Jan. 12, 2022

Starting 2022 on a High Note with Amy Hinote, Founder/CEO of VRM Intel


On this first episode of 2022 we dive into the most pressing issues facing the vacation rental industry with  Amy Hinote, Founder/CEO of VRM Intel and one of the most recognized and respected thought leaders of the past decade. This is a fireside chat you don't want to miss!

Topics we cover:

  • How the unique format of the Vacation Rental Women's Summit was a major benefit for attendees AND vendors 
  • How branding has changed for vacation rentals – is the industry giving up on the #bookdirect movement?
  • Impact of Vacasa going public, and the effect acquisitions have on destinations
  • Is the consolidation of tech companies making software products better?
  • Why destination marketing and CVB/DMO efforts are critical for the future of vacation rentals
  • When is the right time for property managers to sell their businesses?
  • VRMA's decision to allow individual property owners to join association
  • Where will the DARM (Data and Revenue Management Conference) be held in 2022?

Watch episode on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s1n5PBWujk

Purchase the video package from the VRWS here:
https://vacationrentalwomen.com/register/video-package/ Coupon Code: VRWS21
$75 OFF 

CONTACT AMY HINOTE
LinkedIn | VRMIntel

CONTACT ALEX & ANNIE
AlexandAnniePodcast.com
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Alex Husner - Linkedin
Annie Holcombe - Linkedin

Podcast Sponsored by Condo-World and Lexicon Travel

Transcript

Alex:

Welcome to Alex and Annie, I'm Alex.

Annie:

And I'm Annie.

Alex:

And we are the real women of vacation rentals. And we are joined today by one of the realest women of vacation rentals. Amy Hinote, Amy, welcome to the podcast.

Amy Hinote:

Thank you guys for having me.

Alex:

So excited to have you here today, you are a crusader in the industry. And I say that because you actually just won the Crusader Award, which is amazing at the vacation on a Women's Summit that we all just attended. But there's a lot of people within you know, our podcast network that might not necessarily know you that are outside of the industry, can you give a little bit of a history on your background and who you are?

Amy Hinote:

Yeah, I actually started in the industry with a destination marketing company, and ended up taking a job at a property management company who was one of our clients. And so that was way back about 15 or 16 years ago now. And so started working with that company and started taking over marketing for a property management company and just kind of fell in love with the industry. So vacation rentals have been my passion since then. And I've been full time focused on that I ended up leaving and go into a software company that was purchased by HomeAway. So was it HomeAway for a bed and switch to a startup in Chicago and started VR and Intel, which is a website that provides information and news for the vacation rental industry. And in 2015, I actually started a magazine. So since 2015, we've been having, we've been running the RM intel.com. And the magazine and we've we've added events like the data and Revenue Management Conference in the Women's Summit, along with regional events. So that's kind of where I am and how I got into the space.

Alex:

Awesome. So So much has changed since those early days of when you started the magazine, I remember, we first got a copy of it at our office, we were like what is this, not only is there great content inside, but you can just just holding on to that magazine, you can tell it is just a very well put together publication. And ever since then, you know, we look forward to that day when it comes to our office. But

Amy Hinote:

it's a labor of love.

Annie:

We can tell you, it's very well thought out and in it, it speaks to your passion for the industry and what you want to provide for the industry and continuing to push everybody forward, their education through just understanding more about the industry and being more engaged. So again, big huge fan of yours, and so proud of all the things that you've accomplished. And then coming off the heels of the women's conference last week. Alex and I talked about it, you did an amazing job. And I hope that you have patted yourself on the back and your team for what you did for the industry. But for the women in the industry, it was a really great event, and we appreciate what you've

Amy Hinote:

done. I appreciate that I got a lot out of it, too. I mean, I was definitely I think I went into it as burned out and exhausted as everyone else was too, you know, and, and I left it thinking oh my gosh, like I was, you know, just really rejuvenated. Maybe not physically, but you know, to really be ready to take on 2022, which is you know what's, before going into it. I was just thinking like, wow, I don't even know that I want to go into 2020 to do Yeah, isn't it? And now I'm thinking there's so many things to do. Yeah, I just it was a it was an inspirational event for me. And I think that I think that was contagious. You know what I mean? I think that we we all kind of built on that from each other. So I think I got I got more inspired by everybody else. And they did from from the event.

Alex:

It was amazing. I mean, how many people attended to that there is what close to 350 attendees. Yeah, that's incredible for the second week in December. I mean that's that's pretty good attendance there. And Andy and I were saying the other day, we started conference season on a high note and we ended it on a high note we started at Darman, Charleston. And that was such an awesome event. I mean, that one was was unbelievable. And I think especially this year, I feel much more grateful going to these events than I ever have in the past because we didn't get to go to any last year. So just everyone that we've been there has just been just great experience. And I feel like you want to take advantage of every second that you're there. And this one was tough, because there was so much to take advantage of that. I feel like I have FOMO not getting to do all the things that I wanted to but we're very excited to see the video recording that you have. And I think people can can they get that if they didn't go to the show? Or can they appreciate that

Amy Hinote:

if you go on vacation rental women.com The video package is still there. Um, I'll give you a promo code for your show notes too. Great for your audience. But I think that home I mean, there are 50 videos there. Yes, it was a lot and I think all of us only saw about 10 Yeah. General Sessions and you know, so I mean, not in there's no one in the show that even got to see 20% of the yeah Yeah, sell me, I think it's gonna be fine. Kind of like the date. I didn't this we had this was a forced date on this because of COVID. You know, this was a challenge. And original dates they had to cancel the hotel did. So it's like I but that week after Thanksgiving, like it's not terrible. No, no, it's it's holiday. But you know, it's also a downtime for a lot of people. And I think it gives you that feeling of wrapping up the year kind of like what you say, like I get I but I think you know, it also gives you that kind of holiday season behind it to catch up on videos like you've got some downtime by the fire. And some time to really plan for 2020 to you or to evaluate your plan for 2020 do right, you know, and in light of now seeing different opportunities and learning the new things that we learn. Yeah, and I think that I'm not if we do it again, I'm not sure that I'm going to change the day. I really like your like, festive holiday feeling that we got to have having to be like it's almost like an industry holiday party. Yeah, yeah.

Annie:

With the Christmas trees and exchanging ornaments, which I forgot to grab an ornament from the tree. But yeah, I think that's I think it's perfect. It's just it sets you up with a whole decor theme that you didn't have to worry about. So it's perfect. That was huge. That's why I got married at Christmas time. I didn't have to worry.

Amy Hinote:

I'm not kidding. When the hurt if you get a good hotel that like decorations, you know, um, you know, it's funny, we almost did the Roosevelt and he

Alex:

Oh, gosh, amazing.

Amy Hinote:

Not push back to December like, you know, the venue's during December.

Alex:

So I had people commenting on the pictures I was posting, and just saying, you know, this looks like the best conference you've ever been to. And I got a lot of conferences between both condo world and also my work with the chamber and CVB. And we will literally we're like, This is unbelievable. Where are you? It looks so beautiful. And just like such a great event. So and yeah, I think the I think the timing is great. It's right before everybody starts holiday parties. So you've got a little bit of a lull there. But, you know, I remember going back, Amy, the first time I met you as five years ago in Sandestin. And it was right, same time a year. And that was the VR mentor. It was just a one day show, I think and that was the first first industry conference that I had been to, and so didn't really know what that was going to be like going into it. But it I know you've you've had so many technical hurdles, over the years at conferences and bless your heart, you always deal with it with such grace. But I remember that was one that a tornado came through, we were literally in a session about OTAs. And this girl stands up and said there's a tornado coming, or is like letting we do. But you know, looking back over the last five years since then, and you've hosted so many other events, how Where do you see the conference industry going? And what have you seen change over the years?

Amy Hinote:

It's there's a much, much higher risk in conferences today than there ever has been. And the hotels, you know, are there much because their revenues have shrunk so much that they are forcing you to fulfill every obligation. Yeah, right. These contracts are super expensive. I mean, we don't want 200k, you know, the Ritz Carlton. So I think that, you know, you've been so you've got the the hotel side, not bending, not giving you extra rooms for your people after the cut off day, you know, not offering, you know, some of the just not working with you on here. Yeah, no, and I mean, to make it to make it work. And then on the other side, you've got, I mean, you've got the sponsorships. And a lot of people are cutting their business travel, you know, and their desire to sponsor some of these conferences where they don't feel like they have a direct ROI. And that's part of the fact that new marketers, the new generation of marketers, they only look at ROI, because they can measure it online. So they don't have any value of anything, they can't measure immediately, right? And figured out how to go that extra step Jesus, and then you you know, on the you've got the attendees, and the attendees don't want to make decisions early. So it's hard to justify and plan for a show that you don't know if it's going to be successful, or it's not until the very last minute. And then you've got all these last minute cancellations from people who thought they were ready to travel and then they really weren't. So it's like there's so much risk in the in the equation now that I'm not sure that we'll see a lot of startup events, you know, the ones that are established right now maybe able to make it and go forward and build upon that. But as far as starting a brand new event from scratch, I'm not sure I would take on that risk five years ago, you know, and I mean, like, yeah, if I had had this environment to work in, I don't think I could have started something brand new. And you know, hope to get that kind of recognition to people would come.

Alex:

Yeah, yeah. And on the ROI, Andy and I talked about this in our last episode that we heard people saying that their company was going to sponsor the event, but decided not to at the end of the day, and they just didn't think that there was that either ROI, or there wasn't enough of a sales opportunity to have a booth. And that's just completely the opposite of what Andy and I took away from this event, we felt like we had more conversations with vendors than, or for me, at least as property manager than I probably ever have, because they were attending sessions with me. And we weren't running all over the place. And we went to dinners. And it was just, it was more of a collaborative feel to the event in New Orleans than any conference that I've been to previously. And, you know, it was 350 people, that's a lot of people, but it felt like an intimate event that was more like 100 person kind of type thing where you still felt like you talked to everybody that by the end of it. So that made a big difference. I think

Amy Hinote:

the relationship like the what makes our relationship unique. I mean, I really serve our industry unique is relationships. And we Yes, that's why we all love the space so much, you know, this sector is it's very different from other types of hospitality, and that you have to have an intimate relationship with the homeowner, and with the guests and your employees to make the whole thing work and, and with your vendors. Yep. And so it's like making an ecosystem event where everybody's on the same page, like, all of a sudden, now the vendors are going to the same sessions, and they're having the same discussions, which means they're learning that their software system needs better reporting, how are reporting today, that's more Asset Management minded. They're learning that channel distribution needs the ability to reorder your photos on Airbnb versus verbo. You know, change pricing, I mean, like an optimized per channel. Yeah, I think the thing that you're learning like the VIN vendors learn that they need more notifications when things are down. And when things aren't working, and integrations are not there, no charge. There's no troubleshooting there unless you find it yourself. So it's like those commerce kind of conversations. Oh, they don't happen at a booth.

Alex:

Right? Yeah, yeah. No, they don't, they don't

Annie:

it removes the barriers that are exists. When you have booths, it's just you're not there to prove ROI, you're there to build a relationship when you don't have a booth and go to these sessions with people. So I agree with you, 100%.

Amy Hinote:

And I think the women are so much more open because of it at the show. Or they're more open anyway. Because they're not there either. Yeah, mainly, like the mind games and things like that, that we all play the patriarchy. But it's like you're this everything was just so genuine and so sincere, that you buy from people, you know, get to know people in in a totally different way here and have those intellectual conversations. And once he is kind of like that, they don't care what you know, until they know how much you care. Yeah. Well, you find out from a vendor this show is how much they care. And I think that that matters. And can you measure that with our you know, is there an ROI on that? If they if, if people wanted to take the time to put one on there, I think they probably could,

Alex:

you know, media ROI relationships aren't supposed to be transactional right now in nature. Right? And, you know, I think we're this kind of leads us to the next question we wanted to talk about is, I mean, things that you can't measure an ROI. One thing that we're seeing in a lot of these newer newer companies that are coming onto the scene is such less of an emphasis on brand, because branding is definitely something that is harder to track. How do you see branding within vacation rentals as we go into 2022 I mean, what what has changed as far as the book direct movement, and what Airbnb VRBO has brought to the table and changed from a branding perspective,

Amy Hinote:

I think that we're some of the degradation of branding in our industry is not actually it's a result of not marketing more than it is a result of, of the of what's going on in the industry. Every destination and the reason vacation rentals did well during COVID is the space in the location these are drive to you know that drive to is where it's been at. People are not getting on planes as much to go places. So like, if you're in Myrtle Beach, you've got your drive to market if you're in Panama City Beach, you've got your your drive to market. That's where your brand needs to be recognized. So like if I am in Gulf Shores, Alabama my brand doesn't need to be in Oregon. You know, that doesn't matter. But pool are in Birmingham or Atlanta I need them to know who to call and so I do think that it matters with your you can easily build a brand with a drive to location but people are not marketing right now. It's been with our demand has been so high that it's been too easy just to list your properties on VRBO and Airbnb and call it a day And that demand has been there to support it. i It's this business is cyclical and we all know it is we've watched it for years. It's this isn't a new information. This isn't new information. It's not like you heard it here.

Alex:

Groundbreaking

Amy Hinote:

but if you are just hearing this for the first time,

Annie:

yeah, you might be in trouble. The problem

Amy Hinote:

so I mean, it will turn and demand is demand is volatile and no one the reason you hear from other people Oh, no, we're gonna be up and we're going to stay up is because they're selling their investors that's in their pitch that's in there. You know, and I mean, I'm so to a calmness which consolidation which is all the way happened. So we could stop here in the bullshit that people are spinning to investors right now. Yeah. It's like the fact is demand does change. It goes up and it goes down and and they're Grayson sport, and there's very specific reasons that we expect it to go down next year. But you'll see marketing again, then.

Alex:

Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

Amy Hinote:

Like with the whiplash that happened from COVID. Like, they canceled everything. And then all of a sudden, the phone started ringing on one day, and everything filled up overnight. It was very difficult to manage and understand. And honestly, people didn't want to work. You know, it was like, we don't want our phone

Annie:

anymore. Yeah, yeah, we can't handle it. Yeah, absolutely. And so we've

Amy Hinote:

seen a real diminishing of marketing education in our industry, which is a little bit concerning for the future. Because going back to your original question, you know, will it just be can you build a brand going forward? You can but it takes effort. And if it were me I'd be working on that right now.

Annie:

Yeah, yeah. And speaking of so like on that just the the brand or and you kind of touched on it like you know, do you don't need a brand speaking to customers or going to Panama City Beach or Myrtle Beach based in Oregon? So like the elephant in the room Bokassa. You know, what do you think that then going public and having trying to have a hotel style global brand? What is What do you think that means for the industry?

Amy Hinote:

I haven't seen them actually putting a lot of effort towards branding, you know, yet I the investors will want them to. So I think we'll see some increased effort there. I did see my first commercial recently,

Alex:

I heard about that I haven't seen

Amy Hinote:

certain now that they're probably will see a lot more of that Barbeau Airbnb style marketing out of them. However, um, you know, they're, they're talking about their selection, and, you know, the fact that you can go on there, and you can find something in every destination. However, their selection in it per destination basis, you know, and I mean, isn't enough to warrant that being the only place people search, right. So I from the in looking at the customer funnel, I don't think that they're hired, they're close enough to the top of the funnel to really be able to disrupt other brands at this point. Um, I think that looking at how they're looking at growing the company, it's a little concerning to me that they don't understand the brand value at the destination, right? They know that when they go in and purchase a company and a company that's very involved in building the destination and build it and understand that Panama City Beach, you you compete with Destin, you compete with Fort Walton, you compete with a million I mean, you've got the entire Gulf Coast or even could be with Gulf Shores now And absolutely, Alabama. Yeah. And, I mean, same thing is true for you, Alex and Myrtle, and it's like, you've got North Myrtle, you've got my gosh, you've got all the way from Tybee. The Outer Banks decide where they want to go on the east coast, where they want to go in the Gulf Coast where they want to go in Hawaii, where they want to go on the Oregon coast for that matter. You know what I mean? Like there's they have choices. So the choice isn't just about which property they're going to pick on VRBO or Airbnb choices which destination they're going to go to. And this is what cyclical is this destinations can go in and out of favor. It takes a lot of intent to keep your destination up. Yeah. And when you start losing it's a it's kind of a domino effect when a destination starts to have problems. Panama City had this several years ago. We saw other destinations grow and you know become and really overtake them from a market share standpoint, just because of some bad things that started to happen from the beginning. Like for instance, you start losing I mean, a little bit of revenue at Spring Break because you decide that you're not going to have a lot alcohol anymore, you know, and then you lose those ruminates, then you lose that tax revenue then you lose property managers who are campaigning at the state level from beach renourishment, then your beaches aren't as clean and you know what I mean? Any I mean, Domino, Domino. Yeah, all the sudden people would rather go to Orange Beach Alabama then Panama City Beach, Florida. Yeah, and then Orange Beach, you know, jobs up and then they do the same thing. Traffic is another thing. You know, there's traffic patterns like really making like destinations that really plan around sustainable tourism. And I don't mean sustainable like don't use plastic bottles and you're

Annie:

able to get around

Amy Hinote:

a nation that will continue to be a destination for vacationers for debt, you know, for decades and decades. And I were losing the every time that because one of these consolidated models buys a company that that is a person taken out that is a leader in the community that is taken out of the equation, who is no longer contributing to the things that you're doing. Alex said the CVB

Annie:

Oh, 100. Yeah, absolutely.

Amy Hinote:

So whatever the CVB comes along and says, We've got research that shows that we should bring a soccer tournament in town, we need sponsors, there's no sponsor,

Annie:

they're not part of it. Because they're not invested in the market. They don't yeah, they're not there badly,

Amy Hinote:

when they say we need a beach renourishment project right now, because of the last hurricane ripped out 30 feet of our beach, you know, like that we need to go and we've got to lobby for that, you know, with with the state tourism department, you know, to the state legislature. And those people aren't there to do that.

Alex:

Here's the here's a question. So I mean, because going public now, I mean, I know that they've built, they've got themselves into this situation, they've gotten these destinations into this situation, because of the trajectory they were on to become public, but now they are public. What do you think that is going to change? Because I mean, at some point, yes, they have to be profitable are is are they going to change that mentality that they're going to look at destinations differently, because they do need to support these areas that that's where they're, I mean, if Myrtle Beach, you know, ends up not being a popular tourist destination, because for the five big companies get sold to a behemoth like that, that doesn't participate in any of the CVB activities, that their properties aren't gonna be making money anymore. So when do you think that's going to happen? Are they going to have a realization moment here that they need to be better team players? Now, am I just hopeful? I'm trying to put it out into the universe, but

Annie:

Pollyanna?

Amy Hinote:

I think it would take a long time. I'm just because they're not gonna feel it for a minute. And their growth is based on, you know, acquiring properties, right. Yeah. And what they but I thought was interesting in the interview that I had with Matt on IPO day, and I do appreciate him taking the time to do that. Definitely, it was a busy day. And I know that quote, within like, he defined supply as the number of available room nights, not the number of available properties. And I think that's a critical change that we need to make in our industry. Like, because the number of properties in a lot of these destinations, you know, it change, it doesn't change as dramatically as it used to. There's not a lot of new building on beachfront property. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And so I, I'm looking at the number of available room nights, that's when we start really focusing on things like shoulder seasons, midweek stays, you know, all, you know, fill in the calendar. And that's where growth, you know, is really going to come from a per destination basis. And so that requires destination marketing. So I don't know how long it will take for them to put that together. But right now, their thought is, well, if they're not going to Myrtle Beach, then they're going to Tybee, or they're going into Chanel, or whatever. And so instead, they'll just they've got those properties, too. Right. So they feel like they're not really losing. Yeah, I don't know that that's true, you know, I but I think that right now all of their growth metrics are based on adding new properties. And they're not focusing yet on adding more room rights.

Annie:

Yeah, that'd be interesting to see where it goes. I think that that also kind of dovetails over into consolidation within the text space. So I sit on the tech side of the equation right now. And that's concerning to me just watching competitive set, be you know, snapped up by someone who wasn't in my competitive set before but now all of a sudden they are PMS is are coming on very strong. So what do you what are you seeing and what do you think like the future of consolidation within technology is going to be I wish

Amy Hinote:

I believe that it was positive thing for industry, I think actually consolidation on the VRM side is actually more positive right now than on the tech side. What we have not seen and I hesitate, you know, I have a lot of sponsors and advertisers who are in this space, but what we have not seen to be quite honest as we have not seen a a company become a better company under a consolidated umbrella. And I think that you know, in Innovation does there does seem to be an impact to innovation when a company is taken over. There seems to be an impact to the team. We you see people leave you see, Project stall you see roadmaps not get a lot added. You see roadmaps introduced that user conferences. They're never actually fulfilled. Yeah. Um, you know, they're kind of like dream roadmaps like here's a wish list, right?

Alex:

Yeah, exactly.

Annie:

And rainbows. Yeah,

Amy Hinote:

exactly. And RESPA suits, perfect example. This one. I mean, them when they came out the whole beach. Well, everything they were going to do after they sent me manage months later. It's like,

Annie:

it'd be 12 yanks. Yeah.

Amy Hinote:

I think you're looking at real page with Kigo and Insta Insta manager. Yeah. Well, the company now Northstar with desta metrics and in topia, yeah.

Annie:

Do you think that's a result of people coming in to the technology space that aren't from the VR space that they just don't, they don't see the forest for the trees. It's just all about like, let's let's make it to be the leanest meanest company, but they're not understanding what really it takes to make the leanest, meanest,

Amy Hinote:

you know, when we were at the Women's Summit, we had Margo, and Jen and Margaret from hopefully,

Annie:

it was very credible. Yeah.

Amy Hinote:

Um, seriously, I think I may be her biggest fan right now.

Annie:

I think I had a girl crush on her too.

Amy Hinote:

But when we were talking about this whole idea of how it you know, what the game like level is, and maybe that was actually the free call, you know, we all and we, we had dinner before that panel. And so they were telling me that it's a game, the whole thing's a game is manufactured liquidity events for people. So it's like when a private equity when GSB rolled up all these companies, then you know, they repackage it, recap, then it's inhabitat kid Goldman Sachs comes in, picks up a share, someone else gets out, the idea is to keep kicking the can, like, you know, to keep creating these liquidity events. So that people go in, they put money in, they add some stuff, and they, they go and buy a few more companies, and then they repackage it, sell it to someone else they add in to add a few more companies and they sell it to someone else. So there's not really consistent leadership at the top. And the metrics are all about growth, going back to the customer, same thing, the metrics are all about, you know, growth, and not innovation, where would you start your own company, like when you're working for a privately held company, you know, you really want though most of those people started as companies, because they want they had there was a need they wanted to fulfill in the industry, right? Like they actually wanted to build software, because they thought they were better at it. Or they wanted to create a way for people to connect to the channels, you know, in a much easier and better way. So they could sell their properties, like what lexicon did I think that when they start getting rolled up, you know, you lose that kind of same passion, mind the company. But still, there's more to that. I don't know what happens, be honest with you. But it's weird. I mean, it's hard not to see historically, and I'm not saying this is going to happen and and have it by any means. But like, the private equity is where really great brands gonna die. Yeah. And you know what I mean? That's what we've seen. But I'm not saying that it can't change. I just don't, I don't don't totally understand it. Except that when the whole goal is to make to get a check, yeah. When

Annie:

you lose sight of the game, you're not there, you're not there for the betterment of the industry, you're just there for betterment of like, stock prices, or, you know, just the cash out. Yeah.

Amy Hinote:

So Margo, and Jen, they were all talking about, you know, that is game and Kimberly, and inhabit. And it's like that, you know, we that we need more women that know how to play the game. Mm hmm. And that was kind of the goal of the panel is to try to empower women to just kind of understand what is a C investment? What is the series A Series B, you know, what is the difference between private equity funding and VC funding? And what is the difference between a stock and an IPO? Because I mean, the idea is, the more we understand about that, the more we can start leveraging those opportunities when they're appropriate. But I think there's difference and you know, that there's, it's not even just a female thing, like there are people who want to be in business who want what they do matter. You know what I mean? It's not just about getting a check down the road. Yeah. And I know that the people who want the checks down the road think that's dumb, and you know, and then they make us feel stupid for feeling like, right,

Alex:

well then, in fact, that comes back to the destination side of it to me, not only by the work that I do at Honda world, not only does it make me feel good to benefit my fellow employees here, but I know we work so closely with the destinations and the impact that we have as a company that works alongside each other I mean, it's it's it's viral and it The region that you're in. So it's very different when you're just looking for that end of the day payout. It's a completely different mindset.

Amy Hinote:

No, no, that that's I mean, that's not sustainable. Because they once they get their check, they're gone. Right? Yeah, at the end of the day, we've still got to be feeding the industry with people who actually want to do the work. Yeah. who enjoy building the destinations who enjoy delivering amazing vacations in private homes who enjoy living in places that are sometimes hard to live in? Yeah, definitely. But I think that to your point, like when you care about a city, oh, my gosh, any everything you did in Panama City Beach after the hurricane, like, you know, when you care, and you're invested, that you care about the fact that someone that a restaurant can stay open, or that there's enough work for, or the school can actually get support, you know, and that their parents have jobs and the destination, and then the homeowner, and the homeowner values are not dropping, you know? Yeah, yeah, in a major way. And I think they, I don't know like it, like you said, it's an entirely different mindset when you're invested in investment. Yeah.

Alex:

What do you on that same question, but consolidation now in terms of vacation rental companies, not because aside, but consolidation of smaller companies? Where do you see that going in the near future from what's happened in the last year or two?

Amy Hinote:

I think that most of the people that I know, and I don't mean all, but a lot of the companies that have been around a while that we know, it's been some of the leaders are gonna sell. I just that they feel like and they've been told that the opportunity is so big right now, right? You're tired? And I asked, there were two property managers. I had stayed with me in Alabama one time, and they said, What would it take for you to sell? And this was actually right before one of them actually did. I didn't know that at the time, but

Alex:

you got them thinking?

Amy Hinote:

And they both said like this is it's um, it's when the destination turns on you. Oh, wow. Because that happened. And where the destination started saying, you know, coming in people, for the property managers for for COVID. Bringing people in regulations for bringing too many people in like, oh, my gosh, you were too successful. Absolutely. You know what, I mean that traffic's too high, whatever it is that the property managers in these local destinations who have dedicated their lives to the destinations, when when the city starts to hit back and make them feel guilty. Like then it's a good time to

Alex:

sell i That's a great. I mean, it really is, yeah, that's we're all battling out in each of our markets. And you know, where we are here in the Myrtle Beach area. We're very blessed at this moment that we've got great city and local representation that is working alongside us. But there are many destinations that are not as lucky as we are right now. And just going to Vera man hearing about some of them. It's unbelievable. I mean, that that is the perfect way to say it, I would sell when the destination turns against me, because why would you want to fight that uphill battle that? I mean, you're essentially you're put it putting a plug on your entire business, when it gets to that point,

Amy Hinote:

it would not be a bad idea for us to actually reach out to what is the DMI camera, they've changed their name, but you know what I mean? Like the destination marketing? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Like the CVB. Association. Yeah. Federally. Right. And talk to them about the fact that you know, if you lose your vacation rental managers, you're losing, you're losing. Yeah, you might want to go work with them instead of against them. Right. Yeah.

Alex:

Well, and it's funny, I just got back from destination or nationals Advocacy Summit a Houston about a month ago. It was excellent. And the I was the only one that was there as a I'm the incoming chairman of the board for the Myrtle Beach. CVB. I was the only board member that was there. It was all just people that were at a CVB. And their comment was oh, how, how interesting that you brought a board member to this because I had never been to a conference like that before. And it was eye opening. But I think it was equally eye opening on their end when I told them that a lot of what they're talking about is the same thing that we're talking about at our industry, trade associations. It's the advocacy side that that is one of the that is definitely the biggest threat to our industry right now. And we did have that conversation about this this needs to be more of a mutually attacked issue that it's not singular just to the destinations needing to work with City Council's it's it's everybody together. So I think that's that's definitely something for as we move into the future that is going to make a big difference for the industry to work together better.

Amy Hinote:

And going back to that original point about you know, the that supply is the number of room nights. Yeah, yep, that growing the destination is the fastest way to get to that point. It's not about doing a better job on Airbnb, although I think lexicons great I think it really is like the fastest way to grow your entire, you know, to really impact is to do something amazing. And destination. Yeah, like 52 weeks out of the year if you feel an extra when you know that. Yeah, it's a percentage of your revenue. Yeah. Yeah. And so it, you know, impact and adult that's that I think that knowledge has been. I'm not saying loss, but it's we're definitely losing that legacy knowledge and understanding how, how the economics work and grow into destination.

Alex:

Yeah. And that's, that's one thing on this podcast that Danny and I have talked about, and what we were planning for the future. We want to bring in more destination marketing experts and really dive into that. So it's going to be exciting to you know, get some different takes on it, because I think it's vitally important.

Amy Hinote:

Yeah, it's not even that hard to do. Yeah. I mean, like, it's really, it's just about being intentional. But for any new companies, we were talking about how you build a brand right now, if it were me, I would join, I would sit at the CVB until they put me on the board. Absolutely. I always sit at the door. Like, because that's where you grow? Yep.

Annie:

Yeah, absolutely. And you have to do everything, you have to do everything, like you said, with intention. But it has to be at the ground level, like you have to do it from the market level up. And, and I've seen it just along the Panhandle and all the different regulations, they're trying to pass with occupancy and and saying to these homes, that they have to have a certain number of parking spaces based on the occupancy of the home. Well, the home wasn't built with 20 parking spaces, but it was built to put, you know, 10 bedrooms. So how do you go back, you can't retroactively change some of these things. And there's ways to work around it. But you have to have that. And that goes back again to the Bokassa point like, it has to be done at the grassroots level on the ground level, I think with the people at Rent responsibly, like what they're doing to try to give

Alex:

Yeah, they're doing an amazing market, the toolbox, the tools to be able to use

Annie:

to advocate on their behalf and in their own market. That's that's a really great, yeah, it's a great movement for the industry. But one of the things that I think is unique, or has a unique, it scares me, but it's maybe maybe not unique to vacation rentals, but it seems to be very prevalent is the number of people we're losing, that are the passionate hospitality gene, as I say, driven individuals that have been here since you know, I've been in this since the late 90s. Started out in hotels, but you know, quickly moved over to vacation rentals. And I'm passionate about this industry, but there's so many people coming in from the outside that are just, you know, ROI. They're just numbers. And we're losing that passion and that color and that love that has made the industry what it is. And I'm concerned about where that goes. So you have any thoughts on that?

Amy Hinote:

Man, I think that going back to the consolidation piece of it, when when your company gets bought, you know, and so, like, the way it works for me, and I've been doing it twice is that, you know, they call a team meeting, you go and sit in and you're told and whatever group that you're in, whether it's management or you know, whatever you don't I mean, like, they're saying we're selling the company, and don't worry, it's got

Alex:

nothing, okay.

Amy Hinote:

Oh, wait, no, it's gonna be better than ever given for two days with a new company. And so here's your new employee agreement, just sign right here. And everything just moves right on ever. And it's like you're just sitting there. If you don't sign you don't have a job. Yeah. And you're, you're kind of stunned by the entire news if you didn't see it coming. And in a lot of cases, they don't. I mean, these deals are happening fast. Have you guys noticed that? Oh, gotcha. If people are going to close, like, really quickly right now. And I guess that's the goal,

Annie:

right? Yeah. Not to mention, people are being forced to sign agreements, and they never had an agreement before. It was like, I have a job, I do my job, I get paid for my job. I like my job. And now all of a sudden, it's like, well, we want to make sure you're committed, you need to put it in writing. And by the way, if you ever decide that you're not happy, then you're out of luck. You know, you don't have to go

Amy Hinote:

in all the new employee agreements, they have non compete. Yeah, and that's just insane. I understand that some states those are not enforceable, but a lot of the states that we were in are included. And so it's like, you know, at the point you're looking at that employee agreement, and you're thinking, okay, I can if I sign this I have a non compete for anywhere from 12 to 380. Net for 12 months, 36 months. And if you know if I don't sign it, I don't have a job. And that is a scary thing to do when HomeAway bonus and software that's a decision that I made. I didn't want to work for all the way I'd been a property manager. Yeah. company on the planet. That one, right. And then they actually did they actually proceeded to block me from taking a job that I really wanted. Wow. And um, Yeah, so you're kind of locked down at that point. And that's, that's why I think we're losing a lot of leadership. And yeah, I think we're seeing people who, who have to be out for a little bit whether or not they come back. I think we will see people come back, by the way. Yeah. Well,

Alex:

I mean, that'd be a great article, I think for an upcoming magazine edition. It's like, you know, where the wild west we all know, that's what we're called. But it's like, we're the Wild West. Where have all the cowboy's gone? Yeah. Really? Like literally? Yeah.

Amy Hinote:

That's where the cow groans. Yeah, exactly. I love that. But I think that right now, my message would be like that there are jobs. Yeah, a lot of jobs. I mean, they're really good jobs, on tech. And in property management world. One of the things that we're trying to do in 2022 is a GM boot camp. I'll try to try and some people have and get them into this GM and CEO roles in our industry. But like, we believe that if somebody is company got purchased, and there's looking at an employment agreement, and they're listening to podcasts right now, I would say, yeah, there's plenty of work.

Annie:

Yeah, Steve trover said, he's got just people looking for, you know, and looking for good people. It's not just the hourly, they're looking for seasoned, you know, professionals that have been in the industry and bend around and understand what it takes.

Alex:

I like that idea of a GM boot camp. But I think in terms of the professionalization within our industry, I think that's where we can all stand to benefit is, you know, the standards that we haven't gone world for our units are obviously there, they're wonderful. We've been in business 36 years, a lot of these legacy companies are operate the same way. But, you know, what are some of the more professional ways of doing things that the hotel industry has done? Well, not even on the guest facing front side, but on the back back of the house side. So in the true, you know, the GM duties and how things are organized and how departments report to each other and leadership, internal leadership opportunities. We just had a call yesterday with Allie coulomb Edie and she was talking about what she does with teams. And I think there's there's more of an interest now, in within the pm space that we do want to professionalize more, and we do want to up our game, just within our own companies. So that would be interesting to do a GM bootcamp, I think that'd be pretty cool.

Amy Hinote:

I think we go to where we are right now. And it still kills me. Everyone says that now's the time to sell. But for some reason, they all believe that it is made presentations in October, that they should, they should sell it. Now. I think you've got probably you've got the property managers who, you know, are looking for their exit. And then you've got the property managers who actually really love his business. Yeah. 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 and the destination, those people are getting what they want, and they're getting out? Yeah. And it's the 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 in the business, but people who are like, wow, this is a cool industry, and I want to be in it, you know, yeah, we want that, you know, the more we get of that, the more these opportunities will have to actually get better. You know, as an industry 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?

Amy Hinote:

And it is. My family vacations. It's not the same thing as a hotel. Yeah. Most of us are. Our most cherished vacation memories are in a vacation. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. 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. Yeah. Like your experiences in these homes and everyone else's do so like that. The impact of what, like I wrote this book called The Power of vacation. It's just like quick quotes about why it's important. But I mean, vacations genuinely save lives. Yeah. And the connection, like what vacation rentals offer are connected vacations. They're not just going to a hotel and sitting you know, and doing a lot of activities. Yeah, especially places where you connect with each other. Yeah. And that's incredibly meaningful. And I think it's even more meaningful as we go forward. You know, with as broken as families are as disconnected as people are, I mean, to have that physical connection in a place that is dedicated to leisure. It matters and I do think it's the coolest industry on the planet. Yeah,

Alex:

yeah, we definitely agree. One other issue or issue, I guess, just hot button item within the industry right now, when we were at vrma, International a couple months ago, we found out that they're starting to allow individual owners now to join in these events and join the association. What do you think about that? And what do you think the impact of that will be on the professionally managed side of vacation rentals?

Amy Hinote:

I think it was pretty clear the vrma was having a hard time growing its membership among professional property management management companies. I think consolidation is hurt them too, in that, you know, when someone sells and because it's already a member, right, right.

Alex:

Yeah, he's amassed a lot of memberships. dues, right.

Amy Hinote:

And so I think they had to find a way to grow quickly. And this may have been the only choice they had. So I don't want to criticize it, if that's what they had to do to keep the association going. Yeah, that's fine. I don't personally agree. I think that there was a lot of opportunity to grow the Association on the pm side. And and I think there were opportunities there that maybe were missed. But I I'm the problem, I see the difference between a professionally managed property and an owner Managed Property, they're like three core things. One, which is that 24/7 emergency contact, like, you know, if I go and I stay with a property manager, if I stay with you, Alex, you know, with condo world, I know that if something happens at three o'clock in the morning, there's someone that's going to answer the phone. Right, yeah. You know, and a problem will be addressed. I mean, and then. And if I say with an owner Managed Property, you know, that's not what's gonna happen. Yeah, I mean, the other thing is, if something goes wrong with my property, my property professional property manager will move me they will either move me to another property in their inventory, or they'll go rent something else for me to stay. Yeah, we're not going to leave me hanging in a destination. Yeah. And owner doesn't have the ability to do that. Yeah. And then I think there's a financial management component number three is that, you know, I know that when I pay that I've got a company backing that money. Yeah. So and an owner doesn't have that same obligation to you. And you can fight it through your booking channel or whatever. But you know, you don't have a lot of recourse if you get if I get to Myrtle Beach and realize and realize that properties double booked or, you know, add a flood in the basement, or you know what I'm saying? Like, yeah, compensation point, it could take a really long time to fight it. Yeah. And I just think that as a good occasion, are those things matter? And so we like vrma is our only as it was our only association for professional property managers. Right. Yeah. So when you take that, and you dilute it, and those three things no longer matter? Like, that's, that's really frustrating to me, because I think as a guest, those things matter. And I do think that we're that guests are better off booking through a professional property manager. I just do. Yeah, just for those three reasons alone. Yes, more security and less risk. Well, I, you know, to those, no matter what vrma decides to do, although I don't think they have any real intention of providing additional education or additional certification or additional, you know, what I mean? Like, I don't know that a lot of effort going into actually educating homeowners past thinking that whatever education has already been offered would be good for a homeowner here. But when we looked at I'm sure you guys have looked at it, too, is, you know, it's not the same education. Right. Like just the actual process of delivering a vacation home as a property manager is a different process than delivering it as a homeowner. Yeah. And I I don't know how I don't think that education devs dovetails as well as they think that it is, on the surface. I just, I really just feel like they were at a point that they had to grow membership, and they just had to do it quickly. And this is the decision they made to get Yeah,

Alex:

I think only time will tell on what impact this has on the industry. But I think it is, you know, it is definitely the responsibility of all of us as property managers to promote what you just said, right? Yeah, as a national manager. The benefits of renting through condo world are those three things that you're going to have the security that if from a payment perspective, from a service perspective. If there's anything wrong we can move you to a different unit everything there so if you're running as royalist always say from a homeowner in Chillicothe, Ohio that's lives up there, they're not going to be able to come down in North Myrtle Beach and help you and your

Amy Hinote:

I mean, your relations with vendors are tight. Yeah. And you have plumbers that are on call a homeowner, you know, typically they just don't do enough business and pools and hot tubs and air conditioner. And

Annie:

I think I think a really good example of that is something that happened actually in Gulf Shores a couple years ago, a house had burned and family couldn't they didn't have anybody. They would read it from an owner and they didn't have anywhere to go and the owner was like again up in Ohio like somebody They couldn't get to it. And I believe that they I don't know if it ever passed, but they were trying to pass an ordinance where a homeowner if they put their out a unit out there for rent, like they had to be able to get somebody to that unit within like 24 hours or something, because his family was literally just homeless, like they drove from Missouri and were homeless, and nobody can get a hold of the owner. And you know, they took their money, they they got the rental and God knows what could happen. So yeah, that's a very valid point.

Amy Hinote:

I'm actually I'm really glad you brought that up, because that was another thing that you know, is concerning about the vrma. Adding the homeowners, is it one of the things that they said it was for advocacy, yeah, they could increase the number of people avid advocating for vacation rentals within the destination by adding homeowners and get that more organized. It's just there. The difference between what homeowners want with the City Council, and what people want is just there. They're very different. Sure. Your point like, you know, I mean, a pm would love to have a 24/7 requirement. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Yeah. And the homeowner doesn't want that. Yeah. I think that that when they go and approach, the city council's like, they're gonna find out pretty quickly that the homeowners are not aligned with the property managers, and being like, and if they can't agree, of how to even approach the city council, then it's going to slow down that process. You know, and I don't think it will be helpful and regulations, theater. Yeah.

Annie:

Well, I feel like we could talk about this for days on end, Amy, it's Talking with you is always such a great, it's always wonderful because you've got so much knowledge and so many touch points within the industry. So hopefully, you will do us the service and come back again in the future. And we can talk about maybe where 2023 goes.

Alex:

We definitely want to know what events are happening next year, I think we could do a whole podcast just on the events that are going to be coming up. So

Amy Hinote:

let's say we are going to do darme. Again, we know that the data management conference and looks like we're doing that in Nashville in August. Oh my gosh,

Annie:

we love Nashville. Well, Amy, thanks again for joining us, we really, really appreciate you and appreciate everything that you've done for the industry. And the Crusader award that you won was so beyond well deserved, and a long time coming and what you do with VR and Intel, and how you again, you advocate for every aspect of the industry, and you tell the hard truths. And sometimes people don't like them. And sometimes they do you know. So it's great. And I applaud you for everything that you do and would just appreciate you coming on our show to help us out.

Amy Hinote:

I appreciate it. Thank you for having me. But also congratulations you do for doing this. I think it's an amazing endeavor podcast. And I'm so proud of you, for you both have watched your careers grow over the years. And watch. And it's gonna be more fun to watch where you go from here. So thank you. Thank you. We really,

Alex:

we appreciate that. And just to echo Andy's thoughts, I mean, I think the education that you've brought to the industry within the last five years, I've seen industry grow so much, and you know that we would be mistaken and not credit. How much of that is because of you. Yeah, thank you for everything that you do for the industry and for all of us. And you've helped all of us grow our own businesses and grow as business leaders. So we appreciate you and all that that you've brought what's what's the best way for people to contact you if they want to get in touch? Yeah,

Amy Hinote:

I mean, the website is VRM intel.com. And there's plenty of places to contact me there, but it's just a me dianhydride and beyond intel.com. I'm pretty easy to reach. Okay.

Alex:

We'll put that on your LinkedIn in our show notes. And if anybody wants to contact Andy and I best way is Alex at Alex and Annie podcast.com And you can contact contact us right from there or connect with our social media handles. So Amy, thank you so much, and we're very happy holidays and we will see you soon. Amy Thanks, everybody.

Amy Hinote Profile Photo

Amy Hinote

Founder/Editor VRMIntel

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.