Being a guest on a podcast is a really great way to get your company message out there. It’s often a fluid and very personable way of connecting with your key audiences and creating an emotional connection.
There are a small number of really good industry podcasts dedicated to informing property managers and hosts in the short-term rental industry. These include (but are not limited to), industry veteran Heather Bayer’s Vacation Rental Formula, Matt Landau’s Unlocked, VRMA’s Arrival podcast, Boostly’s Hospitality Marketing Podcast, the Sarah and T podcast, Rentals United’s The Secret Sauce podcast and Get Paid for your Pad.
We now also have a new ‘kid on the block’.
Wil Slickers, who has been running his ‘Slick Talk: The Hospitality Podcast’ for a couple of years now, has opened up a ‘mastermind series’ for the vacation rental industry. We sat down with Wil and asked him a few questions about why short term rentals, what’s he learning about the industry and what’s the value of a podcast.
You’ve recently launched a ‘Vacation Rental Mastermind Series’ on the Slick Talk Hospitality Podcast – why the interest in short-term rentals?
I actually started in the industry helping my parents with their small 2 bed 2 bath property they put on Airbnb . I then jumped into the world of hotels/restaurants, but I always wanted a vacation rental management company and so this year my business partners and I have officially opened our company called StayLux, based in the Pacific NorthWest and is for luxury vacation rentals. I like to say it’s running a hotel on a smaller scale. There are so many opportunities to do things right and as a creative person, the opportunities are endless!
What is the biggest theme about the vacation and short-term rental industry that you are discovering through interviewing for the podcast?
The biggest theme I have seen is the genuine creativity and openness from every single guest. I haven’t experienced a community that is so willing to give you every tool/tip/trick in their playbook. The term “share economy” is real when it comes to short term rentals. Something I have not experienced before in my roles at hotels & restaurants.
You’ve clearly got a real passion for hospitality and guest experience. What is your hospitality background and what got you into this industry?
I started working for an Autograph Collection hotel (Marriott) and experienced so much of the behind the scenes and loved it because I have always loved people. I have some of the deepest and memorable experiences with the guests I connected with over the years from that time. I have guests I still keep in contact with from over 5 years ago. After my experiences there, I just knew I couldn’t go back to anything else. It sounds cheesy but I literally breathe and live this stuff 24/7.
Your podcast covers all of hospitality. What do you see as the parallels between hotels and short-term rentals and what are the challenges of convergence?
Both have been around for a long long time. To me there are fundamentals that any traveling guests want and need. The biggest parallel is as simple as taking care of people. Do the best you can to think ahead and be ready but be compassionate.
My #1 opinion on convergence is this and always has been this… hotels are too slow when it comes to adapting to tech and change in guests behavior. STVR isn’t new. It’s not like it’s never been done. It’s just a side of hospitality that’s willing to try new things in order to create a great experience for all stakeholders involved.
For all my hotel followers out there, I am not speaking bad about hotels. I have and always will be a hotel fan. But there are some out there that don’t do the industry justice. It’s not just about having a good P&L…
What do you see as the biggest opportunity currently in the industry?
The biggest opportunity is the rise of young professionals ready to really jump in and grow! I am talking about hospitality as a whole now. You can literally graduate high school, start at the lowest position available, and become either a GM or Executive before you turn 24.
Or you can find a simple problem or practice that causes negative effects on guest/team experience and come up with a creative solution and become a disrupter in the industry. There is endless opportunity and I think it’s a very missed opportunity when we talk about careers or industries as a whole.
From your perspective, what do you see as challenges to the industry?
We talked about this in an episode on the show with the CEO of Hcareers but a huge challenge is that we (industry wide) have an awareness problem and an image problem with “millennials” or people in my generation. I can see why, and I hate saying this, but not once have I had someone take me under their wing and teach me things about the industry (ADR, Occupancy, terms and practices, etc).
I have been self taught or saw something I didn’t agree with (bad leadership or execution of problem solving) and found ways to improve it and apply it to my job duties at the time. For being in the hospitality industry, we aren’t very inviting for the younger generation to give them the tools to eventually become industry leaders themselve.
My perspective has changed a tad bit when jumping into this Mastermind Series on the podcast and the growth of the podcast itself, but I kind of consider myself an outlier. I saw an opportunity to make “a name for myself” but knew that I had a bigger mission. Not just making a name, but bringing people together and educating those who will or can rise up to become a disrupter for the benefit of the industry.
Podcasts are gaining more and more popularity – despite the increase in ‘video content’. In your opinion, why do you think that podcasts are a growing media medium today?
There are so many outlets out there. Social media, YouTube, email blasts, TV, etc. You name it. But the beauty of podcasting is that it’s one of the most organic ways to reach an audience and grow a business. I can go on and on about stories that the impact my podcast has had on someone, and you wouldn’t hear these types of things if I just kept posting pictures on Facebook or whatever else.
When you find an outlet like podcasting and you use it to create value for those who listen and you’re being genuine about it, you’d be surprised by the results and outcome of that. Not saying it happens over night but after 2 years of “finding my sound” and what really is missing in our industry and how I can fill that gap, the podcast has opened nothing but amazing doors for me and the industry I love.
Every business in my opinion should create a podcast, put some time and effort into it and see how it could change their business or personal life in more ways than I know how to describe.
You can listen to Wil’s podcast here.