The Trip: Portland, Oregon
The Travelers: Julia Whipple, Director of Marketing | Kelly Helms, Sales and Marketing Lead Prospector | Sasha Lawler, Product Sales Specialists
Bluetent attended the VRMA Western Regional Conference in Portland, Oregon. What are the top 3 takeaways from the event?
It was the energy and excitement focused on improving the guest experience, creating a diverse distribution and robust direct-booking strategy, and embracing modern technology to create sustainable growth.
What was the best moment from the event?
The best moment (or series of moments) was getting to know each other. We have worked alongside one another for months, but we rarely have a chance to connect outside of work. So traveling together was such an excellent opportunity to learn more about one another!
Kelly- I’ve found that the quickest way to get to know someone is by traveling with them and between traveling to a new city, staying in an adorable vacation rental, and tirelessly representing Bluetent at the conference booth, we had ample opportunity to learn more about each other!
What was one highlight of the trip?
Connecting with so many of our clients and partners in Portland. It’s always so special and meaningful to spend time with people who we virtually work with on a daily basis in person.
Julia – An unexpected highlight was how much I loved Portland – such a great city with so much character, delicious food, and friendly, welcoming people.
Kelly – As the new girl on the team, it was invaluable to have the opportunity to meet with so many customers, partners, and industry professionals face-to-face!
The team had an opportunity to stay in one of Portland’s many vacation rentals. What was the experience like to stay in a professional vacation rental?
We couldn’t have had a better experience. We stayed at a beautiful, historic home which sat perched on a hill overlooking the city of Portland. It was just a brisk 1-mile walk to the conference or a short Uber ride. We loved our hosts who were so accommodating and thoughtful. They took the time to walk us through the house, showed us all the extensive amenities and made sure we had all we needed – including insider tips to travel to the venue faster than what was listed on Google Maps.
What made the experience different compared to other accommodations the team has stayed in?
We typically stay at the event venue, which is always convenient. However, staying in a vacation rental allowed us to get to know the city and experience Portland like locals. We had private space to regroup after busy and long days, we were able to stock up on healthy snacks, breakfasts, and beverages at a nearby Whole Foods, and we saw a different neighborhood, which we would have never visited otherwise.
What did the team enjoy the most about booking with a professional vacation rental manager?
The house was gorgeous, had so much character and history, and was impeccable. Our hosts were also thoughtful and made sure we had everything we needed during the stay – all strong differentiators of staying with a professional manager.
Did you find any sites or activities off the beaten track? What made them special?
We, unfortunately, didn’t get to venture too much around Portland. However, we decided to try Fuel Yoga, which combines HIIT workouts with Yoga, and they conveniently had early classes before the event got underway. It was a blast, I was sore for days, and it was something we wouldn’t have experienced had we stayed at the hotel.
Considering that Portland is a “Foodie City”, what was your favorite meal?
Pok Pok, a Thai and Southeast Asian Restaurant, was out-of-this-world! We went with some adventurous clients and ordered most of the menu family-style. The wings are famously delicious and with good reason but honestly, every bite was outrageous, and the craft cocktails were tasty as well.
Kelly – I still dream about the fried chicken with fish sauce from Pok Pok!
We hosted a large dinner at Urban Farmer, the food was delicious, and the atmosphere was hip and fun.
The first night we arrived late, so we ordered from Bamboo Sushi via Postmates to the house – another huge plus for staying at a vacation rental!