VRS049 – How One Sentence Ignited a Firestorm and Other Highlights from the VRMA Conference 2014

Just a few years after a ‘Save the VRMA’ campaign was launched and membership had slumped, this year’s VRMA Conference hit a record with over 1000 attendees, and it was great to be there and be immersed in the industry for 3 days.

It’s not inexpensive to attend a conference.  Flights, hotel room, meals and incidental expenses, and the cost of the event itself can add up to a substantial amount, so is it really worth it?

I believe it is, and as Mike and I explore the potential of an independent conference for owners next year, it’s worth discussing the pros and cons of going to a live event; what makes this a huge benefit for your business and why meeting your suppliers face-to-face can help you avoid poor buying decisions.

tweetListen in to the highlights from #vrma14 with @cottageguru on the #vacationrental success podcast. http://ctt.ec/oaIee+

This episode addresses the pros and cons of conference attendance and deals in more depth with the real benefits of:

  • Networking
  • Meeting with suppliers face-to-face
  • Meeting with industry experts
  • Education without interruptions

I’m planning on going to at least 4 next year including the Podcast Movement in Fort Worth, VRMA conference in New Orleands and maybe one or two of these – Michael Hyatt's Platform Conference, New Media Expo, Social Media.  There’s also a podcast conference in UK next September….that could be a chance to visit the family!

Of course there are the sponsored events by Home Away and Airbnb which can be fun be a little too focused on the platforms for me.

So this is just a brief glimpse into the VRMA conference – the best bits…..and the worst….and I cover:

  • The highlights of the event particularly the opening Keynote by John di Julius – The Customer Service Revolution.
  • How ‘Secret Service' can drive customer loyalty through creating an emotional connection
  • Why we should not punish 100% of our customers or potential customers for what we are afraid 2% might try to do
  • The importance of collecting customer intelligence -and the FORD method of wowing customers.
  • The value of networking with peers, industry experts and suppliers
  • The three best products in the supplier tent
  • The sentence that brought a 1000 strong audience to stunned silence
  • Breaking away from listing conglomerates – the start of a revolution

Podcast Movement

Platform Conference

New Media Expo


John DiJulius GroupCustomer Service Revolution (great book)

Kirby Winfield – Dwellable

Richard Vaughton – Discovery Holiday Homes

Andrew McConnell – Vacation Futures

Okidokeys– keyless entry

Mobile Guest App from Property Manager Tools

Promotional Items from Whip Smart LLC

The Home Away Community Conversation‘ – That has now been removed!!! (Thanks Jay Williams for Sharing)


great podcast Heather! I really do appreciate your podcast style and thank you for the conference round up!
What were the LinkedIn groups you mentioned? I missed this year’s conference, but am planning on New Orleans next year, looking forward to meeting you there!

    Heather Bayer

    Thank you! I will get Mike to post the LinkedIn groups – that was an oversight. New Orleans 2015 sounds great doesn’t it?!

Debi H

Heather, thanks for the conference update. It’s nice to hear your take on industry happenings. Regarding the owner to owner conference you and Mike are discussing, I’m super interested!

    Heather Bayer

    That is great Debi – I think we could create a fantastic event…am working with Antonio on it

Amy Blomquist

I’m in for a live conference! It would be so cool to meet other owners face to face. Plus you get so much juice from attending and go back home and want to work, work, work from your new inspiration.

One Chic Retreat

Heather, I love the idea of a Vacation Rental Owners Conference! Brainstorming with other owners independent of sponsorship from corporate listing sites is just what our industry needs. Thanks for the wonderful podcast!

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