Charlottesville, how he built an event center to generate occupancy, oh…and a wine tour company too.  Let’s add in how a hotel is now under his umbrella and he’s sharing his staff with Wintergreen Resort.  Throw in an internationally known riot and horrific tragedy last year in Charlottesville and you’ve got quite a morning commute podcast.

Listen up people, the millennial are coming to our industry and they’ve got energy and ideas!

C.J. Stamm, The Blue Ridge BBQ Master

What does C.J. Stand For?

C.J. Stamm of Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals explains what his name stands for as well as what he stands for in the vacation rental world.  Tim says one of the bits C.J. shares in this episode is the “most sentinel pullover moment yet” in our podcast series.  Hint: it’s about how to enjoy owning and running a vacation rental business.

Take a listen.

Tackling Tech: Tips, Tricks to Evaluate Current and Potential Software

Tips, Tricks & Tidbits about Tech

Tim and Sarah dig into all of the areas you may want to consider technology in your vacation rental biz, and the pitfalls of loving the next shiny object.  Tech it out.

A Recap & Commentary on the VRM Intel Revenue Conference

The Data Conference Recap

For all who weren’t able to be in Atlanta for VRM Intel’s Data conference, we try to recap the highlights, explain RevPar, no wait…RevPAN?  Tim attended the conference, so Sarah just chimes in with her opinions on the subject! Hear it here.

A Chat with Vince Perez

From 100% Dependence on OTAs to 0 with Vince Perez

A 30 minute interview with Californian, Vince Perez, who owns his own VR company and has started FetchMyGuest to promote OTA independence and owning your guest. Check it out! 

Our 50th Episode! An Interview with Front Line Employees

Our 50th Episode

Can you believe it? We have released our 50th episode of Sarah and T this week. We felt it would be fitting to interview our front line staff and ask them how we, the owners of the company, can better understand and support their day to day efforts.

Listen in to Sarah Moss of Outer Banks Blue and Amy Raegner of Winter Park Lodging Company share tips for folks new in the industry, what they need to feel appreciated, and some revelations about the owners of their company (eek!).

10…No 11 Reasons Why Owners Will Leave You

Why Owners Leave VR Managers

This is a good one, guys…take a listen as Sarah and Tim dig into the real reasons why owners call up their vacation rental company owner one day and say “I’m leaving”.  By contemplating these reasons, you can work on ways in your business to avoid that dreaded phone call.

Get all 11 reasons we came up with here.

Creating an Effective Partnership with REALTORS

How Do I Get REALTORS to Refer Me?

The answer is to stay top of mind and have content-rich meetings/presentations with them frequently sharing knowledge with them that helps them, not you.  Take a listen as Tim and Sarah go thru four keys points to cover with REALTORS, that add value to what they do.

Sharon Walker, Interviewed.

Sharon Walker Interviewed

The ever-impressive Sharon Walker shares her view of how to deliver luxury in the Austin market as well as way up north in New York State!  Sharon has been known to pay her staff $100 to listen to our podcast, so we are super-fans of Walker Luxury Vacation Rentals.  Take a listen.

The One & Only…Matt Landau!

Matt Landau Speaks the Truth

Matt Landau is a world traveler, has a huge following and now a travel show on YouTube sponsored by Booking.com.  Listen up as he shares how we can not only survive but thrive in this ever-growing and competitive market.  He also reveals some previously-unknown facts about how he started VRMB, and something about wearing underwear…or not.

Durk Again! This time, Laundry.

Episode 44: Durk, Part 2 is Live

How do you “laundry”? Have your own linens? Rent them? Owners own them? How do you ensure quality cleaning every time? So much involved in this portion of our multi-faceted industry.  Take a listen as Durk Johnson shares his insight on how to make the best laundry decisions as you grow your company from small to big.

Mr. Clean, An Interview with Durk Johnson

Mr. Clean, Durk Johnson

We had one of our biggest fans and someone we really admire on the podcast today! Durk Johnson, the guru of vacation rental housekeeping, shares his tips on how to elevate your housekeeping efforts to be safe, more efficient, legal, and cleaner!  Any VR Manager will get several “pullover moments” from this wise man.

Clean up your company & listen here.


Would You Do That To Your Mother?

Would You Do That To Your Mother?

Have you ever had a family member or friend rent from you? Did you feel you cared just a little more than when it’s a guest you don’t know? Yep, we did too.

Tim and Sarah review the four parts of a guest’s experience that you need to examine as if it was your mother staying with you – pre-booking, pre-arrival, the stay, and the post stay.

Listen! Your mother told you to. 

Onboarding Your Owners Properly!

Onboarding Owners Properly!

We all get excited about a new property joining our program.  “Yes, we do that!” is all we find ourselves saying to the new owner.  Then six months go by and you have the awkward situation of the owner not departing by your check out time, or they let their big shaggy dog sleep on the couch when they stay for a week.  You failed to go over the expectations and the way your relationship will work.  Bummer!

You can avoid those tough moments by setting expectations with an owner from the get-go.  Tim and Sarah have trimmed it down to twelve areas you must cover when on boarding a new owner.  Listen to it here.

Netflix Famous

Netflix Famous!

What the heck does that mean? You’ll find out in our oh-so-LA interview with English born “Pete” Lorimer, co-host of the popular Netflix series “Stay Here”, featuring vacation rentals around the country getting needed makeovers and rental advice.

We cover topics from background info on the show to Pete’s view on real estate, being yourself, photography, video, Instagram and AirBNB.  Oh, and his email. It’s a disaster!  Tune in here! 

A Look Back, Predictions & An Announcement.

Look Back on 2018, Looking Ahead & A Name Change

Check it out, loyal listeners. Sea to Ski is no more…it’s now “Sarah and T”! We had to change our name which we explain in this episode. We also go thru our predictions from last year to see how many we got right (hmmm…not many!) and predict what big things will happen in 2019. Thank for listening and sharing back with us as always!

Here’s the episode. 

The Watchdog of the Industry: Steve Milo (aka “Trying to Get Milo to Laugh”)

The Watchdog

You’ve all seen him at conferences over the past years – speaking his mind about all things VR especially his unfiltered take on OTAs. We sat down with Steve Milo of vTrips and asked him everything from why he does what he does, how we can be ready for Google’s entrance into the VR market, and what he listens to when he runs on the beach everyday.  Thanks, Steve!

Take a listen…


Amy Hinote of VRM Intel Shares Strengths & Weaknesses of our Industry

Amy Hinote of VRM Intel

We sat down with Amy Hinote of VRM Intel this week, and got her to spill the beans on new endeavors and how she really feels about our industry right now including how she sees the Virtual VR Managers surviving when the investment capital stops pouring in.  Always insightful, always fun to learn from, take a listen to Amy’s comments here.

2018 VRMA/VRHP Takeaways: Recorded live at the conference!

VRMA/VRHP Conference Takeaways 2018

Last year, lots of folks attended our podcast recording at the VRMA conference in Orlando, but alas…technical issues ensued and it didn’t record. Not this year! Vegas did not disappoint.  Tim and Sarah led the last breakout session before the final general session at the 2018 International VRMA/VRHP Conference and attendees enthusiastically shared their key takeaways from the three day conference.

Enjoy this listen of many leaders in our “space”, as Tim does not like to call our industry, but all of the investors attending do.

John DiJulius: Delivering World Class Customer Service

John DiJulius!

Sarah’s business crush, John DiJulius, agreed to be on our podcast! The number pullover moments were so high, that we recommend you do not listen while driving. 

Some of the many takeaways included:

-Make sure you and your staff are clear on your “always” and “nevers”

-People are not born with service-aptitude – you have to teach them!

-Hire people with the 5 E’s

-Don’t overshare

-The most beautiful word in the English language? Your name! Mention a guest’s name over and over, and mention yours too. It’s hard to leave a company when you know someone’s name.

Take a listen! 

 

Talking Reservations with Doug Kennedy

A Focus on Reservationists

We had the privilege of interviewing long-time vacation industry expert, Doug Kennedy, this week.  We cover tech vs. touch, how you may be spending a bit too much time on your website and to little on your reservationists’ skills, and other pull over moments.

Take a listen.

The Refund Wars

Old School: Tim and Sarah discuss Refunds

The dreaded question “What are you going to give me since I had this bad experience?”.  How do you prepare for this and how do you handle so your owners, your guests, and you come out ahead? So much good stuff in this episode.  Listen up!

Touch vs. Tech: An interview with Toby Babich in Breckenridge

Tech Vs. Touch with Toby Babich

Lots of good nuggets in this week’s episode with Toby Babich who reveals his favorite song is “Ladies Night”! Toby and his wife own and run Breckenridge Resort Managers, and limit their properties to a solid 60 – no more, no less. Here why that is along with why Toby feels personalization is our differentiator over hotels.  And Tim gets awfully creative at the end.  Take a listen.

Oh Canada! Interview with Tavata Chalets

Oh Canada!

This time we go international with our friends in Canada who have just recently jumped into the VR space in wilderness of beautiful Canada French-speaking lake country.   Yoan Joncas and Gaelle Levesque Asselin (newly engaged by the way!) founded and are quickly growing their vacation rental company, Tavata Chalets.  Merci et Bon Chance!

Take a listen.

The Rapid Fire Episode

The Rapid Fire Episode

Tim and Sarah turn the “rapid fire” on themselves and each quizzes the other in several industry-related questions (as well as a few non-industry related). Get to know your hosts a little better this week, and compare their answers to yours!

Check it out. 

Interview with Claire Reiswerg of Sand & Sea in Galveston

Get Proactive

In this episode, Claire, one of the co-owners of Sand & Sea Vacation Rentals in Galveston, Texas shares how her company has begun to really question why they do things and challenge the status quo. Also, hear about a industry leading effort to unite competition in the local area for the common goal of pushing the vacation rental business forward together.  Thanks, Claire!

Interview with Miller Hawkins of Booe Realty

Miller Hawkins: The Decision To Sell or Not to Sell

Miller reveals news even his staff didn’t know – he was contemplating selling to what he calls the “Big Boys” just a year ago. Listen in to how it changed how he looks at his business, what he learned, and how he’s now thriving by marketing to owners fleeing those boys.

Interview with Michelle Hodges of Meyer Vacation Rentals

No More Homeaway

Listen to just over 30 minutes of Michelle Hodges of Meyer Vacation Rentals explain how they made a strategic decision recently to turn off 100% of their VRBO and Homeaway listings.  Yep, you heard it right.  Bold.  And she also discusses the beauty of giving away 50 vacations to guests while they were in house to celebrate 50 years of their successful company.  Check out how they manage over 1,000 homes including the new hire of a Customer Service Manager charged with keeping all employees up to date with what Meyer stands for.  #meyerinspired

Listen to it here. 

Interview with Clark Twiddy of Twiddy & Co

Clark Twiddy of Twiddy & Company

Twiddy & Company has been in business over 40 years, with Clark and his brother now running it after their father passed the business down to them.   In our interview with Clark, he shares his challenges with homes off the grid in the northern OBX,  his philosophy around treating staff so that they “vote with their feet” everyday and stay with Twiddy, as well as some other interesting insights he has on mega-large-homes, and how to care for them on big turnover days.   Enjoy the interview here

Interview with Book My Vacay

Changing It Up: Interviewing Other VRs

We got tired of hearing ourselves talk, so thought we’d change it up for awhile and interview other vacation rental company owners.  Let’s see what they have to say about hot issues in our industry and their best practice ideas.

First up – Elizabeth & Mike from Book My Vacay in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Together as a team, but not a couple, they manage over 150 large luxury homes and a few condos in Scottsdale but also spread out all over Arizona.   We cover topics from how they have staffed up, how they are using technology to maximize profits and efficiency, and a lightening round of fast questions and answers!

Take a listen! 

The Fiscal Four

The Fiscal Four

In the spirit of the recent basketball tourney, we went with our final four of fiscally-focused advice for your vacation rental business.   Take a listen.

Squeezing 10% More Profit from Your Company’s Income

SQUEEZE!

This is Part Two of looking more closely at your budget and “squeezing” out more to the bottom line. This week we look at your income lines and discuss way to increase those amounts up to 10% which all goes to the bottom line.

Take a listen.

Squeezing 10% More Profit By Watching Expenses

Squeeze 10% More Profit by Examining Expenses

Episode 19 (actually #7 of Season 6) focuses in on 10 Ways (Well, Tim added a very good #11 at the end) to increase your profit by reducing your expenses.  This doesn’t meant you have to cut staff, or remove anything vital in your business.  It means that at least once a year you should be examining how you spend money, reducing your vendor costs, and working to squeeze more money out of what you are already doing.

You can do it! Tim and I have, and continue to push to save while growing our businesses.  Check it out.

Fueling the Engine that Runs Your Company – Reservations!

The Reservations Episode

Officially titled “Fueling the Engine that Runs Your Company”, this episode covers five foundations that we’ve all heard before (well, maybe lest one), but we give a different spin on it. Always good reminders that you better be rewarding and focusing on the folks and the activities that win you bookings.   For a peek at Sarah’s Reservation Sales room board, check out our Facebook page.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/123957/651667-fueling-the-engine-that-runs-your-company-reservations

And to take the Steve Milo survey we mention about OTAs, go here.

The Blogging Episode!

The Blogging Episode

Blogging about the Blogging Episode on our Blog! Take a listen about the 9 Key Areas to focus on when writing a blog. Sound too techy and too labor intensive? Tim and Sarah feel this is the most strategic way to get more guests to book directly (#bookdirect) with you vs. Online Travel Agents.  You need content for your website to rank high on searches.  This is how you do it.

Hiring Winners Not Whiners
The Decor Episode: Part 2

Season 2, Episode 3: Part Deux of Decor

Ok, folks. We have finished up over 60 minutes of beefy content about how to convince yourselves, convince owners, what to do for the most bang for the buck, and ideas around how to survive the process of choosing, ordering, delivery and removal. And then the payoff – new beautiful photos!


Take a listen. 

 

The Crystal Ball Episode: Predictions for 2018
What Gets Measured, Gets Treasured
Sold! How Not to Be Left out in the Cold

Episode 10: Sold! How Not to be Left out in the Cold.

Episode 10 covers the ever sensitive topic of what to do when your homeowner is selling and then sells their property.   Back in 2009, this rarely happened since the market was depressed. Today, it feels like every week another owner is calling to say they want to sell their vacation home.  Stop the madness!  Learn 9 ways to make this a happier experience and even a win for your company.  Take a listen. 

How to Wow

Episode 9: How to Wow

We all talk about it a lot. We hear we need to surprise & delight at every turn because our competition is fierce and this is the secret sauce to creating brand loyalty. But HOW? How do you consistently and effectively “wow” your guests in personal and unique ways. In this episode, Tim and Sarah dive into just that. Hopefully they wow you with what they deliver.

Take a listen! 

10 Keys to Housekeeping AKA The Uber Episode

Episode 8: All About Housekeeping

Time to face the music, or the blood borne pathogens, as we like to talk about in this episode. We cover contract workers vs. employees in this episode, plus many more aspects of housekeeping including how to give accolades to your housekeeping staff.

And our challenge for November – try cleaning a home all by yourself.  It will remind you how hard this job is!


Your Key Takeaways from VRMA Conference

Episode 7: Your Key Takeaways from VRMA

As many of you know, our live recording at the 2017 VRMA conference in Orlando didn’t record. Tech issues! We had lots of attendees share their key takeaways and it was a “magical” session as Tim says, but we did the next best thing – we asked all of you to send us your key takeaways from the conference and we summed them up on Episode 7.

Tim leads us into some juicy news about AHLA (American Hotel & Lodging Association) and well, I try my best English and Southern accents. Take a listen! 

Making Lemonades out of Lemons at the VRMA conference

Episode 6: Lemonade out of Lemons

Well, guess what folks…our live podcast at VRMA had some technical difficulties and while it was brilliant and full of rich takeaways from vacation rental folks around the world, it didn’t record.  But, we aren’t giving up! An email went out to all 1400 attendees asking for their “pay for the trip” takeaways.  So, look for a summary of all those goodies in Episode 7.  For this episode though, we did include three interviews we did with key players at VRMA – Mike Harrington (incoming VRMA President), Mike Copps (VRMA manager), and Ben Edwards (Tim says he’s the “most interesting man in vacation rentals”).  Take a listen.

7 Ways to Know The Face of Your Company is Who You Want it to Be

Episode Numero Five is Live

Ok, folks, we’re back.  And better than ever, as Tim likes to say.  This episode questions who the face of your company is. And guess what? If you’re the owner of a professional vacation rental company, the answer is NOT you.

Take a listen and tell us what you think, add your comments, and give us suggestions. See you next week at VRMA!

The Decor Episode: Part 1

Season 2, Ep 2: The Decor Episode: Part 1

It’s not easy to have this conversation with an owner, but it’s a must!  Sarah and Tim spar back and forth on how to approach owners about their decor, why it matters, and Sarah says she’s got data to back it up!  Check it out.

Part 2 of the Decor Episode will be live by next week.  Stay tuned…

She Said Whaaaat? The Secret Shopper Episode.

SEASON 2 is Underway

We wrapped up 2017 with our twelfth episode and today our first episode of Season 2 was released – the Secret Shopper Episode.  Take a listen as we identify three ways you can set up a secret shop of your company, and what to do with the information you gather.

11 Ways to Keep Owners (very) Happy

Episode 4 is Live: Make Owners Love Ya

We couldn’t wait to record Episode 4 live at VRMA, as promised. We are having too much fun! So, here it is.  We will release Episode 5 next week (hint…has something to do with the face of your company) and then #6 will be the episode all can attend if you’re in Orlando for the National conference (vrma.com).  See you there!

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10 Reasons Why Owners Need YOU

10 Reasons Owners Need YOU

Our second episode is live – check it out here! We cover our Top 10 reasons that homeowners need a professional vacation rental manager.  Learn how to articulate the valuable services you offer, plus some quick “pull over and take notes” tips from Sarah and Tim pop up in this episode.  Enjoy.