Who Should Go to RezFest? It’s not just for HomeAway Software for Professionals (HASP) Customers.
I was a consultant to many property managers (PMs) during my first 12 years in the vacation rental industry. I learned two things that are generally, but of course, not always-true:
- Companies that attend industry events are the most hungry to learn and compete well;
- The biggest benefit of industry events is the sharing of information among attendees.
Let me qualify this quickly, so as not to offend some very good companies that don’t do a lot of professional socializing: there are many excellent companies that don’t attend industry events.
With that acknowledgment, let me further say that every management company would benefit by attending industry functions. Why? “THE INTERNET is changing this industry’s business models and forcing rapid industry evolution.”
More than at any time in the industry’s history, it is critical today that PMs keep track of changes. No matter how strong or aggressively they monitor their own markets, they cannot afford to ignore the changes in other markets because:
- Key trends start in a few markets and spread to others;
- In my opinion, our industry’s occupancy rate (under 40%) and short peak season (often just 6 weeks) means that PMs often need more than one year lead time to adjust to trends.
Industry events are where PMs discover minor changes they are feeling can be the beginning of major trends that can alter the competitive pecking order.
The question is which industry event to attend. Every company has limited travel budgets, and there are many industry events to choose from such as:
- National associations
- State associations
- Local tourism bureaus
- Reservation software user conferences
- Regional conferences sponsored by industry vendors
- Regional symposiums
- Online webinars
So Which Events Should PM’s Attend?
It comes down to:
- Budget: what is the cost and how many events can you afford?
- Size of the conference: larger conferences offer more courses and more PMs to talk to;
- Relevance of the event’s special focus (software training, housekeeping, ski tourism, etc.).
If you are looking to attend a larger conference, there are two worth noting…RezFest and the annual VRMA conference. Because HomeAway puts on Rezfest, we have some additional insight into the event. You can also learn more information about Rezfest here.
Who Will Benefit from RezFest?
HASP Customers. Rezfest is organized around reservation software training and updates: it has different tracks for each of its reservation software products. So Rezfest is certainly good for HASP software customers. Rezfest brings technicians and trainers, as well as the administrative staff who price software and decide which features to add to one location. Rezfest is a good opportunity to get low-cost training, learn about new features, and interact with software staff who need to understand your problems and needs.
Those Who Want to Explore Industry Products and Suppliers. RezFest is one of the industry’s largest events, and accordingly, attracts the industry’s major vendors. This is an opportunity for PMs to meet with key suppliers to compare features and prices, and talk to other managers who use these products.
Those Who Want Trend and Leadership Education. By virtue of the size of HASP’s enormous customer base, RezFest attracts one of the industry’s largest aggregations of managers and leaders. As one of the industry’s largest supplier of reservation systems, Rezfest product and service reps deal daily with the effects of industry change across the country, and are well equipped to help PMs understand and adapt to national and regional changes. This translates into sessions and seminar content that:
- Highlight trends and issues;
- Explain the evolving role of Internet marketing and technology;
- Discuss the industry’s most vexing problems and solutions;
- Offer thought leadership insights by key industry leaders.
Employee Rewards. Where there is a business advantage to attending RezFest, there is also the opportunity to reward employees by sending them to Rezfest. The event is historically held in fun locations and provides opportunities to interact with fellow PMs in a relaxed social setting.
Many PMs Who Are Not Already HASP Customers Can Benefit by Attending RezFest
- Many will find RezFest less expensive than alternative gatherings while still offering substantial socialization, education and product information benefits:
- Rezfest offers one of the largest gatherings of leading industry vendors;
- The level of expertise in HomeAway’s family of products and partners is unparalleled;
- It’s a preferred choice for those who can drive or otherwise incur less expensive travel.
- RezFest is a great opportunity for PMs looking to buy or change reservation software.
- While many managers can identify features they like in a software, most have difficulty charting the features that aren’t in a new software, until it’s too late.
- The HASP family offers multiple reservation software products. RezFest is the ideal location for learning which of them are best suited for a PM and, in fact, the best place to confirm that the HASP family of products will not suit your needs (if that is true).
For those of you interested in attending, I’ll be there. I look forward to seeing you all.