May 23, 2013 Update
Dear Fellow Members:
We are writing to you to provide an update about the Vacation Rental Switch program.
VRMA launched its initiative to address and seek a solution to one of the biggest business challenges faced by our professional manager members: expensive distribution of vacation rentals through multiple third party channels that do not allow professional managers to showcase their company branding for properties they offer, or to differentiate their services from vacation rentals offered directly by property owners.
To provide a solution, at the beginning of 2011 VRMA requested third party proposals to provide a combination of technology and services we believed would be required to create and manage a customized Vacation Rental Switch program for our members. Following a competitive proposal process VRMA entered into a comprehensive "Services And Alliance Agreement" with Pegasus Solutions, Inc., a global travel technology company and the largest third party marketing and reservation provider in the world, to provide required technology and interfaces and, together with VRMA, to develop, implement and manage a customized Vacation Rental Switch program on behalf of VRMA and its members.
While both VRMA and Pegasus committed significant time and resources to implement the "Services And Alliance Agreement" and related agreements with our members and other third party providers, we encountered technical delays, resource requirements, and implementation challenges that were unforeseen at the inception of the Agreement. After careful review of the progress achieved to date and the implementation challenges remaining, VRMA and Pegasus have mutually agreed to terminate the "Services And Alliance Agreement" and other related agreements prior to their expiration in 2014. The VRMA will now explore seeking another third party provider to finalize and implement the Vacation Rental Switch.
While the implementation of the Vacation Rental Switch program has been more challenging and has taken longer than originally anticipated, we have learned a great deal from our experience to date, including a better understanding of the technology requirements and business relationships unique to our industry. VRMA has remained - and remains - steadfast in ensuring that any distribution option offered by the association protects VRM branding, enables a better consumer experience, and affordably facilitates easy, widespread distribution for vacation rental managers. Since announcing this initiative three years ago, the distribution landscape has changed substantially, and Pegasus' internal focus has shifted. We recognize - and share - the frustration that the Switch still is not available. But we know we must get it right.
When the National Association of Realtors made the commitment to standardize the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), not all REALTORS® thought they would participate. Now the MLS is a significant member benefit and branding for every REALTOR®. We believe that the Vacation Rental Switch will have much the same impact on the vacation rental industry.
We will keep you informed as we evaluate and pursue other business relationships to continue our progress with the Vacation Rental Switch program. If you have additional questions about the status of the program on a going forward basis, we invite you to view the Frequently Asked Questions section of our website.
We thank you for your dedication to VRMA and appreciate all you do to make it - and this industry - great.
Your VRMA Board of Directors