Miscellaneous When we were thinking about the why of putting on a face-to-face conference back in early 2016, we brainstormed a ton of reasons people would have to attend. And then I saw this blog post from the founder of the Agents of Change podcast and organizer of the Agents of Change annual conference. It listed every reason we’d put on our wall-board. We took these ideas and created the Vacation Rental Success Podcast and had our first event in May 2016. With over 100 attendees, numerous sponsors (including CanadaStays – Canada's Biggest Listing Site) So here they are – in no particular order and with our industry spin on them. 1. Meet Experts and Influencers face-to-face As you know I am an ardent podcaster (Vacation Rental Success Podcast) and over the years I have followed many stellar people who are leaders in the podcasting world. I’ve listened to their shows, and commented on their blogs, and even engaged on Twitter and Facebook. But my best experience ever was to meet and talk with them face-to-face at the annual podcasting conference (Podcast Movement). No online vacation rental event can ever match the buzz of having all those people in the same room, and all open to answering your questions and hearing about your VR experiences. 2. Networking While we love the connection social media brings, it is no substitute for real-life engagement. You can learn new things from your peers online and in forums, but when you can sit down over a coffee, lunch or a cocktail with a group of like-minded people who all share your enthusiasm for the industry, the sparks will fly. If your competitors are there and you aren’t, you might be missing out on the nugget of information that will transform their business and not yours. 3. New Tools Everyone who attends is using tools – to automate their business, to streamline their processes, and to make life generally easier. Find out from users and suppliers about what reservation systems work for them, how their payment processing works, or what remote access products are most effective. You may come away with an idea that will save you so much time and money, that the cost of the conference is immediately covered! 4. Learning in an Amazing Space When you spend your time in the same space all the time, the learning experience can be dulled. You sit down in front of your laptop and try and concentrate on an online webinar, and find your mind wandering onto something else. Getting a new perspective often means changing the way you do things, and if that means getting out of your comfort zone so you can spend quality time concentrating on a single subject without distraction then this is the way to do it. The BMO Institute for Learning is an amazing place to do this and it’s why we went for top quality space instead of a standard hotel environment. 5. New Tips and Tactics Remember this: Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein Are you stuck in the ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it” place? Most of us are, in some way. We use the same old marketing strategies, the same old way of managing reservations, and the same old way of sharing information with our guests. And then wonder why the business isn’t growing as expected. With 6 exceptional keynote speakers and a series of concentrated learning workshops, your opportunity to learn the tips and tactics to improve the way you do things and grow your bottom line, is here in a focused weekend. 6. The Energy of Like-Minded People Buzz, vitality, get-up-and-go, dynamism, drive……this is what you get from being in the same room as people who are on your wave-length. Whether it’s the person you bump into at the Nutrition Hub, who has a condo in Destin, to the friendly neighbor at lunch who tells you how they scaled their VR business from one property to 25 in four years, that energy is infectious and is guaranteed to motivate you to take your business to the next level. 7. Having Fun We are talking about learning here, and that often takes us back to times we prefer to forget….yes, like school. This is different. We will be laughing, enjoying the beautiful space, and generally having great fun in a different learning environment. The BMO Institute has plenty of spaces for enjoying downtime, from the fitness area to the swimming pool; the bar and social spaces to games areas. Network like there is no tomorrow while you just enjoy the environment! 8. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone OK – so here it is. 80% of people who attend conferences say they struggle with the idea of walking into a room of people they don’t know and are concerned about striking up a conversation with strangers. Take this from someone who is painfully shy in these situations. It’s going to be fine. You won’t find yourself standing alone wondering who to talk to, because someone is going to come up to you and kick off that conversation by asking about your place; where you have come from, and how you are enjoying the event. And before you know it, you are in a group of half a dozen around a table discussing the topic of the day. Trust me…if I see you standing on your own, you’ll get me for company – and we’ll have a blast. Bonus: The By Owner For Owner Difference We are vacation rental owners and managers and have no vested interest in the event other than creating the environment for others to come along and learn. We want it to work so that future events are possible in other parts of the country. We have sponsors because these events are costly and without them, we couldn’t have considered launching this one. However, our sponsors do not define the event, they enhance it with their support, and we are hugely grateful to them. We saw the need for a full independent conference, and feel this first event will set the precedent for those to come. Join Us for the Vacation Rental Success Summit – We can’t wait to see you there!