As a way to offset some of the unprecedented hype our vacation rental sector is experiencing, Season 7 of the Unlocked Podcast is going against the grain...pulling back the curtain...taking off the rose-colored glasses...and revealing HOW the vacation rental SAUSAGE is made.

The theme of the season: Unglamorous!

Running a vacation rental company is not sexy. It's unpredictable, messy, and incredibly hard, which makes the people who do so profitably REMARKABLE entrepreneurs! Across 15 interviews this season, we address the unglamorous challenges with labor, operations, finance, personal health, and irresponsible competition. 

The unsexy side of the hottest sector in travel!  

Our goal this season is to build more realistic expectations about what it takes to get the vacation rental job done.

Candid Backstory: The idea for this season was rooted in guilt

As vacation rental advocates — champions even — VRMB's tendency is to root for the best in everything. And our proudest feedback is when listeners say they felt encouraged or emboldened to continue pursuing their craft. We are your cheerleaders!  

But is there such a thing as too much positivity? 

Yes! It’s called hype.

And over the last 6 months as our industry has recovered perhaps better than any sector in travel, we’ve noticed unprecedented levels of attention and headlines: from journalists, producers, travelers, and new potential owners and managers looking to learn more. 

There is danger when entering somewhere -- for the first time -- with the wrong expectations.

If you expect one thing, and the reality is another, you open yourself up to major letdowns. This is true about destination branding too by the way: if guests coming to your destination aren't calibrated, they write negative reviews. We've all learned that experience the hard way. 

So inside VRMB Communities, we started to talk a little more bluntly about how to best champion the industry but to do so accurately. 

The best conclusion?

Be real. Tell both sides of the story. Show the truth, when it’s beautiful and when it’s....well...unglamorous. Show the day AND the night: the beautiful memories AND the solitary struggles...

Cover art by Katie Chandler

We've spent the past 6 seasons showing you the most rosy side of our industry (and we’re not about to go completely negative on you or anything) but this season, we want to bring things down to earth and get real. We want to balance out the rose with the dirt it grows in. 

Ideas? We'll Be Exploring...

We’ll be interviewing independent owners and managers, plus a few C-level executives in the space who get candid about the difficulties of our craft and what they are doing to solve their most pressing challenges: 

  • Operations: What back-of-house problems have you cracked?
  • Team: What are the biggest lessons learned regarding talent: wages, benefits, contractors vs. salary, incentives, etc.?
  • Personal Health: How to maintain the wellbeing of teammates in an unglamourous sector during boomtime. 
  • Finance: How are VRMs reallocating already limited resources new pressing problems?
  • Purpose: If professional vacation rental management is so difficult, why do you do it? 

All these questions and more, on Season 7 of Unlocked: Unglamorous. Coming next Tuesday... 

This season is brought to you by...

Creating a podcast requires resources and we are honored to call PointCentral and Breezeway two of our fiercest supporters. Each provide a best-in-class product (smart home automation and property automations respectively) and we send clients their way regularly. They are also each winners of our Keystone Awards 2021. We don't endorse products or services lightly: these are two high-value tools for any tech stack. 

Behind The Scenes of Unlocked

Together with our production team at Mangofish Studios we have developed a unique workflow to create high-quality listening that is both entertaining and educational. And some listeners are often surprised to learn how much effort goes into the process! 

1. Season-wide Theme: We like to create a theme for the season, which gives us a prism through which to select and interview our guests. The themes also help for promotional purposes. This last seasons themes were Reset, Magic Zones, Tiny Architects, Reset, and season the theme is Unglamorous. 

2. Research: Each of our interviewees are esteemed members of VRMB Communities, but just because we know them doesn't mean we know ALL ABOUT them. We spend a good amount of time identifying each individual's "genius" -- the superpower they bring to the vacation rental game. We then structure the interview questions around that skeleton. 

3. Recording: We use a couple different tools depending on where we are. In person, it's a mobile recording studio (above). When virtual, we use Blue Microphones and the Zencastr audio platform. We use for transcriptions and Libsyn for hosting. 

4. Editing: Our superproducers Stuart and Tammy edit down, restructure, smooth out the sound, integrate our sponsor mentions, and shape to the interview into something that is not only listenable but beautiful. We try to remove any part of the conversation that does not provide value. 

5. Packaging: Once the audio file is ready to be uploaded, Stuart and Tammy break out the select soundbytes we think are most poignant, which we share on social media and in blog posts when relevant. This season we are providing transcripts for the episodes for your downloading pleasure.

6. Distribution: We often say that creators need to spend 10x the time they invested creating the content actually distributing or sharing it. This is where the hard work begins. This season, VRMB's marketing guru Will Franco will take the reins of distribution, which include a paid advertisement campaign on social media and outreach to our favorite partners. If you like an episode, sharing and tagging us means THE WORLD 🙂 

7. Rinse and Repeat: Once an episode is all wrapped up, we begin the next interview! This season, in order to cater to the fast-changing market, we'll be recording and releasing interviews more fluidly (as opposed to hoarding interviews for release one by one). We hope this allows us be agile and dynamic: to address current events in real-time the same way you are required to do with your business. 

Subscribe to Unlocked Podcast by Matt Landau on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

Join VRMB Communities, The #1 Vacation Rental Professional's Forum

Tap the braintrust of nearly 1,000 owners and managers working towards listing site independence

VRMB Communities is the membership forum of VRMB, but that's just the technical definition. It's actually a "safe space" where thoughtful and experienced vacation rental enthusiasts ask questions, get answers, share discoveries, and build their one-of-a-kind vacation rental brands, together.