VRS202 – Survival of the Fittest With Steve Milo Of Vacation Rental Pros

In 2006, Steve Milo of Vacation Rental Pros had 15 properties under management and a lot of ambition to grow his company. By 2015 when I interviewed him last on VRS094, VRPs inventory had increased to just over 900. In this episode, Steve describes how that number has doubled in the past two years with the acquisition of property management companies in widely differing locations including Maui and the Smokey Mountains.

Steve credits much of his success to two things – the lean structure he’s brought to management of the properties and subsequent acquisitions, and a thoroughly pragmatic approach to dealing with OTAs.

In his presentation earlier this year to a packed audience at the European VRMA conference, Steve pulled no punches in sharing his thoughts on the pros and cons of each of the primary listing sites, and we talk about the progress (if any) they have made in the past two years.

From the Booking.com “sleeping giant” to Trip Advisor’s irrelevancy; Airbnb’s lag in adapting to the needs of property managers, to ‘leakage’ prevention at Home Away, Steve shares his perspective on the continued changing nature of the VR marketplace.

He touches on the reasons supply of vacation homes is declining in the US, the push by Asian OTAs into western markets and his thoughts on how the rise of alternative channels could disrupt the influence of the larger OTAs?

He also explains the statement that wraps up the presentation:

“Those who can adapt will survive and thrive, and those who cannot adapt, will perish”

….and tells us what property manager and independent owners have to do to be successful in the face of all the challenges.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Vacation Rental Pros

Ctrip – China’s largest OTA

VRMA National Conference – Is there a future for property managers?

Smokey Mountains.com

VRS094 – Vacation Rental Pros with Steve Milo

Richard @ Rentivo

A lot of people listen but don’t comment. I feel like I have a twin! All very accurate, salient comments made from experience and close assessment of the industry and great work on building a company of size despite the pressures. Most importantly start looking at technology to help and engage in these discussions.

Well worth a listen everybody!

    Paul Rosdol

    too true

Terry Whyte

Thank you Heather. I thoroughly enjoyed that.

Alex Nigg

This is an excellent perspective by two of the most thoughtful commentators on our industry. I love Heather’s question on whether property managers will be relegated to be “glorified housekeepers and cleaning companies”. I hope that’s not the case; but I do think that the operational part of the business will increasingly become a key focus, differentiator and key value driver for property managers.

Matt Elder

Great to hear comments about the OTAs and how they align/don’t align with property managers. Interesting comments about the supply & demand issues in Florida.


Great podcast! Thank you Heather and Steve. …so much in there.

Steve made mention of a HomeAway report about SE Asia. I looked around and was not able to track it down. Does anyone know where to find it?

Andy Meddick

LOL Alex, I was alarmed to hear the concern that property managers could be
relegated to glorified housekeepers and cleaning companies! In my business, we
don’t consider ourselves Property Managers. I train my staff to work as,
“Asset Managers” since our services are all based on maximizing our
property owners’ return on their investment. From staging consults for
rental readiness, property marketing, through dynamic rate pricing,
building guest relationships and focusing on guest hospitality and local
knowledge sharing through to coordinating property upgrades and
maintenance – it’s all under the umbrella of Asset Management for us.
Great broadcast as ever Heather – and you’re making me more healthy to
boot since I usually listen while on the elliptical at the gym!

Steve Milo

HomeAway: Interest in vacation rentals grew exponentially in Asia over past year http://www.traveldailynews.asia/news/article/66212/homeaway-interest-in-vacation-rentals

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