The People Stack: Getting the right people in the right places to do the right things

Steve Trover – Better Talent

Vacation rental management is hard.

In today’s ultra-competitive environment, it’s imperative that as a CEO or vacation rental manager, you operate in the most efficient and effective manner.

 The hardest part of this business is also the most costly – its people. Despite that, you will find that most managers focus on other essential factors such as marketing, growth, finance, and, most notably, the technology they employ.

 It wasn’t long ago that you only heard the term “tech stack” when speaking to computer programmers (now renamed as developers or “devs” for short), but today the term is used by almost everyone in the industry.

At conferences, I watch managers compare their tech stacks and discuss how evolving technologies help them do what they do. While this is undoubtedly a welcome change that has enabled companies to operate more efficiently, and in some cases, with less staff, it hasn’t replaced the need to have talented people working alongside you to execute all the varying aspects of vacation rental management.

Unfortunately, instead of discussing how best to “stack” a winning team, the discussion is centered on what technologies can be utilized to make an organization more effective.

In thinking about the most efficient ways to operate a VRM from a talent perspective (this is what keeps us up at night at Better Talent), it’s clear that just like technology, creating a winning team is unique to each company.

 Enter….”The People Stack”

Since the early evolution of the industry, there has been a mix of full-time, part-time and seasonal help. Due to increased remote work and more flexible jobs, today’s people strategy needs to be more precise because the talent pool is broader, whether full-time, part-time, contractors or consultants.

As a veteran in the industry with expertise in attracting and building winning teams, I recognize and understand the challenges that property managers face firsthand. I completely see the temptation to rely on tech to move the ball forward and put less time into considering who to hire.

When purchasing new software, you know exactly what you’re getting (for the most part). There’s a list of specs, a demo, perhaps a trial period, and an onboarding specialist to make sure everything runs smoothly.

It’s evident that hiring staff is not nearly as simple while still being the most important investment you’ll make in your business. I’d propose this is even more true for anyone in the hospitality industry, with the very definition of hospitality being:

Hard truth: Every company needs a “people stack.”

Market leaders understand this principle and put as much, if not more, effort into creating their people strategy. They know that a company can have the most technologically advanced website, but if you don’t have someone to answer questions and resolve problems promptly, your customers will go elsewhere.

Solutions to the People Strategy problems you face.

Are you struggling to build a dream team for your vacation rental business? Let me help you tackle four issues holding you back.

Problem #1: Making the Wrong Hire.

Did you know the average cost of hiring and firing the wrong employee is $17,000?

For some, making the wrong hire simply can’t be afforded, so it’s incredibly important to get it right. It’s all too common for CEOs to make this mistake, only to realize they made the wrong decision after signing an employment contract, and the new hire’s coffee cup is comfortably settled in the break room. Talk about stress!

Solution – Know your company, your people, and the right personality and qualifications for the role you’re filling.


  • Assess your company culture
  • Assess the role you’re hiring for
  • Create a detailed job description
  • Prepare for the interview to ensure you ask the right questions
  • Check references

Problem #2: Great Hire, Wrong Position

Is there anything worse than hiring a fabulous person who’s incredibly talented but they just don’t fit the position? They did a great job in the interviews, but should never have been hired for, let’s say – admin.

In the end, being placed in the wrong role leaves the employee feeling like they’re failing the company, and you’re struggling with frustration because you have to micro-manage them.

Just as with your tech stack, it’s vital to ensure that your people are integrated into your organization optimally to get the results that both you and the employee need for growth.

Solution: Revamp your hiring process. Before hiring, ensure you understand the soft and hard skills you’re hiring for. Then it’s crucial to know whether the candidate you’re considering aligns with your culture, values, and vision for the future, their motivations, and goals. Doing so will help you optimize your team’s performance without it feeling like pulling teeth, ultimately resulting in a happier and healthier work environment.


  • Use tools that give your greater insight than a resume
  • Make sure you’re assessing whether the candidate’s values and beliefs align with your culture and how they’ll add to the culture you’re building.
  • Have an onboarding process that ensures they’re adequately prepared to take on the role

Hiring the right person will be nearly impossible if you’re not clear on who you are as a company with insight into what motivates the candidate you’re considering.

Problem #3: Lack of candidates to choose from

The struggle can be real.

When hiring, you may have already tapped out your social and professional network and need to look beyond the scope of who’s in your circle. Putting out the word and receiving very few or barely qualifying candidates can be discouraging. And, if you really need help, you may feel like you’re backed into a corner of less-than-ideal decisions.


  • Reexamine your job posting and where you’re posting it
  • Reconsider your expectations
  • Reconsider what you’re offering potential candidates
  • Hire a talent acquisition specialist

Gino Wickman, the author of Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business, said it best when he said, “The right people are the ones who share your company’s core values. They fit and thrive in your culture. They are people you enjoy being around and who make your organization a better place to be.”

Next steps

As cliche as it sounds, teamwork really does make the dream work. To meet the growing demands of the vacation rental industry, I’d encourage you to take another look at your people strategy, even if the thought of creating a hiring plan seems overwhelming. After thirty years of forming and growing many different businesses, I can confidently say that my successes and failures have all hinged on the same thing.

Identifying, hiring, and engaging the right people.

Our businesses were highly successful when the right people were in the right roles and fully engaged, but when they were not, no strategic plan or amazing vision could fix the issues we were up against. We merely could not execute to the level that was required.

You cannot ignore the importance of getting your people strategy right and creating your organization’s optimal people stack. If this resonates with you and you’re ready to take the first step in optimizing your organization, feel free to reach out; I’d love to chat about your vision, your needs, and what you’re building.

With over three decades of experience in team building and engagement, I am committed to helping you, and your organization reach your full potential with the power of people…and some tech to help us along.

Here’s to making this next year your best yet.