After a week of adventure, learning, and bonding, our journey throughout Panama came to a close. We capped it off by having a pre-flight dinner with Matt Landau, a vacation rental owner, and marketing blogger that has made waves in the industry.
We sat down with Matt and Danny (from Hotelito Del Mar) to discuss the current state of the vacation rental industry. We also discussed what Futurestay is doing to make life easier for current and future rental entrepreneurs.
One point that both Matt and Danny talked about was the sense of community. Our conversation evolved from talking about the local communities that they work out of, to the larger vacation rental/traveler community. We concluded in Matt’s realm, where he influences a large community of property owners online.
There’s no denying that community is the backbone of the vacation rental and travel industries. Owners have the opportunity to influence several “communities.”
The Communities That Vacation Rental Owners Influence
As members of the Futurestay team found out during a vacation rental conference in Toronto; property owners, specifically vacation rental owners, are a passionate bunch. They want to know what they can do better, from more bookings to unique guest experiences.
It’s fascinating to see the continual growth of the industry. It is just as fascinating to see that people attend these niche trade shows to not only improve their business but to get a better understanding of what’s going on. Such as the easiest/smartest way of doing things, and what can be done to create an experience that will bring back customers.
Creating An Online Community Of Vacation Rental Owners
There aren’t a lot of blogs or networks that cater towards rental owners, specifically. Fortunately, Matt Landau’s blog, Vacation Rental Marketing, answers the questions that a lot of property owners have when it comes to online help. He shares tips and tricks to ensure lasting success for your rental business.
There are several threads and forums on Vacation Rental Bookings. VRMB does have a premium version, the “Inner Circle” that allows you to have access to his workshops, courses, and attend private meetups.
Matt has plenty of experience, as he manages several properties, using his free time to share his knowledge and insights to help others. If you’re looking to optimize your vacation rental website, to obtain more conversions, definitely give it a glance.
The “Real-Life” Community That Owners Influence
One of the things that we had talked about with Danny was the community at Bocas Del Toro.
He established relationships and friendships with other rental owners on the island to gain a better understanding of what it takes to run a business in a new location. He also made sure to hear about any mistakes made by other owners to make sure he didn’t make them as well.
Matt let us know about the influence that property owners have in the area they work out of. He operates out of Casco Viejo, Panama, a historic district of Panama City that is currently being invigorated with new businesses and nightlife.
Matt was able to tell us the effect of having properties in the area and how he was able to change the atmosphere, completely. Matt has also helped lower gang violence in the rougher parts of the area, and his foundation has been featured in Conde Nast for its growth and continual success.
The one takeaway from both stories, even though they’re in completely different parts of the same country — and also cater to two different types of travelers, is that the community that they’re building does something to create a better life for the people that are living there.
Owning a business and understanding the community is a good way to instill positive change and inspire the people in the area to increase the way they perform.
Example Of How Properties Can Change The Landscape
If you look at the way that an owner like Danny influences his community, you’ll see that he cares more about building the island up and making it a destination that people from his hometown (NYC/NJ) travel to.
The snowball effect that occurs when this starts happening pays dividends. Local businesses will get new customers, the word-of-mouth will allow more travelers to find out, people begin to explore a part of the world they would’ve never heard of otherwise.
Let’s think of it on a granular level; that one act of starting a business in a location for travelers is going to bring value to a new country, city, community, and improve the city’s growth. This makes business owners, especially rental owners, an indispensable part of the tourism ecosystem.
The more business you bring, the better it serves the community. And if you can influence a community and bring business to your local area, you’re doing a lot more than “owning a rental.”
Matt’s non-profit work has superseded his work as a vacation rental marketing guru. He has had a positive impact in helping bring new life Casco Viejo. He has helped by starting “Esperanza” a non-profit geared toward getting gang members off the streets and have them become active, productive members of society. A lot of the program’s graduates go on to get well-paying jobs or start businesses of their own.
This may be too far away from goals that you may have, but know that this is the kind of impact that entrepreneurs can have when starting businesses in the community.
Owning a business can be tough, but it’s always good knowing that what you do can be beneficial for the community around you.
Panama Wrap Up
As a team, we had quite the time exploring a new part of the world and meeting some of the people that we’re serving at Futurestay. We ended up growing as a team, product, and company. We look to visit more of our power users shortly, especially as we continue to grow and help our users improve their businesses.
If you would like us to know about you, or your property, please feel free to drop us a message. We’d love to get to know you!