Well another Eastern VRMA show is under our belt. I took a couple of days to think about what I consider to be my top five takeaways from the show. You know that I try to keep our blog half about the industry and half about Barefoot, and the takeaways fall into this same pattern.
1) Vacation Rental Management folks are some of the nicest, outgoing and fun loving folks out there. It was interesting to hear the opinion of a new to the industry VMRA vendor… he called it a “hug fest”. Even if we only see you once a year, we all make the most of the opportunity to reconnect, share war stories and probably do more than a little bit of gossiping. This is a great group of folks to work with and it was as true this year as always.
2) We held our First Annual Barefoot User’s Conference on the Sunday before the conference and we were thrilled to be joined by our customers from Atlantic Realty, Bonita Village, Durkin Cottage Realty, Grand Strand Resort, Last Key Realty, Long & Foster Realty, Mountain View Accommodations, Naples Florida Vacation Homes, Resort Vacation Properties, Sandpiper Rentals, Seacoast Properties, Seaside Vacations, Shoreline Properties, Sun Cabo Properties, Vantage Resort Realty, and Vacation Pros.
We shared our vision and direction and some content, but what we found was really valuable was the ability for our customers to talk to each other. Because our technology platform has been in development for over 15 years and we are built to be tailored, we have found that our customers have come up with unique solutions that others were eager to learn. We also heard over and over that there was so much more to leverage in the system. Rounding out the user conference we had 15 partners join use to participate in Ask an Expert and Panel discussions. Our partners included Ascent Processing, Bluetent Marketing, Dwellable, HomeAway for Property Managers, Intercoastal Net Design, Leisure Link, Lock State, Point Central, TruPlace, VacayStay Connect, and Yapstone. Thanks for supporting us!
Overall, we found this to be a grand success and we are looking forward to the Second User Conference to be held before the National VRMA Conference in Arizona in 2016.
3) A word here about the incomparable George Volsky. We were lucky to have George join us to share some of his perspective about where he sees the industry heading during our User Conference (see more about that here). He also hosted several sessions for VRMA attendees during the conference. We are lucky to have deep thinkers like George continually educating our vacation rental management industry. We are also proud to announce that Barefoot will be the first vacation rental management platform to provide an integration to George’s pricing tool.
4) During the show, I spend most of my time in the vendor showcase, which can be pretty fun, even during the slow times. That’s because Barefoot integrates with so many different web and marketing companies, payment processors, keyless entry/automation providers and marketing portals, that there is always someone to talk to about how to do more together, to serve our customers better, and laugh and complain about how our feet hurt. From my perspective, it’s always better to take a little bit of time when classes are in session to visit the vendor showcase because that is when we can give you our full attention.
5) My final takeaway from this show was that there were a lot of new companies in the vendor showcase. There are several new pricing analysis companies and other companies focused in niche areas. That’s good. That means that there is money to be made in this industry. There have also been relatively new entrants in the vacation rental management software market. It’s tempting to consider these offerings but I hope that everyone who is shopping for software will consider the ability of these companies to deliver on their promises. This is just a fact of creating software and understanding how long it takes software to “cure”, especially when it comes to accounting. But enough about that… there is a good fit for everyone out there. What is most important is happy customers.
So we will see everyone again in New Orleans at the VRMA National Conference. We will be sure to bring more of the chocolate feet that so many of you enjoy. And if you’d like to have a conversation before then about Barefoot, our partner integrations or just to check in, please do reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804.212.1280.