Despite a disruptive and rocky year, the vacation rental industry has managed to stay afloat. This perseverance can be attributed to the hard work of those dedicating their lives to this sector. Inside this ecosystem, there is an almost endless number of providers, services, andsoftware that attempt to solve the various problems and needs of owners and managers.
Amongst these service providers are a number of admirable women who are making a real contribution to the industry. Not only are they helping to support its growth and championing the success of small business owners, but they are also key players in educating upcoming professionals in this sector.
We started compiling this list for International Women’s Day back in 2018 and only had 7 women in the list, but in 2019, we were able to feature 19 women and we asked some of them to record a video of themselves and share their experiences. These women have very diverse backgrounds, careers, and job titles, yet they have one thing in common – the recognition from their peers as influential in their field.
We’re ecstatic to see that the list has grown so much! We’re hoping to continue to add more and more women to the list in the following years!
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the women who are truly making waves in the vacation rental industry. This list is by no means exhaustive, and we will be adding to it in the future!
Alanna Schroeder – The Distinguished Guest
Alanna Schroeder is the founder and curator of The Distinguished Guest – an online resource that helps other owners find high-quality linens, towels, and personal care products on a budget. Additionally, Schroeder has wonderful networking capabilities and manages a number of Facebook groups in the industry which foster an environment of encouragement and support to owners, managers, and hosts. She is a major contributor to educating owners, both on her website and through #vacationrentalbootcamp with Tyann Marcink, where she is co-creator and co-mentor.
Amy Hinote – VRM Intel
As the founder and editor ofVRM Intel Magazine, Amy Hinote is responsible for one of the most respected publications in the vacation rental sphere. On February 7th, 2018, Hinote launched the annual#BookDirect movement, an initiative to help owners educate guests on the benefits of booking directly. The inaugural campaign reached an estimated 3 million travelers and 18.2 million consumers in total. During the pandemic, Hinote has provided countless resources and news for vacation rental owners looking to stay informed.
Annie Switzer – Facebook Group Admin
Annie Switzer is a co-founder and moderator of the Say No to VRBO Facebook group which now boasts over 7000 members. Along with her own expertise, the invite-only community she leads is a constant source of education and support for managing properties and managing listings on OTAs (VRBO, TripAdvisor, Airbnb). In addition to this, it provides directmarketing support for business owners.
Christine Myer – NoiseAware
Christine is currently Chief of Staff at NoiseAware. However, she started 4 years ago and hasn’t stopped growing in the company since! She has been with the two co-founders since they started taking the product to market online in 2016 and built the infrastructure, go-to-market strategy, brand, as well as the first customer base to define and develop the company’s beginnings.
Debi Hertert – Host2Host
Founder of Host2Host.org, Debi Hertert has long been an advocate for home-sharing, especially in her local area of Portland, Oregon. This robust community platform is now going global to provide education, awareness, and support to hosts worldwide. Hertert is committed to the vacation rental cause and is working hard to bring like-minded industry professionals together.
Deborah Labi – The Book Direct Show
Deborah Labi is creative-minded entrepreneur with passion and has been a vacation rental property manager and owner for over 13 years. She’s used her experience to build several companies such as Have You Got, the first Book Direct ‘Meta-No-Search’ platform and the Book Direct Show, a live and virtual conference with educational sessions teaching you how to get (more) direct bookings.
Elaine Watt – Holiday Let Success Podcast
Elaine Watt not only a vacation rental owner of Stay Worcestershire, but she’s also the founder of Holiday Let Success, a podcast and resource center for short-term rental professionals looking to increase bookings, reduce costs and save time.
Erica Muller – Vrolio
Erica Muller, realtor for 16 years in Orlando and CEO of Vrolio is known for bridging the gap between real estate and the vacation rental industry with a platform for professionals looking to purchase or sell short-term rental properties.
Heather Bayer – Vacation Rental Formula
Heather Bayer, co-founder of Vacation Rental Formula, is known for being one of the veterans of the vacation rental industry. Her more than 20 years’ experience, published books, and highly rated podcast, Vacation Rental Success, make her an established expert voice for any owners and property managers looking for advice.
Jen Ford – TurnKey Vacation Rentals
Chief Commercial Officer and CFO at TurnKeyVR.com, Jen Ford has brought a lot to the table. Along with her extensive experience and deep passion for travel, Ford developed the company’s first business intelligence function, which harnesses powerful data to drive business insights that support decision-making. She also implemented new systems for accounting, HRIS, and payroll administration. As a fast-growing company, having access to the right information at the right time and in the right format has played and will continue to play a crucial role in TurnKey’s growth.
Jessica Gillingham – Abobe PR
In 2017, Jessica Gillingham decided to hone her PR expertise to focus solely on the niche industry of vacation rentals. Gillingham has since presented at three major international industry conferences, is a frequent contributor to VRM Intel and VRMA Arrival magazines and, along with her team at Abode PR, has provided services to clients around the world.
Jessica Vozel – Guest Hook
Co-founder of Guest Hook, Jessica Vozel, is a selfless educator in this industry. She has traveled to many conferences and has provided educational materials for the short-term rental community for years. Her expertise helps owners around the world to tell better stories and create excitement and anticipation for guests.
Jill Mason – VRScheduler & Cleaning Certification
Founder and CEO of VRScheduler, a vacation rental housekeeping management software that automates cleaning processes, task management and staff operations. She’s been working with property managers and cleaning companies for over four years and she’s recently launched CleaningCertification.com, a certification program to help property managers and their staff to comply with new cleaning and disinfection protocols.
Joanne Greene – Reviews4You
After over 30 years in the hospitality industry, Joanne Greene discovered there was a link between positive reviews and revenue. That’s why she founded Reviews4You, a company that specializes in turning vacation rental reviews into increased revenue.
Kellie Bentz – Airbnb
Appointed in 2015 as Airbnb’s Head of Global Disaster Response and Relief, Kellie Bentz has helped revolutionize the way the platform can be used in times of crisis. Her role has directly impacted response efforts around the globe, which have so far allowed 3,100 hosts to give away 3,590 nights to those most in need.
Lali Grau – Lodgify
Lali Grau has been a driving force at Lodgify as Head of Finance for almost 5 years now. She has extensive experience in working in software companies and has worked with PE-backed startup companies. Some of her achievements include: being involved from the beginning in the Due Diligence process with Lodgify for our Series A investment, being in charge of the Group Finance Consolidation of an acquired startup (Golden Gekko) and guiding a company to a global merge with its parent company (DMI). A true inspiration at Lodgify!
Louise Brace – Rental Tonic
Louise Brace’s expertise lies in creating digital marketing channels for vacation rentals around the world. As well as over 15 years’ experience in the travel marketing industry, Brace is also the go-to expert on short-term rental regulations in Spain and owner of Rental Tonic. She has even appeared in The Sunday Times giving advice on how to maximize your vacation rental!
Margot Lee Schmorak – Hostfully
CEO and Co-founder of Hostfully, Margot has dedicated her professional career to developing on community-driven products that help bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and their customers. Prior to Hostfully, Margot led marketing initiatives for the first iPhone Developer Program and worked at ServiceSource as VP of Marketing and Strategy.
Megan McCrea – NASTRA
President of NASTRA, Megan McCrea was the fighting force behind the state of Tennessee, grandfathering in existing homeowners to run legal short-term rentals. She has and continues to be an unrecognized force in this industry. Her peers describe McCrea as a leader for good, a successful short-term rental owner, and a talented designer.
Mercedes Brennan – 1 Chic Retreat
More than an interior designer, Mercedes Brennan also knows all about marketing vacation rentals. Her website, 1 Chic Retreat helps educate owners on the specific design strategies that can increase website click rates and the guest experience to maximize their vacation rental ROI. As well as free resources and useful blog articles for any budding vacation rental professional, 1 Chic Retreat also offers tailored interior design advice on a one-to-one basis.
Nancy McAleer – Florida Rental By Owners
After years of frustration with OTAs, Nancy decided to co-found her own booking website, Florida Rental By Owners, a no booking fee website “Built By Owners FOR Vacation Rental Owners” with the goal to give full control back to the short-term rental host, homeowner, and property manager.
Noelia Novella – DOINN
CEO and Co-Founder of DOINN, an operations automation platform that connects short-term rentals with hotel service providers. DOINN handpicks licensed housekeeping services in each city and connects them with property managers to save money, protect guests, and increase productivity.
Paola Gheis – Luxury Rental Consulting
Paola is the founder and director of a consulting firm that specializes in marketing and communications of high-end vacation rentals. She’s also a property manager of The Villa Italy, a collection of exceptional villas in Italy.
Resha Shroff – Lynx
As the CEO and co-founder of Lynx, Resha Shroff is a strong representative for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the vacation rental industry. As well as being an engineer, Shroff is also a savvy businesswoman (a vacation rental host herself), and she started Lynx to help automate the mundane and time-consuming aspects of managing short-term rental properties.
Rocío Lane – Cleancio
Rocío Lane is the founder of Cleancio, a fast-growing and innovative startup that provides on-demand vacation rental cleaning services. Originally from Bolivia, Lane has a strong background in real estate, combined with a natural flair for entrepreneurship – as demonstrated through previous positions at companies like SpotHero.
Tyann Marcink – VR Mastered & Touch Stay
Considered the industry leader in vacation rental photography, Tyann Marcink also has the advantage of being a property owner herself. Her passion and expertise for what makes a good photo gallery have led her to co-found VR Mastered and Vacation Rental Boot Camp. In addition to all this, Marcink works at Touch Stay as Community Ambassador.
Vanessa De Souza Lage – Rentals United
Besides being the CMO and co-founder of channel managerRentals United, Vanessa de Souza Lage is also the founder and curator of VRTech Events. These invitation-only meetups bring together vacation rental industry leaders to help educate property owners and managers. In the past few years, VRTech has hosted these highly interactive events all over Europe but during the pandemic, they have shifted to online events.
Yaa Priscilla Birago – Femmebnb
Co-Founder and CEO of Femmebnb, a vacation rental platform and home-sharing network that helps women rent properties from other women to maximize protection. She’s also developed an AI-Powered Travel Companion that assists women in planning their trip from beginning to end.
In addition, Yaa is also the Co-Founder and President of the Hands of a Hero Foundation (HOHF), a non-profit organization that offers mentorship, leadership, and career development services to Canadian youth and children. Yaa received the Global Impact Award, Women’s Courage International Award and was named a Black Canadian Role Model and Top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada.
Yamaris Bonilla – Vacationhomehelp.com
Yamaris created VacationHomeHelp.com, a marketplace for vacation rental owners and cleaners in the Disney World destination market (Orlando, Florida). She founded the company after leaving Puerto Rico in aftermath of Hurricane Maria and has been creating opportunities for cleaners in the gig economy ever since!
Yvonne Halling – Bed & Breakfast Coach
Yvonne ran a Bed and Breakfast business for 17 years, in the Champagne region of France. She’s now a bed & breakfast consultant and helps other hospitality businesses worldwide grow using online tools and technology.
As this industry grows and evolves, we’re looking forward to getting to know more women who are helping to shape the future of vacation rentals. If you’d like to suggest an addition to this list, use the button below!