Frequently Asked Questions [Updated Feb. 19, 2021]

What is a Keystone Award?

In architecture, the keystone is the final piece placed atop a bridge or archway during construction that locks all the pieces into position. For a vacation rental professional, a piece of Keystone software is one that allows your company to bear weight and grow. 

A Keystone Award is the most respected vacation rental software recognition in the sector. For property management software, a Keystone Award reflects more independent research and verification than any other awards program in the world. For third-party or ancillary vacation rental software, a Keystone Award represents traction: companies whose existing users talk about them passionately.

What is an index score?

VRMB uses a unique combination of live demos, publicly available reviews, and current user feedback surveys to determine an "index" used to benchmark  softwares in most of our vacation rental software ratings. In some of the newer categories, current user feedback is weighted more heavily.

What makes Keystone Award recognition different?

The Keystone research process dives deep (like, absurdly deep) into vacation rental software, the individuals behind the scenes, and the active users who know their tools inside and out. No other awards program has gone to such great lengths with the intention of providing the vacation rental management community with information they can use to make better decisions, faster, as related to software to operate their business more efficiently. (We know because we have a presence on most of those judging panels.)

What makes a Keystone Award different is the amount of thought and consideration that is put into recognizing innovation.

Keystone 2021 Methodology

To settle on the rental property management software winners, we defined the 25 most important features of a RPMS and did multiple rounds of demos (some sanctioned, others anonymous) in order to rate the strength of each feature in each software. We then compile these ratings into a matrix and utilize a platform called Qualtrics to match the right software with any given VRM's needs. We personally oversaw each 'Suggestion' email to ensure accuracy, then pulled reports on the most frequent matches across 1,000+ completions. This gave us an idea of which vacation rental softwares were the best fit for the average VRM needs.

We then laid over top of that data, results from our Current User Feedback (thanks to everyone who participated in that process) in order to validate (or question) the index score of each. The resulting standout companies were then recognized based on the sizes of their primary user base. 

With our third-party or ancillary vacation rental software winners, we did far less scientific research due to limited resources. Instead, we chose the companies that were endorsed most frequently by current users in public and semi-private online forums. While not quantifiable, we believe this word-of-mouth buzz is an important indicator for any young sector that a company is doing positive things. Keystone Awards 2022 will integrate a more scientific research process behind third-party and ancillary softwares. 

I had a negative experience with a Keystone Award recipient. How is that possible?

When great small companies grow, they make plenty of mistakes and we are here to tell you there does not exist one company in our industry with a flawless customer happiness record. In fact, some of the best and fastest-growing companies are fighting hard to address this reality: that customer service requires major resources and we all make mistakes.

Not unlike guest reviews for a vacation rental property, we tend to discard the extremes and look at the majority of satisfaction levels. And when responses from our Current User Feedback surveys are aggregated, Keystone winners had extremely high overall ratings.

The expectation (we hope you glean from this) is that you are most likely to be satisfied with a Keystone winner but also that no one is perfect. Be patient with your vacation rental software of choice: they are likely trying their best.

How do companies receive approval to use Keystone Award?

VRMB and Keystone Awards have strict guidelines for advertising claims, and every advertising claim related to the program is reviewed to ensure accuracy. Only recipients are given the license to use Keystone Award references in their advertising. If you represent a company that has won a Keystone Award, please reach out to matt [at] vrmb.com for licensing requests.

Why doesn’t Keystone Awards share actual scores for companies?

The primary mission of Keystone Awards is to recognize innovation while staying sane in the process. To do this, we try to avoid speaking negatively about any company trying to innovate and we choose to keep private our index scoring.

As the program matures, we hope to provide side-by-side comparisons and more constructive ways to address weaknesses. But we are not that advanced yet. If you'd like to support this goal, please consider purchasing The Agile Approach: How to Build The Ultimate VR Tech Stack and becoming an Inner Circle member today.

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