Barefoot Technologies Blog- Vacation Rental Industry News

Mike Todd

Recent Posts

VRM Intel Live: Denver Roundup

Posted by Mike Todd on Aug 11, 2017 12:11:46 PM

July 25th and 26th Barefoot attended VRM Intel Live in Denver, CO.  The theme of this series is the Tech-Enabled Vacation Rental Manager.  The show had many great education sessions, and panels discussing how the Vacation Rental Manager needs to approach the industry and their market to have an advantage over their competition. 

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Cold, Hard Stats for the Vacation Rental Industry

Posted by Mike Todd on Jul 17, 2017 2:25:42 PM

I am a stat guy and love looking at numbers and I love analyzing data related to the Vacation Rental Industry.  The goal in my opinion with all this data is to increase revenue or have the best insight to make great decisions that will yield the best profit possible.  If you have read things I have written you will know I talk about how our industry is changing rapidly and you will see that echoed by other folks throughout our industry.  One of those changes I keep seeing and hearing about is related to ancillary revenue or activity services property managers have an opportunity to bring into their business.  

To bring home that point I thought I would share with you some statistics I found through a Travel Statistics and Tour Operators Survey that was posted online by Rezdy.  If you want to look at the entire survey you can download it here.  Keep in mind that the results are not specific to the VR industry and based on international participation.  However; I feel this is relevant and appropriate information that the VR industry can learn from.  We know that every year our industry is growing and taking share from the hotel industry.  When people book their trips, they are looking for things to do and the ancillary revenue potential is very exciting to think about.  

  • In the US, there are about 67,000 businesses worth an estimated $20 billion in the tour and activity space.  
  • Top things travelers are more likely to spend more money on as a treat: 
    • Sight Seeing 53%
    • Special Dining 41%
    • Accommodation 41%
    • Activities 35%
    • Shopping 24%
  • 40% of tour and activity bookings are made online
  • 97% of people prefer to find business online
  • 92% of consumers say they trust social media, word of mouth, recommendation from friends and family above all forms of advertising. 
  • 85% of consumers expect businesses to be active in social media
  • 70% of travelers look at up to 20 reviews before booking
  • 30% of all direct online booking are made on mobile devices.  
  • Mobile Phones are the #1 item to bring on holiday.  
  • 94% of TripAdvisor customers are using mobile devices to research local things to do. 
  • 23% of leisure travelers use their mobile devices to book vacation activities.  
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Tags: Vacation Rental Industry Trends

Thinking Outside of the Technology Box in Vacation Rentals

Posted by Mike Todd on Jun 12, 2017 4:50:33 PM

I am always interested and looking to see what the new trends and best practices are for Vacation Rental businesses related to technology.  As we all know this has changed so much over the past 10 – 15 years that it is hard to keep up.  Some of the obvious trends that are the new norms in the VR world are using social media as a platform to get your message out and get reviews back.  Think Facebook, Twitter, Google, TripAdvisor/FlipKey, YouTube, etc.  Also, what seems to have been around forever is the ability for guests to book online.  When you think about this technology it is only about 15 years old.  However, there are so many avenues a guest can go down.  (directly on your website, OTA’s, Channel Managers, Individual Owner Sites, and the list goes on). 

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Tags: Vacation Rentals; Technology

What Amenities Should I Include for My Vacation Rental Management Guests

Posted by Mike Todd on May 15, 2017 12:30:59 PM

Being a part of the Vacation Rental industry for the past 15 years or so I have seen many changes and the growth is amazing.  However, there are some constants that I feel will always need to be part of a vacation rental home.   

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Thoughts on Tradeshow Season

Posted by Mike Todd on Apr 11, 2017 12:42:53 PM

Each March – May and September – October I know I can count on two things to happen in the Hospitality Industry…The seasons change and Tradeshows occur.  I won’t go into detail about the seasons, but I thought I would talk a little bit about tradeshows. I have been attending many types of tradeshows since 2005. The first one I attended for the Vacation Rental Management Association was the National VRMA in Atlanta.    

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Tags: Vacation Rental Management Tradeshows

Is the Customer Always Right?

Posted by Mike Todd on Feb 16, 2017 11:40:01 AM

We all know the saying, “The Customer is always right”.  We also know that this is not always true, and being vacation rental and/or property managers I am not sure of another industry that puts you and your staff more to the test with this age old saying.  Not only are you facing this expectation from paying guests but there is also the double whammy of working with owners who can become just as challenging as a difficult and demanding guest.  I wanted to highlight a few areas to think about when evaluating the types of customers and owners you all have the choice of working with. 

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Barefoot Focus: Short-Term Rental Advocacy

Posted by Mike Todd on Jan 11, 2017 3:46:56 PM

In November I attended the VRM Intel conference in Destin and came away with a new-found interest.  Advocacy for Short-Term Rentals (STR).  Most of the participants attending were from Florida and in attendance was Dennis Hanks, Executive Director of Florida VRMA.  I listened to Dennis and others talk passionately about being united and taking action in the fight for fair legislation and representation for the STR industry.    This really inspired me and I felt that I wanted to get a bit more informed to see how I might be able contribute to the cause.  Keep in mind my perspective is a little different in the fact that I am coming from the Vendor side of the business.  However, my livelihood is indirectly affected by VRM’s being able navigate the many hurdles of running a successful business which includes Short Term Rental Regulations.  I also recently moved to Asheville, NC, which has a STR ban within the city limits.  

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Tags: Vacation Rental Management Legislation

AllI want for Christmas are New Owner Contracts

Posted by Mike Todd on Dec 14, 2016 2:31:30 PM

I have recently been talking to property managers about things that are concerning to them and one that keeps standing out is Owner Acquisition.  With the larger companies like Vacasa and Wyndham acquiring Vacation Rental Companies and large numbers of vacation rental properties it can seem a daunting task for independent Vacation Rental Managers to compete in an ever changing market.  Property Managers are also facing the challenging task of owners trying and in many cases succeeding in self managing their properties through VRBO or AirBnB.  The other area that makes this industry challenging is the competition property managers have against other property management companies.

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Do You Have a Winning Team?

Posted by Mike Todd on Nov 9, 2016 6:53:36 PM

It finally happened.  The date: November 3rd, 2016 at approximately 12:45 am.  The Chicago Cubs won a World Series for the first time since 1908, the first time in 108 years.  I am one of many (until recently) long suffering Cub fans that have endured years of disappointment and the moniker of lovable losers.  There have been years of moderate success, but most of us by now know that the Cubs had not been to the World Series since 1945.  A 71 year absence that legend has it was the result of a curse.  And what was this curse?  It was because at the last World Series in 1945 in the beloved Wrigley Field a patron (and local business owner) was made to leave Wrigley Field because he had a live goat with him.  When he was told to leave he put a curse on the Cubs stating that they would never be in a World Series ever again. 

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Did Your Vacation Rental Management Business Have a Successful Season?

Posted by Mike Todd on Sep 10, 2016 12:26:30 PM

Now that the summer season is officially over for most property and vacation rental management companies, it is common to take a brief step back and assess the season that seems to fly by quicker and quicker each year.  (I mean wasn’t it just Memorial Day like three weeks ago?) 

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