The number of women or female-identifying leaders in the multi-billion dollar Vacation Rental Industry has exploded in recent years and we are super excited to share 39 inspiring personalities featured on Lodgify’s 2022 list of women in the Vacation Rental Industry to coincide with International Women’s Day.
When we first compiled our list of industry heroines in 2018 we struggled to find seven names, so we are super excited about the meteoric rise of prominent women in the industry!
Despite yet another disruptive year, vacation rental businesses not only pulled through but in some areas grew beyond our wildest expectations. Read Lodgify’s 2021 U.S. Vacation Rental Industry Trends and Outlook Report to get the full picture. This resilience is in no small part thanks to the providers, services, and software solutions offering to make life easier for owners and managers who rent out properties to holidaymakers.
Amongst the providers are a rapidly growing number of admirable women making a real contribution to our industry. Not only do they champion the success of small business owners, but they play a key role in educating and inspiring upcoming professionals in this sector.
All the ladies on our 2022 list have at least one thing in common – they enjoy recognition from their peers as influential in their field.
Without further ado, let’s introduce the women making waves in our industry. This list is by no means exhaustive and we expect to add more names to the list in the coming years! Watch this space. By the way, if we’ve forgotten someone you think needs to be on our list, give us a shout.
Alex O. Husner & Annie Holcombe – Alex & Annie Podcast
With more than 35 years of combined experience in vacation rentals, Alex Husner and Annie Holcombe have teamed up to create the podcast Alex & Annie: The Real Women of Vacation Rentals. Together, they tell the stories behind the people and brands that have built vacation rentals into the 100 billion dollar industry it is today.
Aside from the podcast, Alex has led the strategic marketing and business development efforts for Condo-World since 2009. For her part, Annie, currently working as Director of Revenue and Client Acquisition at Lexicon Travel, has nearly 30 years of experience in hospitality and tourism, holding positions from Front Desk, Sales & Marketing and Owner Relations.
Angela Leone – Coconut Condos
Angela Leone is the owner of Coconut Condos, a property management services company in Maui. Coconut Condos was included in the list of 5,000 fastest-growing small businesses in the US economy by Inc. Magazine in August 2020 and also won “Vacation Rental Management Company of the Year” in the VRMA Excellence Awards in October 2021.
Starting as a home-based venture with one vacation rental (her own), Angela has expanded to a robust 10-person plus operation with 60 units on Maui. Coconut Condos has emerged as an industry leader, recognized for the quality of service, engagement of staff, and a commitment to give back to their community.
Audrey Leeds Miller – VRPOme.org
Audrey Leeds Miller has many feathers to her hat, including being the founding president of VRPOme.org (Vacation Rental Professionals of Maine, inc) uniting the VR managers in Maine.
She is also co-founder of Cottage Connection of Maine, Inc. – a vacation rental company offering a wide variety of vacation home rentals throughout the Midcoast region of Maine (the Boothbay Region and the Midcoast).
Carla Chicharro – Lodgify
Carla Chicharro has been Head of Marketing at Lodgify since 2021 after working in various marketing roles for the company since its inception in 2016. She grew the marketing team 225% (from 4 to 13) and played a key role in defining and developing Lodgify’s GTM, customer and brand strategy to maximize customer growth.
She is a passionate digital strategist with experience helping global companies and funded startups grow and maximize the power of storytelling through inbound marketing while creating relationships that contribute to long-term success.
Jodi Bourne – JodiBourne.com
Jodi Bourne is a vacation rental marketing consultant, web designer, content marketer and educator at JodiBourne.com. She helps vacation rental owners and property management companies build and grow independent businesses.
She´s known for building beautiful and modern vacation rental websites, consulting and coaching with owners and property managers, and sharing ideas and strategies for owners and managers who want to uplevel their business and book direct.
Julie Brinkman – Beyond
Julie Brinkman is the CEO of Beyond, a short-term rental revenue management platform. She joined the company in early 2020, before being appointed CEO in February 2021 and guided their response to the pandemic. Prior to this, she spent more than a decade in leadership positions at high-growth technology companies, including Groupon and Hireology.
Interestingly, 49% of the Beyond workforce are women and 44% of the leadership identify as female. Go, girls!
Noelle Randall – Nuurez.com
Noelle Randall has launched an equity crowdfunded vacation rental business called Nuurez.com that allows member investors to not only reap dividends from the performance of the company but also to enjoy discounts on vacation rentals across the gulf coast and Jamaica.
Nuurez takes the concept of location-sharing and temporary home rentals a step further. The company buys and leases a series of unique properties in prime locations and other territories that are highly attractive to their clients who travel constantly.
Sara Karakaian and Annette Grant – Thanks for Visiting
Sara Karakaian and her partner, Annette Grant, host a weekly podcast called Thanks for Visiting, Each week they interview someone involved in an aspect of short term rentals (STR). Additionally, they highlight other STRs every week that are doing things well and ask listeners to “heart” them in order to lift their search numbers.
They provide insights and information weekly through their podcast, website, and Facebook page. They also highlight properties at the start of each episode.
Established women leaders from our 2018-2021 lists
Our newcomers have made a strong impression, but we can’t forget all those inspiring women who have been leaving their mark on the industry during these last years. Let’s continue with the list of female leaders that have been featured in our ‘women in the vacation rental industry list’ since 2018 until today.
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 of VRM 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.
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 direct marketing 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 a 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.
Erica Muller – Vrolio
Erica Muller, a 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, the co-founder of Vacation Rental Formula, is known for being one of the veterans of the vacation rental industry. Her more than 20 years of 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 – Operto Teams
Jill Mason is the VP of Operto Teams, formerly VRScheduler, a vacation rental and housekeeping management software solution that enables property managers to streamline employee and task scheduling. Jill was the founder and CEO of VRScheduler until it was taken over by Operto in February 2022.
She’s worked with property managers and cleaning companies for over four years and 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.
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 of 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 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 & The Hospitality Creator
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.
She also runs The Hospitality Creator which helps other rental owners and managers stand out, connect with potential guests and provide an amazing guest experience once they arrive.
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 the 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 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 few years, VRTech has hosted these highly interactive events all over Europe but during the pandemic, they have shifted to online events.
Vered Ravid Schwarz – Guesty
Vered Ravid Schwarz is president and COO of Guesty, a property management platform for short-term and vacation rentals. She previously worked as COO for Fiverr. A lawyer by training, Veved´s early career also included stints at Kenshoo and Media Mind.
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!