ELEVATE 2022: Day 1 Reflections

Ashtyn Zussy
Ashtyn Zussy

March 18, 2022

Thank you to everyone who attended ELEVATE 2022 - Breezeway’s annual property operations summit! This year’s event was a huge success consisting of two days, 20+ virtual sessions, 60+ expert panelists, and 1,000 registrants, all across one virtual event hub.

Day 1 featured some of the biggest names in the vacation rental industry and covered a range of topics from maximizing the guest experience to motivating property care teams, but one main theme remained consistent throughout - QUALITY. Heightened guest and owner expectations are here to stay, and managers who are focusing on quality and professionalizing their operations will continue to see success.

Welcome to ELEVATE: Coffee Chat with VRMA 

Jeremy Gall, Breezeway's Founder & CEO, welcomed attendees to Day 1 of ELEVATE by sitting down with Miller Hawkins, President of VRMA, for a forward-looking discussion on budding industry trends. A key piece of the conversation was VRMAs commitment and focus on vacation rental safety; in Miller's words, “safety in vacation rentals is paramount.” Overall, this panel discussion highlighted VRMA’s leading role in providing education, advocacy, and support to managers with the aim of driving continued growth and professionalism in our industry.

Setting Process to Create Predictable & Quality Experiences

The second session of the day was moderated by Simon Lehmann of AJL Consulting, with panelists Brandy Canaley of Sextant Stays, Luca Zambello of Jurny, and Cate Dennis of Sentral. The discussion focused on how guests gravitate towards the privacy, space, and flexibility that vacation rentals offer compared to other accommodations. As guests' expectations for short-term rental experiences continue to climb, owners are getting creative with ways to bridge the gap between other accommodation types like hotels by providing predictable high-quality services like luxury amenities, smart home devices, and 24/7 virtual concierge services.

Operations as the Catalyst for Sustained Growth

“When setting new processes ask yourself, is this scalable?” In this session, Breezeway’s Jeremy Gall joined Laik LePera of Village, Ally Murphy of I Love Vacations, and Robin Craigen of Moving Mountains to tackle this very question. They each shared expert tips and advice on the ways managers can leverage operations to accelerate operational excellence, scalability, as well as portfolio growth. Ally Murphy said, “The biggest thing is consistency. Having a consistent product offering for owners and being able to automate these services is really key to building owners confidence in you. You can then take that blueprint to keep scaling and growing your business.”

Stories, Reflections, & Learnings from Industry Gurus

The ultimate industry guru, Amy Hinote of VRM Intel, moderated this panel reflecting on the rapidly evolving vacation rental industry. She was joined by Heather Bayer of Vacation Rental Formula, Jeanne Dailey of Newman Dailey Resort Properties, and Carole Sharoff of Atlantic Vacation Homes, all recipients of Pioneer awards at this year's Vacation Rental Women's Summit. Audience members learned about the resilience of the industry through stories and lessons passed on from these speakers, and were reassured that while it feels like so many aspects of the industry are changing, hospitality is still constant and remains at the core of our industry.

Putting Vacation Rental Data to Work

In this panel, Jessica Gillingham of Abode PR, Julie Brinkman of Beyond, Nate Wysk of Point Central, and Michael Goldin of NoiseAware shared each of their unique specialties when it comes to vacation rental data and learning to love it. In fact, Nate described data to be his and Point Central’s love language! The group focused on how managers can utilize vacation rental data to analyze property and revenue management and achieve actionable insights without spinning their wheels.

Bridging the Gap Between Advocacy & Regulation

In this discussion of advocacy and regulation, Philip Minardi of Expedia brought up the “3 C’s: Care, Communication, and Collaboration” as key steps to successfully advocating for short term rentals in one's market. Moderator, David Krauss, of Rent Responsibly, and panelists, Tiffany Edwards, of Coletta Consulting, and Shelby Fletcher, of the Dallas Short-Term Rental Alliance expand upon this topic by sharing their experience and advice on how to promote compliance in building a sustainable vacation rental community.

Leveraging Operations to Stand Out in a Crowded Market

It's no secret that software plays a key role in fine tuning day to day operations for many property management businesses. In this session, Jason Sprenkle of KeyData, Stanley Januska of VTrips, and Mike Perkins of 360Blue shared best practices for showcasing your professional operations and illuminating your brand at booking. Key takeaways included: fine tuning your pre-arrival checklists to set a great first impression for guests, and in conjunction with that, make sure your staff are properly trained to use your operations software so that they’re executing on your brand standards and accurately capturing property data.

Challenges & Opportunities with Mid-Length Stays

Last, but certainly not least, Breezeway wrapped up ELEVATE Day 1 with a final session including Wheelhouse’s CEO Andrew Kitchell, Karolina Saviova of Altovita, and Parker Stanberry of Oasis. They discussed how the best operators are proactively finding and servicing guests, and what operational challenges/ opportunities can emerge when addressing mid length stays. For owners and property managers, mid-length stays are creating new opportunities to drive revenue, while decreasing the risk of portfolio vacancy.

Weren't able to join us live? You can watch all of the full session recordings here, and be sure to check out our next blog post recapping Day Two of ELEVATE.