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Vacation Rental Market information from Florida Vacation Connection on Longboat Key

As we approach the close of another year, Florida Vacation Connection would like to take the opportunity to thank you, our valued Owners,  for your partnership.  

Florida Vacation Connection (FVC) has been working hard to continue its high standards of excellence.  At every level of our customer touchpoints, we have the opportunity to reiterate our customer service culture.  With consumer expectations continuing to evolve post-pandemic, the short-term rental industry (STR) strives to evolve to meet the ever-increasing demands.  Well-stocked and equipped properties, updated properties, quality furnishings and linens, extra amenities, paper products, and experiential inclusions have been some of the driving forces of consumer expectation.  

Changes in the insurance industry, banking industry, and reservation and management system technologies are constantly driving our business operations to new heights of security and expense.  Emerging technologies enable more efficient and safer guest and owner communications as well as service.  

To address these STR industry trends, FVC remains committed to staying in tune with our industry’s demands while maintaining its single-owner, privately managed, friendly, and personable business model.  This year, owner Michele Knuese continues to helm her woman-owned entrepreneurship and has invested in her team of professionals.  New additions to the FVC Team feature Dan Franz as its Operations Manager, Glenda Vazquez Yordis coming in as the new Housekeeping Manager, and Jeff Merckle as the new Rental Manager.  Each brings to the FVC Team diverse industry experience and elevated professionalism.   

Dan, Operations Manager, is well-versed in business organization setup, budgeting, team overviews, industry standards certifications, laundry systems, and relationship building.  Dan is also knowledgeable in hands-on maintenance needs and repairs.  He comes to us with nearly 20 years of experience in the vacation rental industry. 

 Glenda, Housekeeping Manager.  With her experience in the vacation rental industry, Glenda recognizes that nothing is more important to our business and brand than clean properties.  She is experienced in scheduling, inspections, quality control and customer service.  She will ensure that each property is ready for guest arrival and that the cleanliness meets or exceeds their expectations. 

 Jeff, Rental Manager, has over sixteen years in the vacation rental experience on the Gulf Coast of Florida, with focus in the Longboat Key and Lido Key areas.  His talents include revenue management, customer relations management, call center management, business development, and systems architecture and integrations.  Jeff continually strives to stay abreast of forward-driven technologies that favorably impact the STR sector and specifically the FVC family. 

Florida Vacation Connection and its Team of professionals have already been working in the background to impact positive change that will keep FVC as Longboat Key’s longest-running, woman-owned vacation rental company.  We look forward to continuing to serve you and our guests for years to come.   

As we journey into the new year, the ongoing consumer online research leads to increased online bookings.  Today’s consumer wants to have confidence in online information and obtain instant gratification with online bookings.  With that said, it is more important now than ever before that each of our owners verifies and proactively utilizes the Owner Login feature on the FLVacationConnection.com website to block dates for personal needs.  If dates are showing available online, it is presumed the property is available to accept bookings and FVC will work hard to perform one of its responsibilities of revenue capture for each owner.   

 Peer to Peer (P2P) feedback via online reviews harbors greater value than a reservation agent communicating with a potential guest.  FVC appreciates every guest’s feedback and while a minority of topics may be personal preference issues, much of the feedback brings an opportunity for FVC to address items with our owners that might need attention for either safety reasons for maintaining our standards in an ever-increasing competitive inventory pool.    

FVC makes many efforts to stand out in this highly competitive field.  Our customer relations focus targets all levels of the guest experience.  From the time a guest makes the first point of contact, to the multiple touch points throughout the reservation process, leading up to the arrival, while in residence, prior to departure, and finally to the post departure experience, FVC remains committed to continually improving its customer relation journey.  Today’s ever-improving technologies enable us to provide communication chains with increased efficiency and response times.   We excel in the guest experience from beginning to end.  As testament to this, each year over 95% of our guests tell us that they will do business with us again!

 FVC has invested in operations-focused, cloud-based technology enabling more efficient scheduling, unit inventory controls, third-party vendor communication and task assignment/follow through.   We continue to leverage this technology for increased trackability and accountability.  This technology also assists us in monitoring expenses for our owners to improve cost-effectiveness and savings.   

 Looking forward, many of our STR industry reports have been sharing that, overall, properties are seeing a decrease in both demand and pricing since the height of the pandemic. Combined with a downturn in the housing market, the negative impact on the short-term rental market is an increase in supply exceeding the increase in demand.  A recent example of this is reported by AirDNA, a short-term rental analytics firm that cites the number of future nights that were booked in October 2022 was up nearly 16% year-over-year, however the number of short-term rental listings in the U.S. rose by 23%.   Price points have been mirroring this behavior with a year-over-year increase spiking at 17.3% but have recently been reported to be declining back to an average increase of 5.1% year-over-year. 

 FVC was successful in increasing price points dramatically over the past year based on the national trends and pandemic demand, benefitting its partners.  Looking into Q3 and Q4 of 2023 and into Q1 of 2024, predictions indicate increases softening creating the need to focus on occupancy and ADR (average daily rate) as competition increases due to the increased inventory and decreased demand. 

 This is not to paint a picture of doom and gloom!   While not completely immune, our destination tends to be a bit insulated from many national trends.  However, with a spike in home owner expenses, statistics suggest that there could be an influx of owners looking to rent what was once intended to be kept as private to offset these increased expenses.  This does bring an increase in competitiveness to the market to upgrade one’s property to compete with the new inventory.  Our advice to our valued partner would be to consider continually improving your property to stay in front of the competitive edge therefore maintaining occupancy levels. 

 We thank each and every one of you for entrusting your investment and personal property to the FVC Family.  And we wish each of you the happiest and safest of holidays and a very happy 2023!   

New Year Florida Vacation Connection on Longboat Key

Jeff Merckle

Rental Manager

Florida Vacation Connection