Kickstarter artwork project set up to showcase rental industry

US: An art project, funded through Kickstarter, has been set up to showcase everyone and everything in the vacation rental industry around the world.

Short Term Rental – Long Term Vision: A Look Inside the Vacation Rental Industry, which officially goes live today [25 August] here on the Kickstarter engine, has been jointly developed by vacation rental advocate and account executive at TRACK Hospitality Software, John Stokinger, and visual artist Jon Marro, who once presented the Dalai Lama with a gift of “Heart of His Holiness” for his 80th birthday.

A gift to the Dalai Lama [Credit: Jon Marro]
With the project, the high school friends wanted to capture the essence of the industry to restore hope and excitement for the future of travel, and pay homage to vacation rental professionals at the same time.

John Stokinger

In order to get the project off the ground, the pair have launched a crowdfunding page on the Kickstarter website, with the aim of reaching their $12,500 target in the next month. On top of that, if they successfully hit $55,000, they will be able to turn the project into a multimedia project complete with sound and animation that can be downloaded for free, thereby bringing it all to life.

Jon Marro

Kickstarter supporters can pledge money to the project via donations with a tiered reward system for those offering $15 or above.

Resembling the cross-section of a large dollhouse, each room will represent a different vacation destination with vacationers interacting in and between the rooms. In doing so, those within the vacation rental industry will be able to see through the eyes of the guests staying in a rental, but also through the eyes of all who make it possible.

Homeowners, property managers, maintenance teams, suppliers, housekeepers all play an intricate role and will be represented in the artwork. It will be presented in print form, or as cards or canvases, to hand out or hang on one’s wall.

Stokinger and Marro invited leading industry professionals to participate in a think tank to ensure that the voice of the industry was being accurately represented in the piece.

Below are some of the testimonies provided by the think tank industry leaders:

Susan [Soule] Blizzard, on the VRMA board of directors, said: “I love this project for so many reasons. It’s fantastic how the final work will be a visual representation of the great experiences families can have in vacation rentals.

“It’s something that can be shared with all vacation rental managers, their homeowners, and educate travellers that travel and vacations can not only be safe, but they can be more enjoyable than ever, in a cozy home away from home,” she added.

Koryn Okey, VP Client Experience at Breezeway, said: “Many discussions over the past six months have turned to the strength and heart within the vacation rental community; from long-established professional management companies and those just making the leap to suppliers dedicated to elevating the industry.

“The resilience of this community deserves to be recognised, and this project is the perfect way to do that. What greater way to push the focus past the unprecedented events of this year, and commemorate 2020 as the year that the industry joined together and to celebrate its commitment and heart,” she added.

Property manager Brittany Blackman said: “I love the vacation rental industry and when John shared his idea with us, I was thrilled to be able to support such an amazing initiative. The recent times have pushed us all past a limit we never thought possible and to see the industry come together through all of this in advocacy and education warms my heart.

“By showing communities, leaders and travellers that we are a sense of home, have complex businesses yet still provide such a relaxed state-of-mind experience and are humans working passionately to serve other humans, we will succeed in our mission in presenting ‘Short Term Rental – Long Term Vision’. Seeing this industry stand together, hand-in-hand, is something we will never forget and carry far into the future as a unified voice,” she added.

Annie Holcombe, revenue strategist at Lexicon Technologies, said: “I am excited at the possibility to tell the amazing story of vacation rentals to the world through artistic representation. Art is universal in terms of its ability to spark conversation and wonder, and vacation rentals encapsulate all the wonders the world can provide. No two are the same and each spark unique emotions and experiences.

“The time for the vacation rental community to come together has never been more necessary to shine a spotlight on the wonderful tapestry the people whose passion is at the centre of the industry. Having even a small part of this project is humbling when I consider the vastness of the industry,” she added.

Andrew M. [Dru] Brown, managing partner and co-founder at Island Time Hilton Head, and VRMA board of directors, said: “From the second I heard what John was putting together I was very intrigued. A fine art project for the vacation rental industry with a focus on all of us sounds amazing.

“I love the fact that the artwork will tell the story not only of the travellers staying in the homes we manage but also of everyone else behind the scenes that make it all happen. From property managers to homeowners to housekeepers and the vendors we rely on, it seems like they are all going to be represented. I am fully behind this project and can’t wait to see how it turns out,” he added.

Marro will begin to produce the artwork as soon as the project hits its $12,500 target and the base piece is expected to take between 30 and 40 days to complete. The timeline for delivery is scheduled for November 2020 for pieces that do not have custom elements and those with custom elements are scheduled for delivery in February 2021.

The pair said that they would also be donating a gallery wrapped 36″ x 48″ canvas of the finished artwork to VRMA for its Advocacy Fundraiser. The winning bid will be able to design one of the rooms, have their company logo on it, and have it signed by Marro.