Year in Review and What's Ahead for VRM in 2019
Welcome to our monthly webinar series. On the VRM Insider webinar, you will find valuable vacation rental software education and industry topics. We hope that you will take time to join us each month on the second Thursday for this informative forum of issues that directly relate to you as a Virtual Resort Manager client, an industry partners, or a potential client.
This month, we have kicked the year off with a glance back and a long look ahead. Michael Hill, Virtual Resort Manager CEO, led the conversation about VRM's place in the travel industry during this past year and what exciting things are ahead for 2019. During the live webinar, Michael covered a variety of topics, including software updates and important changes.
Be sure to watch the replay below to hear the "bitter" and the "sweet" of the past year. You will also discover a few pieces of exciting news and VRM plans for the year to come.
2018 was a wonderful year at VRM filled with a lot of great moments and exciting things, as well as a few bitter and disappointing events.
Our 2018 Sweet List
We were excited to add seven new clients to the VRM family in 2018 and look forward to seeing their growth with the use of our software. At VRM, we are constantly developing and growing and we added several new ease of use features in 2018 such as multi photo upload and the VRMU Help Center. VRMU Help Center is a valuable source for our clients for any questions they may have regarding software use and features and also a place where we can share any public releases that go out, reports, and many other things.
Another exciting change that is on both our “bitter” and “sweet” list for 2018 is our integration with Airbnb, Inc. This is positive and exciting as we are moving forward as a company and we are happy to offer this feature to clients who choose to use it however, it took a really long time to integrate, which is why it was a bit bitter as well.
In 2018 we made many enhancements to our software such as bettering our readiness manager, confirmations, and security. We are excited about these enhancements and are always tailoring our software to remain the best in the business.
Along with all of of our wonderful “sweet” moments in 2018, there also came several “bitter” moments, the worst of which hit us in September and December. In September, we underwent an extended period of down time due to hardware failure. This was not a simple fix and it was time consuming to fix the hardware.
Our 2018 Bitter Moments
On December 4th, we were attacked by a ransom-ware virus. The type of ransom-ware that the hackers used to attack VRM is very new, which is why our system was unable to initially detect it. It’s important to note that this was a security breech, not a data breech. Unfortunately, our failover window was set at four hours and we missed the recovery window and access to our recovery environment.
For over 36 hours, our websites were down and we worked extremely hard to get everything back to working order. We had a plan in place in the event that this ever occurred and we were able to restore almost all of our data from back up, it was just very time consuming.
Although our ransom-ware attack was distressing, we were able to use it as a time of learning to help make VRM stronger and better than ever. We have since increased our failover window from 4 hours to 24 hours to provide ourselves a larger recovery window in the event that this happens again in the future.
What's Ahead for 2019
As you can see, 2018 was full of many great moments with a few not so great moments tucked in as well. We are so excited about 2019 and the many great things happening at VRM and would like to fill you in on what’s on the horizon for us.
Probably the biggest news in the New Year is that VRM made a deal and was bought by another company, Greater Sum Ventures, or GSV. Our owners, Pete and Jennifer Wenk, are working their way toward retirement and GSV checked all of the Wenk’s boxes that they were looking for in regards to selling their company, so a deal was made. The structure, values, employees, and excellent client services that we provide will not change. VRM will continue operating as usual and we have no plans to slow down. We are learning, growing, and improving every single day. Recently, we hired two new employees and we are optimistic and looking forward to the future.
There are several other changes happening right now, such as we are in the process of isolating our mail server and are moving forward with much stricter protocols. These security enhancements will exponentially benefit everyone involved. We have also made enhancements to our lead tracker as well as several other features. We have recently partnered with Logical, a channel manager, and we are excited about what this means for our clients. If you are unsure about portals and their functions, connect with us and learn how they can enhance your business.
We are aware of the recent and random performance issues that are unrelated to the December 4th events. We work diligently to correct these issues immediately when they happen and have learned how to quickly react and recover.
At the end of the day, we are here to serve our vacation rental software clients. It is an honor to have each of our valued clients as part of the VRM family. 2019 offers the opportunity to continue the legacy of superior customer service and a high quality product that will help to make your vacation rental company the very best. We look forward to being your partner in software, website, and marketing excellence.