Recently, I received an email that rocked my perception of the vacation rental industry. The email was unsolicited and randomly landed in my inbox without warning. In this beautiful email from Mary, I was privileged to get a rare glimpse of a highly personal memory.

The email included a cherished photograph, which she mentioned was her most treasured worldly possession. The photograph has no actual monetary value – it is simply a photo of a young family enjoying one of our town’s attractions. The photo that Mary sent me is above.

It has been over forty years, but this is not a forgotten memory. This snapshot is much more than a photo – it is a portal to the happiest time of her life.

She was a young mother and new wife. Time has slipped away and she is now advanced in years. Her husband has passed away and her daughter is grown with children of her own. The memory is real, it is vivid.

She has this memory because of dream makers. Dream makers built an attraction, hosted her young family, and gave them an incredible time. She clings to this memory now.

This email exchange got me thinking – what am I doing to ensure dreams and memories are being made? It is easy to put heads in beds, but I must do more. I will be a dream maker. I will help as many people like Mary as possible.

When people vacation, they are escaping reality. The average person will work 30+ days at a job for every day of vacation they take each year. Why do people vacation? The dream of breaking out of the mold of the norm and experiencing the exceptional for a period of time.

Exceptional family time. Beautiful memories. Experiences that will stand out in their mind decades from now. Dream fulfilled. This is why people vacation.

I used to believe our industry provided exceptional lodging for travelers.  I was wrong. This is a lie. Our industry creates dreams. People aren’t renting homes from us – they are buying dreams.

Life passes quickly. Individually and collectively we have the ability to make the world a better place. Our companies assist in the creation of precious memories. As an industry, we have the ability to make dreams come true.

Don’t settle. Don’t just rent out properties. Be exceptional.

Don’t minimize your role. You are not a reservationist. You are not a marketer. You are not the property manager. Your job is to make dreams come true and create memories.

You are the dream maker!