No matter what industry you work in, it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle-and-bustle of the day-to-day and forget to continue to do one important thing: Learn. Sure, the team here at Rented.com spends our days helping property owners choose the best vacation rental property management company possible. We know a thing or two about the industry. We also know that this industry is constantly changing and improving. So we need to do that, too.

That’s why our team traveled to Chandler, Arizona this week for the 31st Annual Meeting of the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA). Aside from the usual catching up with old friends we always enjoy when we attend these events, we learned a lot. Here are our top five takeaways from the conference.

1. Short-term and vacation rentals are more popular than ever.

TripAdvisor’s Ben Drew showed us that two-thirds of travelers plan to stay in a rental in the next year.

 

Given this, it is probably no surprise how big the vacation rental industry is getting. In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated to be worth $37 billion by 2018.

 

2.The VRMA is changing with the times.

Recognizing what has been a reality for a while, the Vacation Rental Managers Association is rebranding as the Vacation Rental Management Association. While it’s a small change, it’s an important one because it recognizes that it takes a village—and not just a manager—to do this right.

 

3.Expect even more change in the “vacation rental” industry going forward.

“Managers” to “management” might seem minor, but will “vacation” be the next word to change, or even drop entirely? Attendance at “Manage ‘Vacation Rentals’? Here’s Why You’re Leaving Money on the Table” presented by Rented.com’s Andrew McConnell would suggest so.

 

Though many in the audience admitted that “vacation” was in the name of their company, they also admitted that business and other travelers visited their destinations too, and that they would love to make their homes an option for them as well. This broadening was even further confirmed during the amazing closing session presented by PhoCusWright’s Douglas Quinby when he said:

“Vacation Rentals are dead. It is time to start talking about ‘Private Accommodation.’”

 

4. For short-term rental managers, acquisition is top of mind.

Whether it’s acquisition of new homes and owners, or of entire property management companies, the most-attended session of the conference was “Strategies for Growth” presented by Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations’ Jodi Taylor Refosco and Vacation Rental Pros’ Steve Milo. What does this tell us?

That the pie is getting bigger, and more and more managers are trying to figure out how to get their slice.

 

Warning: One option for growth has a much higher chance of success than the other. We will let you guess which one.

5. To really compete, property managers need to provide hotel-level service.

The world of rentals—and accommodation more generally—is more competitive than ever. Travelers consistently demand more, and those who fail to meet expectations will fall behind. This provides a fantastic opportunity for those owners who want to and can dedicate the time, effort, and resources necessary to meet these high standards. It also provides a great opportunity for the best managers to work with and help those owners who have neither the desire nor the inclination to do so.

 

“Never stop learning.” It’s a motto we live by here at Rented.com. It’s what allows us to do our job to the best of our ability, which is to help vacation rental property owners select property managers that can maximize their vacation rental income. If that’s what you’re looking to do, create a free private profile on our site to get started.

Were you at VRMA’s annual meeting? What were your key takeaways? Let us know in the comments! We can’t wait for the VRMA’s next regional seminar in Savannah in March, and we hope to see you there!

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