Welcome to Cottage Industry 3.0

This is a special guest post from vacation rental advocate Matt Landau. His concept of Cottage Industry 3.0 is one of the themes featured in VRMB’s 2020 Currents Report. Download a copy and thrive.

The cottage industry has existed way before the Industrial Revolution. It consisted of a network of craftsmen (and women!) who created items by hand from the comfort of their cottage or home.

The original cottage industry was popular because it allowed individuals to make goods like locks, linens, or shoes on their own clock. Many cottagers enjoyed this lifestyle because it meant additional income to their daily work on the farm. And since many cottagers lived in remote villages, selling their wares to larger companies was easy and profitable.

Of course, we all know what happened next. Factories and machines were invented, which could make products faster and cheaper than cottagers. The cottage industry became virtually obsolete.

But after almost two hundred years of evolution in business and technology, we are now experiencing a renaissance and there are no better stewards of this revolution than short term rental proprietors: professional property owners and managers quite literally, selling the experience of the cottage or home.

What is Cottage Industry 3.0?

Cottage Industry 3.0 a concept we created to envision the future of the industry, where small-scale, passionate and specialized “cottage” small businesses can not only survive against multinationals but also thrive. ​

With modern ​game-changing technology, today’s specialized “cottagers” are in a strong position to generate real profit and thrive in the next decade.

Tools like Lodgify are the great equalizers that allow individual property owners and managers to connect with the world: they are the secret weapon that levels the playing field for any vacation rental business big or small.

For those who doubt that a Cottage Industry 3.0 can thrive, look at the following for inspiration: craft beer, baby vegetables, nail salons, party/event planners, food trucks.

How to Be Part of This New Game

Cottage Industry 3.0 allows any vacation rental professional a real opportunity to reach their goals whilst taking part in this new phenomenon.

But we cannot build Cottage Industry 3.0 without two big ingredients:

1. Individuality

As our most precious resource, individuality or uniqueness cannot be scaled, faked, or mass-produced. As long as we showcase our personality, the personality of our staff, and the personality of our destination when hosting guests, we do not actually compete with mega-managers or hotels. Instead, we create a separate niche.

2. Technology

It improves efficiency and productivity, giving our small businesses an unprecedented reach. Technology is constantly increasing whilst the costs are decreasing. Without technologies such as Property Management Software, digital welcome books, smart locks, dynamic pricing, etc. our potential is stunted.

But there is one last important and perhaps unpopular idea left:


Cottage Industry 3.0 argues that fragmentation or anti-consolidation is not only a good thing: it may be our industry’s greatest strength. A fragmented industry is usually frowned upon by those who want to understand it or control it. But the many individual stakeholders of a decentralized movement are collectively safer (arguably, stronger) than a select few. The sum of a diverse community of stakeholders is far greater than its parts.

How to Achieve it?

There is a lot of tech at our fingertips right now, so the question becomes: what tools do we choose? And the answer is different for every owner or manager.

But here’s a simple question you need to ask yourself: Does the tool I am considering a) automate tasks WHILE b) SIMULTANEOUSLY allowing you to showcase your personality? If a tool does one but not the other, kick it to the curb.

Cottage Industry 3.0 will not be handed to us on a silver platter. It requires…

  • Determining the purpose of your vacation rental business
  • Finding and utilizing the right technology to eliminate time-consuming tasks while simultaneously showcasing your personality
  • Uniting with other like-minded cottagers in neighborhoods, virtual forums, and industry-wide events: rowing in the same direction.

Cottage 3.0 is not a fantasy or pipe dream. It is the vacation rental future that many people long for. And it is ours. So long as we seize it.

About the Author

Matt Landau is the founder of the VRMB and the Inner Circle, two online resources dedicated to helping vacation rental owners and managers generate more bookings.

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