Gatlinburg Convention Center


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

7:30 - 8:30 Breakfast (Sponsored by IMEG) and Registration
8:30 - 9:20

2019 South East Mountain Region Performance and the 2020 Forecast

Key Data and VRM intel take a deep dive into actual YOY performance in the South East mountain region, Gatlinburg-Asheville-Blue Ridge. Which areas saw YOY growth? Are we seeing migration of guests across destinations? Did we see notable swings in ADR, Occupancy, and RevPAR? Get the answers to these questions and more as we examine 2019 activity and look at year-to-date booking activity for 2020. With Jason Sprenkle and Amy Hinote

9:20 - 9:35 Break
9:35 - 10:20

Marketing: SEO/SEM Disrupted: Google Shakes Up the Funnel

Changes at Google are disrupting traditional SEO and SEM strategies. How are these changes affecting marketing efforts, and how can VRMs navigate the new search format? Amber will demonstrate what has changed at Google, how channel managers and OTAs are working with Google’s new booking platform, and what strategies VRMs can implement to get in front of the coming disruption. With Amber Carpenter

Strategy: HR 411—Critical Workplace Topics for 2020

Workplace issues that kept leaders up at night in 2019 continue to cause more anguish in 2020. To assist you with a strong start as the calendar turns, we’re looking back at the key workplace topics that trended throughout 2019 that we expect will continue to hold your attention in the months ahead. Employment updates on salaried employees, overtime, marijuana, sick leave, ban the box and other key changes will be addressed during this session. With Sue Jones

Technology and Revenue Management: The Growth of Smart Home and its Implications for Property Managers

Smart home technology is quickly changing our industry. Join us as we discuss the challenges and opportunities this presents to property managers and how you can leverage this technology to improve operations, safety, and guest/homeowner experience. With Stevan Henning

10:20 - 10:50 Break
10:50 - 11:35

Marketing: Could You Be Losing Guests in the Booking Process?

Once a guest finally chooses one of your rentals, are you losing them in the booking process? Identify and create a user-friendly online booking process while keeping guests excited about booking their vacation as they finalize the reservations. Analyze abandoned shopping cart activity, examine rental policy formats, and ensure an easy contract signing process. With Vanessa Humes, ICND

Strategy: TBD

Technology and Revenue Management: Revenue Management Infrastructure

Now that the vacation rental industry is getting destination-level performance data, we have the ability to create data-driven revenue management processes and practices. With a background in hotel revenue management, Saylor will show VRMs how hoteliers determine and implement pricing strategies by combining technology (including PMS software, pricing tools, and data sources), and how these processes compare and contrast with the vacation rental industry. With Ryan Saylor, Beyond Pricing

11:35 - 11:45 Break
11:45 - 12:30

Marketing: Building the Relationship with Guests Before, During and After the Vacation

With more guests going straight to the property, it is increasingly difficult to build a trusting relationship with them that keeps them coming back year after year. Using email and SMS/text messaging, we’ll discuss how to connect and interact with guest with information that communicates trust and ensures that guest expectations are set and met. Jinnie Templin, Bluetent

Strategy: Lessons Learned—Technology, Hiring, Owners, Guests, Laundry, Linens and More

Experience is the best teacher, and some lessons are learned the hard way. Milo will candidly discuss some of these lessons he has learned over the last 15 years in vacation rental management, including implementing technology, hiring, working with homeowners, dealing with guests who want to blackmail you, battling regulations, facing new competition, and more. With Steve Milo, VTrips

Technology and Revenue Management: Data-driven Business Strategy

VRMs now have access to a ton of data, including destination data, performance data, website analytics, call center data, property data, and more. But how do managers combine all of this data to make business decisions about growth, staffing, pricing, and marketing? Each piece of data tells a small part of the business story, and when taken out of context, it can be misleading. But when the pieces are combined, VRMs can use these data sources to boost performance and maximize growth opportunities. With Brise Carpenter, Navis

12:30 - 2:00 Lunch (Sponsored by Xplorie)
1:00 - 1:50

A New Decade in Vacation Rental Management

Across panhandle destinations, vacation rental management companies are witnessing a shifting landscape with an influx of new faces, business models, and customer behavior. Industry leaders will be on stage to discuss regional changes, Vacasa’s purchase of Wyndham, new franchise models, preserving our destinations, and the future of vacation rental management in this new decade. With Micah Berg, Lino Maldonado, Brian Moffatt and Paul Wohlford

1:50 - 2:05 Break
2:05 - 2:50

Marketing: Mitigate Bad Reviews and Get More 5-Star

Most people do not leave reviews and those who do either had an amazing stay or well, you know, a really bad one. In this session, I will show you how to get more reviews so you have more data to make better decisions with as well as show you how to mitigate bad reviews so they do not get found online. You’ll also find out how to get more 5 star reviews on TripAdvisor, Google and other review sites. This is critical for social proof, conversion and even SEO. With Justin Jones, IMEG

Strategy: Experience and Professionalism: Why it Matters in the Vacation Rental Industry

With new entrants in the vacation rental industry, the level of professionalism has seen a decline across the US. How is this lack of experience and diminished focus on best practices affecting the industry? Edwards will discuss the important of professionalism and how VRMs can raise the bar to create a higher expectation for homeowners, in our destinations, and in the industry. With Ben Edwards, Weatherby Consulting

Technology and Revenue Management: Key Data Workshop

Become a performance and destination data expert and identify KPIs that are important to your business. Learn to use the Key Data Dashboard to create reports that help drive business decisions, pricing and marketing strategy. Create your own dashboard views, and learn to quickly pull individual homeowner performance. Now that we have the data, let’s learn how to use it. With Key Data Team

2:50 - 3:20 Break
3:20 - 4:05

Marketing: Strategically Working with OTAs in 2020

People talk about strategic use of OTAs, but what does it actually mean? This session covers when to use OTAs, maximizing real estate on listing pages, and pricing strategies. Plus, does the billboard effect still exist and, if so, how does a VRM plant brand info into listings? With Michelle Marquis, Lexicon

Strategy: Making Safety a Top Priority at Your Agency

It is important to address safety in your vacation rentals to prevent harm to guests, avoid lawsuits and improve marketability. How do you go about doing that? In this session, we'll discuss establishing the role of a safety manager(s) and establishing protocols, procedures and demonstrated best practices that will help ensure your VRMC is doing all it can do to address the safety of your guests. With Justin Ford, Breezeway

Technology and Revenue Management: 2020 Technology Landscape

Vacation rental technology has seen a shakeup over the last two years with consolidation and emerging third-party solutions. How are software executives looking at building PM software and how are property managers navigating combining the use of third-party tech products with their PMS? Panel: Brett Parry (Streamline), Matt Renner (TRACK), Ed Ulmer (Barefoot Technologies), and Steve Milo, (VTrips), moderated by Amy Hinote

4:05 - 4:15 Break
4:15 - 5:00

Marketing: Proactive Homeowner Acquisition

Competition for new homeowners has sharply increased with the influx of new and aggressive multi-destination companies. Pfautz discusses how homeowners are making decisions about choosing a VRM in 2020 and how to tell your story and set your company apart from the competition. With a focus on data and performance, VRMs can examine unique strategies and practices for targeting homeowners with the right message at the right time. With Brooke Pfautz

Strategy: New Year, New Role: Managers are now Hospitality Providers

It’s 2020, and the industry’s maturation has carved out new responsibilities and expectations for managers. In fact, the moniker ‘property manager’ doesn’t encapsulate the work that goes into the job, nor does it capture the emphasis placed on personalized guest service and property care. Led by Breezeway’s Founder and CEO, Jeremy Gall, this panel will discuss how professionals can embrace their new ‘hospitality provider’ title and capitalize on this huge opportunity.

Technology and Revenue Management: Property Management Software Round Table

Moderated by Amy Hinote and Dawn Yeskulsky, this Q&A session with software providers is designed to answer any questions you have about the direction of property management software in 2020 and beyond. In a round-table format, we will also have third-party technology providers (smart home, data, revenue management, marketing and insurance), on hand to address integration questions and discuss the VR tech stack.

5:00 - 7:00 Cocktail Party at Rum Runners (Sponsored by Beyond Pricing)

Ben Edwards

Ben Edwards is the President of Weatherby Consulting, a company which provides transaction advisory, consulting, and asset management services with proven success in creating opportunities and solutions in the vacation rental industry. They deliver high-impact results, provide partner-level attention and implement tailored solutions to address each of their client’s unique goals and objectives. As a respected and innovative industry leader, Ben Edwards has been positively affecting the real estate and vacation rental industries for more than 19 years. From managing small resorts, to financial and operational auditing, to opening large scale resort developments, Edwards’s unique background provides a multi-level approach to consulting, transaction and advisory services.

Justin Ford

Justin Ford is the President of A&A Vacation Rental Consulting in Kitty Hawk, NC, and is the Founder of On the Water in Maine vacation rentals in Maine. He has a background in safety that goes back to a 4-year tour in the US Coast Guard where he participated in fishing vessel safety enforcement in Alaska. Later, he joined his local fire department where he is the training officer. Justin is also the Vice President of the Vacation Rental Professionals of Maine and presents regularly on safety for the VRMA. Justin also produces a Facebook Community Page on Vacation Rental Safety.

Amy Hinote

Amy Hinote is the founder and editor-in-chief of VRM Intel Magazine, which provides news, information and resources for the professionally managed vacation rental industry.

With a background in finance and over 14 years in the vacation rental industry, Hinote has worked with property management companies, technology companies, intermediaries and investors, and provides insider information about the growing vacation rental industry. She also founded the data company, now known as Key Data Dashboard, which provides aggregated market intelligence and reporting for vacation rental managers. Hinote resides between Alabama’s Gulf Coast and Evanston, Illinois.

Vanessa Humes

Vanessa Humes is the Sales & Marketing Director (aka Master of the Universe – really it’s listed on their website) at InterCoastal Net Designs (ICND). When she’s not working on building new relationships and strengthening existing ones, she’s working with the team to make ICND the best it can be. She’s spent the last 10 years of her professional career in the Vacation Rental Industry, but prior worked with major hotel brands in Myrtle Beach. Her passion has been, and always will be, to get more direct bookings for her clients and share successful tactics that can be implemented into any marketing plan.

Sue Jones

Sue Jones, owner of HR4VR, is passionate about creating human resource programs and services that are strategic in scope and consistent with the goals and objectives of vacation rental clients. Sue’s innovative approach to HR and extensive experience encompasses businesses of all sizes in multiple industries. When addressing the needs of her clients, Sue is especially skilled at transferring her knowledge, skills and abilities across business channels in a personable manner. Sue is a veteran of the US Navy, holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University and is both SHRM-SCP and SPHR certified.

Michelle Marquis

Michelle Marquis is a leader in innovation, strategy, and best practices surrounding the vacation rental industry. She has been instrumental in successfully building other innovative technology-related businesses in this industry for well over a decade. She’s also a frequent speaker at industry events such as the Google Travel Conference, HSMAI, VRMA and Preferred Hotel Group. Michelle loves traveling/exploring, big red wines, and being surrounded by family and friends.

Steve Milo

Steve Milo is the Founder and CEO of VTrips, a growing and innovative property management and rental reservation platform that leverages a proprietary technology system to maximize occupancy, revenue growth, and profitability. VTrips manages 2,000 exclusive vacation rental properties in traditional resort destinations ranging from Florida to Hawaii. Steve is a recognized thought leader regarding the evolution of the highly fragmented vacation rental industry, and he is a regular keynote speaker at leading conferences in North America and Europe.

Brandon Sauls

Brandon is the Owner of InterCoastal Net Designs (ICND) in Wilmington, NC. ICND is an award-winning web development and digital marketing team that specializes in vacation rentals and real estate companies. Since 1999, ICND has been offering a wide array of web related services, including web design, development, business automation tools, and full service digital marketing.

Ryan Saylor

Ryan Saylor is a Revenue Manager at Beyond Pricing, the world’s first dynamic pricing platform for the vacation rental industry. Prior to joining Beyond Pricing, Ryan spent time in hotel revenue management after obtaining a degree from Purdue University in Hospitality & Tourism Management. His previous experience includes independent and branded hotel revenue management, as well as hotel digital marketing, web development, and strategic planning.

Jason Sprenkle

CEO of Key Data

Jason is currently the CEO of Key Data, a business intelligence and benchmarking dashboard used by over 400 of the leading vacation rental companies and resorts around the world. Jason is also an owner of 360 Blue, which manages over 600 luxury homes in the Florida Panhandle and Colorado, and a co-founder of The Sonder Project, an international non-profit whose mission is to strengthen communities through food security, clean water, and education. Previously, Jason was the co-founder and CEO of Glad to Have You (acquired by HomeAway), a luxury real estate developer, and a software attorney.

Jinnie Templin

Jinnie, Digital Marketing Specialist for Bluetent, helps vacation rental property managers optimize their revenue through Bluetent’s industry leading products and services. With experience in website marketing and management, SEO & SEM, social marketing, email marketing, project management, and customer service, Jinnie helps Bluetent’s clients develop and implement effective digital strategies to maximize their business’s digital success.

Peter Scott

Amber Carpenter

Amber Carpenter has been part of the vacation rental industry since 2003. With an early start in the operations and owner relations side of the business, she has spent most of her career on the technology side of the industry. In the last decade, Amber built and sold a web marketing company to Instant Software (now HomeAway Software), she was the VP of eCommerce for Wyndham Vacation Rentals, the Chief Marketing Officer of The St. Joe Company, and most recently was the VP of Product for NAVIS before transitioning back to consulting with global hospitality software teams and tech-enabled vacation rental companies in early 2019.

Brise Carpenter

Vice President of Client Success at Navis

Brise leads a team of 20 top-notch hospitality consultants with more than 280 combined years of experience; as well as Education, Implementation and Technical Support teams. Many on his team are former hotel and vacation rental executives and some are MBAs, but all specialize in helping hospitality professionals drive more top line revenue through better business analytics and optimized team performance. Brise holds a BA in Business Management and Organizational Leadership from George Fox University and an MBA from Concordia University.

Brooke Pfautz

Founder & CEO of Vintory

Brooke Pfautz is one of the industry’s foremost experts in growing vacation rental inventory. He got his start in the industry 12 years ago when he founded Vantage Resort Realty in Ocean City, MD and took an idea on a napkin to more than 500 properties in just five years. After a successful exit, he went on to grow inventory for other major vacation rental brands as a chief business development officer in Orlando, FL. Most recently, as an executive at a leading vacation rental software company, he saw first-hand through MasterMind groups that he launched and facilitated what worked and what didn’t for the 20 largest and most successful companies on the platform. Today, Brooke runs Vintory, the only outsourced business development agency in the vacation rental industry dedicated entirely to helping professional property managers add new homes to their programs.