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 local. 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 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 manufacturers 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 specialized "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 opportunity 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, giving 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.
But it will not be handed to us on a silver platter. It requires...
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)
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.
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