In a world filled with vacation rental listings, there was one woman who dared to redefine accessibility. What started as a personal journey for Lorraine Woodward became a mission to create lasting change. She discovered the unexpected twist in the vacation rental industry, where accessibility went far beyond the confines of wheelchair ramps. With her platform, she is inspiring hosts and owners to make simple changes that can transform the lives of countless individuals. But what kind of impact can these changes truly have? Stay tuned as we unravel the incredible story of Lorraine Woodward and the power of accessibility in vacation rentals.
Our goal is to provide a one-stop shop for finding accessible vacation rental properties, so that everyone, regardless of their disability, can have the opportunity to create lasting memories with their loved ones. – Lorraine Woodward
In this episode, you will be able to:
- Enhance the experience for all guests by improving accessibility in your vacation rental accommodations.
- Increase bookings and attract a wider range of guests by providing descriptive filters for accessible accommodations.
- Create a more welcoming environment for guests with cognitive disabilities by implementing simple changes in your vacation rentals.
- Boost your rental’s appeal and make a positive impact by prioritizing inclusivity in your vacation rental accommodations.
- Stand out from the competition and cater to a growing market by offering vacation rentals that are accessible for everyone.
My special guest this week is Lorraine Woodward. Lorraine is the Creative Energy Officer and founder of Becoming rentABLE. With a lifelong passion for advocacy and a personal experience with muscular dystrophy, Lorraine has dedicated her career to improving accessibility in the hospitality industry. Her expertise shines through as she works tirelessly to educate and empower vacation rental owners and hosts on making simple changes for improved accessibility. Lorraine’s unique perspective and commitment to inclusivity have made her a trailblazer in the field, and her platform, Becoming rentABLE, serves as a valuable resource for those looking to create positive and memorable experiences for guests with disabilities. Get ready to be inspired by Lorraine’s story and gain valuable insights on how to make your vacation rental more accessible on this episode of the Direct Booking Success podcast.
Connect with Lorraine at: https://www.becomingrentable.com
The key moments in this episode are:
00:00:08 – Introduction
00:01:23 – Lorraine’s Background
00:03:19 – Becoming Rentable Platform
00:06:09 – How Becoming Rentable Started
00:11:59 – Expanding Accessibility
00:16:26 – Airbnb’s Filter Changes
00:17:33 – Expanding Accessibility with Other Booking Platforms
00:18:40 – Understanding the ADA and its Application
00:20:59 – Taking a Quiz for Accessibility Certification
00:25:26 – Expanding Accessibility to Cognitive Disabilities
00:33:33 – Accessibility in Hotels vs. Short-Term Rentals
00:35:03 – Making a Difference with Accessible Rentals
00:37:17 – The Importance of Recognizing Accessible Rentals
00:38:22 – Going Global with Accessible Rentals
00:39:57 – Creating Social Change through Direct Booking
Show notes are available at: https://directbookingsuccess.com/podcast/
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00:00:32 - Jenn Boyles
Hello and welcome to another episode of Direct Booking Success. I'm Jenn Boyles, your host, and today I have Lorraine Woodward with me. Now, Lorraine is the Creative Energy Officer and founder of Becoming rentABLE. Welcome, Lorraine.
00:00:50 - Lorraine Woodward
Thank you. I'm so happy to be here.
00:00:54 - Jenn Boyles
Please, can you tell us a little bit about who you are?
00:00:56 - Lorraine Woodward
Oh, my goodness. I am a woman that is 61 years old. I love Snoopy. I'm a huge Duke Blue Devils fan. I really like sweets and carbs a lot. And I am the proud mother of two amazing boys, a great husband, and two coon cats.
00:01:21 - Jenn Boyles
Coon cats? Oh, my goodness.
00:01:23 - Lorraine Woodward
Yes. And by the way, I happen to have a disability. I have muscular dystrophy, and advocacy has been a way of life for me my whole career.
00:01:33 - Jenn Boyles
Well, this conversation is a long time coming. I know we've both been circling each other, and I keep seeing your content on social media and LinkedIn and thinking. I really need to talk to her.
And finally we've connected because I don't know anybody else in hospitality that is doing what you're doing. And we've spoken before, and it's just so important. So I'm just so excited about this episode today.
00:01:58 - Lorraine Woodward
Thank you. I'm really happy to be here. This is how we create change, and this is what it's all about.
00:02:04 - Jenn Boyles
That's exactly it. Okay, so let's start with Direct Booking Success.
00:02:10 - Lorraine Woodward
What exactly is it?
00:02:12 - Jenn Boyles
And then I want to go into how it came about.
00:02:15 - Lorraine Woodward
Can you talk about the platform? Sure. We are a listing platform, kind of a single source reference to all things in the short term rental industry, focused on accessibility. Now, historically, we know that accessibility in the short term rental industry has been about wheelchair access. And I get it. I'm in a wheelchair. I'm all about that access. But you know what? I want to bring my friends and family members and colleagues on travel experiences and vacations and work. We identify on our platform accessible short term rental properties. Right now, in the area of mobility, we provide education. What the heck does a zero threshold entry mean? What does an accessible short term rental look like? So we really are looking to expand what it means to have an accessible short term rental in this industry.
00:03:19 - Jenn Boyles
00:03:20 - Lorraine Woodward
00:03:20 - Jenn Boyles
No, I've not come across this. So you have to be the only ones doing it, which is actually quite amazing when you think about it. And I know you've got the stats at your fingertips. I do.
00:03:34 - Lorraine Woodward
I mean, it is crazy. We're going into 2024. I started my advocacy work, I hate to say it, about 50 some odd years ago, I was those kids with muscular dystrophy that did the backyard carnivals to raise money for the muscular dystrophy association. And then in middle school, I was advocating for myself, and then in high school and then in college before yes, I know. I got accepted to a fabulous college in Arkansas, Hendrix College. It's a liberal arts school. And so once I got accepted, I heard that they had a board meeting, so I couldn't get into the president's hall where the meeting was held. So I was in a wheelchair and sat out at the steps and welcomed every board member to their meeting to say, I would love to be a part of that meeting and tell you how excited I am about this school, but I can't get into the building to tell you about that. So as you're in the meeting, I hope you'll think a lot about me sitting outside and how I can join you. I know.
00:04:46 - Jenn Boyles
00:04:47 - Lorraine Woodward
And how old were you? Were you 1818.
00:04:51 - Jenn Boyles
That's given me goosebumps. That has actually given me goosebumps.
00:04:55 - Lorraine Woodward
And so I'm not afraid of going, hello. I'm not afraid of slapping people around, not really like that. But I'm trying to think of the word that somebody called me not an instigator, but something else. But anyway, I'm like, this is what we have to do. If you don't have a disability, if you don't have a friend or a family member, you don't understand. And again, this is a great school. It's predominantly for law and medicine. It's just a great school. But they didn't think about accessibility, and they have since become more accessible. They still have a ways to go, as we all do. But as we look at such an important part of our lives in travel and vacations and now work, that you can work from home, in a way, I'm appalled, but I'm really excited for our company that globally, we're the only ones doing this. And I know it's hopefully a matter of time that we'll see more and more and we are seeing more and more accessibility. It's just not the broadness that I want to see.
00:06:02 - Jenn Boyles
Okay, well, let's go into the background and how this came to be. You've been an advocate for your whole life, and it sounds like you've been opening people's eyes, and I can see you sitting outside of that board meeting, and they're sitting there going, yeah, that's something we haven't thought about. And it's not like they're bad people. They just haven't thought about it yet. And they needed you to come along and say, hey, right, think about this, please. I cannot physically get in the door, and we all need a seat at the table.
00:06:44 - Lorraine Woodward
Yes, we do. It's interesting that you say that, because I was listening to another podcast with the head of Vicasa, and he was talking about how important short term rentals are, particularly at the dining room table, and how these conversations take place and how so many memories are made at that dining room table in the kitchen and the living room. And it's known, we want to sit at that table. We want to go into your short term rental and eat that yummy pizza or that Chinese food or somebody that has made an incredible empanada, but can we get there? And that's the challenge that we have is how do we become a natural part of this process so that we can have a seat at the table? And I totally forget what your question was, because I'm like, how did this come about?
00:07:49 - Jenn Boyles
How did it come about?
00:07:50 - Lorraine Woodward
Yeah. How did it come about? Disability has been a way of life personally, but professionally. I worked for my congressman in DC. I worked for a hospital. I worked for a TV station. I owned a communications firm for 30 years, all based on health care and disability. And so finally, I'm like, all right, I'm going to retire. Well, it really didn't last long. My boys are graduating high school and going into college. And in the beginning, we tried the travel part. We did the Disney thing, but Disney has only two tie downs on their vans, on their buses, and there are three of us. So my husband and I had to fight and conquer. Well, when you have a small child and you're going into, you know, you might be waiting for that party to come. And it was an idea. Let me just interrupt.
00:08:40 - Jenn Boyles
So both your boys are in.
00:08:41 - Lorraine Woodward
Both my boys have muscular dystrophy, yes. Right. And yourself and I do the boys. Nathan is finishing up his PhD and is still mobile. We use wheelchairs. The boys use wheelchairs and so not daily use wheelchairs. So when we were at Disney, they had their chairs because there was a lot of walking and they could so, yes, I have two boys with muscular dystrophy. It's so interesting because I just think of my boys going, oh, my gosh, Nathan is finishing up his PhD. He's doing these really cool things. Alexander just graduated from college. I don't think about their disability. Yes, of course not. But when we're talking about how this started, we're talking about a family of.
00:09:27 - Jenn Boyles
Four, and three of them are in.
00:09:29 - Lorraine Woodward
You know, I thought we really know we are, but not in that, so but I wanted my boys to have vacation. So ultimately we built a family vacation home about 3 hours from where I live in Raleigh, North Carolina, which is Carolina Beach. And then we created it's a three story unit with a second floor that's devoted to short term rental. And so I am turning 60 at this particular time, and I go, okay, I want one more hurrah in my career. What is it? It's like, what brings you joy what brings you happiness? It's like, my renters I love my renters. And my renters are 95% families with a family member having a disability. And I get to experience these AHA moments for the families that they get to be families. They get to have memories. Like, we all want to have memories because they have a place that they can travel. And we've had over 400 families in our short term rental in the last eight years. And it's like, this is crazy that my families are traveling two and a half days just to get to our property, or they've waited 28 years to find a property like this. It's just mind boggling. We've got to change this. And it's like, okay, that's what I want to do. I want to get into the short term rental industry to share information and to educate so that this impact can happen to families all over the United States. And so my idea was a TV show. So, yes, we've pivoted along the way, two and a half years. But owning a communications firm, it's like television was part of our experience, and it's like, okay, that's how we can reach the masses. Okay, we're going to do that. I called some friends. I called a producer. Everybody's like yeah. And we start the research. It's like, we've got to have validation first. That what our thoughts are, are actually what the needs are. So we did a survey, and we ended up working with some national groups muscular dystrophy, Easter Seals, United cerebral Palsy groups, where their population that they serve could benefit from an accessible short. And that's when we found out, wait a minute. It's not just about us in wheelchairs. It's about other people with different kinds of disabilities. Walkers. That's a tough one because we promote accessible properties, and somebody in a wheelchair goes, wait a minute. Question this morning from somebody. Why are you calling that accessible property? There's not a grab rail behind the toilet. And I'm like, you know what? It's all about choices. And for me, having a hoyer lift, I don't need that grab rail. And so I wouldn't look for a property with that rail. But my son, he needs that grab rail to push himself off, to stand up, and so he would need that. And so as we look at accessibilities, we look at what are our choices so that we can find a property that meets our needs? And so then we're going, okay, the TV show may not work, but we need to start looking at properties and education. And that's how we've pivoted a lot of times as entrepreneurs to create what is meeting the needs of our customers, and that is people with disabilities in the mobility area, which is our walkers, crutches, and canes and wheelchairs. We have our cognitive community, which is Alzheimer's, the dementia anxiety, our autism, and then our vision and hearing. And then lastly, we focus on our aging because they take it all. A little bit of this and a little bit of that, and voila, they have what they need. And so that's how we got started.
00:13:29 - Jenn Boyles
No, it's an incredible journey, and it's only been a few years, and I'm so astounded by what you've created already. So it's Direct Booking Success. You've got the education, but it's also a listing site for people to go on, to look for an accessible home for them to stay in.
00:13:50 - Lorraine Woodward
Exactly. The reason that we're a listing platform is, in our opinion, we haven't found anybody that does this right yet except us. We have 43 filters so that if your family member has autism, you can identify what features you need in that property. It's a laborious process, looking for a property that meets your needs because there aren't those choices. Sometimes a booking platform and a booking direct property, a has no information about their accessibility, or they say, we have an elevator, or we're wheelchair accessible, but what does that mean? And you look at 20 properties and 30 properties, then you go to another platform and you look, and then you go somewhere else. And so we have 111 platforms on our website so that you don't have to toggle between this site and this site and this site. And if you're an individual property and that you're not listed on a traditional platform, you can post your property if it's accessible and goes through our certification on our platform. So that it really is an incredible service that it's kind of like this one Stop Shop for finding. And we're only specific to accessibility. That's another distinguishing element of who we are. We are not looking at properties that are yurts or boats or different one story. We're looking for property that will meet the needs of an underserved market in our underserved market, the disability community.
00:15:34 - Jenn Boyles
Yes. And I love what you say about it's, about choices. It depends on what your needs are and what you would like in that property. And I love all those filters that you can then narrow it down. I think that is great. What are the OTAs? What is Airbnb booking.com verbo doing in.
00:15:56 - Lorraine Woodward
This is the start. When we started, Airbnb reached out to me. Our property was listed on their site and in a mean accessible property. And they said, hey, we would love to promote your property and what you're doing and how can we work together? They bought a company out of London called Commodable, and so they were the first booking platform specific to wheelchair accessibility in London. That team started working with them, but then Airbnb changed their filters to like, they were at 24, then they went to seven, and now they're at 13. But they're very broad. It's like accessible door. Well, what does that mean? We're looking for a descriptive filter. It's a 32 inch door. It's a 36 inch door. It is a hard surface driveway. It's very detailed of what it means. So Airbnb has the most filters, but it's still a laborious process. Other booking platforms have minimal. It's wheelchair accessible is an elevator. I'm happy to say we are working with Expedia and looking forward to expanding what they're doing in the short term rental industry. We are slowly working with property managers and OTAs in understanding it was interesting. I was at a conference in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, and it was targeted managers. And so me being the shy person that I went to, I understood what the colors of their lanyards were. And if you had a blue lanyard, then you were a property manager. So I would wheel up to them and say, hi, here's who I am. Talk to me about your accessibility on your form. What do you have? And it's like nothing. Why? And I said, well, have you thought about featuring or bringing out that you have a hard service driveway? No. And so I'd go through the questions and they're like, I'll have you talk to somebody else. And then I found out the biggest question was legal. People were afraid to have these filters because they were going to be sued because they did not meet Ada qualifications. Now, we're in the process of doing a very extensive piece on the Ada, but bottom line, the Ada has minimal areas for the short term rental industry.
00:18:35 - Jenn Boyles
And what does the Ada stand for?
00:18:38 - Lorraine Woodward
Americans with Disabilities Act. It was created two years ago. It's for state and federal agencies in accommodating for our disability community. Now, in the lodging area, we see Ada applying to hotels because of the number of rooms that they have versus in the short term rental industry, it only applies if you have six units or more. So, again, if you are a property owner like me, we have two different properties. They're not in the same geographic area. It doesn't apply to me. The only thing that really applies to somebody that has a short term rental is a service dog. And the service dog is written into the law that says it is a working animal. Trained and working animal. Now, if you have an emotional support dog that is not trained, therefore you don't have to allow that animal on your property. But because it's a trained, working animal, you do in the short term rental. If somebody says, I want to bring my service dog, you have to allow that by law. So that's the only way that it applies. And so it was really an eye opener going to this conference and hearing what the greatest fear was. And I'm like you're afraid of the ada. No, it's a lack of information. Again, that's what our job is. Our job is to share that. If you have one step, you can have an accessible property because it could be you're a Walker friendly property, because a walker. Somebody with a walker can commonly get that one step, five, maybe not so much. So we have a free quiz on our website. So you can take the quiz as many times as you want for as many properties as you want that ask you questions to qualify you if you have an accessible mobility property. And so we encourage people to take that quiz.
00:20:54 - Jenn Boyles
I'll put that link in the show notes. I think that would be really great. I would love to get into this because I think when we're thinking about accessibility, we automatically think, or at least I do, mobility issues. Wheelchairs.
00:21:10 - Lorraine Woodward
00:21:11 - Jenn Boyles
You know, and my rental is in Liverpool, England.
00:21:15 - Lorraine Woodward
It's a boat.
00:21:16 - Jenn Boyles
It is definitely not wheelchair accessible. And so I've never thought about other disabilities, but I've had kids with autism come with their families. But so of know this is an amazing experience for them to be on the water and whatnot. And I had somebody email me the other day saying they have two children, both with autism and they both have support animals. Can they come?
00:21:45 - Lorraine Woodward
00:21:46 - Jenn Boyles
I wrote them back and I said all children are welcome and all pets are welcome. That's just the way it is on our boat. So I'm looking forward to hosting them because I guess they feel it's a safe space. So I'd love to get into that more with you about the broader scope of accessibility beyond wheelchair.
00:22:11 - Lorraine Woodward
So, autism is a great example. We will be rolling out our cognitive certification efforts in November, just next month. And right now the area of autism and cognitive disabilities is not an area that the short term rental industry has included. We've lot of education to do. And the great thing about the work that we're doing in the cognitive area, it's not a scene disability. So physically you can see the wheelchair, the walker, the crutches, but with a cognitive issue, you're going, okay, what do I need? So there's a lot of room for education and it's not about tearing down walls. It's not always about how much it's going to cost to make something accessible. For example, it can be in regard to scents when you have as in not like dollars and cents, but smelling odor scents, right? Well, I'm from North Carolina, so sometimes I have a draw. I try not to southern draw, I love it. Listen to me. But it's like do you have an odor free laundry detergent? Put that in your description because that's really important. Do you have a 400 count thread count on your linens? Because texture is something that's very important to a lot of people on the spectrum. Do you have a TV that is anchored to the wall? Because again, for safety reasons, for most of your renters, but particularly with kids with autism, will use the TV as a tool to calm them. So we look at that, we look at color, hues, some softer colors are easier for some people on the spectrum to process. We look at lighting. Is there a space that you have dimmers or that somebody that can go to and relax and feel calm? So there's a lot of information about what triggers somebody with dementia and Alzheimer's and somebody with an intellectual disability or autism. And again, it's getting that information out, including it in your description. People can know for us because it's not visual. We will have a pledge. So when people are certified that they have blackout curtains, they don't have a lot of chotskies around and they look at what equals an autism or cognitive friendly property, they will have to take a pledge to say, yes, we do lock our chemicals. Yes, we do not use scented detergent. And these things are true. That's part of the challenge, that some people who've wanted to get into this space have it because they don't know how to go about it with autism. In the whole cognitive area, we've been reaching out and talking to experts globally of what this means. I know the mobility side personally, professionally, got it, but not so much the cognitive. So this is changing our industry and it's going to be changing families lives instrumentally, and that's why it's so important to go, wow, this is all it takes is putting a dimmer. Here an extra lock. It's $5. People are like, Why do you need extra lock? Well, people with cognitive issues sometimes are roamers, and so you have a secondary lock. It can be a chain lock, it can be a slide lock that's at the five foot mark, they unlock the first lock and it's all of a sudden you hear this noise going, Lorraine, no, this is not the time. We're going to go outside. We'll go outside later, but right now we're staying inside. And so there are those little things like that that can make a huge difference in reaching families who have struggled in being able to take a vacation.
00:26:22 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, no, I love it and I love everything you're talking about. And I know that I told you this previously, but my father has been diagnosed with dementia, and it's one of the reasons that I have moved home to Canada to be with my parents and to help. I also have a crazy daughter, so it's energetic, nutty, seven year old, so it's good for her to be with her grandparents as well. But I'm looking at our future, too. And my dad is a retired hotel manager, so travels in his blood and hospitality. And there's going to be the time where we're not going to be able to take him anywhere, which is really sad. So to know that there would be people out there that would be creating their vacation rental, their short term rental, in a way that would be safe for us to take him, it just fills my heart. That is just amazing. But I don't want anybody who's listening to this go, oh my gosh. There's just so much to take in because it's again about choices. It's again about what you and your property can offer different types of people. You don't have to go it's like sustainability.
00:27:40 - Lorraine Woodward
You don't have to go across the.
00:27:41 - Jenn Boyles
Board right away and do everything. It's start with what is. And I think your quiz sounds like the perfect place to actually start. There that starting point. But is there anything else you can tell to people who are listening to this and going, okay, my eyes are open. This is amazing. I need to do more. What should they start with?
00:28:02 - Lorraine Woodward
They should start with going to our website. We have a plethora of information. And you're absolutely right, though, it's not about having it all because you don't need it all. You just need to share what you do have so that the people that are looking for a short term rental can go, this is exactly what I need. And they read it and they see it with photographs. And when you're taking pictures, remember, some of us in wheelchairs, we want to know what's on the floor. So it's not just about the waste photographs. And that's a change that you can make that costs nothing. Putting words in your description that are descriptive, that identify all of these different types of amenities, one of my favorite amenities that people going really is if you have a blender, say that you have a blender. It's not always about daiquiris and margaritas, but for people who have new dentures, people who use a feeding tube, it's that one less thing that renter has to bring. And with a young child, you bring so much stuff, your car is just totally packed. So if you have a closet, we call it an Able closet, that you can put a $100 plastic shower chair in that it's not out all the time and you have it in your description, then you can make it available. A small ramp, it's like, Well, I have two steps. I guess I'm not accessible. It's like, well, why aren't you? You can go buy $120 ramp. Going to be one day of rent out of 360 days that you've just recouped your money because you've got more people. You're broadening your audience. And speaking of numbers, in the United States, and that's where we're focused, and actually we have our first property in Canada. Go, canada come to Direct Booking Success. But in the United States, we have over, like, 2.3 million short term rental properties that we know of, and of those, 0.4% is accessible. That's 1300. If you amortize that among 50 states. There are substats that only have a few properties, but it covers a whole state. Even Florida, we have less than 100 properties. I had somebody reach out to me, and let's say they wanted to go to Fort Myers, and they were like, there's no properties in Fort Myers. How can that be? And it's like because people aren't thinking about these features that they already have. Yes, we have counter lightings, yes, we have a blender, but those are aspects of people who are visually impaired. Somebody that is deaf, they need that extra lighting so they can read lips or they're not blind, but they need that light so they can use a magnifying glass to read what's on how to microwave that lasagna or whatever they're going to do. Well, that's right.
00:31:11 - Jenn Boyles
And when we think about the direct booking side of these things and the property manager and the owner operator, this is a niche that is out there that is so many people who are wanting these accessible properties. And yeah, like you said, starting with what you've already got and looking into what you could do to enhance it and telling people, but the OTAs aren't on this from what you've said. And it's another way to stand out for property managers, for them to stand out in a sea of accommodation. And it's another niche, a very important one.
00:31:55 - Lorraine Woodward
It is important. But you know what? It's good business. There are $658,000,000,000 in the United States alone that is not being spent on travel. And I tell you, my biggest tip for all your listeners is if you want to get into this rental industry or you're already in it, you want to have a bigger portfolio, have an accessible short term rental property near a hospital because it's a huge need. Two states have already said they would name a road after me if we could get short term accessible properties near hospitals because they're just not there. And it's just emotionally very hard on families, particularly after a procedure or before an early morning doctor's visit. And they're traveling 6 hours away to get there. Everybody's exhausted and tired, and they're not going to have the best experience. There are needs all over the places. I was invited to speak at a conference and I looked at their properties and there were no accessible short term rentals. I am doing the presentation virtually, which is fine and great, but it's interesting as we look at big cities and small towns. You want to go to those weddings and funerals and bar mitzvahs and all the things that add to our whole life experience, but we just need these five things in accessible rental, but we can't find them because people aren't them and telling them about it.
00:33:30 - Jenn Boyles
And I guess there are hotels. There are hotels and I guess they must be ahead of short term rentals. Are they in what they're doing for accessibility?
00:33:42 - Lorraine Woodward
Well, you know what? Yes and no. And the reason being is a hotel, a may have only so many rooms that are designated for accessibility. Commonly, again, the needs are different. Hotels aren't always a great source for people with cognitive issues, particularly our families with autism. But from. A mobility standpoint. There are a lot of platform beds. I happen to use a hoyer lift, so my hoyer lift has to roll underneath a bed. And a lot of hotels, I can't do that. They say they have a roll in shower, but there's a three inch, four inch, five inch lip a step in. That's not going to work for me because we've got to roll me in or roll your lift in to take a shower. So again, those little things become obsolete in staying at a hotel. And so the short term rental does provide just another opportunity for those of us who have different needs to be able to travel. There's a place for hotels, without a doubt. In fact, the hotel industry is the numbers are showing that hotel industry is getting into the short term rental industry because the increase in short term rental is far exceeding what we're seeing in the hotel world. Yeah.
00:35:01 - Jenn Boyles
So I think everyone listening to this. This is a way that you can really stand out. It's a way that you can by going through Lorraine's quiz and finding out what you're doing and making sure that you're sharing that information so that those with all different disabilities or needs can then see themselves at your place and decide if that is the right fit for them. It really sounds like a win win. And I love your idea know, being near a hospital too, because of know, you need accommodation for families and those traveling for appointments. And I think that there's places like Ronald McDonald house, but those aren't always available.
00:35:53 - Lorraine Woodward
So a, it's good business, b, it feels really good to make a difference in an area that I didn't think about until recently. I was contacted with one of our properties and father was diagnosed with a cancer. They anticipated four months for him to live. The family had a small house. They didn't have a place to put the hospital bed. Hospice said we have to have a hospital bed. So they reached out to me and said, can we bring a hospital bed? And I'm like, Why? And I said, we have two. And it's like you do? And I said, yeah, we have two hospital beds and we have the rolling shower and we have the shower chair. And they're like, oh my gosh. So they ended up renting from us not having to bring a thing except their clothes and their food and their dog. And so the family spent the next 14 days loving on don, the dad who passed away. So they would have spent those 14 days he didn't live for four months. It was just 14 days on getting their house ready and then he would have passed away. And so what a gift to be able to give this family. And in fact, the family was so appreciative. I'm leaning over to get a piece of artwork that they sent me and a thank you note about how much it meant to them. And it's like, yes, we're in this to make money, that's bottom line. But there's another aspect of what we're doing and an important one and it changed this family's life and I'm so proud that we were able to provide that for the family and a lot of us can do that. So there's also the feel good about it, knowing that what you're doing is needed and is important.
00:37:37 - Jenn Boyles
And I'm glad you're being recognized for all the good you were doing in the world. And Little Birdie told me that you've just been given an award.
00:37:46 - Lorraine Woodward
Yes, we are so thrilled and honored to accept the Dei Impact Award from the Vacation Rental Management International Association for our industry in the short term rental. So we're just surprised, shocked, thrilled and affirmed that what we're doing is needed and important and now it's being recognized. So thank you.
00:38:13 - Jenn Boyles
VRMA yeah, that's amazing. Just one more question about Direct Booking Success. I know that you're focused in the States because that's where you are. We've got a property in Canada.
00:38:24 - Lorraine Woodward
Are you looking to go worldwide? We're not looking, but we are going know from the very beginning I would get calls like from Know, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands going we need you. And it's like, wait a minute, you all do this better than we do in the like. But no, no, we need this source, we need this information. We need so we have been fortunate to be working with Expedia and the Verbo team and we'll be doing some educational work with them this next year and we are now in North America thanks to Canada and we'll be going global next year. So really excited about that.
00:39:07 - Jenn Boyles
00:39:08 - Lorraine Woodward
Yeah. And the whole book Direct community too. We're excited because this is an area that hasn't been recognized and how we all can increase inventory and bookings and fill those calendars, I mean that's kind of the name of the game these days. But it's not just filling calendars but it's filling memories and experiences and that's a great thing.
00:39:35 - Jenn Boyles
It is a great thing. So can I ask you, what does Direct Booking Success mean to you?
00:39:43 - Lorraine Woodward
It means providing these life experiences, increasing the employment opportunities for people with disabilities who have to travel and haven't thought about that career because of travel. It's only met commonly in hotels. It is providing again these life experiences. This is something that can't be done by one area, but together is when we're going to create the social change and it's by having the book Direct and our platform bookings and our whole industry to get behind this so we can see a global social change. And the only way we're going to do it is by working together.
00:40:28 - Jenn Boyles
Well, thank you Lorraine, thank you so much for coming on Direct Booking Success. I'm going to put the link to your website which is becomingrentable.com. And I've put a link to the amazing quiz on there as well. Is there anywhere else that our listeners can connect with you?
00:40:49 - Lorraine Woodward
They can connect. We're on Facebook and LinkedIn and TikTok and all the social media, so just look us up. Follow us. Oh, my gosh. We need followers. That's a big deal these days. I'm like, all right, come talk to us, send me an email. And we really are looking about how we can work together and make a change, so I hope people will reach out.
00:41:12 - Jenn Boyles
Thanks, Lorraine. Thank you so much for coming on.
00:41:15 - Lorraine Woodward