In this episode we are joined by iTrip CEO Steve Caron, an industry veteran whose tour of duty began in the Air Force as a special operations night instructor. When Steve departed the service, he went on to use his computer science degree as lead technologist for Abbott Resorts, the largest vacation rental company on the Gulf Coast at the time. Abbott was eventually sold to Resort Quest, the first company to attempt becoming a national vacation rental brand. Founded by hotel execs, Resort Quest looked to standardize the companies they acquired but in the process lost sight of one of the most important parts of a successful vacation rental business - the local operators.

Steve went on to found Sterling Resorts in the Florida Panhandle with Jim Olin in the early 2000's, growing inventory from 0 to 1700 units during the big real estate and construction boom of condo resorts. Sterling became one of the largest and most respected regional brands in the industry, until being sold several times and eventually to Vacasa in 2019, at which time the brand dissolved and folded up under their national namesake.

Topics we also cover:

- Why Choice Hotel's efforts to get into vacation rentals didn't take off as expected
- Will hotel brands continue to partner with local vacation rental companies, or will they start acquiring their own inventory?
- How iTrip differentiates itself from other national brands 1) as a platform and 2) as a company that values local operations and relationships
- Why healthy coopetition is vital to the future success of our industry
- How has the InhabitIQ rollup in 2019 effected iTrip and the other companies it acquired?
- What Steve has learned as a chicken farmer in recent years (hint: pecking order IS a real thing, and chickens ARE the original Mean Girls)