Recently I sat down with Barefoot client, Greg Hart, President of Folly's Beach Rentals. Greg shared a great idea with me and other Barefoot customers when we were having a social. He would like to establish a new group of innovative vacation rental management company owners to get together and share ideas. To learn more about this concept, read our interview below.
What is your past and current business experience?
For 22 years I was in the Temporary Staffing business. During a large part of that time, I was involved in a group like the one I am describing below. It played a tremendous role in maintaining my sanity and helping me develop and maintain a successful company in a very competitive industry. As the organization developed, I felt like I had a large number of professional advisors I felt confident and comfortable with. I shared my challenges and success with them and they in turn did the same and we all benefited from our association.
I currently own and operate Folly’s Best Rentals, www.follysbestrentals.com. We manage 50 vacation rental properties and are continuously expanding.
Experience has taught me that everyone has valuable input. No matter if you have been in the industry for 40 years or 4 years, you having something to share. No one person has all of the answers. With that in mind I believe there is a need for a group like the one we had in the staffing industry. Not sure of a name yet, but maybe the International Vacation Rental Managers Network or IVERMNET.
You mention that this idea came from a past professional experience. How did that group come about?
The group was formed by independent business owners who felt sharing in a non-competitive environment would be helpful. Sometimes it is helpful to share with someone experiencing the same issues as you. The group actually started around a swimming pool at a National Industry conference with 8 members and grew into a major organization with over 100 members.
Why is this different than other professional organizations like the Vacation Rental Management Association?
VRMA is an important tool for learning about our industry and working together for a common goal. However, it is likely you will be in a meeting with others who share your market. When receiving generic information this is not a problem. But the level of sharing this group is after would be dampened by a competitor being involved in the sharing.
What kinds of things did you find most valuable that that group shared?
It always amazed me what the group shared. For example, let’s say you were considering a new position in your business and needed to write a job description for an “Internet Marketing Manager”. You could ask the group for their input. In our old group, you would get 10 Word documents that were job descriptions other had used. That’s just an example, but when people feel free to share, life can get a lot easier.
Are there any qualifications for membership? For example, do you want everyone to use the same property management software?
Our group will be open to any professional Property manager who is or has:
- In an open market. Members are prohibited from competition with existing members.
- Has been in business a minimum of 2 years as a Professional Vacation Rental Manager
- Demonstrated leadership in community service and/or association volunteer work.
- Willing to be an active participant missing no more than 2 meeting per year and be active sharer in writing and verbally.
Why do you think a group like this is important in this industry?
I believe I am innovative, but I know for sure there are others who are innovative as well. The collaboration between us could greatly benefit our businesses. In our last group, we would send staff to other offices to learn better, smarter, faster ways of doing things. Sharing can take many forms.
How do I participate in this group?