A hearty “Congratulations” is in order for the fine folks at Glad to Have You (GTHY).
It was announced last week that Glad to Have You was acquired by vacation rental big dog, HomeAway.
As Amy Hinote points out on VRMIntel, to many, the acquisition of this 2-year old start-up tech company may seem like a
“Cinderella story, but Glad to Have You’s success wasn’t the result of a magical fairy godmother. Glad to Have You made several specific, intentional, strategic decisions in their short history which accelerated their success story.”
I evaluated the Glad to Have You product as a VRM Marketing Director just before I made the leap to the vendor side of the VR industry with PointCentral. I was impressed with the product then, and I’ve even more impressed by their growth in such a short time.
I agree with Amy that Glad to Have You made several strong strategic decisions to impact the vacation rental industry quicly.
Amy lists nine factors that led to GTHY’s success, and as I read her criteria, I was excited to see that PointCentral has made very similar decisions and commitments to the the vacation rental industry.
One note before I offer a quick breakdown of the 9 factors. While I see strategic similarities between GTHY and PointCentral, the end games are a bit different.
GTHY made a great run at creating a start-up tech business built to be acquired – like many start-up tech companies. And it worked very well.
PointCentral is not a typical start-up. We’ve built our business on the experience and framework provided by our parent company, Alarm.com. PointCentral has no focus on acquisition because we already have the support of an amazing technology company. This allows us to maintain our focus on building a fantastic product to support the vacation rental industry.
Why are these vendor success factors important to your VRM?
Regardless of the “end game,” partnering with success-minded vendors with staying-power is crucial for small businesses – i.e. the vast majority of the vacation rental industry.
Choosing the wrong vendor or betting on the wrong technology can stunt the growth of a VRM very quickly. A huge amount of resources (time, money, personnel, etc.) can be wasted headed in the wrong direction and then unraveling a mess to right the ship.
On the flip-side, discovering the right partnerships can offer great impacts to your business allowing you to out-pace your competition, and these 9 factors can help you find those quality partnerships.
9 Factors for VRM Vendor Success:
1. Identify a Need from a Place of Experience:
- The founders of PointCentral have a securities background with Supra lockboxes and GE Securities.
- Alarm.com has 2+ million security and home automation customers in the US.
- I have almost 5 years of VRM experience on the Outer Banks, but more importantly, our clients have extensive vacation rental experience, large inventories of homes, and sophisticated VRM operations.
- Smart home control fills a large need in the vacation rental industry, and we are leveraging a wide variety of experiences to develop superior products to fill that need.
2. Seriously Invest in Development:
- As a cloud-bases/SAAS business model, our core components center around continuous development.
- New developments are rolled out on a weekly basis.
- Like GTHY, the PointCentral product works well, works consistently and provides vacation rental managers functionality that meets their specialized business needs.
3. Hire an Incentivized and Outstanding Sales Team:
- I’m one of the PointCentral sales people, so I’m a bit biased in this category. 🙂 But our sales team is growing fast, and I’d like to believe that our hiring criteria fits Amy’s description: “likeable and knowledgeable industry-specific sales team who had substantial sales experience, and a unique understanding of the industry.”
4. Commit Fully to the Vacation Rental Industry:
- In a short time PointCentral has grown from a VRM newbie with no VRM clients and 1.5 sales people, to a seasoned VR vendor supporting more than 10 VRMs and over 1K systems live each and every day.
- We have API integrations completed or in the works with 7 reservation software providers (including GTHY :)).
- Our sales team has grown to four dedicated folks with nothing but vacation rentals on their minds.
5. Sell Face-to-Face:
- My wife may curse this factor as she juggles the three kids, but travel is a must. This is a relational industry and sales/support is a relational occupation. We all want to trust (and like :)) the people we are working work. In addition, new technology (like Smart Home Control) needs to be seen, held, and fiddled with.
- The PointCentral sales force is on the road multiple times per month meeting with VRMs at their headquarters, attending trade shows, speaking at VR seminars, and hosting Smart Home Control Seminars at live client sites.
- Travel can be a bear, but we love shaking hands and offering a smile. We recognize the value in our partner relationships.
6. Listen to Customers & React Quickly:
- As I mentioned above, development is a core component to the PointCentral system, and client feedback from leading VRMs is crucial to this development process.
- Similar to GTHY, our “industry knowledge and strong internal communications between sales, support, operations and development,” gives PointCentral the ability “to quickly assess customer needs and rapidly implement new features and functionality.”
- As a quick example, early this week I discussed the benefits of the PointCentral Operations Dashboard for turn-over days, and this development was largely driven by our relationship with VRMs like All Star Vacation Homes and Sunriver Resort.
7. Proactively Reach Out to Customers to Provide Support & Service:
- Great support is crucial for all vendors, and especially technology focused vendors. Unfortunately, as I’m sure we’ve all experienced, Support is often overlooked. Great Support and outstanding service a top priority for PointCentral.
- A couple quick examples – dedicated Support team and full-service, turn-key installation service:
8. Partner with Everybody:
- Like GTHY, PointCentral is vendor agnostic. A fancy way of saying we’re happy to integrate with everyone. As mentioned above, we’re in the process of integrating with seven reservation software providers, and more are on the way.
9. Develop More
- I love that Amy ended her list of 9 crucial VR vendor factors by stressing continued development. As we all know, the vacation rental industry is growing fast. And technology advancements are racing at an even faster pace. Successful VR vendors can never take their foot off the development gas peddle. We agree. And we are doubling-down on continuous development.
Here’s to continuous development of great products for a great industry.