2024 Conference Presentation Details & Speaker Spotlights

Opening Keynote: Abandon Boring and be Unforgettable | Monday, April 29 | 9:30a -10:30a
Presented by Tyann Marcink, Touchstay

Abandon boring and be unforgettable

Deliver transformative, experience-based stays that take your biz from bland to brilliant and primed for profitability.

Takeaways:

  • Principles to make you unforgettable
  • Strategies to stay top of mind
  • Processes to increase profitability

Meet Tyann Marcink: Tyann has purpose-built 4 of her own large properties and rehabbed 2 historical properties, including a 1902 bank building with original vaults where you can legally launder in the Ozarks.

She also the VRMA Excellence Award winner for the inaugural Community Impact Award in recognition of her mission focus to serve my guests and community through hospitality. And her Branson Family Retreats brand has been awarded Best Vacation Rentals, Best Dog-friendly Lodging, and Best Family Lodging in Branson.

  • The Queen of Guest Experience for Touch Stay digital guidebooks
  • Speaker and educator
  • Industry leader and consultant
  • Owner/manager of two vacation rental brands: Branson Family Retreats and Missouri Haus
  • Author

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Direct Bookings Are Not Just For Past Guests: How To Get New Guests to Book Direct | Monday, April 29 | 10:45a - 11:45a
Presented by Jenn Boyles, Direct Booking Success

Getting a past guest to book direct when they want to return is a great place to start; however you don’t want to stop there. In this session, I will dive deep into how to get new guests to book direct with you. You will learn how to get them into your community to continue the conversation and how to provide the trust needed for new guests to book with you.

Meet Jenn Boyles:  Jenn Boyles is the founder and CEO of Direct Booking Success – the podcast | the summit | the program. Her mission is to help vacation/short-term rental property managers and owners increase their direct bookings with organic marketing.

She is also a property manager and owner herself, managing her own award-winning properties since 2013. Finding herself with a property in an OTA over-saturated area was what initially led her down the direct booking path.

She is the host of the Direct Booking Success Podcast which is produced weekly with a mix of educational solo episodes and interviews with Hospitality and Accommodation professionals along with fellow property managers and owners.

Jenn is also the founder of the annual Direct Booking Success Summit. This event is a FREE marketing and hospitality educational online summit for vacation/short-term rental property managers and owners who want to increase their direct bookings and up level their business.

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Unlocking the Secrets: Trust Accounting's Power in Vacation Rentals! | Monday, April 29 | 10:45a - 11:45a
Presented by Mark Ritter, LiveRez

In "Unlocking the Secrets: Trust Accounting's Power in Vacation Rentals!" our expert panelist Mark D. Ritter, CPA unveils the transformative impact of trust accounting in the vacation rental industry. Mark sets the stage by defining trust accounting's importance, while sharing experiences from other property managers in the vacation rental industry. He will discuss navigating challenges while providing real-life examples, demonstrating how trust accounting elevates operations and facilitates informed decision-making. This engaging session, enriched with audience discussions and Q&A, empowers property managers to embrace trust accounting for transparency, protection against financial risks, and strategic growth.

Meet Mark Ritter: Mark D. Ritter is an accountant with over ten years of trust accounting and hospitality management experience. He has worked with LiveRez since 2022 as a Software Accounting Specialist and helps property managers make the most of trust accounting with their vacation rental property management.

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Building a Local Advocacy Alliance. Leveraging Community to Save Your Industry and Grow Your Business. | Monday April 29th 10:45 - 11:45
Presented by, Nicole Twigg, Kiwanda Coastal Properties; Kevin Jones, Currate Telluride

Hear from 2 seasoned Vacation Rental Managers who formed separate local advocacy groups to fight restrictive regulation in their area. Through tactics including public service, political campaigns, and legal action, we worked with other management companies, owners, and local businesses to unite the local STR community. Learn actionable successful methods to connect stakeholders. Discover best practices for community involvement and charitable contributions. Learn about how to avoid mistakes when forming and working within a community alliance.

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Balancing Your Job Roles and Your Passion | Monday, April 29 | 1:00p - 1:45p
Presented by Ali Cammelletti, Spark your Mindset; Jennifer Mucha, Arrived, Heidie Henriksen, California Design Den & Sandie Dodson, Beachcomber Vacation Homes

More times than not, leaders are juggling multiple roles in the company when their passion really lies in one area. This is most common as companies start out and they aren’t able to justify two full-time leaders so they put two crucial roles in the hands of one leader who is really best at one of the roles. How do they do it and stay motivated every day?

Meet Ali Cammelletti: Ali Cammelletti of Spark Your Mindset brings over 30 years of experience in the Hospitality Industry focusing on leadership and sales. Ali helps leaders build resiliency and improve performance by bringing awareness to opportunity behaviors and sparking mindsets. She does this through culture assessments, team building, one on one leadership coaching as well as customer service and sales education.

Meet Jennifer Mucha: Jennifer Mucha is the Founder and President of Arrived, a vacation rental management company founded in 2004. The company has experienced tremendous growth, both through acquisition and organic growth, and now operates in multiple states with varying governmental jurisdictions and restrictions. Jennifer and her team thrive on finding efficient solutions to provide genuine hospitality to each guest and owner, in every market, while also ensuring high value and ROI for their owners. Happy Guests. Happy Owners. (Happy Arrived).


Meet Heidie Henriksen:  With over two decades of immersion in the STR industry, Heidie embodies a wealth of expertise in propelling and overseeing vacation rentals. Her journey commenced as an STR Host in the early 2000s, transitioning to spearheading sales and marketing endeavors for a distinguished luxury property management company. Subsequently, she pioneered a SAAS technology and marketing program tailored explicitly for vacation rental hosts.

In 2020, Heidie co-founded ASTRHO (Association for Short-Term Rental HomeOwners), a pivotal initiative aimed at providing essential industry resources, education, and support to individual STR hosts.

In her most recent role, Heidie has steered the expansion of California Design Den into the hospitality industry. Her primary focus remains on advancing eco-friendly, top-tier linens tailored for short-term rental hosts of all magnitudes, advocating for sustainability and setting a benchmark for excellence within the industry.

Meet Sandie Dodson: Sandie Dodson is a seasoned professional in the customer service industry with over 35 years of experience. With a passion for hospitality, she has dedicated the past three years to providing top-notch service in the vacation rental business with Beachcomber Vacation Homes.  Sandie's journey at Beachcomber Vacation Homes began as a reservationist, where her exceptional skills stood out and led to her being promoted to Reservations Manager. Recognizing her leadership qualities, Sandie continued to excel and was eventually promoted to the esteemed position of General Manager.

Throughout her career, Sandie has consistently prioritized customer service and community involvement, which have been key drivers in her success. She strongly believes that building relationships and creating memorable experiences for guests is vital in the hospitality industry.

Beyond her professional life, Sandie is a proud mother of two boys and is eagerly awaiting the arrival of her first grandchild in June. In her free time, she enjoys indulging in her hobbies of cooking, knitting and spending time with family. 

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Unlocking Online Success: The Hierarchy of Marketing Needs for Vacation Rental Property Managers | Monday, April 29 | 1:00p - 1:45p
Presented by Lauren Widmaier, Studio82 & Brynn Flaherty

In this session, we’ll uncover the essential steps to marketing success in the vacation rental industry. We'll start by laying the foundation with a bookable website and progress through website optimization, digital marketing tactics like PPC and social media advertising, online reputation management, and the path to earning national brand awareness. Property Managers will leave this session with actionable insights and a strategic framework to navigate the hierarchy of marketing needs that will ultimately enhance your company’s online visibility, engage potential guests, and achieve growth and industry recognition.

Met Lauren Widmaier: Lauren is a multi-faceted digital marketer with experience ranging from digital and social advertising to graphic, web, and UX design primarily in the travel and technology space. Lauren is passionate about creating integrated, cohesive digital strategies that drive real results, identifying efficiencies, and maximizing the effectiveness of Marketing Technology and tools. Lauren has experience in digital marketing initiatives that drive brand awareness and revenue for consumer-facing vacation rental booking websites as well as B2B marketing tactics that drive inventory growth and new owner acquisition for Vacation Rental Property Managers.

Meet Brynn Flaherty: Brynn is an experienced marketing professional, having spent the last 14 years dedicated to digital marketing for the vacation rental and hospitality industry. Brynn has led a Digital Marketing team at a leading software provider and marketing agency for professional vacation rental managers, where she was responsible for building and overseeing the account management team. She also has extensive experience driving the marketing strategies for a diverse portfolio of vacation rental managers, with a focus on increasing direct bookings and leads. Brynn is passionate about connecting travelers with her clients’ destinations, and helping property managers of all sizes achieve their growth goals.

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Grassroots Owner Acquisition  | Monday, April 29 | 1:00 - 1:45pm
Presented by Kate Barnett, LiveRez, Brian Olson, Beachcomber Vacation Homes & Kate Kirschner, Beyond Pricing

Session will be focused on owner acquisition with and emphasis on community building and sustainability. In addition, how can we use our tech stack, primarily revenue management data to leverage the marketplace. My special guest presenters are Brian Olson, owner of Beachcomber Vacation Rentals-will be bringing his extensive knowledge of the industry. In addition, Kate Kirschner, Manager of Sales at Inhabit, will bring an incredible amount knowledge from a data perspective. The combination of these two industry powerhouses along with my vast knowledge of the Vacation Rental property management software perspective that will appeal to attendees.

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Managing Loss | Monday April 29 | 2:00p - 3:00p
Presented by Nick Massey, Proper Insurance

Managing/Owning STR/MTR properties is complicated, that is just a fact. Between guest/owner relations, dynamic pricing, and scheduling cleanings/maintenance, the day-to-day is full. The last thing we want to deal with is unforeseen losses/damages to our inventory. During this panel, we will explore how Property Managers and Owners alike can simplify their role as a “risk manager”, use insurance as a tool for growing revenue and reducing capital expenditures, and look at examples of actual losses and how to avoid these from happening to you.

Meet Nick Massey: With more than eight years with Proper Insurance, and more than a decade in the specialty insurance industry, Nick Massey brings a wealth of expertise to his role as Director of Sales. Nick specializes in educating and consulting with short-term rental owners and property managers, demystifying the complexities of insuring vacation rental properties. His extensive background has enabled him to build an exceptional team of agents at Proper Insurance focused on providing clarity and seamless service. Nick loves engaging with clients, listening to their short-term rental business stories, and offering his insider knowledge to help them protect their properties and succeed in the industry.

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Presented by Tera Lorimer, Luxury Getaways; Shaina Anderegg, Build Up Bookings; Rebecca Lombardo, Rebecca Lombardo Agency

Tightening your belt is just survival mode. Do the strategic work so you can thrive in 2024 and beyond! Learn where and how to invest your marketing dollars during a tough year. This session covers the best ways to structure your team, agencies, and resources. HINT: Your unique value proposition might be the key to winning out against your competition and you don’t even know it! 

Takeaways:

  • Avoid Wasteful Spending
  • Gain transparency into your marketing efforts
  • What's working for others & what's not
  • Free Resources right under your nose

Meet Rebecca Lombardo: As one of NBC’s first “backpack” journalists, and later a travel writer for HuffingtonPost, Rebecca parlayed her bold and creative storytelling into a career as a sought-after branding and marketing expert. Her clients have included JZ Vacation Rentals, Tahoe Moon Properties, Finger Lakes Premier Properties, Pocono Mountain Rentals, and Soar Vacation Rentals. She is also an award-winning writer and author with the ability to speak truth through humor and engage audiences of entrepreneurs, franchise owners and small businesses. As a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer, Rebecca Lombardo, draws from her 25 years of diverse experiences to offer thoughtful insights into the hospitality industry. She frequently speaks at Information Management Network conferences, moderates the Content Marketing World Summit panels, and hosts the YouTube show "VendorVibes," where she interviews hospitality industry professionals. 

Meet Shaina Anderegg: Shaina is an accomplished marketing professional with over 17 years of experience in marketing and revenue growth, including 11 years in the hospitality industry. She has a proven track record of successfully increasing brand awareness, boosting social media presence, driving email marketing success, and enhancing website traffic. Thanks to her extensive industry experience, she possesses a vast knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, but she always stays up to date with the newest and best practices in the industry. She establishes good rapport with clients and considers communication to be a key component of her work. Her penchant for planning and excellent organizational skills help her achieve her client’s goals. Shaina enjoys measuring ROI as analyzing metrics and diving into the numbers, coupled with customized marketing plans, leads to delivering precisely what the customer is looking for – results.

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Presented by, Bart Sobies, iBooked.online

This session will teach accommodation owners and managers about AI, what the latest AI tools are, and what they need to pay attention to. The goal is to provide attendees with valuable takeaways to improve their marketing and communication strategy as well as direct bookings. The session is designed to teach business owners in the tourism industry the fundamentals of AI and how to get started with it. I will cover topics such as improving copywriting with AI, Social Media, SEO, reviews and much more. It is fun, interactive and will blow the audience away.

Meet Bart Sobies: Introducing Bart Sobies, the luminary behind The Accommodation Show and iBooked.Online. Kicking off his entrepreneurial path at a mere 15 years of age, Bart has grown into an industry powerhouse in short-term rentals (STR). Driven by an unwavering commitment to technology, marketing, and investment, he has become a pivotal name in the realm.

Renowned for his expertise in direct bookings, marketing, branding, and digital products, Bart has guided thousands of hospitality owners to amass millions in additional revenue through iBooked.Online. As the commanding voice of The Accommodation Show and the founder of the Accommodation Managers and Owners Facebook Community, he has cultivated a nexus for over 2,000 professionals to share industry wisdom and insights.

The year 2023 saw Bart orchestrate the landmark 5-Day AI Challenge, where he partnered with numerous hosts to enlighten them on cutting-edge AI technologies and tactics for enhancing direct bookings. Bart's international influence is further underscored by his appearances at industry events such as the ASTRA Conference in Queensland, The Book Direct Show in Miami, Vintory Mastermind in Las Vegas, and No Vacancy in Sydney.

In 2024, Bart adds another feather to his cap as he hosts STRive to Thrive, Australia's premier gathering for short-term rental owners and managers. Scheduled for the 20th and 21st of March in Melbourne, the event is set to be an unparalleled two-day fiesta specifically tailored for STR professionals. Bart's involvement ensures an unmatched educational and networking experience for all attendees.

https://striveconference.com 

This year also sees Bart touring Australia, delivering presentations at a series of conferences and offering his wealth of knowledge on industry podcasts. Seize this extraordinary opportunity to learn from an STR guru and propel your direct bookings to unparalleled levels.

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Pets are the New Kids: Welcoming Them Drives Leasing Success | Monday, April 29 | 2:00p - 2:30p
Presented by Victoria Cowart, CPM, NAAEI Faculty, PetScreening

“Pets are the new kids, and plants are the new pets.” Today’s renters consider their pets vital members of their families, and operators must respond accordingly. Welcoming our furry friends offers opportunities to drive revenue, but we must manage risk as well. This session will offer best practices for implementing pet-inclusive policies and detail their potential financial impact. It will also explore how to address service animal and support animal accommodation requests. You’ll leave this session paw-sitively impressed with the information and ready to optimize your pet policies!

Meet Victoria Cowart: Victoria Cowart, CPM, NAAEI Faculty, is the Director of Education and Outreach for PetScreening. She is a multifamily industry member with extensive experience providing management and oversight for multifamily housing communities, mobile home communities, and HOAs. Victoria earned her business degree from Southern Wesleyan University and later earned her IREM designation as a Certified Property Manager (CPM) and a member of the NAAEI Faculty. She is a property management instructor, a licensed property manager, and a proud graduate of the NAA Lyceum Program. Victoria helped to found her local apartment association, and later served as its president and the president of the SC Apt. Association as well. On the national level, Victoria served as an NAA RVP for Region IV and chaired four committees as well. Her most recent Chair role was as the NAA Legislative Committee Chair. She's a pet and education enthusiast and a proud wife and mother.

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Timing is Everything: How Providing Guest Information in the Right Way at the Right Time | Monday, April 29 | 2:45p - 3:15p
Presented by: Nars Krishnamachari, RueBaRue

Timing is everything in guest communication. Knowing how and when to communicate effectively with guests can help determine their overall experience with the vacation rental home, how they’ll rate it and whether they’ll use the same property management team next time. But that’s not all that communicating with guests in the right way at the right time can do. Mastering the time-sensitive tools of guest communication can help property managers run their businesses more efficiently, create an agreeable work/life balance for themselves and their teams, and reduce routine guest phone calls by more than 50%. This session will unpack how to make that happen.

Meet Nars Krishnamachari: Nars Krishnamachari is the founder and CEO, RueBaRue. RueBaRue Guest Communication Platform helps VRMs optimize operations, increase revenue and provide guests with the best experience using text automation, guest messaging, digital guestbooks and extend gap nights.

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Uncover the Latest Trends to Boost Bookings and Profits This Summer | Monday, April 29 | 3:30p - 4:15p
Presented by: Ashley Zucco, Beyond Pricing

After a year full of ups and downs, we will take a deep dive into the data and trends about summer 2024 and beyond. Uncover hidden patterns, decipher the secrets, and gain actionable insights to boost your strategy and drive more bookings and revenue.

Key Learnings:

  • Emerging Trends: Understand the biggest trends that will impact your vacation rental business.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Learn how to integrate data into your decision-making processes to make more accurate, informed, and strategic choices.
  • Take Charge: Discover proactive actions you can take before your business takes a hit.

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Using our Safety Program to Attract New Guests & Owners | Monday, April 29 | 3:30p - 4:15p
Presented by Justin Ford, Breezeway & Dana Moraru, Tahoe Signature Properties

This session underscores the significance of professionals and managers employing a safety program within their agency to allure new guests and property owners. Covering the entire process from recognizing the importance of a safety program to training, constructing, implementing, and promoting it, this session guides managers in revisiting fundamental aspects. By prioritizing safety, managers can enhance revenue opportunities for their agency.

Meet Justin Ford: Justin Ford, a globally recognized Short-Term Rental (STR) safety expert, has played a pivotal role in enhancing safety standards worldwide. Over the past decade, he has created fundamental safety checklists and developed the exclusive STR safety inspector course. Featured on ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today Show, Justin actively supports international safety initiatives for short-term rentals. Serving as the Director of Safety & Certification Programs at Breezeway, he manages over 100,000 safety inspections, aligning with Breezeway's mission to ensure STR safety through its property care software platform. With a background as a former US Coast Guard member and 15-year municipal firefighter, Justin's extensive experience underscores his unwavering commitment to safety.

Meet Dana Moraru: Dana Moraru is the founder of Tahoe Signature Properties, a business she started in 2012. Originally from Moldova, she’s received prestigious awards, including the Best of Truckee and Business Hall of Fame from 2018 to 2020. She happily runs her agency with her husband and two daughters. A Board Member of the NWVRP, Dana has been a rising star in the vacation rental industry and a leader when it comes to safety in rentals.

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Serenity NOW! | Monday, April 29 | 3:30p - 4:15p
Presented by Stacy Wesson, Cascara Vacation Rentals

You have your own job and then there are all the fires you have to put out which leaves you a warn-out shell. I will give you tangible takeaways and procedures that will help stop the burnout and your feeling like you can't get anything done.

Meet Stacy Wesson: I have been in the industry my whole life, grew up in it, and now have been running my family's company for the last 10 years. I also do coaching on the side to help others reach their business and personal goals.

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The Growth Blueprint: Proven Inventory Growth Techniques from Leading VRM | Monday, April 29 | 4:30p - 5:30p
Presented by Brooke Pfautz, Vintory; Juston Clarkston, Family Time Vacation Rentals; Mark Tolan, Seaside Vacation Homes; Dana Moraru, Tahoe Signature Properties; Jennifer Mucha, Arrived

Discover the path to success with 'The Growth Blueprint,' a comprehensive exploration of proven inventory growth techniques. This panel of leading Vacation Rental Managers (VRMs) is known for their rapid portfolio expansion and influential presence in the industry. These seasoned professionals will reveal the strategies and experiences that have driven their success. Delve into the real-world tactics and innovative approaches that are essential for scaling inventory effectively. Ideal for both newcomers and those aiming to boost their growth, this session offers a unique chance to learn from the best in the business. Discover the secrets behind expanding your vacation rental portfolio from those who have turned these methods into an art form.

Meet Brooke Pfautz: Brooke Pfautz is one of the industry’s foremost experts in growing short-term vacation rental inventory. He literally wrote the book on inventory growth – and it’s already a three-category Amazon bestseller. Brooke got his start in the industry in 2007 when he founded Vantage Resort Realty in Ocean City, MD and took an idea on a napkin to more than 500 properties in just five years. After a successful exit, he went on to grow inventory for other major vacation rental brands as Chief Business Development Officer in multiple destinations. Today, Brooke leads Vintory, the first and only Sales and Marketing Platform designed exclusively for Short-Term Vacation Rental Managers to grow their inventory. And, to date, Brooke and his team of over 50 growth experts have helped more than 700 companies grow their inventory and increase their bottom line.

Meet Juston Clarkston: Juston Clarkston is a results-driven business development and client success professional known for exceeding growth goals in competitive markets. With a collaborative approach and unwavering integrity, he builds lasting relationships, aiming not just for satisfied customers but dedicated promoters of his company. Juston seeks partnerships with organizations guided by strong values and a commitment to excellence. On a personal note, he finds fulfillment as a husband and father of four, enjoying adventures, team sports, coaching, and outdoor activities with his family.



Meet Dana Moraru: Dana Moraru is the founder of Tahoe Signature Properties in 2012. Originally from Moldova, she transformed from a bookkeeper to a successful luxury vacation rental business owner in North Lake Tahoe. Under Dana's leadership, her business earned accolades like the Best of Truckee Award and Business Hall of Fame (2018-2020). Committed to exceptional service, Dana values her team, homeowners, and visitors, adapting to the industry's dynamic landscape with creativity and passion. Living happily in North Lake Tahoe with her family, Dana loves exploring mountain towns. Beyond Tahoe, her family's favorite pastime is traveling, especially to Hawaii, cherishing stress-free vacations and precious moments together.

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Don't Sell a Vacation - Sell an Experience! Manage your Listings More Effectively to Increase Bookings | Monday, April 29 | 4:30p - 5:15p
Presented by Katrina Montgomery, LiveRez

A steadily trending topic in our industry for the last couple years has been guest fees. This session will cover how to restructure your listing to present the guest with an experience rather than them feeling like they are only paying for a vacation rental. We will also dive into the difference between listing fees as separate line items and when to lump them together. Charging guests fees during their stay is an essential business practice, so let me show you how to make your traveler feel that your charged fees are essential as well!

Meet Katrina Montgomery: Katrina has been in the STR industry for 2 years. She has her A.S. in Secondary Education and enjoys helping her partners reach their management goals through software. Not only is Katrina passionate about training her partners, you may also find her managing a project or hosting LiveRez's webinar series! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her children and reading a book.

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The Hardest Thing: Every Companies' Biggest Challenge... It's People | Monday, April 29 | 4:30p - 5:30p
Presented by Steve Trover, Better Talent

This session will address the most challenging part of business. How to identify, hire, and retain a cohesive team to execute the company vision. It will cover people data, talent attraction, retention, and how to optimize the largest cost structure in your organization.

Meet Steve Trover: Steve Trover is a 27-year vacation rental industry veteran, having founded and led a four-location vacation rental management company, designed, developed, and/or built hundreds of vacation homes, designed a proprietary property management software platform and emerged as a technology strategist within the industry. As the former president of the Vacation Rental Manager Association (VRMA) and vice-president over a five-year period, Steve’s volunteer life includes time on the board of several industry associations. He is the founder and CEO of Better Talent. A subscription-based talent acquisition company focused on the rapidly growing vacation rental industry. He firmly believes in his mantra "The Best Teams Win" and is passionate about helping vacation rental companies grow and retain the very best talent.

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Spring Break Review & Summer Forecasting | Monday, April 29 | 4:45p - 5:15p

Presented by Tabatha Wild, Key Data Dashboard

Analyze Spring Break data in key markets throughout the Western US. Looking at KPIs like Adjusted Paid Occupancy, ADR, Booking Windows, and RevPAR to better understand Spring Break results and what best practices to utilize as the STR industry prepares for a successful Summer 2024.

Meet Tabatha Wild: Tabatha Wild is a Business Development Manager at Key Data and joined the industry in the summer of 2022. Tabatha graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. She previously led project management teams in the experiential marketing space and ran the distribution sector of a healthcare and beverage company. Her enthusiasm for travel and working with like-minded individuals brought her to the STR industry where she now speaks with PMs across the globe on market trends and data-based solutions. Outside the office, she enjoys skiing, hiking with her three pups, and paddle boarding with her pack in Bend, Oregon.

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OPENING KEYNOTE: Evolve or Die: Keys for Success in the Short-Term Rental Industry | Tuesday, April 30 | 9:15a - 10:15a
Presented by David Angotti, Guesty

In a world where the OTAs are gaining market share and new technology is released daily, how can vacation rental and short-term rental companies survive and even thrive? This session will dive into specific areas of opportunity with concrete takeaways for the audience. Everything from historical mistakes to leveraging AI in our businesses today (regardless of skill level!) will be covered.

Meet David Angotti: David Angotti is a serial entrepreneur with a proven track record of successful exits. By the age of 30, he had founded and successfully exited an EdTech brand. During this time, he regularly contributed to a top-ten marketing blog in the world, provided consultation services around mergers and acquisitions for Fortune 100 companies, and held the position of VP of Marketing for a large family of over 1,000 eCommerce sites serving nearly one-billion website visitors annually.

In addition to his EdTech Company, David co-founded a prominent short-term property management company (which was exited) in Gatlinburg and co-founded StaySense (also recently exited).

In February of 2020, he bought out the other owner of StaySense and doubled down on company growth and the launch of new brands/products. Successfully navigating the challenges posed by COVID-19, the company experienced exceptional growth. This growth, coupled with new partnerships, prompted David to sell the company to Guesty in 2023. Recently, he was promoted to the Chief Evangelist for Guesty and also leads several US-based Guesty teams.

In addition to founding and exiting multiple technology startups, David is an accomplished author, land developer, and a certified Airline Transport Pilot. During his tenure at NetJets, where he was one of the youngest pilots in company history, he piloted flights for numerous household names aboard the fastest passenger jet in the world.

When David is not at work, you are likely to find him running trails, boating, traveling, and spending time with his family in Nashville, TN. An accomplished ultra-marathoner, he has completed one of the most challenging 50-mile races in North America and recently finished the renowned 100-Mile Leadville Race Across The Sky. His very first job was feeding his brother dog food…

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Crafting a Compelling Total Compensation Strategy: Engage, Retain, Succeed | Tuesday April 30 | 10:30a - 12:00p
Presented by Sue Jones, HR4VR; Catherine Ratcliffe, HR4VR; Melinda Van Buren, HR4VR

In today’s competitive landscape of talent acquisition and retention, companies must prioritize developing comprehensive total compensation packages that not only attract top talent but also foster long-term engagement and loyalty. Join us for an insightful workshop where we delve into the key components of total compensation that resonate with employees. From competitive salaries and bonuses to invaluable benefits like healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off, we'll explore what truly matters to today's workforce. Gain actionable insights and strategies to structure a total compensation program that not only attracts but also retains and engages employees effectively. Don't miss this opportunity to optimize your compensation strategy and propel your organization toward sustainable success.

Meet Sue Jones: Sue Jones, owner and founder of www.HR4VR.com, is the vacation rental industry’s first and only dedicated human resources support services provider. With 30 years of experience in all facets of human resources, Sue is truly passionate about supporting the unique needs of property managers. The most rewarding part of Sue’s job is both reducing her client’s risk exposure and being their first call when the unavoidable HR catastrophe comes to pass.

Meet Catherine Ratcliffe: Catherine Ratcliffe is a highly respected benefits consultant renowned for her expertise in self-funded plans and strategic advisory services. With a distinguished career marked by leadership roles in regional and national benefits brokerage firms, Catherine brings a wealth of experience to her clients. As the founder of STR Benefits Consulting, she has established herself as a trusted advisor known for delivering high-touch solutions tailored to meet each organization's unique needs.

Throughout her career, Catherine has played a pivotal role in shaping industry standards and practices. Her participation in regional and national strategic advisory panels for Fortune 500 industry partners underscores her commitment to driving innovation and excellence in the benefits landscape.

In addition to her insurance license, Catherine holds certification as a SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) instructor, further solidifying her expertise in employer benefit solutions. She is a sought-after speaker, frequently presenting on topics ranging from financial structure and sustainability to compliance. Her insightful perspectives and actionable insights have earned her accolades from peers and clients alike.

In addition to her professional endeavors, Catherine is a multifaceted entrepreneur. She owns and manages Lost Together Stays, a boutique collection of short-term vacation rental homes in the southern United States. Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, Catherine recognized the need and focused on a Canadian content conference; Catherine founded and chairs the CanStays rental alliance, which convenes industry stakeholders and government officials to foster dialogue and innovation.

Beyond her business pursuits, Catherine is deeply committed to several passion projects, including education, the prevention of human trafficking, and advocating for insurance contract transparency. Her dedication to these causes reflects her values-driven approach to life and business.

Based in Florida, Catherine cherishes time spent with her husband, three daughters, and two beloved fur babies. A lifelong learner with a penchant for adventure, she embraces new challenges with enthusiasm, whether in the boardroom or on the running trail.

Catherine Ratcliffe exemplifies excellence in benefits consulting, entrepreneurship, and community engagement, making her a dynamic leader and sought-after speaker in her field.

Meet Melinda Van Buren: Melinda started her banking career in 2005 with the State Employees Credit Union of North Carolina, where she worked until 2015. During her tenure with the SECU, she became a registered mortgage loan officer, insurance agent and VITA tax preparer. In 2013, Melinda became a registered investment advisor. In 2015, she transitioned to Wells Fargo Advisor Solutions (WFAS), becoming a licensed financial advisor after passing her Series 7. While working for WFAS she progressed in her career and became a Sr. Financial Advisor and team lead. She also obtained her designation as a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor. Melinda joined Whichard & Woolard Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in August 2019, just in time for hurricane Dorian, pre-Covid 19 pandemic.

Melinda has been drawn to the OBX since she was a small child. Some of her first memories are visiting The Wright Brothers Monument and ferry rides to Ocracoke. Eastern North Carolina is ingrained in her roots, and she is proud to call OBX home.

Whichard, Woolard and Mitchell Wealth Management has been doing business in Eastern North Carolina for over thirty years and takes pride in in caring for our clients by investing, growing and protecting generational wealth. Success in perpetuity is only achieved with a well-defined plan. Melinda received her designation as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, April of 2021. She plays an integral role by incorporating investment planning with clients. She does this by understanding each client’s ideal future, health, wealth, and family dynamics. Then the team considers all financial solutions available to customize portfolios based on each individual lifetime and legacy goals. Melinda and her team take pride in being creative, innovative and ever-vigilant in this evolving financial and political environment.

Melinda is the secretary and finance committee member for Kitty Hawk Rotary. She enjoys donating her time to Rotary and the good work that is done within the community. Melinda also serves on the board of directors for the OBX Seafood Festival as she is passionate about preserving the OBX and its way of life. In her free time, you will find her walking the beaches, fishing, kayaking, or cooking.

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Advocacy Basics | Tuesday April 30 | 10:30a - 12:00p
Presented By, Scott Leggat, InhabitIQ

The topics/questions they thought would be helpful to address are:

  • How to get involved with advocacy? Simple and actionable steps.
  • What do you do if your local community doesn’t have an advocacy group established?
  • How do you reach your local legislators?
  • How to collect voices in your community?
  • How to make sure your local government knows you are there?
  • Who in your local government do you reach out to for support?
  • What can you do if your legislator is anti-VR?

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The Owner: Expectations, Challenges, and Opportunities | Tuesday, April 30th | 10:30a - 11:00a

Presented by Tommy Ciaccio, Avantio

Without owners, the short-term rental industry doesn’t exist! Generally, everyone talks about how to improve the guest experience, and how to distribute properties, but we rarely speak about the owner. Owners are the heart of our industry. How can we keep them happy and satisfied? In this session, we are going to check out some of the best practices on how we can achieve that!

Meet Tommy Ciaccio: Tommy, the Head of Business Development for Avantio in the US and Canada, brings over 5 years of experience in the short-term rental industry. In his earlier roles, he played a key role in bringing on new homeowners to Evolve and Vacasa. Currently, Tommy advises property managers on leveraging property management software as a selling point for their owners.

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Top 10 Ways to Enhance your Direct Booking Website | Tuesday, April 30 | 10:30a - 11:00a
Presented by Lauren Bowling, ICND

Take a tour with Lauren Bowling with ICND of the best enhancements you can make to your website to help drive more conversions and keep your brand memorable - everything from copy to pictures to enhanced features and even a sprinkle of SEO.

Meet Lauren Bowling: Lauren Bowling is a Sales Specialist at InterCoastal Net Designs. ICND specializes in digital marketing and website solutions for the vacation rental industry. With over 24+ years of experience, they offer AXIS, the preferred booking engine platform built with direct bookings in mind. Their team delivers direct strategies, superior customer support, and cutting-edge tools to enhance your online presence, drive qualified traffic, and maximize reservations. With a remarkable blend of expertise in sales strategies and an in-depth understanding of the vacation rental landscape, Lauren stands as a guiding light for industry professionals seeking to optimize their direct booking practices. Her commitment to driving results has earned her a reputation as a trusted advisor among peers and clients alike.

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From Reactive to Proactive: Turning STR Advocacy into a Winning Strategy Tuesday, April 30th | 11:15a - 12:00p
Presented by Nick Massey, Proper Insurance and Dana Lubner, Rent Responsibly

Meet Nick Massey: With more than eight years with Proper Insurance, and more than a decade in the specialty insurance industry, Nick Massey brings a wealth of expertise to his role as Director of Sales. Nick specializes in educating and consulting with short-term rental owners and property managers, demystifying the complexities of insuring vacation rental properties. His extensive background has enabled him to build an exceptional team of agents at Proper Insurance focused on providing clarity and seamless service. Nick loves engaging with clients, listening to their short-term rental business stories, and offering his insider knowledge to help them protect their properties and succeed in the industry. 

Meet Dana Lubner: Dana Lubner serves as the Director of Community Development at Rent Responsibly, where her dedication to advocating for short-term rentals shines. With a background in property management, Dana has grown into a key figure in promoting community-building and advocacy among STR operators. As President of Denver’s STR alliance, Mile High Hosts, she is deeply involved in community organization and responsible hosting education, while also offering guidance to new leaders in the field. At the heart of her work is a commitment to fostering fair regulations and strengthening the collective voice of STR supporters. Dana's approach is grounded in collaboration and a sincere desire to positively influence the STR landscape.


Dave Murray on Guest Service | Tuesday, April 30 | 1:45p - 2:45p
Presented by David Murray, The Julius Group

This fast-paced hour will deliver best practices and tips that focus on two main pain points for NWVRP Members – providing a consistent Guest Service and handling Guest Recovery. Whether you have a team, or you are a “one person show”, we have tips for you. Topics will include:

Guest Service

  • Service Aptitude – what it is and why you need it.
  • Consistency – how you can maintain a consistent guest experience across team members, properties, etc.
  • Systematizing Guest Service and building rapport.

Guest Recovery

  • Identifying and limiting negative cues that adversely impact the experience being delivered.
  • Ensuring that you (and your team) are consistently handling incoming complaints
  • Using complaints to your advantage to learn and grow.

This session will leave you with know-how and confidence to make Guest Service a competitive advantage for your business!

Meet David Murray: Dave is The DiJulius Group’s Vice President of Consulting. The DiJulius Group (TDG) is a consulting firm that works with companies like Starbucks, Chick-fil-a, The Ritz-Carlton, Nestle, and many more.

Dave is a master at helping companies create real change that sticks. In his role at TDG, Dave helps companies across all industries (KeyBank, Johns Hopkins, Bristol Myers Squibb, Celebrity Cruise Lines, just to name a few) focus on their culture, and create standards so that the culture is consistent across even the largest corporations. Dave excels at communication and easily bridges the gap between corporate leaders and front-line team members. His passion for building ideal environments helps lead teams to attain award winning customer satisfaction, best places to work achievements and recordbreaking profits. His 30 plus years in customer service environments, primarily in the sports and entertainment industry, gives him an uncommon understanding of marketplace conditions and high expectations.

Dave is co-author of “The Employee Experience Revolution”, a new book that helps organizations develop powerful leaders while purposely creating an internal culture that is their competitive advantage. Unflappable and highly respected, Dave Murray is one of today’s leading customer experience and internal culture strategists.

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The Service Recovery Paradox in STRI Management | Tuesday, April 30 | 3:00p - 4:00p
Presented by Catrina Wakefield & Steve Schwab, Casago

  • Defining Service Recovery Paradox
  • Understanding the Service Recovery Paradox
  • Challenges in the Vacation Rental Industry
  • Service Recovery Strategies
  • Case Studies
  • Implementing Service Recovery in your Vacation Rental Business
  • Measurement and Evaluation

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Lessons Learned: What I wish I'd Known When Starting my Vacation Rental Business | Tuesday, April 30 | 3:00p - 4:00p
Presented by: Rhiannon Chavez, Breezeway; Brian Olson, Beachcomber Vacation Homes; Tera Lorimer, Luxury Getaways; Matt Tesdall, Family Time Vacation Rentals

Gain valuable insights from seasoned professionals as they reflect on their journey and share the lessons they wish they had known when starting out. This session offers a retrospective look at the experiences of successful individuals in the industry, providing practical advice for new operators navigating the challenges of scaling their businesses. Whether you're embarking on your entrepreneurial journey or standing at a career crossroads, this session caters to everyone. Delve into the inner workings of successful businesses, exploring the pivotal moments and lessons learned along the way.

  • What life lessons did you learn throughout your journey?
  • What mistake did you make that you advise everyone to avoid?
  • What's the one thing you're most proud of in how you've run your business?

Meet Rhiannon Chavez: Rhiannon Chavez, originally from the Big Sky Country of Missoula, Montana, moved to Idaho three decades ago, where she has since resided in both Sun Valley and Boise. Her professional journey in the vacation rental space commenced in 2015 at LiveRez as a support specialist. She then advanced to become the Head of Implementation. Currently, she holds the same title at Breezeway, where she has made significant contributions to streamlining client setup processes and ensuring their successful initiation on the Breezeway platform. Rhiannon is known for her dedication to authenticity and takes pride in cultivating meaningful relationships with clients, providing them with comprehensive support throughout the implementation process. When she's not working, Rhiannon enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and embracing the joys of the great outdoors.

Meet Brian Olson: Brian is an Oregon North Coast native who grew up in Seaside. Brian has been in the Vacation Rental industry for over 16 years and hospitality has always been in his blood. He has been involved with many local boards ranging from Downtown associations to the Chamber of Commerce. He is Currently the President of the NWVRP and the co-founder and President of Everyone for the North Oregon Coast. Brian and his wife, along with business partner Sally, started Beachcomber Vacation Homes 9.5 years ago. Along with his previous board experience, Brian sits on several advisory boards within the industry.

Meet Tera Lorimer: Tera is the founder of Luxury Getaways, a vacation rental property management company in Glacier, WA. Having been born into a property management company founded by her mother in 1978, Tera has spent a lifetime in the industry. At the age of 8, Tera became a licensed Real Estate professional to broaden her skills and knowledge in the business. After moving to Seattle, she was recruited by a REIT to manage a large apartment complex in Redmond. Tera moved back to Whatcom County in 2003 where she married and started a construction company, Kestrel Homes, with her husband specializing in building ski chalets in the foothills of Mt. Baker. Kestrel Homes built and owns the first and only handicapped accessible vacation rental in the area, providing accessibility to all types of guests. Area homeowners approached Tera and asked her to provide property management for their newly built homes. Tera founded Luxury Getaways in 2008 to provide new 'hands on' alternative for upscale vacation rentals in Glacier. When Tera and her husband Ryan are ot in the mountains building and managing vacation rentals, they are avid gardeners and boaters and love spending time on family adventures with their four young boys.

Meet Matt Tesdall: Matt Tesdall has been a successful businessman since he graduated from the University of Nevada - Las Vegas. He owes his success to his personality, drive and family values. Currently, Matt is the Co-Founder (with his wife Angela) and CEO of Family Time Vacation Rentals. He currently operates in S. Utah and Central Oregon. He started his business in 2007 with one property not knowing a recession was beginning. In spite of this, word of mouth referrals from satisfied customers and property owners quickly grew his business during a time when the economy was facing challenges. Today he currently manages over 160 properties and welcomes vacationers back year after year. In fact, some of his most popular properties are booked well in advance! Matt is a current board members of the Utah Vacation Rental Management Association. He has also held multiple advisory board positions. He enjoys networking with other business people and is always looking for ways to better not only his company, but the vacation rental industry as a whole. He prizes motivation and technology and has been operating his multi-million-dollar business remotely for nearly a decade, while still providing personalized service. While not working, Matt enjoys spending time in his home in Sherwood, Oregon with his wife of 28 years and five children. He enjoys coaching his kids' youth basketball. As well as an avid golfer, he enjoys visiting wineries, making craft beer, and is up for a travel adventure to any part of the globe.

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Destination Branded Design | Tuesday, April 30 | 3:00p - 4:00p
Presented by Paula Oblen, Hotelements, Inc

Destination Branded Design has the power to evoke guest emotion and connection to a property, defining a competitive edge. Mastering the balance between luxury interior design and operational efficiency, Paula's signature approach ensures a property's identity and story is infused throughout, crafting a curated and immersive property narrative.

  • Creating a property identity that defines a curated and immersive experience
  • Mastering the balance between luxury interior design and operational efficiency
  • How to widen property investments by collaborating with luxury brands and location scouts looking for unique settings for events, films, and tv
  • Why creative photography styling plays a critical role in attracting future guests bookings and engagements

Meet Paula Oblen: With 20+ years of experience and a philosophy deeply rooted in boutique hospitality, Paula is an accomplished Designer known for her "Destination Branded Design" approach in the luxury vacation rental space. Collaborating and coaching investors, owners, interior designers and property management companies, Paula is able to elevate memorable guest experiences, resulting in increased profit and return bookings.

 

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Thinking Outside the Box: Add Value by Taking your Hospitality Beyond Four Walls | Tuesday, April 30 | 3:00p - 4:00p
Presented by Michelle Loney, Xplorie

If you’re looking for new ways to differentiate your properties and protect your ADR, look no further. This discussion will take you beyond the ordinary to discuss next-level ways to add measurable value to your listings. After a quick dive into the basics (uncovering your unique brand of hospitality and defining your guests' particular needs/wants), Michelle will provide specific tips – backed up with real-world examples – for grabbing traveler attention, winning more bookings, and earning repeat guests.

Meet Michelle Loney: As Vice President of Client Success at Xplorie, Michelle drives the company's vision for delivering exceptional client experiences for our vacation rental and activity partners. She leads a dynamic team of professionals, fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation to ensure Xplorie’s partners receive the highest level of support and value. With seven years working in the vacation rental industry, Michelle excels in developing customized client success strategies that address individual partner needs and ensure mutual success.

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Doing a Safety & Risk Review of a Rental Property | Tuesday, April 30 | 4:00p - 5:30p *Off-site
Presented by Justin Ford, Breezeway

Bringing back this popular session from 2022 in Seaside, Oregon, Safety Expert Justin Ford will take a limited group of people to a nearby vacation rental and walk everyone through a full safety inspection and risk review of the property. This session filled to capacity quickly before and is limited to 12 people, so participants will want to commit early.

Meet Justin Ford: Justin Ford, a globally recognized Short-Term Rental (STR) safety expert, has played a pivotal role in enhancing safety standards worldwide. Over the past decade, he has created fundamental safety checklists and developed the exclusive STR safety inspector course. Featured on ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today Show, Justin actively supports international safety initiatives for short-term rentals. Serving as the Director of Safety & Certification Programs at Breezeway, he manages over 100,000 safety inspections, aligning with Breezeway's mission to ensure STR safety through its property care software platform. With a background as a former US Coast Guard member and 15-year municipal firefighter, Justin's extensive experience underscores his unwavering commitment to safety.

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Bad Stays & Bourbon Chasers: Your Worst Guest Stories | Tuesday, April 30 | 4:30p - 5:30p
Presented by Amanda Martins, Safely

Like bourbon, your guest stays can be smooth or on the rocks. We know you've seen it all! Join the Safely team for cocktails as we trade guest horror stories we have all experienced, from the bizarre to the scary and sometimes comical. We’ll also share tips and tricks to prepare you for future shenanigans.

Meet Amanda Martins: Amanda is a licensed insurance agent and the Vice President of Sales at Safely and has been with the company since 2021, leading new client onboarding and client initiatives. She is especially proud of her team’s efforts to successfully drive down annual churn to 3% with a trending net revenue retention rate of 130%. Outside of Safely, you may catch a glimpse of Amanda playing a nurse on TV, prepping for her next art show, or on a date with her husband of 16 years.

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AI - First World: Preparing VRMs for What's Next | Tuesday, April 30 | 4:30p - 5:30p
Presented by Braeden Flaherty, Aidaptive

You will learn actionable strategies to implement AI today and prepare your Vacation Rental Business for the future. Industry expert, Braeden Flaherty, will share proven strategies on how to leverage guest and property data with AI to maximize property discovery and direct bookings. Braeden will cover topics such as the value of predictive analytics, how vacation rental businesses can act on those insights, and how AI can drive personalized experiences, as third-party cookies will no longer be available in 2024.

Meet Braeden Flaherty: As the Hospitality Program Manager with Aidaptive, Braeden uses his experience as a product leader in some of the most successful hospitality technology companies to transform VRM direct booking businesses with OTA-grade machine learning (ML). He enables VRMs to personalize every guest booking journey to drive repeat & direct bookings at scale.

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Housekeeping Olympics | Tuesday, April 30 | 4:30p - 5:30p
Presented by 

Get ready to clean up your competition at the inaugural Housekeeping Olympics, where champions are made and prizes are won!

Join us at the NWVRP Conference on April 29-30, 2024, in Boise, ID, for a thrilling event like no other. Step into the spotlight and showcase your skills in three exciting categories:

  1. Vacuum Relay: Strap on your vacuum and dash through a challenging course filled with twists, turns, and obstacles. From navigating around orange cones to mastering the art of cord coiling, every moment promises exhilaration and laughter!
  2. Toilet Brush Toss: Test your precision and accuracy as you aim to score big in the Toilet Brush Toss. Channel your inner athlete and show off your throwing skills in this unique and hilarious competition.
  3. Bedmaking Competition: Speed, finesse, and perfection are the name of the game in the Bedmaking Competition. Race against the clock as you strive to create the crispest, most immaculate bed – all while showcasing your impeccable housekeeping process.

And the best part? The first-place winner will walk away with the ultimate prize: a 55" smart TV to enjoy their victory in style!

Register your team today for a chance to be crowned the NWVRP Housekeeping Olympics champions and take home fantastic prizes! Whether you're a seasoned housekeeping pro or just love a good challenge, don't miss your chance to shine at the Housekeeping Olympics.

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How to Apply What You Have Learned | Tuesday, April, 30 | 4:45p - 5:15p
Presented by Stacy Wesson, Cascara Vacation Rentals