If markets were Seas, Vacation Rental would make Financial look like Lake Quiet.
Less murderous? Think again.
Astern Dead Quiet: If we look at turnover there are no waves behind us. Right now I can't figure how to upload the chart to my blog, but if you looked at our growth rate you'd see that wave, three digits high at the end of last century, go flatter and flatter in the 2000s, eventually nearing the treacherous waters of growth 0. And, mind you, that is in spite of expansion to 10 additional cities and 10 different language markets (our website used to be English only until 2006!).
Some waves are actually kicking though: That is, ouch!, expenses. Its growth rate goes more than double as fast vs turnover. And, ah, bookings! Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention, work has actually grown dramatically! Number of contracts per fiscal year has grown to a staggering 130% since 2006. What's going down is the revenue per contract which has shrunk to -40%.
Tsunamis & Giant Icebergs: What's rocking the boat? Are we heading right against the storm or we just passed through it? I mean, we're still alive and kicking, are we bound to drown or are we just fresh off the boat? Is it the Crisis? Lake Quiet? Mmmm, we are all seeing things happen around us, aren't we? Vacation Rental Managers and their websites are multiplying, I see new players everyday pop up online with their off-the-shelf codes and swanky pictures. They're welcome! Maybe the crisis is not all that bad for our market, after all vacation rentals is how you save on hotels, isn't it?
There is something else we see out there in the open Seas, we see listing websites booming and boasting, or rather... aggregating. Listing websites...
Ok, wait a minute, what are they up to? HomeAway is using brute force to eat and digest whatever is moving, Flipkey is getting there virally, shouldered by its buddies... big guys, I wish I had that kind of bodyguards, Tripadvisor and Expedia (oh yes)! These are like giant icebergs rather than tsunamis. They're hanging in there. They won't pop up if you google 'rome apartment' or the like, no, they float like little Worlds and smile at you (managers? you!).
Now Smile. Freeze...
Or, may be, we could aggregate ourselves! Sync our listings via xml files and just funnel bookings directly through to the single manager. This is what would create the Critical Mass we need. Manager? Think about it and... let's talk!