The stories of the members of the OwnerRez community are as unique as the properties they own and manage. James and Ben from ArriveandThrive.co were drawn into this business with the goal of providing compassion and comfort at a time when people need it most. Let’s learn more about their journey.
Can you tell us a little bit about your history?
Arrive and Thrive is the brainchild of its two founders, James Lucas and Ben Bledsoe. Both have deep roots in the entertainment industry, with James having performed on Broadway and The West End and Ben having multiple Gold Records in the music industry and having acted in film and TV. Both were involved in the real estate investment world and connected in LA where they wanted to find a project to work on together. Since profits alone aren't the primary driver for either of them, they wanted to create a project or start a business that meant more to them than just another flip.
James is from a small island near England and mentioned a time when his father needed to fly to London for a series of treatments, and a friend offered their apartment which was just blocks from the hospital for his family to stay at during this difficult time. He deeply appreciated the ability for his family to live nearby and bring his father to the apartment for meals and an occasional overnight stay. This was the spark that started their venture into short term rentals near specialist Hospitals around the U.S. and even one in London near the hospital that treated his father. We are now proud to serve travel nurses, travel doctors, families, caretakers, patients, executives, and insurance companies in each of our markets.
What do you love the most about the VR business?
I love that it gives us the ability to grow quickly and serve an industry that has been underserved in the past. I also love hearing stories from guests about how our properties become their homes for their duration. We host people having and adopting babies, people going through difficult transitions, travel nurses chasing their dreams and helping people at every chance they get, specialist doctors who are at the top of their field, and depending on the market, we host a multitude of other guests including professional athletes, Olympians, etc.
What do you dislike the most about it?
Not all guests are in their best headspace when staying with us. That can make communication difficult sometimes, since it is our goal to provide the best experience possible. Also, Ben is still receiving the 4:00AM calls that come through multiple times per week and sometimes multiple times per night. His wife will deeply appreciate it when they add a call center for those calls.
How do you use OwnerRez to manage your business?
After having interviews and demos with about 25 Channel Managers/Property Management Systems, we narrowed it down to 5 that all seemed like they could fit the bill with some having strengths in certain areas and others having strengths in other areas. After speaking with Ken at OwnerRez and seeing all of the tools that OwnerRez offered, all of the partner integrations that they have, and their deep understanding of the product and how it works, it narrowed even further. We used another Channel Manager before this and it was a truly awful experience. Terrible customer support, basic product with limited features... the minute our pre-paid year was up with that company we swapped to OwnerRez. OR allowed us to operate completely independently across any amount of platforms, collect customer data, schedule and charge refundable security deposits, market and communicate with guests through email and SMS, automate smart lock code changes, communicate with guests and cleaners, allow custom rental contracts with digital signatures, etc, etc, etc. It took us from a place where we were managing every aspect of every guest to where most of the process is completely automated or highly streamlined for us. And the customer support is better than any I've dealt with in any business I've ever been in.
What is the most useful feature OwnerRez offers?
When I set up the API connection between OwnerRez and Airbnb & VRBO/Expedia, the representatives from those companies said that OwnerRez is always the fastest to fix any patches that are put through by the OPMs. They said that it is one major reason OwnerRez is so well respected in the industry. The technical support is the best there is. I also LOVE that OR has an article or tutorial video for every single aspect of the software, so I am able to build out our business myself and only really need their support now on more complex questions.
Thanks, James and Ben, for sharing your inspiring story. OwnerRez is honored to be a part of the valuable service you are providing!