When HomeAway Software for Professionals™ was born in late 2010, we decided to continue the Instant Software® tradition to hold RezFest® as the premier software user conference in the industry. In doing so, we had a simple goal in mind: to make RezFest 2011 bigger, better, more fun and more professional than ever! Thanks to all of you showed up in Vegas for RezFest 2011, we surpassed expectations on all fronts!
Now that we have rested for a couple of weeks, gathered our thoughts and received survey feedback, I can share why RezFest 2011 was so successful. On a year-on-year analysis, conference attendance increased by 60%, with 80% more individual companies and 78% more sponsors attending than last year - thank you! We also provided more networking opportunities. Check out some of the fun from the opening night reception featuring the Blues Brothers impersonators to hitting the lanes on bowling night. Was that fun or what? Many clients thought RezFest was the best industry event they have attended and several of them were hugging us by the end of the conference! Here are a couple quotes from actual attendees that capture the moment:
“This was our first time at RezFest and we are now making sure that event is in our budget from now on. Worth every penny spent.”
“If you only attend one convention next year, it should be RezFest. It is the premier event for the vacation rental manager. You will meet wonderful people and learn so much. At RezFest you work hard, and play just as hard. Don't miss it!”
With 76 track combinations, we tried to offer a diverse and interesting agenda. Presenters did an amazing job and your appreciation was reflected in your survey responses. The large computer lab manned by the customer support team was also a tremendous success, giving clients the opportunity to be trained and/or ask questions about your particular software. Again, based on your feedback, the software lab was regarded as a valuable addition because it provides staff members from all levels of your organization a chance to work hands on with our team of experts. The agenda was so packed with engaging material that some of you asked that we make the show a day longer next year! Wow, that is a first where attendees ask for more time at a trade event!
During HomeAway CEO, Brian Sharples’ keynote, he explained why HomeAway acquired Escapia® and Instant Software and addressed industry fears to demonstrate how committed HomeAway is to the PM segment. By the end of his presentation, everyone seemed to have understood HomeAway’s strategy and felt much more comfortable with HomeAway’s acquisitions from about a year ago. Throughout the show, clients were able to mingle and with HomeAway’s executive team. I think customers were surprised by how accessible and down-to-earth Brian Sharples, COO Brent Bellm and the other executives were in person.
Peter Greenberg, the other RezFest speaker, was an energetic and informative speaker as he emphasized that the “personal contact” property managers provide to their guests 24/7 is key. He also focused on “selling value to the right demographics,” particularly to Boomers. Greenberg’s bullish perspective on the travel industry in the coming years was encouraging and the 2011 performance of many PMs in the room this year prove that he may be on track with his predictions.
I hope HomeAway demonstrated our commitment to your success and have your interests at heart. We will continue to operate in a professional and straightforward manner, with the 120 employees in HomeAway Software for Professionals dedicated to building the best possible software solutions and keeping dialog going with you and the Support and Relationship Manager staff. To use a construction analogy, we feel 2011 has been focused on building the foundation of a great house of the future. Next year will be a year of INNOVATION that will add marble counter tops, state of the art light fixtures and simple details to save you time and money. Our goal is to take your software solution to extraordinary levels of efficiencies using a modular approach that builds on top of your existing platform. It is not an easy and it takes time but like we said in late 2010, “judge us by our actions.”
Thank you for attending RezFest! For those of you who could not attend this year, please join us next year. You will not regret it!