Sticking Together and Becoming Stronger
Community is the best option for success. Lone wolf businesses can’t thrive. You need competition and consultation to hew your edge and become ever better. One of the best ways you can do this is join, or even start your own Vacation Rental association. There are national and even global associations that you can join now but joining a more local community will help you share and discuss the issues that concern you and your business. A local association will also help you to be more forceful when it comes to making your voice heard in legality and regulation issues. You arguments will have more weight, you will have more sources, evidence and more examples of the benefits of vacation rentals to cite.
Working with and learning from other property managers also helps your business to expand and develop. You can compare properties, marketing strategies and expand your inventory by adding partner properties from other agencies in your area. You will have the resources to direct guests to other businesses in your area if your properties are full and have guests diverted to your business. At Kigo, our Channel Partner program allows business to do this through the Kigo system so with more and more connections in your area you can really take your business to the next level.
So, how do you go about starting a vacation rental organisation if one does not exist?
You need to first ask who you are aiming the group at, how you can reach them, what you aim to achieve and how you plan to do this. Social media is a great place to start. Online communities are the perfect place to share information and then share details of important events and meetings that your association can attend. Creating a blog for other professionals rather than your guests where you speak the industry from the point of view of an insider. Share interesting content from others. You can be proactive and contact other agencies in your area to join the group. You can then start to build on this, interviewing key people is a great way to have useful and wholly original content in your group. Attend other events and try to narrow down each group to join your cause in your area. Be specific and clear with your goals, whether you just want a place to talk shop or if you're looking for people that are keen to become more active in civic discussions.
Having a professional and reference-able organisation gives weight to the argument that the majority of vacation rental owners are responsible professionals. It also gives the community a focal point to talk to, address concerns and actually make changes that help to make vacation rentals a more sustainable business in cities. You can have set community standards that your association follows, quickly establishing your businesses as the professional standard for both guests and your local community. Once your association is established guests will even start to look for properties that carry the cachet of being in the association as they know that a high standard of quality will be guaranteed.
You can affect real change. Groups in New York, Los Angeles, Berlin have all formed and building a library of evidence to support their cause. The people that are most active in the fight to implement are mostly not people in the community. They are groups built to protect business interests.You can also organise mass attendance at council meetings, discussions and votes. How much regulation and local council business is conducted and passed through without ever hearing from the majority of people it affects? Change can be won but it takes organisation and participation from as many people as possible. Even isolated anecdotal evidence can be enough to damage the reputation of short term rental managers in the eyes in the of the decision makers. Forming an alliance gives you more power in these discussions. And, this is important. The main people working against short term rentals are powerful hotel groups. The hotel industry has already bonded together to form an association that exerts real influence in America. To have an impact against this rich and influential organisation as an individual is like fighting the tide. To fight against it with the support and evidence of a professional association makes it possible. In an example from Los Angeles, the group Peer managed to mobilise 40 vacation rental owners to have a real effect:
Anyway, according to a Peers email, "With little advanced notice, around 40 Peers members attended the [Venice Neighbourhood Council] meeting to demand that the council protect home-sharing."
Building a community or advocacy group for your local industry will help to protect it as well as helping you enhance the reputation of vacation rental managers in the community. Joining or creating associations will lead to business development, new contacts and a stronger, less diffuse industry. The takeaway is that vacation rental professionals are stronger together.