We have so many exciting interviews and topics lined up for 2022 that we had to share a few highlights! Today's episode is a preview of just a few of the amazing guests that will be joining us on the show as we launch Season 2. We also share our predictions for the vacation rental industry in the New Year.
Tune in to hear a few highlights from from Amy Hinote, Jim Devos, Greg Fisher, Steve Trover and Julie George.
Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of us in this journey. Do you have ideas for an episode or want to be a guest on the show? Reach out to us!
We'll see you in 2022!
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Podcast Sponsored by Condo-World and Lexicon Travel
Welcome to Alex and Annie, the real women of vacation rentals. With more than 35 years combined industry experience. Alex user and any Holcomb have teamed up to connect the dots between inspiration and opportunity, seeking to find the one story idea, strategy or decision that led to their guests big aha moment. Join them as they highlight the real stories behind the people and brands that have built vacation rentals into the $100 billion industry. It is today. And now it's time to get real and have some fun with your hosts, Alex and AnnieAlex:
Welcome to Alex and Annie, the real women of vacation vows. I'm Alex. And I'm Annie and we are back today for the last episode of 2021. As far as the podcast is concerned, got started a little bit late for us. We just started this back in November, I believe. So this is our end of the year looking ahead with some predictions for 2022.Annie:
Can you believe we are already at the end of the year? I mean, it just seems like we just started talking about this. And here we are going into 2022 We have to start planning for next year.Alex:
Yeah, it's unbelievable. I mean, I know for our personal business, both with the condo world and you at lexicon I mean, this has been an incredible year, right. I mean, this has been a wonderful year of growth for everybody. And just a lot of great opportunities on the table for 2022. And excited to see where things go. I think there's there's going to be a leveling off in 2022 of some of the extreme highs that we've all been on. But I don't think that it's going to be complete, you know, devastation that, you know, cruises are going to come back and internationals going to come back and all this business that we've had on demand is going away. But I do think there's going to be a little bit of leveling off there. And I think that there's going to be a shift in the OTA distribution, I think it's going to continue to go in favor of the big ones. But I think there's there's a lot going on in that scene. And I know you you see this right, I mean, with the channels that you workAnnie:
with. Yeah, and it's interesting, I think there's been a lot of conversation with I've had personally with people in the industry, and I think some some of our guests that we've talked to, in that, you know, it's kind of its regional, like there's a lot of regional players that are emerging. And you know, they've spent dollars in marketing, whereas some of the bigger ones pulled their spend back booking.com and pulling some of their spend back obviously, it didn't ramp up until probably the second half of of this past year. And so I think that we're seeing kind of to your point of leveling off that the big players, the Airbnb, the VRBO, they're not going to be as strong or as mighty of a players they have been the last two years, I think they're still going to be formidable people are going to still need to work with them. But there's a lot of people that are a lot of players that have entered the space that are kind of niche channels that are going to start siphoning away some of that, you know, some of the marketing, some of the attention some of the conversion that those two players have seen, it's I think that with international not coming back, I think with that continuing to happen, the demand is going to be there. But now people are going to have a lot more places to shop and more choices, to be able to find a new vacation rental destination or to maybe book where they've been going previously. And I think you know, it speaks to some of the things that you've seen within Myrtle Beach. I mean, you guys are an OTA on some levels of hybrid OTA. So you see what you're able to do to take away the big players, the dominance in the market. So I think that will continue to happen. And 2022 looks to be a strong year. I don't think it's going to blow 2021 out of the water by any means. But it'll still be better than 2019 and 2020.Alex:
Yeah, absolutely. I think a couple things you touched on, they're really important. I think the people that have come into vacation rentals and learned about short term rentals as a non non alternative accommodations option, right. Like, we need to stop saying that we're not alternative. We're definitely mainstream now. But the people that have learned about our product over the last couple years, if they had a good experience with a manager or professional business or even an individual host, it's likely that they're going to go directly back to that source. So yes, I mean, in 2020, we continued we, as tough as it was, I mean, we cut back on a lot of different things when the pandemic really, you know, went into full effect, but we did not cut back on our advertising. And we had to change the message significantly. That was more about inspiration. And you know, not about deals or anything like that. I mean, a deal didn't matter if you couldn't travel. But we did still keep our marketing out there for condo world and we were able to gain the benefits of that that, you know, it was a good couple months that we weren't having to compete against Airbnb and VRBO, Expedia and booking and that that was a massive market shift for us. And I think a lot of companies throughout the country have seen that same thing happen. So right now, I think for all the professional hosts that are out there, the best advice I can give anybody that I know has worked for us and that I've seen with our partners here locally too is that you really just need to be Putting up that you are the local expert in your destination. And I mean, guess they, we all have the same product at the end of the day or similar product, especially if you're in condo properties like we are. But what we have that differentiates us is the service. I mean, the experience that guests get when they booked with condo world when they stay with condo world, that's a 360 degree life's lifecycle there. It's not just what happens when they get here. It's what happens before they get here and after they get here. And, you know, I've had the opportunity to speak on a few different panels this year about guest experience. And I think it's so important, I think it's important to really take a bigger look at what that experience is that you deliver to your guests, because that is what's going to make them come back and book with you the next time. And ultimately, as that continues to grow, I mean, your reliance on the OTAs gets smaller, your need to go and spend money on advertising that also gets reduced and really your brand just becomes the focal point of your business development strategy. And that's you know, we've we've seen that with Airbnb, right? And I mean, Airbnb is a perfect example of it. I mean, they spend significantly less money on marketing than booking and Expedia does, but they are just, they're, they've become the Kleenex of our industry.Annie:
Yeah, yeah. And I think that they, you know, they have taken honnestly they've taken the brand and made it their own vacation rentals has become Airbnb. And, you know, to your point about the marketing, I think that as an industry, we have to try to get that removed from and I hate to use the word lexicon, but the lexicon of travel, you know, industry talk, that you're not renting an Airbnb, you're renting a vacation rental, and odds are, there's a professional company behind that rental and engage with that. And so, to your point of the property managers, you know, they have to make sure that their marketing doesn't wane that they don't stop what they're doing. And I'm worried that too many of them have been riding this wave through 2021 and feel like, oh, you know, we're going into 2022, with a significant base of business on the books, right in to do any marketing. And that's where the OTAs are going to swoop in. And they're going to take more market share if people are paying attention.Alex:
Yeah, absolutely. And I think you know, where we can all compete, right, now, we've got to be looking at this from an opportunity standpoint that Airbnb, only 10% of their properties are professionally managed properties, right? But that counts for 30% of their revenue. So as Airbnb is trying to grow, they're trying to get more professional manage inventory on the platform. But think, I guess a point where it's starting to alienate the super hosts and the core atmosphere that the platform was built on. And it you know, they become just another OTA. So when they become just another OTA and Airbnb doesn't have that same, you know, feeling and emotion that it wants to it comes back to okay, you know, what, what is the product, who has the product who has that better guest experience. And at the end of the day, I think that comes back to the local managers. So I think there's a lot of opportunity for everybody to, you know, up the game, we're going to have a strong year revenue wise, so now's the time to invest in some more guest experience branding type initiatives that are going to keep your guests coming back to you for the long term.Annie:
Yeah, and I do think another opportunity that sits out there is again, going back to the number of players that have entered the market in the OTA space, is that, you know, one of the things that I've looked at that looked at is that, you know, you you worry about your rates, and you worry about, you know, yielding your calendars correctly, but are you worried about what channels you're on during certain times a year. So I think the new way to look at yielding things is going to be yielding your channels, there's more opportunity out there to market yourself across these platforms and there has ever been, so use those for the benefit of you, instead of being beholden to one or two, like a lot of people are, and I see a lot of people in areas in the ski market or some of the beach markets in that, for that matter that are only using two, they might be using booking an Airbnb, or they're only using verbo and Airbnb, and they really could be using, you know, one of these other 1015 other channels and regional channels out there for a cheaper commission and getting marketing and maybe in the regional aspect of it similar to condo world, you're getting people that are actually coming into that region, it's not people that are coming from elsewhere. So I think that people will start to look at that as or they should be looking at that anyway, just as they would be looking at their rates. So 2022 is anybody's game, anybody's guess how the game will end but I think that people are given a lot of opportunity to make more revenue, get more guests and you really get their game, you know together and make sure that their marketing is in place and their operational team is in place and that they can make sure that these guests when they get them from the OTA that they come back direct.Alex:
There's a mix there, right I mean, and that doesn't just happen over you know, without foresight. So it does take definitely more effort to to plan that but I mean, as far as you know, looking at your revenue and being able to yield things appropriately like I was definitely aware of To increase your end of the year profits by yielding those channels properly but, and I think also on the regional player side for sure. You know, I mean, I know, in our market here in Myrtle Beach, we compete directly for our, in our OTA side of the business with verbo and Airbnb, and we connect our partners to those channels. I mean, we see both sides of this, that the regional players are competing with the major OTAs within certain markets. And that's not just here, I think there's other their sites down in Florida. And there's some of the ski markets do that they are also representing a big source of revenue for these managers that understand, you know, you don't just want to be on one or two channels, you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket, you're going to do anything, really focus on your branding, but don't put all your eggs in one or two baskets of the OTAs. Because as we saw with COVID, you can really have everything pulled right from under you. Yeah,Annie:
absolutely. So I think it this actually dives nicely into some of the guests that we have lined up for next year, you know, we're going to dive into some aspects of things with OTAs, we're going to talk about destination marketing, we're going to talk about advocacy within the markets. You know, I think that there's all these pieces of the puzzle that people are forgetting are important to keep up on and be engaged in. And so you know, we're I'm excited for where we're going to be able to take the Alex and Annie show in 2022. And what we're going to be able to bring to our audience in terms of not only education, but just really making sure that they were timely discussions about things are really happening real time in the markets and giving people the ability to understand what they might need to do you know, what might work in ski doesn't work in beach and vice versa. But they can take little little bits and pieces of each aspect of it and, and put it into their own planning.Alex:
Yeah, absolutely. Amy high note is going to be our first episode of 2022. And we got to talk to her a lot about this. And I think it was really interesting, because I don't, I don't hear her specifically talking or being asked about this as much as we really dove into it. But Amy has her background years ago was also in destination marketing. So I mean, she's very familiar with this. And she sees from the acquisition side, what's happening in these destinations when a big player comes in and buys a company. And now what that does to, you know, the tourism boards and how the destination is able to still continue growing and you know, coming up with advertising programs, it's really it is a trickle down effect. And it's something that we all need to be aware of. And you know, from my perspective, with the Chamber of Commerce, as a board of directors, Chairman, important it is to make sure that these relationships stay the way that they are and you lose one important player. And that can be devastating to a destination,Annie:
Amy always has a really great pulse on what's really, truly going on in the industry. And I think that we talked with her about the acquisitions of the companies, we talked about the consolidation within vacation rentals, management companies, but also validation within the verticals. And in Simon Lehman's, it's very up on this. And we talked with him and I know we'll have him on again to discuss it as we go through the year, consolidation can be a good thing, but at the market level, it can be a devastating thing, because again, those companies are not supporting, they're coming from South Florida, they're not going to support Northwest Florida in terms of sponsoring the the cancer walks or any of the local events that are important for the local economy. I'm really taking an interest in what's going on there in terms of the politics of what how it affects vacation rentals. And so we're going to talk about advocacy and how that's really important and, and losing some of these local players in the market can really be detrimental to what the ability to advocate for vacation rentals ultimately ends up being so as an industry, we need to work with everything at the top levels, no at vrma, you know, working with our advocacy groups, and then working with companies like right responsibly, you know, their team is doing an amazing job. And so there's there's just a lot of things that are going on that Amy, really I think she drives the point home is that this is this is this is a large village and we're all part of it. And we need to work together and understand that what happens in Myrtle Beach could happen in Panama City Beach could happen in Breckenridge, Colorado could happen in Hawaii, we all need to be working together. And it's really important to consolidation is a concern, happy for the people that able to you know, build their business up and sell it but it also we have to be mindful of how it'll affect us down the road. It'sAlex:
a really interesting topic that we'll be diving into more and that's going to be a big part of that is on Amy's episode, which is the first one in 2020 to start starting the year on a high note. We also have after that Jim DeVos, who is the CEO of best beach getaways. And he was really interesting to talk to I think his philosophy on software and how they've built their own workarounds is just really interesting. And I think that is kind of the future of where a lot of progressive companies are going that they're not just going to accept a one box solution that does everything that they know that there are better ways to do it by combining forces.Annie:
Yeah, and I've been in gym for several years. And one thing I will, I will say is that he's been very methodical about building his platform out like, this is not something that he just threw together and didn't talk to the people, the stakeholders in it, you know, in the equation, he worked with his accounting team, he worked with his maintenance team, he worked with his housekeeping and he's worked with every aspect of his team over the years to try to put this together with that he's, I don't want to like, say, speak for him. But I think he's hopeful that they'll be able to roll this out and go to market, you know, in the next, you know, year or so. But that just speaks to the needs within the industry that there are not any perfect solutions out there. And everybody does run a little differently. And so what he did was he worked on a solution. And similar to what Alex what you guys have done a content world worked on a solution that answered the problems that you were having. And ultimately, if you're having those problems, there's probably a good subset of PMS within your own market or even elsewhere that have the same similar situation, similar problems. And you find a solution for that. And I think that that's where the industry is going. And I believe Simon has mentioned before the gentleman from HomeAway, that he interviewed at Varma, the former HomeAway chair, he talked about, you know, when Property Groups get above the 1000, unit mark, it starts to behoove them to have their own platform. So is that going to be they're going to be more of that? Is there going to be less of that? So I think Jim answers a lot of those questions about how you go through the process. And what that looks like to build out your own platform, your own tech stack. So that that to me is was a very interesting conversation,Alex:
you get a great analogy about car companies, how cars are built from different countries and how the engineering is different than the design and, and making sure the orders in the right fashion, there makes a big difference. But we're going to definitely understanding the needs of the user is super important. And I think that's definitely one thing that's been a huge element of our success. Sekonda world is that we do have our internal tech team here that builds what we need. And, yeah, it's that that is a huge differentiator between what our product is versus what's out there. But you know, and everybody, that doesn't mean that what we have is perfect for everybody. I mean, everybody has their own needs of what really makes sense. But I like talking to people like Jim, because I think he sees it with the right lens that they are they're willing to go out and try and build something that's going to be better than than what's on the market. And I think from what we've heard they've been able to do that.Annie:
Yeah, yeah, it's interesting. And I think it goes into the next conversation that we had, of in terms of technology was with Greg Fisher, and Tripp shock, the ability to basically take water activities and distribute them just like you would a, you know, accommodation product as an OTA. So he's built up an OTA. But again, it answered a problem that was in the market that was very specific. And it was methodical about how they went about doing it and listening to his story of what he had to do, you know, a young player coming into the space and having to build that trust, relationships to be as successful as he's been in the short amount of time has been nothing short of amazing, I'm so impressed by him. But again, the technology that they put behind it is fascinating.Alex:
Yeah, it is just watching the evolution of hotels, to rental cars, to vacation rentals, and now to tours and activities. I mean, every every different segment has followed that same cascading, you know, lineage there. And it's interesting when when he came into the industry, I think that's about 13 years ago, is about when I started at condo world. And that was really kind of like the digital tipping point that, you know, verbo was coming on and Airbnb was coming on to. And you know, we still we had online bookings at that point. But for tours and activities, they definitely did not have anything online, everything was pen and paper. So you know, the gap between the industries, you could definitely see it. And I think things are now kind of get to that point with tours and activities that they're looking at the things we were a few years ago with revenue management and channel management, these other different more technological advances. But I think he's been at the right place at the right time, and is extremely entrepreneurial in his efforts and mindset and has done an incredible job with that company. So that's a super exciting episode. And I'm just excited to see everything that he's done. And we'll continue to do which workshop and the next guest actually, this was really interesting to to take a real big look back in the past. Steve trover, who currently his his title is CEO of better talent. But Steve has been in the industry for many, many years and is truly one of the founding fathers of modern age vacation rentals. I'd say. Yeah. Been there, done that. But one of the things we talked about with him was the switch. And I bet I'd say it's a small percentage of people, maybe 20% 30% of our listeners even know what the switch is or what it was. But it's really interesting to dive into that. And that was an initiative that Verma had put forth, back 2008 2009 In an effort to essentially keep the OTAs at bay and to protect the brands of vacation rental companies, and I think the mindset behind why they wanted to do that made all the sense in the world, but the execution at that point, because technology was just not where it needed to be. It didn't allow it to happen. And they had hired Pegasus to build that for them. Basically, this is a vacation rental switch, where it's basically like a massive channel manager that you would be able to load your branding. And you we would all have more control over how our listings displayed on these channels. But you know, who did we think we were right? That's not, that was not going to happen. And then the OTAs, we're not going to give all that control, unfortunately, but I think things have leveled off, I do think that things have gotten better in terms of what the OTAs are allowing us to do. And when we can have our brand on Airbnb, we can have it on one verbo. And you know, the other channels at least allow for better communication. So things have gotten better, but they only get better because of open communication like this. And like what happens at conferences.Annie:
Yeah, Steve, Steve is a fascinating, fascinating story. And I just, he's, his passion for the industry is what really draws me to him. I think that that's one thing that across all guests that we've had, and all the guests that we've learned at for future is that every single person, there's no doubting their passion for this industry. There's people are not in this just to make $1. I mean, they're in it, they want to, you know, be successful and make money on it. But people are in it, because they're passionate. And Steve's passion has taken him through some very big peaks and some very low valleys. And his story is really compelling to just show you, you know, the willpower that is in this industry, with the people that that are leading it, and I loved his conversation.Alex:
Yeah, absolutely. He's such a supportive person. I'm just I'm glad that we've gotten to connect with him this year. And he was a great guest. So that's going to be another exciting show. And finally, now and then these aren't the only people that we have, but these are just the ones that we have in this episode for clips, but we have Julie George from all the way from Australia who she has just a burst of positive, amazing entrepreneurial energy to describe her but she's incredible. And her story of growing her business literally from zero to how many was it? I mean,Annie:
I it was it was 100 over 100. But there were over 100 amount of time. Yeah, yeah.Alex:
$8 million in annual revenue within a couple years. She really just changed the game for short term rentals in Australia. So she is extremely interesting gal. She's written a best selling book, which we're going to talk about on our episode too, but and she just had really great advice for us just to you know, to dream big, dream bigger, and then just, you know, make a crack at it. I think she said it. She said what's what's the worst that can happen? Just go for it.Annie:
Yeah. And you talk about somebody who, you know, our dear friend Amber hurdle talking about leaning in. Yeah. You know, she went all in, she went all in. And she is she's a firecracker. That's how I would describe her. But yeah, her her interview was just fun. And she teased a book that she's a part of that's for the vacation rental industry that's coming, or, you know, coming to fruition this year, in 2022. There's a lot of people that will be part of that book. So again, I maybe, maybe it maybe she, she's she's just a phenomenal woman. And I just feel like I've known her for years. It's so fascinating. So hopefully, we will get to see her at vrma in Vegas in the spring or fall, whatever that is. So yeah,Alex:
yeah. So and then that segues into one other thing, too. So I am very excited to announce you and I are both going to be on the Marketing Committee for vrma in 2022. That's, I've always wanted to be more involved in that organization. And we got to spend some time with Miller Hawkins, who's the incoming president and just just really excited to work with their team there to continue to make these events worthwhile and grow the professionalization of our industry and, you know, have opportunities to get the best in the business and the best minds together. That's what it's all about.Annie:
Yeah. And I think, you know, for me, vrma has always been one of them is that it's like, it's, it's just it's out there, and you participate in it, but never been able to quite touch it. To be asked to, to participate in this at this level is just tremendous. And I think what's cool about it is it's a two year commitment. So we'll be on the Marketing Committee for two years, but the people that we'll be connected to, and the ability to be at the forefront of messaging and kind of where the where the organization goes over the next two years, because there's a lot of things that are moving and shaking right now on the backside that people are happy about. Some people aren't. But it'll be interesting to be part of that so we can look back, you know, when we're doing our 400th episode to say, look what we accomplished while we're on the Marketing Committee. It's gonna be a great program.Alex:
It's a good time to be on it. I don't think you know, having this platform to be able to talk to guests, I think we're going to bring a lot to to that committee into the organization and we're just excited another way for you and I to work together. So that's what I do, but I'm your worksite to very, very excited to announce your promotion, I think this is amazing. I'm so proud of you. And he was just promoted to vice president of business development, development for lexicon. And so, so well deserved, I think you've become such a value to the industry. And for this, for the same reasons that I originally was just drawn to you, you are such a trustworthy partner and authentic person. And you just you, you're the kind of vendor that everybody wants to work with. Right? So I'm very excited to see you grow within this position and see what other unique strategies and collaborations that you're able to come up with for lexicon?Annie:
Oh, that's really sweet. I appreciate that very much. And it's one of those things where you look back and you go, gosh, you know, I feel like I could have done this job 10 years ago, but truly I couldn't have it's all about the relationships you build up along the way and the amount of knowledge that you you amass and kind of just those connections. And yeah, I'm very excited about it. Because one thing that I know about myself is the more kind of things that I can have going on at once the more passionate I am about what I do, but you know, the business development side, it's such a, it's such a great term, because it's it's salesy, its marketing, its strategy, it's all of the above. And I get to do that and kind of frame what I keep saying for myself internally as lexicon 2.0. Like, where we're at, what's our next step? What are we going to do? What are we going to do when we grow up, the opportunities are endless, and I'm thrilled and honored that they have bestowed this position on me. And I hope that you know, what we you and I can do together either through our podcasts, our relationships, and you know, with condo world, there's, there's just so many opportunities for all of us in the industry to partner and work together for the greater good of the whole, you know, the whole pie. So yeah, it's gonna be a really great year. So thank you for the assignment would say thank you for the flowers. I appreciate it.Alex:
Well, without further ado, we are going to now share just a few clips from the guests that we mentioned on today's show. So stay right there. Here we go. And we are joined today by one of the realest women of vacation rentals. Amy? Hi, no.Amy Hinote:
And the cool thing is, if you had to look at the bright side of all of this is that even though we're losing all this leadership in the destination, those people are getting what they want, and they're getting out. Yeah. And it's that will leave companies who actually want to do this for an occupation. And I think once we get people, not people who are like counting the days until they close their sale as a business, but people who are like, wow, this is a cool industry and I want to be in it, you know? Yeah. Once that, you know, the more we get of that, the more these opportunities will have to actually get better, you know, as an industry or operations, better financial management, better at marketing better at direct bookings better at front end customer service, you know what I mean? And better a destination market. Yeah, yeah. Once we get people like who start like the who feel like we do. You know, it's just like, This is the coolest industry to be a part of on the planet. Why would you?Annie:
Yeah, we all know it. Why don't you?Unknown:
End it is like family vacations. It's not the same thing as a hotel. Yeah. Most of us. Our most cherished vacation memories are in a vacation home. Absolutely. Yep. Your parents, your grandparents your aunt's your uncle's like, you know, it's an entirely different product, and it means something. And it's like when you look back at your life, these things matter.Alex:
We are here today with Jim DeVos. From past beach getaways.Jim Devoss:
We knew we needed to develop our own software. And we wanted to get to we want to get to a complete system. But we the way we started was we started kind of from the ground up, we built it. We describe it almost as a skyscraper and we're building at one floor at a time. Yeah, yes. And that's really kind of the way we've done it. And I the thing that I like about what we've done when I was this is this is sort of off track, but maybe not. When I when I was when I was in the advertising agency business. One of the one of my clients was a was a car company. And it was a British car company. And, and and what I wrote what I discovered in my experience was that the best cars in the world are designed by the British or the Italians. And they are engineered by the Japanese. The car company that I was working on actually was the reverse it was it looked like it was it looked like it was designed by the Japanese and engineered by the Brits.Alex:
Oh wow. Sorry. Reverse execution. Exactly.Unknown:
Exactly, but but one of the things that one of the things that I when I looked at a lot of different software platforms, what I saw, what I saw was they were designed and engineered by technology people, not people in our business. Yeah, exactly. And so and so what you got to have the software engineers, no question about it. They've got you. They've got to do, they've got to do the engineering, but what you need is you need the experience people in our business really doing the design.Annie:
analogy. That's true. I need to remember that one.Unknown:
Yeah, that car was a horror story. But yeah. But it's a great way to look at things. You know, there'sAlex:
a lot of software. That's a horror story, too.Unknown:
I'm sure we've all had some of it.Annie:
Yeah, more than our fair share, I'm sure.Alex:
And we are joined today with a good friend of mine, Greg Fischer from trip shock.Greg Fisher:
And I was trying to kind of bridge that gap to say, hey, you know, business is good, but things are common, everything is gonna change, you know, the internet is not going to go away. Like some people want it to believe, like, I actually was told by people that the internet was a fad. Like, that was some of the headwinds I was dealing with. So, you know, having to explain everything. And it was, it was really hard, like the first, I'd say, five years, not only did we have hurricanes, and oil spills, and everything else to deal with, but the buy in was really low, because they just didn't feel like this. This was the future. I mean, heck, no one was even using reservation software, like online reservation, they were doing things with pen and paper. So having to bridge that gap, and finding ways and each individual business, different things, interests them. Like sometimes it was more about getting customers from Google, some of them, it was just about getting more customers, period, some of them, it was about helping them with their own direct business, and not even worry. So I was constantly having to be very flexible to win, you know, the trust in the relationship, because, you know, you got to think I'm 2324 year old guy, I look like I'm 16. And I'm taking a lot of money up front like, like I remember, like, even the first couple years to build some businesses where I'd get 100 to $200,000 in sales. And they would have to trust me to pay it out. And I had no reputation.Alex:
We are so excited to be joined today by Steve trover, CEO of better talent and a true industry veteran with so many awesome stories and interesting stories to tellAnnie:
what inspires you the most to keep going? And again, you know, I think I know the answer to this. But you know, what, what keeps you involved in this industry?Steve Trover:
You know, I asked myself that, you know, I tried to be super objective. And like I said earlier, I even thought at one point, so just go find another industry. And I tell this story. I was once at a vacation rental conference, and I have ADHD, like really bad, like not even joking. And so I was I was wandering around and I went like, oh, it's lunchtime, and I get in the lunch line dition my plate up. And I'm about two thirds away down the line. And I look up and I realize I'm not at the right conference. It was a big, you know, resort hotel, our conference hotel and the multiple conferences and I'm not the wrong one, right? Like, you know, oh, well forget it. I'm just gonna, you know, I'm already this my plate. So I literally go sit down next these people and I don't even remember what industry it was. But I remember thinking these people were boring. And so what what keeps me passionate about this industry is the industry. It's the people. It's it's how passionate the people in this industry are about this industry. That's what keeps me going. So do I love vacation rentals? Heck yeah, I've stayed in a hundreds of them with. I have four kids. We can't stay in a hotel. Right. So you know, the product? Definitely. I love it. I think it's great. I think what it does for families and for friends and connectivity and all that I'm passionate about that as well. But what keeps me in this industry is that this industry is really exciting. There's really great people that are super passionate about it. And probably the other thing I would say to that is I still look at it as a big whiteboard. Even though I said, you know, we used to do classified advertising and look at all all that's evolved, I think we're still early stage, we're still making stuff up ever definitely in this industry. And there's so many problems to solve. And, you know, that's what I like to do is company look for the biggest problem and go try to solve it right. So I like that challenge and this industry is full of challenges.Alex:
We are so excited to have another amazing guest today we have Julie George, all the way from Australia joining us claim toJulie George:
fame is that I've done that the full 360 and short term rentals 2016, I started with one property, my own, fell in love with short term rentals, and then decided to turn it into a property management business. I had property owners who were desperate for a solution they were looking at, you know, putting long term tenants in their properties, or selling at a loss in the market I was in and I was able to come in with this solution. Let me take your fully furnished property. Let me listed on short term rentals on Airbnb, I'm going to charge you a commission, but you're going to get the benefits of a better return on investment, you're going to be able to use your property. And I'm going to look after it like it's my own. So with that theory, with a great framework in place, I was able to scale my business up to 130 properties and over $8 million income within a two and a half year period. Just prior to COVID. I don't know if I had my crystal ball out. But just prior to COVID I sold my business, I had somebody come along and offer a big fat check. It was the ultimate payday handed soAnnie:
my question is if Dooley of 2021 could go back to Julie who's 21 and say, This is gonna be your journey? What are you know what, what are the highlights of the things that you would tell Julie to look out for and where you ended up? I guess where you are today.Unknown:
Julie 21 year old Julie, stop chasing boys. That would be the first thing. Stop chasing boys, start looking after yourself and start loving yourself. Do not be looking to make have somebody else make you happy. You've got to get out there and make yourself happy. Trust that everything happens for a reason. Dream big and then dream bigger. And then just just do it like take a risk and have a crack because what's the worst thing that's going to happen? Yeah, great advice. Stop chasing boys.Alex:
Great advice, all of it. So that's just a small taste of what is coming in 2022 we have several more guests already lined up and several topics to dive into and very excited to see where this goes. So thank you for listening and we will see you in 2022 ThanksAnnie:
for listening and we're excited to bring you more inspiring stories aha moments and laughs along the way.
President Best Beach Getaways
Jim is business builder with very specific skills that include developing Consumer and B2B growth strategies, group facilitation and team performance improvement, thought leadership positioning and focus group research and moderation. Starting his career out with Piedmont Airlines, he honed the skill of team building opening up 3 hubs and 70 new market destinations. His experience working throughout his career in sales and marketing ultimately led him to join Best Beach Getaways, a leading property management company in the Florida Panhandle.
One of the vacation rentals leading experts. From her time at Kaiser Rentals in Gulf Shores to her launch of her VRMIntel, Amy is seen as a thought leader and truth teller. Highly sought after for her deep understanding and connections within the industry to lead panel discussions, emcee events and provide a depth and passion of understanding that is unparalleled. Never one to shy away from the hard discussions that have helped make the industry better.
Co-Fonder and CEO TripShock!
Since 2009, Greg has worked to transform TripShock into a travel industry giant. Proactive and personable, Mr. Fisher first developed a passion for tourism while studying hospitality at the University of Central Florida. Since then, he has grown TripShock by cultivating strong relationships with partners and employees alike. In his free time, Greg enjoys reading biographies, watching college football, and relaxing with friends and family.
CEO Better Talent
Steve Trover is a 25-year vacation rental industry veteran, having founded and led a four-location property vacation rental management company, designed, developed, and/or built over hundreds of vacation homes, emerged as a technology strategist within the industry, and more.
As the former president of the Vacation Rental Manager Association (VRMA) and vice-president over a five-year period, Steve’s volunteer life includes time on the board of several industry associations.
He currently serves multiple organizations across various aspects of the industry in an advisory capacity. Yet through his company, Better Talent, he helps business leaders be successful by leveraging his industry knowledge and experience to help companies with their single most important task: Building and developing a cohesive team.
Million Dollar Host
Julie George is the Author of the best-selling book ‘Million Dollar Host’ which outlines her story and unique STR property management business model that resulted in incredible success in a short amount of time – (130 properties/ $8million income in 3 years). In 2019 Julie sold her business to a larger company and is now a Consultant coaching other budding entrepreneurs to replicate the success that she has seen in this incredible industry.
She is now considered one of the world's leading experts in Short Term Rentals, Judge of the Shortyz Awards 2021 (the most prestigious Industry worldwide awards), Lead Investor in washbnb (an innovative American based business) and Head Coach with the Legends Accelerator Program (www.strlegends.com) in San Diego. Julie has been featured on worldwide Podcasts, Newspapers, Magazines and TV.