Dear VR Weekly readers,
I’ve worked in the vacation rental space for over two years, building technology to help owners and managers take control of their hospitality business — and in the last 6 months we’ve built websites for 3,000+ properties and have transacted several million pounds.
I’m experiencing first hand the explosive growth of the vacation rental industry, predicted to be worth $169 billion by 2019 (ref). With huge marketplaces like HomeAway and Airbnb leading the way, the landscape is changing.
As I see it, owners and managers can either
Accept marketplace dominance and relinquish control over their business. Easy option but success and failure is out of their hands.
Use marketplaces as a tool but stay in control through building a brand and taking direct bookings. Hard work but success is not dictated by another company.
Take the blue pill, your story ends here. Take the red and see how far the rabbit hole goes…
The Matrix metaphor aside, taking control of your business requires knowledge. Submitting your listing to Airbnb / HomeAway or using a manager is easy but optimising your listing, managing channels, managing bookings, building direct “book online” websites, taking payments, marketing, re-marketing and developing a brand is not — but let me tell you this… it’s worth it.
The internet is jam packed with knowledge. There are mountains of amazing videos, articles, guides, podcasts, tools, forums and experts teaching you how to grow, manage and take control of your vacation rental business.
But where do you find and organise this knowledge without getting information overload?
This is why I built VR Weekly — A weekly newsletter of exclusive links and articles for people in the vacation rental industry. A place to see through the smoke and mirrors.
6 months and 5,000+ subscribers later, I’ve received a lot of feedback and I believe there’s a gap in the market for a modern link sharing community, similar to Reddit, Product Hunt & Growth Hackers but for vacation rental professionals.
I’m super excited to announce Smarthosts.org. The idea behind it being:
A community run by vacation rental professionals — an unbiased place where people can hang out, learn and grow from each other, for free.
Read and learn from content tailored to you, post articles, ask / answer questions, start discussions and become better.
The website is still very much in beta. This is an entirely community run project so I welcome any feedback / criticism. I hope Smarthosts will be developed by all of us. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “For the people, by the people”.
I currently scour the web and try to curate the best vacation rental articles. Very soon Smarthosts will replace me. There will still be a VR Weekly digest (slightly re-branded) but the content will come from the Smarthosts community.
I invite you to come and sign up. Get involved and let me and the community know what you think. The community uses a “karma” score, so the earlier you get involved, the better!