Meet the New Generation of Vacation Rental Managers

While vacation rental media is currently focused on the increased demand for vacation rentals as bookings soar and supply shrinks, at Vintory we’ve got our eye on the future of the vacation rental industry – the new generation of managers – those who are taking the vacation rental industry by storm. 


For many vacation rental managers the pandemic disrupted their business – it changed their practices, their expectations, and shifted consumer demand to focusing on new top selling points – contactless check-in, superior housekeeping and remote ways to cross-shop a manager for their vacation home. 


We interviewed three of the top Millennial managers to watch across the country as they build the future of the vacation rental industry.

Meet Lucas Merchant from Mergo Property Management, Berkshire Vacation Rental Management (Mergo) East, MA.


Bio:  Lucas is the owner of MerGo Property Management, a management company that helps owners reach their goals of owning a second home and using it as an income producing asset. Lucas has been in the business for seven years and focuses mainly on vacation rentals in the Berkshires region of MA.


What do you think the younger generation of owners and leaders in the vacation rental space are doing differently than legacy owners?

The newer generation is capitalizing on the use of technology to grow their business. We are using new pricing tools, management software and technology to drive efficient revenue and quality service. 


What important trends do you think will differentiate the professional managers who succeed in the future?


I think we are going to see a big push onto the OTA platforms, I know that is not the popular opinion, but I think the small direct bookings sites see much less demand, so being optimized on the major OTAs is going to be better for top-line booking revenue than trying to drive consumers through small proprietary sites.


What is the number one thing that professional property managers need to do for  the vacation rental industry to be the preferred way to travel, play, rest and invest? 


Providing hotel quality with pricing that is less per person than that of a comparable hotel for guests who are traveling with more than six people. Vacation rentals generally provide better value for larger groups traveling together and can offer more unique amenities and experiences catered to the needs of the group.

Meet Anna Lewis from Gulf Coast Beachfronts, 30A area Panhandle of Florida.


Bio: Anna Lewis is the current Head of Growth and future owner of Gulf Coast Beachfronts, a family owned and operated property management company based out of Panama City Beach, Florida. Anna began working with her family in 2018 and has been tasked with the goal of growing the company from both an inventory and revenue perspective.

How do you think Millennial managers are responding to the changing needs of travelers? 


I believe that the younger managers and property owners are incredibly responsive to evolving with the demands of travelers. For instance, a couple of years ago, the market in Panama City Beach flipped from 7 night minimum stays in the summer to 2-3 night minimum stays because millennial travelers like to take more frequent, shorter trips. Managers who were late to this trend or still haven’t adjusted are potentially missing out on thousands of dollars. 


What do you think gives the younger generation of professional managers an edge when it comes to growing their business?


Younger VRMs are more likely to be open to new technology that will accelerate their company’s growth. Any property manager not looking to grow their inventory using the latest technology will be left in the dust.

Meet Paul Lougee from Native Travel, Palm Springs, CA


Bio: Paul Lougée co-founded Native Travel in 2016. Since that time, Native Travel has expanded to operate in four markets within Southern California, helping clients achieve the highest profit from their vacation homes in San Diego, Palm Springs, Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear, CA. Native Travel focuses on creating authentic and immersive travel experiences, providing reliably upscale, centrally located spaces that give guests the opportunity to live like locals, even while on vacation. Similarly, Native Travel offers its investors end-to-end service: marketing properties, managing the rental process, coordinating first-class preventative and responsive maintenance and facilitating extraordinary customer experiences.

How do you see the market evolving or changing over the next five years?

With an increasing amount of venture capital money flowing into our industry, as well as large hotel chains expanding into the vacation rental space, I expect to see short-term rentals continue to professionalize themselves to the standards of the hotel industry. What was once a mom and pop /cottage industry is now shifting to all white linens, smart-home tech, curated furniture design, local experiential offerings, etc.


What do you think the new, younger leaders in the VR space are doing differently?


In today’s day and age, where everyone is used to moving at warp speed, the use of technology allows us at Native Travel to provide responses at whichever pace our guests prefer, as well as connect them to local experiential offerings during their stay. Whether that be simplifying the check-in process with automated messages that provide guests with a unique door code an hour prior to their check-in time, or providing guests with a digital house manual, that allows them instant access to every working feature in the property from the convenience of their smartphone. 


Curious to know what else gives the future leaders of the VR space an edge? Find out why Millennials make great Vacation Rental Managers here.


Author: Brooke Pfautz

Brooke is the CEO and Founder of Vintory and is well known in the Vacation Rental industry as the authority when it comes to growing Vacation Rental inventory. You'll find Brooke at his home office, on the latest Vacation Rental webinar or podcast, or at industry events across the States.

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