By: Tim Blackwell
As pandemic-related restrictions loosen, the vacation rental industry is looking forward to sharing knowledge, operational strategies, and ways to attract travelers – in person. Live conferences are dotting calendars in the U.S. and abroad.
The summer season is fast approaching and two of the industry’s largest events – the Vacation Rental Management Association International Conference and Vacation Rental World Summit – have venues booked. Others are following suit.
Online conferences and events have bridged the gap created by social distancing since early 2020, when COVID-19 put a damper on in-person gatherings. But as the global population gets vaccinated and travel ramps up, the vacation rental industry is coming back together.
The VRMA International Conference, the largest exhibition dedicated to vacation rental management, is this year headed for the River Walk in San Antonio.
VRMA Event Director Sara Haukap says the association has strong interest from suppliers and expects more than 100 exhibitors to showcase products in the conference’s exposition hall.
Typically attracting more than 1,800 attendees from across the U.S. and the globe, the conference ended on a high note at its last in-person event in 2019. More than 2,000 attendees and 120 exhibitors were enveloped by the spirit of New Orleans. They learned about industry issues, best practices and how technology assists in vacation rental management.
A recurring topic was how technology and property management solutions would play a role in the future of short-term rentals. The conversations were particularly timely considering that a few months later when COVID-19 arrived, automation and property management technology helped bridge the customer-operator gap during social distancing.
Growing the vacation rental industry
Two years later and with much changed, the Oct. 3 – 6 2021 conference will focus on helping managers position for growth as the industry emerges from the pandemic. Topics will include business strategy, finance and legal operations, guest and owner relations, human resources, sales and marketing, technology, safety and security and more.
“We’re eager to get back to business safely, and we’re confident that our industry is, too,” Haukap says. “We look forward to holding a safe, enjoyable event this October.”
Registration opens this spring.
Other upcoming in-person events include:
Urban Living Festival
Among the first in-person conferences is the Urban Living Festival, July 7 - 8 in Wapping Lane, London. “Urban Living 2021: Stay-Live-Work” is a leadership and investment event for urban innovators and investors who define the future of how and where people stay, live and work.
The conference covers everything from investment, to operations, to branding in an age of convergence, and features top CEOs and speakers. Among the sectors showcased are short-term rentals, hotels and service apartments, and there will be discussion of a big trend for 2021: building homes to rent.
Luxury vacation destination homes represent a fast-growing business sector as travel recovers from the pandemic. Travelers are shifting their focus to private homes for rental or long-term investment for future vacations, according to Forbes.
Florida VRMA XTravaganza
Two days of education, networking, industry knowledge and technology are on tap in September during the Florida VRMA XTravaganza Marketplace at The DoubleTree Hotel at SeaWorld.
The Sept. 15 – 16 conference will explore the data behind the guest experience movement as well as how high-quality and automated website content drives booking revenue, longer stays and more ancillary revenue.
Vacation Rental World Summit
Held in Annecy, France on Sept. 16 - 17, the Vacation Rental World Summit will be open to a limited number of industry professionals, property owners and managers. The agenda includes high-level presentations; hands-on workshops for marketing, business management and guest relations; and panel discussions specific to the vacation rental industry.
This year marks the eighth Summit, billed the “Get Together Again Edition.” After gatherings in Barcelona, Spain, Florence, Italy and Lake Como, Italy, VRWS 2020 went online because of COVID-19. Featured this year is the “Best VRTech Start-up of the Year” competition, which will be decided by attendees.
TNS NEXT Optimize
VRMB founder Matt Landau headlines “Transforming the Way Hospitality Works” during the in-person return of TNS NEXT Optimize Sept. 26 - 28 in Minneapolis. He will join speakers Kindra Hall of Creative Storytelling and Doug Kennedy of Kennedy Training Network as vacation rental and hotel professionals discuss optimizing operations, boosting growth, and improving guest and staff experiences.
Landau blogs about the vacation rental industry and has become one of the industry’s most popular speakers and motivators. Hall authored “Stories that Stick: How Storytelling can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences and Transform your Business.” The book debuted at #2 on the Wall Street Journal Best Sellers list.
The conference will be held at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.
Kigo Marketplace has the tools to help vacation and short-term property management companies move forward as the vacation rental industry ramps up. Learn more about how Kigo maximizes revenue, reduces operational costs and streamlines the guest hospitality experience.