My first cell phone
Reaching over my basketball sized stomach, sitting near the kiddie pool at White Water in Branson, Missouri, I signed the contract to build our first vacation rental house.
The next day I set up our listing on VRBO, using photos from the display house we had toured the previous day.
Handwritten personal checks for thousands of dollars began arriving in the mail a few weeks later, I was toting two toddlers and an infant to furniture stores to choose the best couches and beds, and I got my first ever cell phone.
Just a few months later we set up our newly built house in 5 days while my infant son watched us hang blinds, arrange furniture, and make beds.
Within 2 hours of completing set up and leaving for home, our first guests arrived for their family reunion vacation in Branson.
We were one of 12 properties that slept 12 or more people in one house.
Fast forward 11+ years – there are now more than 300 properties that sleep 12 or more people, and my sons help me assemble furniture at new properties we set up together as a family.
This year we are building our third place in Branson, a huge 10 bedroom house; last year we completed an historic rehab of a late 1800s bank with original vaults; and the past few months we picked up a few other properties to manage. In total I own 6 properties and manage 3 others.
We have seen 1 paper check in the last 2 years as all payments are now by credit card, pricing has to be adjusted more than once a year, and managing and hosting is very profitable for our family. In fact, I was cash flowing our first place before we had even closed on the loan.
I’ve made the OTAs work for me. I don’t rely on them, but I use them and wield their marketing power to further my business.
I’ve honed in on a niche and cut my competition down from 300+ back to 12 or fewer.
I’ve done several things like Alanna:
- Created multiple social media sites
- Built my own websites for booking guests direct
- Synced all OTA calendars to my reservation management software
- Streamlined my workflow with auto responders (5-7 minutes per reservation is all I spend now!)
And I’ve done a few other things differently:
- Added a Touch Stay digital welcome book
- Sending a physical thank you card after guest departure
- Sending a surprise gift to their home address right after booking
- Joined my local Chamber of Commerce groups
- Built a neighborhood referral website
- Created lead generation guide books
- Completely overhauled the interior design of my original places
And just like Alanna, I’ve spent those countless hours learning what to do and how to do it in the best way for my guests.
One thing I have also learned is that this vacation rental journey is better with support, including learning from others who have gone before us and walked those difficult lessons already.
I've walked through a bunch of those difficult lessons:
- Double booking
- Missed cleaning
- Guest locked out
- Ambulance called
- Gun left
- Iced in
- Air conditioning broke
- Heater broke
And I still go on vacation every year.
VR Mastered to the Rescue!
That’s why Alanna Schroeder and I are back at it again with our fourth VR Mastered Vacation Rental Bootcamp — an immersive weekend of boutique vacation rental education to help you weather whatever the next decade brings.
You’ll learn how to do everything on my list above and lots, lots more. Plus meet some amazing teachers and friends, and have some fun while you’re at it.
Sign up today!
5 Industry Professionals
Join me with a team of industry professionals, my VR Mastered Co-Founder Tyann Marcink, along with industry thought leaders Jessica Vozel, Nancy McAleer, and Conrad O’Connell. You will accomplish more and walk away with concrete action plans and processes that you can immediately implement to max the potential and automate your vacation rental business.
Hurry for the Early Bird Discount
Get in on the early bird pricing.
Bring a friend and save more
This is a great investment that will give you a fantastic return for years to come, for the price of a 1-week booking, it’s well worth it! Bring a friend and save even more!
Colleen Kilpatrick, Red Maple Retreat
"I attended with the goals of shortening my learning curve in a new industry and ensuring a strong start for my budding business.
"No question, those goals were met.
"I would highly recommend boot camp for any host, new or seasoned, who wants to create some serious momentum in their vacation rental business."