Here at OwnerRez, we understand how much time and effort goes into running a vacation rental business. From time to time, we like to interview a standout user that has been with us for awhile and get a sense of their background and operation. Admittedly, it's been awhile since the last one, but we're back in the interview chair and excited to restart this series!
Recently, we reached out to Mitch and Cathy at Warren Beach Rentals. Their website and operation can be found at WarrenBeachRentals.com or on their Facebook page. Below are the questions we asked Mitch and Cathy and the interesting responses they gave.
Can you tell us a little bit about your history?
Mitch Warren: We bought our first condo 25 years ago on June 4. I was expecting a nice check at the end of the first month, and instead, the management company sent me a bill that included three new vacuum cleaners, replacement of “worn” salad tongs, advertising fee of $1000, along with various and other sundry charges.. when I got my statement I actually OWED them money. I thought, these guys are crooks, there has got to be a better way. We found a start up company called VRBO and was their first client in northwest Florida with a VRBO # of 475 that is still in existence today. [Editor note: Yep, still there!]
We built up a nice rental book on that condo, and sold it to buy 2 more. The person that bought the condo asked us “since you have it booked already, would you do this for me..?" and like that, Warren Beach Rentals was born. Over the next 25 years we bought and sold about 40 properties and beginning in 2017 we had 12 that we managed. My oldest son graduated college and moved to Destin and wanted to grow the business, my second oldest has since joined him. In 2018 we found OwnerRez that allowed us to effectively scale our business and today Warren Beach Rentals now has an office, full time staff, and we run right at 100 rental properties from Destin, to 30A, to Panama City Beach.
What is your background?
Mitch: I was and still am a State Farm Agent, with my office in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
Were you always in VR or property management or is this a 2nd/3rd career?
Mitch: The vacation rental business was always a side job for me and my wife, it allowed us to control our own beach rentals along with some folks that had asked us to help them out.
Are you from the Destin area originally or some other area in Florida?
Mitch: I am in Tennessee, but it is a 45 minute direct flight to Panama City Beach, we travel back and forth at least 15-20 times per year. We still have kids in high school, so Tennessee is still home for us now.
Is there something that drew you to that area?
Mitch: We love the Florida panhandle, the weather, the people, the sand and water. It's Just simply better than anywhere else we have found.
What do you love the most about the VR business?
Mitch: Being able to have ownership of my business and control over how it is run. Vacation rental business is not commoditized like so many other businesses. When we pour our hearts into the business, and guests have a wonderful time, its just so rewarding to be part of their families beach memories that they are creating. We love the beach, that shows in everything we do. We are truly excited for each guest every time they arrive and smell that salt air and see that blue water.. it never gets old being part of that experience.
What do you dislike the most about it?
Mitch: It never stops. This is not a business for the faint of heart. Guests' needs come before your own. You had better have a true passion for serving others in a compassionate and kind manner. It definitely gets in the way of "free time". You have to have a family that understands that and is supportive.
How do you use OwnerRez to manage your business?
Mitch: Scaling and automation. Being able to create a booking across multiple platforms, bill, communicate, and get all of necessary documentation through automation is essential. We are able to touch our clients at the time of booking, just before their stay, 24 hours after arrival, the day before departure, then 2 times after their stay at the time of booking all in our templates and triggers.
What is the most useful feature OwnerRez offers?
Mitch: The calendar display is fantastic and the web page they helped prepare is useful and intuitive. We have found OwnerRez a fantastic partner in growing our business and have truly enjoyed our partnership.
Thanks, Mitch and Cathy! We have enjoyed the partnership too. And that's really what it is for us - a partnership between good people who care about what they do. We wish Warren Beach Rentals well as they continue growing and building their stellar reputation!