Cottage Industry 3.0 – VRMB
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​​Cottage Industry 3.0​

​Close your eyes and imagine a vacation rental industry of the future. All properties have standards that guarantee safety and cleanliness. Travelers have become so accustomed that they now book vacation rentals more than hotels. Vacation rentals are so popular, in fact, it’s as  common to hear a story about a ​good ​experience as it is a drug deal or a murder. All the biggest hotels have developed their own vacation rental ​fleets advertising spaciousness, privacy, and living like a loca​l. And because there are only a small handful of major stakeholders, power in the vacation rental sector is just like all power in other sectors: protecting the ​big and harming the ​small: ​it is a ​game for big fast-moving machines. ​The cottage is gone. 

​​The ​things you ​may be noticing ​in your vacation rental ​market are signs of what is happening everywhere: ​local ​vacation rental businesses are feeling threatened by bigger/richer/global competition and they are changing the way they operate to try to compete with these companies, ​self-destructing​ the foundation ​that gives them ​an edge in the first place.

​But things don't have to be this way. ​As a group of misfit vacation rental pioneers, we ​are not obligated to follow​ the ​traditional path.  

Cottage Industry 3.0

​Cottage Industry 3.0 is a tribute to ​a moment in history when​ ​artisanal goods were produced at home​ in small amounts by ​specialist, passionate, and often part-time workers. ​With the onset of Industrial Revolution, these Cottage ​Industries (​textiles, shoemaking, locksmithing) faced ​insurmountable competition​ ​in factory-based manufacturer​s ​and mass-production. ​​The factories ​crushed the cottagers. The cottagers ​stood no chance.

But ​we are ​now entering a new era of opportunity.

​Cottage Industry 3.0 is a way of envisioning the future of our industry. It entails equipping small-scale, ​passionate, and specializ​ed ​"cottage" business with modern ​game-changing technology. As a result​​, revolutionizing the way ​small businesses ​connect the world.​

​Cottage Industry 3.0​ ​offers every vacation rental professional who has defined their purpose or goal ​the real opportunit​y to reach that goal while playing part of a ​sustainable movement.

​But we cannot build Cottage Industry 3.0 without ​two big ​ingredients: 

1. ​Individuality as ​our most precious resource. ​Individuality or ​uniqueness cannot be ​scaled, faked, or mass-produced. So long as ​we emphasize​ ​our personality and host each guest at a time (and each slightly differently​), ​we do not actually compete with mega-managers or hotels. We ​create a separate niche. Click to explore VRMB's​ Theory of Limited Edition.

2. Technology because it improves efficiency and ​productivity​, ​giv​ing our small businesses ​unprecedented reach. Increased ​tech providers and decreased costs ​is happening now. Without ​technology like Property Management Software, digital ​welcome books, smart locks, dynamic pricing...etc. our ​potential remains forever stunted.

But there is one last important and perhaps unpopular ​idea that helps:

​​Fragmentation ​is ​not just ​a good thing:​ it ​may be our greatest strength. ​A Fragmented industry is usually frowned upon by those who want to ​understand it or control it. ​But the many individual stakeholders of a​ decentralized movement ​are collectively safer (arguably, stronger)​ than a select few. So long as ​our diverse ​stakeholders ​are in control of their businesses, in sync with one another, and ​have ​identified their ​place. Click to ​discover your Vacation Rental Archetype​.

​Cottage Industry 3.0 is also ​call for a new kind of vacation rental future -- from the bottom up -- in which every stakeholder ​takes responsibility and does his or her part. ​Be​ ​Exceptional: however you choose to define ​that. 

​For those who doubt ​that a​ Cottage Industry 3.0 can thrive, look ​to the following for inspiration: ​craft beer, baby vegetables​, nail salons, party/event planners, food trucks.

But it will not be handed to us on a silver platter. It requires...

  • ​Deciding on ​the purpose of your vacation rental business
  • Finding and utilizing the right technology to achieve that purpose without compromising your values, standards, or lifestyle
  • ​Uniting with other like-minded professionals in neighborhoods, virtual forums, and industry-wide ​events

Cottage 3.0 is not ​a fantasy ​or pipe dream. It is the vacation rental future that ​many people​ long for. It is a theme you will see ​in VRMB's work in 2020. And it will improve with your input...

Question: What does Cottage Industry 3.0 look like to you?

(Please ​see comments section below)

About the Author Matt Landau

Matt Landau is the Founder of the VRMB and the Inner Circle, two online resources dedicated to helping vacation rental owners and managers generate more bookings.