COVID-19 Vacation Rentals / Hospitality Industry Update March 31, 2020 – Leadership
March 31, 2020 Updates on COVID-19 / Corona Virus updates for the Vacation Rentals / Hospitality industry from Micah Berg Founder & CEO of https://www.thevru.com/ and Justin Jones Founder and CEO of https://imegonline.com/ In this update we talk about leadership during tough times.
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Micah Berg 0:04
Everyone welcome back. We’re Justin with IMEG and Micah with real joy vacations and vacation rental university back today to do another daily update talking about just some things I just want to talk about operations during the coven pandemic, and just some ideas and so today’s topic is going to be and if you’re anything like us you’re freaking tired of the chaos and so pardon us if we’re tired about it, but I have to talk
Justin Jones 0:33
about it because like, we
Micah Berg 0:34
got to make it 30 days. Well, I was just looking at your face and I was like, dude, you look exhausted. I’m sure I need to
Justin Jones 0:39
know actually what I was thinking. That might add some humor to it. Probably stuff that’s in my head that shouldn’t come out. But I was just thinking man when all this is over when someone says coronavirus or covenant, I’m going to like punch them.
Micah Berg 0:53
Just I’m really No, we’re doing these podcasts. We’re probably going to short them just so you can consume Better and we’re tired and we still want to do some content, this stuff we’re doing
Justin Jones 1:07
very important. It’s not something to lay down and give up on at all,
Micah Berg 1:10
ya know for sure so and we want to bring as much support as we can. So this one is, you know, through this week, most of you if you’re anything like us have, especially me gone through the whole cycle of layoffs and many people in markets are forced close or voluntarily closing their whole business. And so you’ve got a mixture of layoffs, confused owners, or just sheer chaos. And so today, what I want to talk about is you’re gonna have to lead or be a leader and communicate through all of this stuff. And most people don’t think that way. Even business owners even people are good leaders. Forget that in times of chaos. It’s not just tell people once it’s tell people over and over and over the same thing. This is what we’re doing. This is where we’re going. This is why and so what I wanted to remind you is, if you haven’t sent out an owner with your stance on what the business is doing to your owners do it, you have to tell them what to expect. For instance, ours was, hey, we’re staying open, but the beaches are closed, the roads are closed, there’s very few chances for reservations. We do have some people coming in. So we tell them that we tell them what we’re doing in the units, you know, post turn, extra cleaning and those sort of things to clean up just in case there was a virus thing. Following CDC recommendations, we tell them about our staff and distancing and some of those safety measures. And so you just want to tell them like if your property’s empty, we’re going to be in there however many days so ours every two weeks, so we’re going to walk through the property during the vacancies. If there’s no reservations, and so you want to communicate with your owners about what’s going on in their property, they are still depending on you I’m sure many of them trust you, but you just got to talk to them. Justin, what do you what are your clients telling their owners? Because I know this just in the last day, it was a cluster right in, in most of the Smokies.
Justin Jones 3:14
Yeah. So, um, I mean, across all markets. I mean, the thing that’s been interesting is that it’s literally changing every day it went from we’re going to be open, we’re not going to be open, this is going to be closed, this is not. So updating them frequently, I think is important because things are changing so much. And one of the things I’ve seen I know I’m guilty of this is that because we’re so into it, we think everybody knows all this stuff. Like there’s probably maybe not, but out of that 800 plus owners you have how many of them do you think don’t know the beaches are closed?
Micah Berg 3:49
Well, we’ve emailed them this week. Yeah, but
Justin Jones 3:50
yeah, but if you didn’t email them, how
Micah Berg 3:52
many do you think actually knew that? You know, honestly, between the chaos in their own lives, probably half won’t even be aware.
Justin Jones 4:00
Some do some don’t. So actually, given those details of like, Hey, did you know the national parks closed? Hey, did you know the beach is closed? Because you have to assimilate the story, as if they don’t know all the nuances like we’re, we’re closing down because most of the market is if you didn’t know, and the beaches are closed, it’s you’re not allowed to go on and all those kinds of things, not leaving out those little details that we take for granted. Cuz we’re like, oh, everybody knows that. That’s been that way for two weeks. Now. They may not know anything. So when communicating, remembering they may know nothing.
Micah Berg 4:31
Yeah, yeah. And then regularly communicating and not being afraid to repeat yourself. I mean, we created our first letter. And it’s kind of the same with just some minor updates and each little section. And so don’t be afraid to repeat yourself or think that that’s not going to be good enough or whatever. I mean, there’s not maybe a lot of change. So send it out on a Monday and say, This is what’s happening through the week with your properties and with us, and then send it out on Friday and say, hey, it’s Friday. Here’s what we’re going to knock out today and through the week. And, and just keep it might be repetitive, but keep that up and yeah, and don’t assume that they know anything or they’ve seen the news, or that the news is true about your local area. And so talk to them, tell them that same goes and possibly, you know, arguably more important from like a chaos standpoint with your employees. Because here’s something that I’m hearing, when I talk to people is they’re neglecting the fact that their employees, some of them have never been laid off before. And so even though this makes sense to us as business owners, and there’s a lot of news and it just kind of logically makes sense. You got to understand, like, if you’ve got a 50 year old employee who’s never been laid off in their entire life, never been on unemployment. No matter what this situation is, or looks like or what you say, it’s going to be a fairly traumatic and weird experience for them. And so you really got to do a good job communicating through that and making sure they understand the why and then you’re gonna have to repeat yourself. And the most important thing that I’m seeing people forget is communicate all the way through. But then keep in touch them every three days, send an email out to all your employees and all the people, your contractors, don’t forget about them either. and say, Hey, this is what’s going on. And again, don’t be afraid to repeat yourself or just copying what’s in the news or whatever. Tell them where you’re at. The reason for this is, it’s great to protect your relationship with your homeowners, most homeowners are not going to leave your program because of this. If you’re even marginally good at your job or doing whatever, where are they going to go? This is not your fault, right? So you might lose a couple that were on the fence anyway, if you miss manage communication, but it’s not going to be on your flight. What the big risk is, is if we come back and you haven’t been talking to your employees, and they’ve lined up other jobs or moved or just hate you because they’ve never been unemployed, and you lay them off and they don’t understand and all this stuff. So you got to keep in touch with them because God forbid You know, late May June bounces back and we hit season. And we’re at 90% occupied and you can’t rehire the 50 employees and contractors you need, because they stopped talking to you or they decided to go work for your competitor who called them first. You know, I mean that that could happen if you’re not communicating to them. They don’t know when you’re gonna hire him back. So you got to be telling them stuff like that, like, Hey, here’s, here’s the prognosis. Here’s what the future looks like, here’s what our booking paces and just be telling them what to expect and calling them and shooting them emails, that sort of thing.
Justin Jones 7:33
Yeah, and one thing I would add is that maybe I say this to people are like, Oh, that’s a good point. Like everybody, not everybody. People that want to be a leader. They’re like, Oh, I’m a leader. And I always say the definition of a leader is just you have people following him. Yeah. Right. don’t have anybody following you. You’re not a leader. Right? I don’t think it’s something you go Hey, today. I’m a leader. Yes. You just look back one day and you go, man, there’s 100 And these people behind me willing to follow me. Yeah. But with that means you have to have an authority one, you have to be an authority, which means you have to know what’s going on. And you have to be to go to so at a time, like now it’s very stressful for people like you, me because people lean on us, because we’re the leader in the authority. So in that give them clarity, and doing things like you said, of guiding them through, it seems so simple, but when you’re in chaos, you don’t think clearly. I had one reach out to me, and they’re like, so, man, I heard it’s gonna be like six weeks to get an employment. Like, no, like, a week or two. Yeah. Like, like, how do I get this $600 I was like, when you plot the state, it just shows up and they were like, Oh, thank you. Oh, that was so helpful. Yeah. So be available for those questions. But Furthermore, if you communicate it correctly, like you said, they should already know. Yeah. Give them a go do this. Go do this. Go do this. Go do this because they’re looking for that. If you’re a leader, or a follower. Yeah. Especially now because people just don’t think clear, they’re stressed. There’s all these unknowns, am I really going to get paid? How often do I get paid? When do I get paid? Am I gonna be denied? You know, all these kinds of things, so communicating with them, but if you don’t communicate well, at least be available to walk them through it.
Micah Berg 9:17
Yeah. And something I noticed today was the governor of Florida, sent out a mandatory stay at home order or something along those lines. You know, several people texted me like, what the heck, I thought we’re good to come, you know, to the office, and there’s only a couple of people and all this stuff. What does this mean? The governor said I had to stay at home. And you know, honestly, the first couple caught me off guard, I had to go read about it. And I understood what I had to understand was, they heard something and they didn’t go research it. And so I went and researched it. And I sent out an email to those people and a couple others that I thought were, you know, on the list that maybe confused and just told them what the activists what they could do, you can still go to grocery stores, you can still go outside, you can, you know, it just has to be essential type stuff. And so they, they were confused. They thought literally at this point, you can’t go anywhere you got to stay in your house because that’s what the act said or what the declaration said, that just wasn’t true. And so you can’t assume that people can digest this info. They’re very emotional. And I’ll always tell people that I work with if everyone on your staff was like you, if they thought the way you did, you wouldn’t be the business owner. I mean, they would all be business owners. And so in a way, the fact that you’re in your position should tell you that you are a little bit more qualified than most of your employees. Or at least you think about things different. you operate differently in chaos. You’re the leader, right? They follow you for a reason. So go and disseminate that information, read it, understand what it says, make your decisions and tell them don’t be afraid to if it’s news and you’re like, Whoa, it’s a news. There’s a The bullet points are right there in the news article. No, go read them and say that to somebody because they’re not going to read it.
Justin Jones 11:06
Yep. And it’s a great retention tool. I said this day when this happened three weeks ago with leadership team of this is our time to be the authority and to be the go to end to be the foundation for our team members and our clients. Yep. And I’ve seen that to be true. Three years ago, we had in one of our markets, we have a large saturation. There was a big mass amount of fires burned 1700 properties down, all that kind of thing. And five or six people that I can remember in the past two weeks, probably more said it, but they were like, Hey, man, how you doing? you holding up? Yeah, you haven’t good. He’s like, Hey, man, I’m calling you because I know you know what’s going on. Because during the fire situation, you all knew everything. Cool. So I’m hoping that you know what’s going on during this. Yeah. So they lean on you for that mature homeowners can be that for you to wear. You know, maybe maybe you’re not the best, you know, maybe they could get 5000 more dollars a year revenue, maybe they could save another $200 a month on charges or something. But at the end of the day, you’ve built this relationship where they’re like, I’m going to stay with these guys because they seem to know what’s going on. And that gives me some security. Yeah, so it’s another layer of non financial or personal goodwill, we would call it if you can’t get revenue right now. Then the lever you can throw is personal goodwill.
Micah Berg 12:30
Yep. Yep. And it takes 10 minutes so you know, just read some stuff, put it in an email and send it out to whomever you know that and and don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. That’s all I got on this one. I mean, just communicate repeat yourself and over communicate through these times and people will feel better and and the chaos will go down very, very much. So. As a reminder, Justin and I Meg is paying for everyone to use vacation rental University. The monthly plan For free during all this, the checkout code, signup for the Masters monthly, and the checkout code is coded 19. See ob ID one nine, and that’s at www.hevru.com. So, anyways, stay safe out there. We’ll send you another update tomorrow. And, you know, just keep on keepin on. Communicate with everybody.