The short-term vacation rental industry is thriving. It’s a sector which has witnessed a huge change in recent years, been disrupted more times than we can count and shows no signs of slowing down.

Inside this ecosystem, there is an almost endless number of providers, services and software which 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, they are also key players in educating upcoming professionals in this sector.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at seven 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!

Jessica Gillingham

Just one year ago, Jessica Gillingham decided to hone her PR expertise to focus solely on the niche industry of vacation rentals. And what a year it’s been! 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.

Amy Hinote

As the founder and editor of VRM Intel magazine, Amy Hinote, is responsible for one of the most respected publications in the vacation rental sphere. On February 7th, 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.

Kellie Bentz

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.

Vanessa de Souza Lage

Besides being the CMO and co-founder of channel manager, Rentals 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 year, VRTech has hosted these highly interactive events in Edinburgh, London, Rome, Paris and Barcelona.

Heather Bayer

Cottage Blogger Heather Bayer 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.

Mercedes Brennan

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.

Tyann Marcink

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 has led her to co-found VR Mastered and Vacation Rental Bootcamp. In addition to all this, Marcink recently joined Touch Stay as Community Ambassador and regularly speaks at industry conferences.

As this industry grows and evolves, we’re looking forward to getting to know more influencers 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!

What do you think about this article?

7 Women Who are Making Waves in the Vacation Rental Industry
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(4) Comments
  1. John Reply

    I’d like to include my incredibly talented colleague Vicky Payne in this list. As anyone that has spoken to her will know, she’s incredibly knowledgable of the industry – even though she’s still fresh to it. Vicky’s expertise have helped hundreds of hosts and VR owners around the world make more money from every booking. You can find her here:

    • Jess Ashworth Reply

      Hi John,

      Thanks so much for your suggestion. Due to the amazing feedback we’ve received from this article, we’ve decided to open the floor for nominations. Could I please ask you to nominate Vicky using this link? Thanks so much!


  2. Heather Bayer Reply

    Thank you so much for the mention Jess – I am honoured to be included.

    I would recommend adding April Salter to this list. An owner and founder of the Say No to VRBO group on Facebook, she is also the Chair of AVROA (the Association of Vacation Rental Operators and Affiliates). Over the last 18 months, April has worked tirelessly to launch AVROA as a non-profit and boost its credibility as the assocation for representing independent owners as well as property managers. Her knowledge of public relations and working with non-profits has been an enormous benefit to AVROA.

    • Jess Ashworth Reply

      It’s our pleasure, Heather! And thank you so much for the recommendation of April Salter for our inspiring women list – she sounds like a great addition! Could you possibly provide us with a few more details at the following link? – thanks a bunch!


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