Vacation Rental Management is Harder than Golf

     Steve Trover – Better Talent

Shortly after starting my vacation rental company in the late 90s (yea I’m an OG) I started playing golf with my father on the weekends. We would meet every Saturday for a round at one of our favorite local courses. If you have ever played golf, you know that this is a very challenging sport to become good at. It requires precision, focus, strategy, devotion, and most importantly, time. Some people are naturally better at it than others but even the best in the world take an immense amount of practice to get there.

My intention was to get out there and clear my head of the grind of running my vacation rental business and to spend some time with my dad. A couple of things started to happen. For one, I refused to turn my cell phone off and I was still very much involved in every aspect of the company. I would take a call about some guest, owner or employee issue and it would throw me off my game. I would also find it exceptionally hard to produce a great round of golf due to the fact that there are so many facets to it. You see, you need to hit a solid drive down the fairway. You need to be able to produce an accurate approach shot. When you miss on either you need to be able to quickly recover with your next shot which may require you to hit a great “chip” or “pitch” shot onto the green. Even if you get all of that right, you are still required to have a steady and accurate putting stroke to finally complete the hole. Then you need to do that 17 more times to complete a solid round with a respectable score.

I am very thankful for the time I had with my father back then. At some point, I decided to officially “retire” from golf as I became a father and realized the importance of spending that time with the kids.

When I look back at it in the context of the company I was building.  I realize that vacation rental management is even harder than golf. You see, golf has many facets that you have to excel in but not nearly as many as this industry.

In recent years, I have spent time looking at and considering many other industries. When I do, I see businesses that are often far more simple than the average vacation rental management company. Few other small businesses require so many things to come together to get to the end product. You must be exceptional at housekeeping, maintenance, guest services, reservations, distribution, digital marketing, inventory growth, revenue management, owner relations, accounting, human resources and more.

Just like golf, this requires time to perfect.

While there are some similarities, there are also some significant differences.  Perhaps the biggest differentiator between golf and VR/STR  management is the fact that VR/STR is a team sport. If you want to excel in this industry you have to do it with a team. Sure, you can and should be super efficient with this as the team will always be the biggest cost center. Technology can help. But in the end you will  have to build your company around a nucleus of very capable individuals if you want to become great at it.

This team can and most likely will include a mix of full time, part time, independent contractors and consultants. Putting together a winning team that is moving in the same direction is the key to success. It’s critical to have people working on all aspects of the ‘game’ and if one component is not at a high level, the “score” just won’t be very good.

While building a team brings its own set of challenges, it also allows you to have specialists who handle the various components of business. Over time you get to wear fewer hats as an owner with the ultimate goal of owning a company that practically runs itself.

That’s when you will know you have reached the pinnacle of your game.

I would very much enjoy the opportunity to talk through your people strategy and discuss how we can help you build a winning team in the most efficient way possible.

If that sounds of interest, book a free session with me here:

Team Building Session