Nov. 23, 2021

Building a Remarkable OTA with Got2Go


Join us as we take a behind the scenes look at startup OTA, Got2Go. Built for hosts by hosts, we had the opportunity to speak with Got2Go's founders about the upcoming launch of this game changing new platform. 

From onion and lettuce farming at the family business in New York, to national leadership roles with timeshare and pharmaceutical companies, to public service and solving major crimes, these founders bring an impressive track record of success across multiple verticals to tackle the challenges of the online travel landscape head-on. 

Armed with a big vision and eager to make this a host-friendly platform, Got2Go is inviting our audience to have a seat at the table to make this the OTA you truly enjoy doing business with. 

Topics we cover:

  • What being a "host friendly" platform really means
  • How they've built a world-class platform without tech backgrounds 
  • How getting people out of timeshare led to the creation of Got2Go
  • Importance of establishing the brand prior to launch
  • How event/ticket bookings will shape host and guest experience
  • Preview of upcoming Women's Conference breakout session

** Alex & Annie will have Got2Go on stage in the OTA Hot Seat for a breakout session at the upcoming Vacation Rental Women's Conference in New Orleans Dec 1st & 2nd.  They want to hear from you - bring your questions, comments or requests about what YOU think is important when choosing which OTAs to distribute to. If you'd like us to ask a question, please email it to alexandanniepodcast@gmail.com

Watch this episode on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/-H7F51eVoTY

Visit Got2Go.com or find them on Linkedin:
Craig Musemici
Russ Johnson
Guy Devore

CONTACT ALEX & ANNIE:
AlexandAnniePodcast.com
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Alex Husner - Linkedin
Annie Holcombe - Linkedin

Podcast Sponsored by:
Condo-World
Lexicon Travel  

Transcript

Alex:

Welcome to Alex and Annie, the real women of vacation rentals. I'm Alex. And we are here today with three gentlemen from got to go. We've got Ross, Craig and guy, welcome to the podcast.

Russ Johnson:

I thank you for being here. Looking forward to this

Alex:

great great to have you guys here. So got to go is a new OTA and I met these guys at the women or not the women's conference at the vacation rental data conference in Charleston, and started hearing a little bit about their history and what they've put together here. And we were really interested in this company and what they're doing what where they are trying to go with it, because they've got great backgrounds within travel and some other different verticals, but they are very open to making this a platform that is host friendly. And that is based on the needs of what hosts really want. And you know, Annie, between your background in my background, you know, we've both worked with OTAs. At condo world, we are an OTA but we're also a property manager. We see both sides of it, you and I both do and we've seen a lot of things over the years for from the OTAs. And you know, the ones that want to work with the guests more than the hosts. And that's really kind of where the industry has gone in the last couple years, especially in the pandemic. So they are a welcome addition to the distribution environment for vacation rentals, as far as I'm concerned. What do you think any?

Annie:

Yeah, absolutely. I think that I actually had a conversation with somebody else in the industry recently. The cost of acquisition is a challenge for most property managers and I I daresay most don't know what their cost of acquisition is to the degree that you know, they balance out direct bookings versus OTA bookings and there's so many channels out there and it's really about finding the right one to fit the right market at the right time for the right guest at the right price you know there's there's so many factors that go into play so I welcome new OTAs I think it will help pull away from my say the bigger ones that might be pressing more higher commissions costing more for the PMC to use so I'm really eager to learn more about it. So guys, I think where we'd like to start is why don't you give us your background and let us know kind of how you came to be and be partners and how got to go got started.

Russ Johnson:

So I think sorry, guys Oh, and then we'll save the best for last.

Guy Devore:

Absolutely. Oh, you know, Hey, first of all, thank you for having us we are totally bought into Alex and Annie if you can't see the large banner behind us so we're we're excited for what you guys are doing and and excited to be on this podcast to begin with. So my name is Guy the more I help I've known Craig for almost 1520 years now and he gave me an opportunity to to come in and and start in this brand new adventure that he began I don't know a few months maybe a year ago is is when I got started with got to go My background is in the vacation ownership industry in the hotel industry. I worked with Marriott and Wyndham for about 20 years total so two decades and worked in a bunch of different capacities with them from marketing to sales operations kind of know the ins and the outs of the hospitality industry and you know, it's it's been unique to to jump over and do a startup never been part of one before. So it's been corporate America and you know your rules and regulations when it comes to corporate America what you're allowed to do what you're not and this has been refreshingly freedom, you know, are refreshingly free is a better way to state that and you know, we're kind of trying new things do new things and and it's been a an absolute, you know, blessing and excited about what got to go is going to be here. Just about me personally, I'm raising raising an army of five children at my house that you know, that's that's about it, you know, they keep me pretty active. So if I have two jobs, that's the other one.

Alex:

A startup and five children that's pretty impressive guy.

Guy Devore:

That's why I'm not in charge of this startup though because I could never do that to

Alex:

always look like you're full of energy. I've never seen you look tired. That's pretty

Annie:

I don't know how that's possible either. Yeah, lots of coffee.

Alex:

Yeah, Ross, how about you let's let's hear a little bit

Russ Johnson:

about so. So I have a rather diverse and unique pathway to get to where I got today with Greg and guy. I started in public sector probably 20 plus years, working in major crimes. Then during the course of that time, I shifted into some elected office and ran for a local elected position and then becoming leader of the my home county. Then after that, I started public service after 23 years and got into the healthcare industry. And I really fortunate ride fun ride with the healthcare industry did a couple of stints one with two stints with major healthcare companies across the world. served in a national role in those those positions or those companies, and then decided it was time to just kind of kick it back a little bit until Craig, my cousin called love them dearly. And he said, Hey, I got this really cool startup. I've been thinking about it for 910 years and love to have you be a part of it. We've always wanted to work together. And on the travel aspect, I didn't have much other than a lot of experience traveling, I didn't. I wasn't in this buying and selling of travel. But I certainly did a lot of travel with my roles, and in national and global companies. So it was really fascinating, huge opportunity. I gotta tell you, this has been probably the most fun I've had professionally, career wise in my entire life. And it's a long life. So I think without further ado, I think it's time for Greg to give his feel how this all came about.

Craig Musemici:

Well, Russ missed a couple of is earlier career before law enforcement, we actually worked on a produce farm together. So family, yeah, family business, lettuce and onions. And, you know, one of my rules. Yeah, one of my rules of the company is you're not allowed to bring raw onions. And that's not a joke. That's real. I hate that much. So, well, we started there. And Russ and I were, you know, we have like, kind of the same energy and I always wanted to work with him. And so I knew one day that I've reached out to him and say, Hey, listen, you know, now's the time. And I was probably about two or three months away from reaching out to him. And he said, Hey, I retired. And I was like, perfect timing. I was gonna call you about two months anyways. So call them you know, went through the whole thing. And he bought in instantly and you know, from there, but so the background of me is I started selling lettuce and onions on the farmers market. I've been in sales my whole life. I, you know, had 13 businesses by the time I was 26, I was a millionaire and living on my buddy's couch. By the time I was 28, I made a lot of mistakes and successes, which I've learned from that I went into the timeshare industry after my failures, and I really fell in love with the travel side because I always loved travel vacation and things like that, but I hated staying in hotels. And so you know, kind of bought into the travel side and you know, moved up through Fairfield, which you know, became Wyndham relatively fast and the company and I got to a point where I saw that I didn't like how the industry was going once I learned more about it, and I thought it could be better. So I went to another side and started helping people that were kind of pressured into timeshare to get out of it. And from there, I wanted to make the industry better. And at that time, I didn't have the money or the funds or, or the situation to make the timeshare industry better. And that's kind of how got to go started. So I was living in Myrtle Beach, helping people get out of timeshare, giving them alternative vacation options. And all my buddies or be a lot of my buddies had vacation rentals, and they would have great years and then terrible years. And I was trying to figure out why and why the you know, the timeshare industry in that industry couldn't coexist and come up with a platform or an area where they have a better opportunity to run out. So you know, my friends were renting out their locations through Craigslist. And I don't own that, by the way, but

Alex:

I was totally understand.

Craig Musemici:

There's got to be a better way, a better way for vacation rentals, timeshare rentals, because a lot of the timeshare sales are pitched on rental, and the avenue wasn't there for them to rent it out. And if they did have an avenue, the timeshare companies were charging, like 40%, which is obviously a lot higher than most of all of everybody's competitors around here right now. So that's how I got to go started on paper notes, I'd wake up in the middle of the night and start jotting down ideas side by side, you know, basically about at that time, about 10 years of ideas. So I built got to go a few other businesses got into the rentals myself, short term, long term, bunch of properties, construction bunch of businesses, and I didn't want to launch got to go until I didn't need financial help from anybody out there because I wanted to bring in a group of people that I love to work with, and make it really like a family and that's why guy you know, started with me in Windham up in Atlantic City 15 years ago, Ross, my son works here, his girlfriend, Stephanie, that I worked with in a few other industries. So there's a lot of people that work with us. And that's kind of what I wanted without having to go out to get that private funding. So once I was able to feel comfortable and able to fund this properly, without going out there to be dictated by, you know, people that just were into for business and not to help people because that's what all my businesses are really at the end of the day. I decided to launch this and we've been building it for two years. As of September was two years, so we're going into little over two years, ran into some hiccups, things like that, but built a great team. We're up to 16 or 17 people from here to us to UK. And, you know, our goal was to combine two industries and evolved into combining two industries of timeshare being able to have a platform to run it for a better platform for folks to run it. And we wanted to help the host out because the hosts are the timeshare owners are the actual owners of other properties like myself, and I just didn't like how the other platforms were charging. The customer service was terrible. The industry itself of travel has a terrible reputation. So I wanted to change that. And, you know, that's how this kind of whole situation of all sense the adding the you know, the vacation, in the timeshare and the vacation rentals, we also are going to add our second phase platform, which is something that I do a lot is I love to go to sporting events and concerts. So when I go book a concert, then I got to go to another site and book that and you're paying, you know, I just bought tickets the other day for $880.02 $140. So that was a service fee. So I saw an opportunity to add that service situation to the same thing that we're doing with with, you know, got to go in the travel because a lot of people do both, they go to events and things like that. So we're going to, you know, kind of combine those, and that's, you know, kind of a nutshell of the company and, and we're looking to help the host side. And that's our first goal is not to help the customer, it's to help actual host make more money, give them a better platform to work with, and in be able to put more money in their pocket and help them develop a really profitable business center.

Alex:

Wow, that's all I can say. Yeah, I mean, so, so exciting. And, you know, I mean, we're, we're so happy to have you guys on the show for so many reasons. But there's a lot to unpack there. So, first one, one thing that hit me, I think it's it's so cool. This is a it is truly a family owned business, right. I mean, you're a startup family owned, OTA, there. That's just such a cool premise in itself. I mean, literally, starting with onion and lettuce farming back in New York. You know, now now in the OTA space. I think that's really cool. And I think you guys are approaching it from the completely right perspective here. And the time that you've taken to get the right people on your team, you just you have such a great vibe. And I think it just the attitude is is perfectly right to build something that's you know, has the host in mind, you've got the experience, from seeing what you like and don't like from these other platforms. And it just it puts you in a really good position to move this forward. I think the event part is really interesting, too. There's, to my knowledge, I don't think there are any OTAs that are doing event booking. Do you any do you know?

Annie:

I think well I think Expedia does well I don't think they sold anybody's but not a van but not not I think not to the degree that it's focused on events. It's more like, centered on market specifically in New York, you know, theater tickets or Vegas tickets to shows that. Yeah, yeah. But he's doing sports wise and concerts and kind of that. So yeah,

Alex:

so yeah, I think that's a really, that's a unique part of it, do you do you see, potentially offering activities on the platform at some point to

Craig Musemici:

you know, we definitely talked about it, the big thing about the, you know, what, what I've learned from the conventions and being around new ladies, and a lot of other folks, the last three conventions we went to is, is that the you know, the fees in the OTAs that are charging all these fees, and then charging the guests all these fees, if that seems like a really big premise all the time how to market yourself as a business. So you know, the same thing goes for the the folks that sell, buy and sell tickets, you know, I'm a season ticket holder, to the dolphins and to the Panthers, and I paid $300 basically 285 a year for each my ticket and I just went out because some family and friends wanted another tickets to come and I already gave my other two away and my wife and I are going to the, to the game as well. And I had to go out online and and they're charging the host basically the person that sold me the tickets anywhere between five and 10%. And then they charge me another 30% On top of that, so the field is even more drastic for cost in that how much they're getting away with, then, you know, like Airbnb and VRBO. So, you know, in every time that I go somewhere, you know, I want to stay, you know, I want to stay in a place and book it. So if we can group it together and save money all you know, all together, then you know, that's kind of where we're going. So I saw great opportunity for that drastic separation of service fees with the with the you know, the football tickets, basketball, you know, school, all sporting events and concerts. You know, it's just a it's a huge markup. And I'd like to help out that host too as well.

Guy Devore:

You know, Alex and Annie, I'll add something to that to something that we spoke about, you know, when he brought up tickets, property managers, how many of their posts are also season ticket holders like Craig or have tickets to different locations and things like that. That's a totally untapped market for property managers that exists out there, so a property manager that's looking to increase their revenue for their host at the same time would now have a platform to be able to do both. Right? Where as of right now, they would tell their their host to go on Ticketmaster, you know, vivid or whoever it is. But that's not tied into an event. How could they tell vivid and you know, Airbnb are how can they tell vivid and VRBO Hey, these are interlock together, we're also offering the tickets, it's not seamless, you have to jump onto multiple platforms. So what a unique opportunity for revenue making for the hosts that are out there, but also for the property managers that are, you know, have 1000 properties that exist.

Annie:

Yeah, I love that, that you guys are thinking really, really outside the box. I mean, that's something that that seems like a no brainer now that you bring it up like it's there, but who's who's actually doing it? So, kudos to you for constantly thinking that so I'm curious, um, you know, in the how you developed your company, your brands or name like, what does that what does that Britain the name come from? And what do you think that that that signifies? And you know, how do you make it stand out?

Craig Musemici:

It's so it's really funny. Literally, I have roughly 4000 names from 12 years ago till today, well, basically, two years ago, say let's a 10 year timeframe from 10 years. So we were six months into building the app, I still have not named the company yet. And so got to go is something it was on the list got to go with something that people say every single day, you know, I gotta go to lunch, I gotta take my break every you hear it? Once you have it in your mind, you're hearing people say it constantly all day long. Like, I gotta go to work, you know. So it's, it's in everybody's thoughts already. And we wanted a name that would, you know, stick like, you know, Kleenex and tissue, you know, so most people call it say Kleenex, but it's actually a tissue, household name like that. So six months in, I was like, this is the name, you know, I got to go to a wedding, I got to go to a baseball game. Yeah, I got to go to I got to go on vacation. And so everybody says it constantly. So we're already in everybody's mouth. Now it's just going to be, you know, they're going to use our platform to get there.

Alex:

And I love how open it is to I mean, you can sell a lot of different things, right? You're not limiting yourself to, you know, there's there's other OTAs that are named something else to go. And there's, there's a lot that are very specific to what the inventory is, or, you know, the company or the name of the people that run it, but got to go could be a lot of different things. And it's, it's gonna be really interesting to see how this evolves over time. Really excited.

Craig Musemici:

By me, I gotta go to work. Yeah. Yeah, I gotta go on vacation. I'm struggling to work, you know. So just, it's in everybody's, you know? Yeah, spoken language every day.

Alex:

So now, one thing with all your backgrounds, and, you know, there's so much that you guys have done between the timeshare side and law enforcement, and, you know, pharmaceutical sales, there's a lot there. But none of you specifically have a tech background. So I'm curious, you know, that's, you know, the, the idea is wonderful, but you've got to have the the people that are actually going to build it. So tell us a little bit more about that journey, and how you got the people to build it and build that team and how you oversee that execution.

Craig Musemici:

So let me tell you how least amount of tech that I have, I've been handing my phone and my computer to my son since he was four. So anyways, none of us at this office really have any tech besides, well, Brandon, and Sebastian, my son, they have a decent amount, but we just so the process started July. We were you know, in July, two years ago, we went and looked up, you know, like everybody does Google the best companies all that. So we basically made a list of 50 companies, then we did a phone interview and nail that down to probably 1520. And we did another phone interview and nail that down from there and did research and all that, then we flew around the country in face to face interviewed a bunch. And we nailed it down to two or three. And then we did one more call with those. And then we nailed it down to one and we thought this was the one and everything like that. And you know, one thing that I didn't realize is that I needed a CTO to help me decipher the language between myself how I wanted the app and how I wanted it to work and the actual tech company. So that was my first you know, mistake and we hired this company. We went over a year and they just did a poor job. And finally if we felt you know, Ross and I started having conversations I brought him aboard you know, Ross, this doesn't feel right doesn't feel like we're getting anywhere it's we've spent, you know, over a million dollars so far. We're nowhere near launch, you know, let's start looking into it. So we, we did some more research, you know, started talking to people about CTO and bringing them in to kind of you know, bridge that communication. So that was a big costly expense. Then we decided from there to base Bring in house. And we got lucky with a few connections that I've had, you know, through a few different industries in my other businesses, where we, you know, basically built an in house tech team, and they're all in Australia. And they have a really great background in that. So, you know, we've started from scratch almost in February of this year, and we should be soon to launch,

Russ Johnson:

we're very, very soon to bring to market this product. And it's going to be incredibly user friendly, incredibly eye appealing. And when when folks finally see this, they're going to really understand what this is going to be all about. It's gonna be really, really good. We're so excited about it.

Alex:

Yeah, we've seen some of the initial screenshots and things and it looks awesome. And it definitely looks very modern, very user friendly. I think it's gonna be a really great guest and host experience on the site. That's interesting on you know, the other side of the background that you guys have in timeshare. Talk a little bit about that, and how, what your background there brings to this because I think, timeshares one of those things that, you know, it is kind of a little bit of a mystery to a lot of us about how they sell so much of it. I mean, to me, I honestly, but we certainly compete against it in our market. And I know in Panama City, it's very big down there, too. But I feel like I've always felt the same thing that there should be a way to better work together there or that we can leverage or somehow benefit off of the exposure and the membership that timeshare has, what are your thoughts on that? So

Craig Musemici:

they're, you know, there's roughly, you know, the numbers vary all the time skew, but others roughly 15 million timeshare owners in the United States, and they had a record year before, you know, before COVID had their date about 13 billion in sales, just in the USA, worldwide, it goes drastically, you know, larger, these folks are looking for a place to stay with their families for you know, a few days to a week, that's not a hotel room. And so I mean, that's where I saw the attraction of the two coming together. And given an avenue. Now also, unfortunately, they're the sales people are pitching these people, and it's been 40 years on going that, you know, all you got to buy this and you can rent it out and make money, and then they gave them no avenue really to rent it out. And so they're all looking for opportunity to rent it out or exchange it and go somewhere else. So I thought by tying the two together, on you know, that it would give the timeshare folks that feel like it's not working for them, or where they could, you know, actually rent it out and kind of offset some of their maintenance fees and opportunity not to be so upset with the industry. And I really, truly believe that the industry can be better than it is. And it just been going the wrong way for a long time because no one's been able to kind of, you know, nail that down. And I think we have an opportunity to do that and tie it into the vacation rental side,

Guy Devore:

you know, to expand on that just a little bit as well, because I know you guys have it, I don't think it's as much of an anomaly to vacation rental, as as you know, you might think, right? It's something new. But essentially, what does a host or property manager have to do, they have to take one property and make that the best, the best thing since sliced bread, right? They're not taking 1000 different properties or a whole entire hotel. And they don't have a name brand typically behind them when they're doing that either. So the unique part of being able to have the timeshare industry in the amount of units that kind of fit the exact same thing of what a vacation rental is, with maybe some of the benefits of having, you know, turnovers and clean and tidy ease and all those different things that a host technically worries about for their own property or extra benefits that already comes in the timeshare industry, right, you have your resort and your home kind of mixed together. To Craig's point, it's it they kind of have it locked up, their only opportunity to truly rent is with that timeshare company. So what happens is the large corporation turns around says, yeah, we'll rent it for you. But they take 40%, can you imagine a property manager out there going out to a host and say, Hey, we're going to take 40% of the booking that you have, right? I mean, the company's property managers wouldn't last number one, and the host would look at him and go, Man, I don't even know if it's worth it to rent out my house at this point in time. Right. So that's, that's a huge cost. And I think what we're going to try to do better than anyone else that has been in this industry is married the property managers with the vacation owners that exists out there, property managers would love to have a resort style property, hundreds of units to be able to offer and then beating out the competition by you know, somewhere between 30 and 25% from a property manager fee. marrying those two together would work out so much better. And that's what we feel our platform will be able to do for host PMS and those timeshare owners at the same time, and there's some education that will come along with it and I think they may find it easier to rent those out in some cases and even a vacation rental.

Annie:

Yeah. Yeah. Do you see so do you see your core i guess customer for inventory as an individual owner or as a property manager, are you are both so you could go individual owner and a timeshare individual owner and a vacation rental and a property manager who has a portfolio.

Guy Devore:

Yeah, we don't, we don't want to hammer just one individual, we want to, we want to everybody, you know, we want as much inventory as we can get. And we're definitely, you know, dialed into making sure we're creating things for individuals, but also creating tools on the back end for property managers. And that's why we're reaching out, you know, we want to make sure that, you know, a vacation rental that's created by hosts for hosts, we want to make sure we're partnering with as many hosts out there as possible, and PMS to create the best site for them.

Craig Musemici:

That's a huge reason why we're trying, you know, not reaching out for funding and don't need funding, I mean, we may down the road. But in the beginning, we want to set everything the way that we want it by what everybody else out there wants and needs. So that we're not dictated by you know, you know, we've all been in big corporations that we you know, at the end of the day, we get to a point where we can't stand because they're making us do things and, you know, it takes a year to get one little thing approved. So that's one of the reasons why I've waited so long to you know, to get this to where that I could fund it. So I wasn't dictated by, you know, somebody over the head saying, No, we can't do that it doesn't make enough money and things like that. We want this to be a happy place inside and out for for the folks that use the platform. And we'll be able to do that by not having, you know, somebody out there over the top of us funding us.

Alex:

Yeah, 100%. I mean, it's, it's great to have the funding when you need the money to get, you know, the tech resources and marketing in there. But at the same time, you definitely, we've seen it with all the big giants that have gotten unbelievable surges of money, you really lose control of the original intent of the business. And a lot of cases, that's what we see. So I think, you know, you guys are approaching it the right way for sure. But staying true to what you originally started as huge.

Annie:

Yep, I wanted to touch on kind of you said it came about the you know, for the host, like you wanted it to be you want this to be something where you're advocating for the host. And I think that it would be really neat to hear a little bit more about that. And I think that, you know, one of the things that we're talking about for the vacation or Women's Summit, where you guys are going to be on stage with us is to get feedback from the host get feedback for what they want to see, because you guys are still in that, you know, planning infancy ready to launch stage, but you can tweak things, and you're a little more able to be agile and move quicker. So why don't you share a little bit about what your model is and how you see your relationship with a host working out.

Craig Musemici:

So one is we don't want to charge the host anything. So that you know, that's our main goal is so the host can maximize make the most amount of money to is we have two different payment platforms are free platforms for our guests. And whether it be you know, a ticket or you know, a timeshare or regular vacation ownership, when they go to book, if it's your first time there, as soon as it comes out, it's going to basically be like a T bar, it's going to show them our lower service fee. But you know, we're gonna stay industry low for that. And then it's also going to show them a Go Plus member option, which is basically, you know, not no long term commitment, just one year you spend x amount of dollars. Right now we're juggling, and we think we got it locked down Friday for $299, where it's going to show Hey, listen, if I go and I want to book two nights, it shows that fee, what I'm going to pay for my service fee and breaks it down simple. And it's still going to be lower than the standard industry. And then it's going to show the 299 where I can book as many times as I want without paying the the additional service per year per year. So if I look at it, when I go to book and say, Oh, I've only booked two nights am I going to use this platform more than just this one time right here. So I might spend a little bit more for that 299 And then other situations where I don't book a week for $5,000 It's going to make a financial no brainer, even if I don't use it, they're going to get the fee. So while I was building the platform, you know, in on paper and in my notes and on my phone in the middle of the night for the last, you know 10 years, I saw you know blockbuster get crushed and Redbox get crushed by Netflix and I was like there needs to be a flat fee because you know, Netflix you're getting you're paying a one time fee monthly or yearly. And you're getting as much use as you want to or you don't so there's a lot of profit in there for folks that don't use it as much and then there's less profit so it balances out so I wanted to add that membership you know, with a non commitment because I also saw a timeshare where they're locked in for you know 10 year mortgage with a lifetime of maintenance long term in there because that scared a lot of people away and I didn't like that as well. So I want to do a one year and I loved what Netflix was doing and I loved what Amazon you know was doing too. So you know, it's it's kind of the really the, you know, it sound like aviator but the wave of the future everybody's doing a membership and doing it that way so that more people can enjoy and get more out of it and That way, the host ends up making more money because they can actually charge a little bit more, instead of worrying about, hey, I really need 200. But I'm not going to get 200. Because the, you know, the service fees are so high, I gotta lower it down to 180, this gives them the opportunity to not only say, hey, I need 200, but there's no service fee, I could actually charge 210, you know, whether it's a ticket, or a timeshare or a vacation rental.

Russ Johnson:

And so what Craig is referring to is our plan that's going that is called Gold Plus, and so we'll probably talk about that more, either today or when we're on stage. But the spirit of that Gold Plus is to contain the fees. And that's a one set fee for the entire year, that will significantly reduce the service fees that some of the other competitors out there are currently imposing either the host or the customer,

Alex:

or your commission. Right. So it's basically a subsidizing the commission that because you guys have to make money somehow. So by that you're going to be charging less or no commission to the, to the host.

Russ Johnson:

Yeah, we're pretty confident that this is going to be it's going to catch fire once once we roll all this out. Because it's such a unique and we've talked to some of the professionals in the industry, who are dealing currently with from a business perspective dealing with those service feeds. Yeah, now, and they love this business model. And like I said, at the crag it's, it's something he's been wanting to do to give to the community give the traveling communities a great opportunity to not another one is a host make money. Number two, as a traveler have to pay less. And so,

Craig Musemici:

yes, yeah, if you look at the, if you look at what's happened in the last year and a half with the with television, you know, everything was he had to pay extra for everything. And now everybody's on one platform, you know, fee and so we're, you know, following suit with the rest of the world and where it's going, you know, now I can watch a movie out from you know, that's on the movie theater, I can watch it at home without paying an additional $20 or, you know, pay per view is pretty much gone out the window. So it's the same thing that Netflix started, and we want to do that, you know, with the travel industry with, you know, with the tickets, and you know, even down the road, we haven't talked about it yet. But we want to, you know, get into the rideshare part as well, and be able to do that because the drivers are hosts as well.

Russ Johnson:

modes of transportation. Yep.

Guy Devore:

You know, and also from, from a host perspective there, I was just thinking we've talked about this before is, you know, teaching hosts and PMS to leverage their OTAs. Right? How, how much better could you leverage an OTA if there was no fee going to your consumer, right, and you're able to sit there and play with the rates, you'd be maybe even more willing to bargain in some cases, right to play with some rights here and be able to communicate, and that's something that we want is a transparent marketplace, for the host and for the guests, right? So they're they're able to, to, you know, communicate with each other, right, have open communication about where they're saying what they're doing, how much they're paying, and, and be able to make that transaction happen as seamlessly as possible. And so any hosts or pm out there should be loving the idea of no fee to list and the fact that the guest is paying a nominal annual fee, that will get people on more vacations, you know, that's the most important thing, right. So if I'm saving, you know, 1000s of dollars per vacation, because there isn't a 13, or 15, or 18% service fee added to it, that's two or three extra vacations I might be able to afford for the year, that's just putting more occupancy in higher ADRs and host pockets. And that's what we're truly looking to do

Craig Musemici:

it yeah, kind of run or run away with this. But the other thing is, too, and it just made me remember is kind of how we got here as well. So you know, a lot of every time that I went and use the Airbnb or VRBO, the owner of the property would show up and me his card and say, or heat her with him your car and be like, Hey, don't use Airbnb, don't use VRBO, you know, call me directly if you want to stay here again, well, by adding the membership and not charging the host, there's no need for the host to do that. So that way we can have an open communication platform, we don't care that our you know, guest ended up talking to the host, you know, we're not blocking it and hiding all that stuff. So it's an I couldn't stand the communication between, you know, how you had to go on to the platform and communicate with the person and all that. But communication made it very difficult, you know, if I couldn't get a hold, if I don't have a direct line in something in the, you know, the key box doesn't work or something doesn't work at the house. And I have to deal with all that right when I get there. I hated all that lack of communication because they're trying to hide it. So that Airbnb or VRBO still makes their money. And by cutting out that, you know, service fee, and given them the membership and not charging the host we're opening the line of communication so it's easier and it makes it happier for the host and also happier for the guests to go on vacation with with the ease of communication. So that was a big factor as well.

Annie:

That's huge. That's that's huge. I think that's probably from groups that I work with. That's the biggest pain point with working with channels is that is that wall that gets put up between it and then there's just so many things that can get into can fall to the wayside if you can't communicate with the guests policies, just various things. I think that that's that's a definitely winning, winning point for you guys. So on that, I think that one of the things you guys are talking about is your kind of your marketing and your theme of go somewhere remarkable. So obviously, with people being able to save more money, they can go to more remarkable places. So why don't you tell us a little bit about that, and kind of what you see, as your you know, you guys are starting out, like, what markets are you going to be working with? Where are these remarkable places going to be to start with?

Craig Musemici:

So the goal remarkable is, and that's what catches everybody's eye first is go travel somewhere remarkable, but we want you to go somewhere where markable, because you're going to go to our awesome site. And that's remarkable. And it's easy, and it's a better platform. So that's where go remarkable starts to go. And then it goes into the vacation or the, you know, the sporting event and things like that. So I mean, we're starting in the United States, you know, right off the bat due to COVID. So I mean, everything remarkable is going to be united states. So they mean, that's kind of you know, where we're going with that. But that's what go remarkable means it's, it's not only just going to somewhere remarkable as a as a guest to travel, it's going somewhere remarkable to us something easy and an awesome platform. So it goes both ways on that.

Guy Devore:

Yeah, you know, any, we're 100% dialed into the United States to begin with. And I think we toss around different ideas, maybe we start regionally, maybe we start locally, right as far as that, but we realize inventory was a huge piece of this, you know, adding one plus one doesn't equal, you know, 100,000. So we needed to get inventory as quickly as possible. We, we have partnered with a couple channel managers so far and looking to add more as we continue to do API integration. So any channels out there that are listening to this and want to set us up as quickly move to the top of the list, we're here for you. But that said, you know, we're going to start off with somewhere between about six to 30,000 properties in on our platform once we go live, which is which is a substantial amount of locations to begin with the networking with the channel managers directly. We're hoping to have over 100k By the time, quarter, two rolls around next year, with the amount of locations that we'll have and and bring them in as quickly as possible. So as far as remarkable, I mean, there are some beautiful properties we have you know from ski locations like Park City and Aspen and, and Breckenridge to, you know, obviously South Florida vacations, Grand Canyon. We are we are spread across the United States. We're looking for more properties in Iowa. So anybody that's got more properties in Iowa, let us know. Nothing wrong with Iowa. That was the joke though. So, but no, we are we are I think Craig nailed this.

Alex:

There's good lettuce and onion farms out there. Yeah.

Guy Devore:

My dad went to school in Iowa. So I was interested in. Um, you know, I think you Craig nailed it, though. The remarkable part. We believe the journey is just as important as the destination. Right? So how you're getting there, where you're going, you know, what, what, what it took to set all that up, if that's frictionless, and if that seamless, you feel really good about the decision that you're making, right? If there's a hiccup every single time you go somewhere, which I mean, we all travel, right? We can tell you 1000s of horror stories, but it's got to go as a seamless place for you. You're gonna feel remarkable every time you're on our site, and every time you go on vacation.

Alex:

So tell us a little bit about the tech team that you guys have in Australia? How is that managing a team from that far away? I mean, that's got to be a little bit of a challenge, you've got to have a lot of trust, I guess. And the people you hire over there.

Craig Musemici:

Yeah, we're very, very fortunate. So it's, I'm always about, you know, meeting people and communication and creating relationships. I, you know, everybody in this office is from a relationship. So which is really neat to have here. The reason why we have that tech team in Australia is my good friend. And I'll just leave names out. But one of my really good friends that I've always been in communication with, for Myrtle Beach, introduced me to another guy in the UK to help me with one of my other businesses. And then we were lucky enough, when all this stuff started happening, we brought in somebody else to help with marketing, and then that led to the Australian connection. So it's been a, it's just been for, it's been basically lucky enough to meet certain people at the right time. And we've been able to build that I'm managing it, they're doing a great job managing their end, because we're on two different time zones are about 14 hours apart. So it's been very, you know, they've been a godsend with that. And we're very lucky to have them.

Russ Johnson:

Yeah. And they make up the six member executive leadership team. So we literally have three here, three in Australia. And what they have put together, I mean, historically, these guys, we call them Johnny and Jared, that they're what they built for us in collaboration with us is, again, something that's going to be second to none, we believe the experience that they have in the tech world and building startups, nothing nearly as complex as this. But stuff that has literally made millions, I think almost a billion. So these people are very adept. And their technical savvy, and we believe a second to none. What we haven't talked about yet also, Alex in any is the superb customer service, execution. And we're going to have, and that's going to be both on the Australia side and the US side. We have a leader here, who's going to be rainy control over that for us. And then we also have a gentleman we took from a major company who's going to be leading our customer service,

Alex:

Apple. Really.

Russ Johnson:

He is He Wow, customer service. And that's we think something's been lacking with the competitors is the customer service approach. And yeah, well, 100% customer service and business reputation. And so there's no question about what our customer service will be like, compared to all the competitors.

Craig Musemici:

I want to set aside the difference between the industry standard I we briefly touched on that I'm one of your other questions. But you know, I don't like to follow suit. You know, timeshare has a bad reputation for customer service and all that. And timeshare cancellation business and helping people get out of it also had that I've set myself aside for my whole life of making sure my reputation is top notch with you know, each individual I meet and every company that I've meet and every person, you know, that I come in contact with. That's that's my main thing. Because, you know, I want I don't want ever to rub people the wrong way, I want to make sure my reputation is always ahead of everything. And I all my companies that I do are like that, as well. And when we went into this industry, and we put the team together, everybody's like, well, this is the standard, you know, travel has a terrible reputation. And that's why it's very hard for people to get low rates with merchant services and things like that, because travel has a bad customer service reputation. And I told the team multiple times I said, get that out of your head. This is not how we're going to be we're going to be the number one customer service we're going to have a rating you know, five star and that's what it's going to be end of day there's no allowances and it will not be anything less and that's what I pride myself on learning that from my grandfather's as a young kid is is your reputation. Your word means more than anything else.

Russ Johnson:

Just comment his motto. Was it pay satisfied? Yeah, what was it? It's my grandfather's model. As a farmer his parents came over from Italy to start the farm. The model was it pays to satisfy.

Annie:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, like that. Very simple but true.

Alex:

Yeah. And again, um, I think the premises great behind that because, you know, sitting on both sides as a property manager and as an OTA, you know, the the service that we get from the OTAs that we work with, it's, it's pretty minimal, right, and the guests see it on there. And, and I mean, the more that you can make this a relationship kind of platform, you know, that's just kind of what stands out to me. It's like, it's the relationships you're going to build with the guests or the Go Plus membership program, the relationships you're building with the host to make this a seamless, affordable way to distribute their properties. That's really the secret to the success. So I'm excited to see where you guys go with it. I think that it's your you're building all of it on the right foundation. So it's really cool.

Russ Johnson:

We can feel wobbly, not just from social media that we've done, we've, we've gotten literally 10s of 1000s of responses already. So something something amiss here where something's bubbling up nice.

Alex:

Well, the brand is so important, right. And I think you've already gotten so many of those foundational things, cemented that I mean, just from the look and feel of it, the aesthetics, the creative, it's all, it is remarkable, you know, you guys have done a great job of putting that into that tagline into the different images and stuff that you use on social media. And I can see why it's catching on. Because you're all of everything looks unique, it's definitely got its own look to it. So that's really cool.

Annie:

That you guys are onto something. And so I think that that speaks to, you know, just the close knit group, that you have the family, everybody's in it for the same goal, you know, you want to be successful, but you want to be transparent. And you and you want to have good relations, not only with your guests, but also with your with your PM. So I think we're kind of at time, and we've had a really great chat. And we're looking forward to obviously having you guys on stage, if people are looking to

Alex:

find you guys on one second. And don't forget that. We haven't even announced that yet. So we're gonna have that I don't think we're gonna have them on stage with us at the Women's Conference, right? For anybody that's going to the women's conference that's in New Orleans, December 1. And second, I believe our session, it's like one of the last ones on Thursday, on Thursday. Yeah, I think at four o'clock. So it's going to be a really great session for anybody that's just listening and not watching one, if you want to watch, you can go to our YouTube channel to see this recording we just did but come to the live version, meet them in person, it's going to be an opportunity where they want to, they want to ask us as property managers, what we're looking for in an OTA and I think this is probably the first time we've ever seen this done at a conference where an OTA comes and just wants to learn and listen and, you know, take take the advice of the people that they want to work with. So this is different. And we're Andy and I are really excited to to be on stage and to lead that discussion. I think it's gonna be really exciting. But yeah, so how

Russ Johnson:

things coming for some of the people in the audience who just oh nothing for those who are there and are participating.

Alex:

Awesome, you know, we all love swag. So if they, if they want to find you, How does everybody get in touch with that to go?

Craig Musemici:

So I've got to go that calm. And you know where I'm got to go travel is our Instagram, and

Russ Johnson:

Facebook, Jessica,

Craig Musemici:

on Facebook. Okay, and then a guy the LinkedIn linked

Guy Devore:

over we're on Yeah, I somehow this non tech guy got in charge of LinkedIn. looks at me helping me with that. So that's been good. But yeah, check out got to go calm. Make sure you anybody that's listening, sign up for the giveaway. It ends November 30. And we can't wait to send somebody on a $5,000 vacation. It's gonna be awesome.

Alex:

Awesome. We'll include links for getting in touch with them in the show notes for anybody that's interested to get in touch with Annie and I Alex and any podcast comm that links to all of our social media and you can contact us directly through the website. Other than that, and is there anything else that we need to share at this point?

Annie:

Now I think we want to save some of it for the live show. So yeah, I'm in New Orleans.

Alex:

Yeah, yeah, exactly. This is this was a great preview and trial run for us I know I've got we're ending are going to definitely have some great content and ideas from this. This first recording so really excited. And I appreciate you guys being on the show as one of our first guests our first time having more than one guest to let alone three. But it was awesome. Thanks, guys. A few weeks from now. Thank you. Thanks, everybody. Bye

Guy Devore:

bye.

Got2Go Profile Photo

Got2Go

Rosario ‘Craig’ Musumeci – Chief Executive Officer

Craig is an entrepreneur at his core. He is always looking to create, develop, reengineer or invest in businesses, real estate, and other initiatives. With executive leadership experience in the travel and hospitality industry for over 20 years, Craig witnessed countless deficiencies, specifically in vacation ownership and hotel sectors. Those opportunities would drive his passion for creating a world class travel experience.

His creation of Got2Go comes from nearly a decade worth of ideas, brainstorming and hands on experience - currently managing a multitude of personal short-term rentals. While he was framing Got2Go, Craig built a successful online business assisting travelers realize better options for less. That business positioned Craig to fund his dream of Got2Go and where it is today. Got2Go, a site for hosts created by hosts, lives to its name and who Craig is. As someone always on the move, Craig’s vision is for you to travel somewhere remarkable that you have Got2Go!

Russ Johnson – Chief Operating Officer

Russ is as professionally diverse as they come, which is why he is the perfect fit as Got2Go’s COO. He began his career in public service, where he spent over 23 years leading in law enforcement administration and, separately, as a locally-elected county official, becoming the chief elected officer of his home county. From there, Russ jumped into private sector healthcare, where he attained national roles with two of the biggest healthcare organizations in the world, traveling all over the United States and winning numerous sales and leadership awards before coming to Got2Go. With his passion for travel, Russ now blends that superbly with his deep business and leadership experience from the public and private sectors with the power of Got2Go’s unique business model. Russ and his wife reside in Cape Coral, Fl. They have one daughter who is in her second year at Florida Atlantic University.

Guy DeVore – Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Guy comes to Got2Go with over 20 years of sales, marketing, and operations experience in travel and hospitality. Working for Fortune 500 companies Marriott International and Wyndham Worldwide, Guy held multiple roles, leading teams, departments and regions to financial success and growth. In addition to his extensive industry experience, Guy is a vacation rental homeowner, managing his properties on multiple OTA platforms. This unique combination of professional and personal experiences drew his deep-seeded interest in contributing to Got2Go’s success. When away from the office, you will likely find Guy at a youth sporting event in Wellington, FL, where he resides with his wife and 5 very active boys.