Every now and then we like to shine light on one of our outstanding users. We know how much time and effort go into operating a vacation rental business. When we see someone excelling at this, we like to share how they do what they do best. This week we’re back in the interview chair with Ocean Property Corp & Design.
Kristin Martin, Faith Marasco and Mary Salazar are the masterminds behind Ocean Property Corp & Design. Their website and operation can be found at OceanPropertyCD.com or on their Facebook page. Below are the questions we asked them and the insightful responses they gave back.
Can you tell us a little bit about your history?
Kristin: Ocean Property Corporation and Design represents a prestigious collection of luxury vacations homes on the Texas Gulf Coast since 2014. We are fun and energetic team who have a passion for sharing the local lifestyle and making a vacation getaway memorable. Each one of us, ladies, comes from diverse backgrounds. Thus, bridging our talents to give our guests the best overall experience in Southern Hospitality.
What is your background?
Kristin: I have been in hospitality in some way shape or form my entire career. I have lived all over the USA and traveled the globe due to my hotel/restaurant background. My studies included culinary arts/hospitality and wine. I started my career in the “back of the house” and made my way to the “front of the house”, terms used when working in the industry. To help those understand what these terms mean is when someone works back stage to the front of stage; ie; kitchen to the main dining floor. Having worked in every facet has provided me with the tools to truly understand how each department must work together in order to make the vision work.
Were you always in vacation rentals or property management or is this a 2nd/3rd career?
Kristin: Does an 11th career apply? 😊
What were some of those previous careers - go ahead, read them off!
Kristin: It’s an eyeful even if I take out some of my passion side hustles. Line Cook, Sous Chef, Maitre’d, Lead Server, Bartender, Bar and Wine Marketing Manager, Outside Sales-Wine and Spirits Sales Representative, Outside Sales- Wine and Spirits Specialist, Outside Sales- Director of Chain Accounts, Outside Sales -Director of National Accounts State of Texas and Louisiana.
Are you from that geographical area or move there later?
Kristin: I have been living in Texas for over 12 years, but I'm not from the area.
What drew you to Texas?
Kristin: Everything is bigger in Texas! I moved here from Las Vegas. I have a friend, who happens to be a talent hunter and well known culinary leading lady in Vegas who wanted me to open up a new hotel here in Downtown Houston.
What do you love the most about the VR business?
Kristin: It is fluid, never dull and keeps me on my toes. Oh and I can work from anywhere I want in the world.
What do you dislike the most about it?
Kristin: I think this is a two part answer. From a work-life balance approach and from an actual constant trend that I find challenging, I have to remind myself turn it off. Since our booking calendar never shuts off it’s important to make sure I take time for myself. It is easy to get sucked into the email abyss and find yourself 12 hours later, cross-eyed.
We are a small family business, finding time to take a vacation ourselves can be somewhat difficult and I must have Wifi/technology at all times.
Coming from a corporate world in restaurant/hotel business, I have to remind myself as well as our guests we are not a hotel accommodation. We do not have the staff that would typically come with a hotel accommodation. Some of our talented staff must commute (long hours) to the area. We are in a remote coastal location that is heavily influenced by the climate, small businesses, tourists and our year round locals. VR’s are more autonomous as it allows travelers to take the wheel and drive, per se. They have the ability to experience the luxuries of both; a destination and a private residential home without being at their actual home.
Lastly, a constant trend I find is getting travelers and guests to read (this really takes the top of the dislike cake). I spend hours and hours reading through all of our 24 (soon 25) listings, troubleshooting tips and household procedures (manuals) to make sure the information is as accurate as possible. A lot of the questions that get asked over and over are in the listing, booking process and or rental agreement. Changes can occur in amenities such as: an owner makes a change and we were not informed in time to update the listing, or the salt air elements corrode a grill and we have to substitute…There is always something, but, that is what makes it always interesting.
How do you use OwnerRez to manage your business?
Kristin: Oh my, we use it all. I do not even know where to begin.
We started out with OwnerRez Q4, 2019, when we were having a such terrible experience with another software and needed to make the change quickly. We solely depended on Airbnb and The Expedia Group for all of our business. Now, we can proudly say that since going live with our API integration as OwnerRez being our master hub it has helped us with our own direct hosted website, it pushes listing details, channel rules and rates to our marketing channel partners.
We have done a lot to increase our direct foot traffic, from Facebook Ads, direct social media marketing, Google Ads, SEO, direct email marketing campaigns. Our direct bookings from our direct hosted website (hosted by OwnerRez) has drastically increased. This time last year we did 8% in direct bookings, this year we are at 21% in direct bookings and more coming in! That is AMAZING!
Lastly, but definitely not least; Q1 of 2020, we signed up with Resort Cleaning to help us manage our housekeeping and maintenance; API works great here too. This helps our contractors check in and checkout, let us know when a home is turned and report damages. We are still working on this as it is rather new.
What is the most useful feature OwnerRez offers?
Kristin: How can you just have one? Y’all have way too many amazing features. Channel management and API with our direct marketing software partners is HUGE. Helping us manage our homes calendars, rates and descriptions is by far the best. I used to have to do this individually with multiple screens open and hours of patience. Now, I can just make a change in OwnerRez and BAM its pushed to the respective channels. When it comes time to doing invoicing for the month, OwnerRez has made a world of difference when it comes to our reporting, capturing expenses and helping us break down the reports that made zero sense to understand from the other channels (Airbnb). Can you feel the huge grateful smile through this message? Bravo Guys! Thank you for doing what you do and continue to do in VR software.
Thanks Kristin, Faith and Mary! We love hearing how our software makes your lives easier, and we also love hearing about the path that led you to this point! We strive for excellence in everything we do, and it's clear that goes the same for Ocean Property Corp & Design. We look forward to seeing more of all the great things you will do!