Nov. 30, 2022

How Strategic Marketing and Technology Paved a Path to Success for Casiola, with Dennis Goedheid


Dennis Goedheid has built a budding empire in Orlando, that has recently spawned into Miami and Aruba. His entrepreneurial  journey began in Belgium, where he learned the fundamentals of marketing and branding which he has applied to his Orlando based vacation rental business.

Dennis is as humble as he is successful, and an asset to the vacation rental community. You'll never miss the Casiola team at conferences - they are always ON brand, in their bright fuchsia shirts! We love simple touches like this that are an example of how it doesn't take rocket science to build a brand that people remember. Tune in for a great look at how Dennis and the Casiola team leverage technology, including Wheelhouse, Track PMS and their own custom-built operations modules.

This episode is part of our Spotlight on Exceptional Property Managers, brought to you by Wheelhouse: The Ultimate Revenue Driving Machine.  Wheelhouse is offering listeners of our podcast 50% OFF your 1st 2 months - use promo code ALEXANNIE or mention this podcast when you talk to them!  http://www.usewheelhouse.com/?afmc=Alex%26Annie

Wheelhouse
is a proud member of Alex & Annie's List, presented by Rev & Research  https://www.alexandannieslist.com

CONTACT DENNIS GOEDHEID
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Casiola Vacation Homes

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Alex Husner - Linkedin
Annie Holcombe - Linkedin

Transcript

Alex Husner:

Welcome to Alex and Annie, the Real women of vacation rentals. I'm Alex.

Annie Holcombe:

And I'm Annie.

Alex Husner:

And we are here today with Dennis. Goedheed. I hope I'm saying that right. I know I'm not but the CEO and founder of Casiola, Dennis. Can you please correct me on how I'm saying that?

Dennis Goedheid:

I think Annie you really did a great job earlier. Do you want to give it a try? Again? Annie

Annie Holcombe:

Dennis Who' head'

Dennis Goedheid:

that's perfect. Okay,

Annie Holcombe:

I'm moving. I'm moving to. I'm moving to to Holland now.

Dennis Goedheid:

Yeah. You should do the introductions From now on.

Alex Husner:

It's Belgium. Belgium,

Dennis Goedheid:

Belgium now. Yeah. From from Antwerp. But it's like 20 minutes from the Dutch borders. So we share the same. Yeah.

Alex Husner:

Excellent. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. We're your guests that we've wanted to have for quite some time. And this was exciting, glad that we at least got to quickly catch up in Vegas last week and proposition you coming. But for our audience is not familiar with you, and Casiola, like, can you give us a little bit of your background?

Dennis Goedheid:

Sure. So we are a vacation rental management company. So I started in 2014 acquired a small existing business with around 20 homes all in one resort. So in the beginning was just me and my wife, everything from taking calls to unclogging toilets and and today we have been able to grow that business into around 350 homes. And we have three destinations. So we manage homes now in Orlando still, but now also in Aruba and Miami.

Alex Husner:

Excellent. And you came over from Belgium. And it's only been a fairly short amount of time since you started the business. Right? 2014.

Dennis Goedheid:

Yeah, eight years now. Yeah.

Alex Husner:

Wow. Wow That's incredible growth.

Annie Holcombe:

Yeah, yeah. And I actually I met you, Dennis. I was actually Booking Pal, several years ago, and I met you. And I think at that time, you had about 100, maybe 125-150 units. And I remember you saying that your goal was to get somewhere around 350 400 units. So you certainly are well, well, I guess past the initial goal and doing really well. And your brand is very recognizable. And one of the things that Alex and I love, because we both love pink, but everywhere we go your your your entire team shows up in pink. And it's just it's just become kind of the your calling card. Is that something that you intended or it just sort of developed over time.

Dennis Goedheid:

So it has been developing over time a little bit. Now. It was a very choice that we made on purpose. So when I started into this industry had no knowledge whatsoever about competitors, and who was doing what. So I did some market research. And I just got all the pieces that I could find back in the day all on one big sheet. So I collected all the logos, internet them together, and I picked a color that was the most opposite of what everybody else.

Alex Husner:

I love that what a great way.

Dennis Goedheid:

And I picked something that that was the exact opposite. So and then in the beginning we went we hit with it. And I one day I went to a conference wearing my shirt, you know how it goes. I didn't have time to change into a suit, went to a conference. And like a year later, someone said, Oh, I remember you. And she didn't remember my name. She didn't remember the company name but she just remembered the color of my shirts. shirt. I thought my myself oh my god, this is so strong. And that was the last day ever. I have more than a suit. So from now on, you're always gonna see us in those. It's not. It's not pink. It's officially magenta. But

Alex Husner:

yeah. Yeah, I'm a little off brand. I tried to wear magenta. This is the closest color that I had, but it's more of a hot pink. So I knew it wasn't exactly the effort though. Yeah, well, we'll have to start upping our magenta wardrobe. Yeah, no, that's, that's excellent. No. Did you have you grown through acquisitions or is it all been organic? So we

Dennis Goedheid:

have done a few acquisition acquisitions in the first years not really companies but more contracts from existing managers here that wanted to downsize a little bit more focused on other areas. So we've done two very successful and one not so successful, but everything else is has been through Well, organic growth.

Alex Husner:

Wow, that's excellent. That's so cool.

Annie Holcombe:

So away, or Orlando is a is a very large rental market. And it's hyper competitive. And one of the things that I, I marvel at is the number of operators that are in in Orlando that actually I worked with several that they don't even live in the US, they actually live in Great Britain or they live somewhere else. So how you decided to come here? And you decided to to do your company, and you're based in Orlando, and you've grown very well in Orlando, like, how do you feel the landscape has changed, especially with COVID, in terms of the managers that maybe are based in Orlando, or maybe based somewhere else that have, you know, have their footprint in Orlando and their success related to that?

Dennis Goedheid:

Yeah, so what I decided to move to the US, I did some a little bit of market research, and I found that Orlando was the biggest market in the US. So I told it, even if I can just get a very tiny market share share. In Orlando, I'm probably eight. So I did not know that there's like five or 600 managers just in Orlando, I don't know if I'm knows the exact number, but it's it's so many, it's so competitive. But since I started here, I've never known anything else. So for me, this is the normal and now we'll expand into different destinations, I discovered that it can be a lot easier to win in if the market is not. So but I agree with you, it's for a lot of people, it's like a second career, they have had a corporate job for a long time in the UK or somewhere else. And they decide to turn around their life and do property management, they have a home themselves, or they already have vacation home in this area. And they probably think by themselves, hey, I managed my own home, I can do this for other owners too. And that's how they start. So yeah, there's many UK property managers or resilient property managers, right, doing this here. And I think, since I had a little bit of a different background, my background has been e commerce online marketing with my company, which was an online printing company. So we did something similar than what Vistaprint does here in the US, we did that in Europe. So all I knew basically was online marketing and E commerce. So I applied all that know how and knowledge that I build up over the years on end to property management. And I think that was the reason, or is the reason that we have been very successful. It's not just taking care of the home, which is also important. Of course, it's the whole marketing around it, the getting bookings, we always have been focused on revenue from from day one. And that is something I have the feeling that a lot of property managers in this area don't do. They are very good in taking care of the homes and the guests. But they have no clue about technology and marketing and revenue management and things like that. They do deals with tour operators, so they get a lot of bookings from them, but it's at rock bottom rates. It's like a 50% discount on rates. And we have never done that we have not had any contracts. With tour operators, we always went straight to the guests, the detail bookings. And I think that really has made a difference. And one of the reasons why we have been able to grow in this in this market.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, that's really interesting. And that was a question that I had for you was if you did work with the tour operators, because I know that's such a big segment of business in Disney and it's something that when I was at condo world, we never we never were able to get that program going but it's something we were interested in. And I think there's there's a lot of interest from the UK for people that want to come and start their vacation in like South Carolina and then go down to Florida and maybe do kind of an East Coast kind of tour. But that's it's interesting that you've been able to still do that well in Orlando without that component of business.

Dennis Goedheid:

I think it's it's easy, relatively easy for the manager. They only need to get one or two contracts a year and their whole calendar is almost filled. And for us we need to talk to every guest through Airbnb to looking up talking communicate with them for sale, get them to book with us. So it's a lot more more than an hour ends. But I think it really pays off in the end. So much more money. They would accept tour operators, and then you also see what has happened in last few years. is a couple of really big ones like a Thomas Cook went out of business. And there's companies here in the area that went bankrupt because they didn't have any money. They didn't have a direct booking strategy. They didn't have like things even on Airbnb and booking.com. And very well, because they never needed to. And then something happens. And yeah, it doesn't trouble.

Annie Holcombe:

Yeah, that's a conversation we have with people all the time is about, you know, not putting all your eggs in sort of that OTA basket, you need to have it. But, you know, kind of to the point of the tour operators that went out of business, I was curious, I worked with a couple of property managers that were unfortunately they they met their demise during COVID. Because they just weren't prepared. They didn't have money in the bank. But you know, you have a fairly large portfolio. And how did you weather that? Like, were you? I don't think anybody was prepared for what it did. But do you feel like you were as best prepared as you possibly could be in? And in that how, you know, what would you what would you caution others to do moving forward? So if something like that happened again, they wouldn't be prepared?

Unknown:

Yeah. So I have to be honest, it was a scary time. And I remember, we have always been very strong on on trust accounting from from day one. It's not required by law here in the state of Florida. When I first was introduced to the concept, I thought, Yeah, that's absolutely smart. Makes sense. You need to do it. But it was scary. I think. In mid March, we had around $2 million on our trust account in future bookings. And then the pandemic happened. And every like day or hour, I saw that amount going down. And we went up to a level that we only have, I think 10 $15,000 left on a trust account. And we calling our payment processor asking like, Hey, do you guys think we're going to have a lot more refunds coming up? Because we're almost at the bottom? So it's it? No, no, we don't have anything coming up anymore. But if we have used our trust funds for other things, which which happens a lot, unfortunately, in our industry, we would have been in trouble. So luckily, we had all those funds in separate accounts. But still, it was scary because it didn't stop. We bleeded so yeah I think we cancelled one week over 1000 reservations. Yeah. Really bad. And I know that there has been a lot of talk around Airbnb guests. Now, we tried to reboot guests and give them a credit for exactly three days. And now we just gave up. We got into fights with the guests. We were getting slammed on social media reviews from this, unhappy that they didn't didn't get a refund. So we already started refunding our guests, even before Airbnb started doing that. So for us, it wasn't really that big of a problem, because I still think that was the right thing to do. At that moment. No one really knew what was going on. People were losing their jobs, and then just saying, hey, you need to keep the money with us. Because you and you need to, to use it later on. But we don't know when yet. I don't think that was the right thing to do. So we already started the Fund invests way before we did,

Alex Husner:

yeah, hindsight is 2020. Right. I know, looking back a lot of companies in our area, just moved the reservations forward a year, and that that helped at the time. They know, okay, we're going into 2021. It's going to be a strong year. But at the same time, then what we weren't knowing was going to happen. prices changed so much. And the demand was so high in 2021 that we actually we could have made more money if we had just refunded and rebooked guess.

Dennis Goedheid:

Exactly. And I think that's that has been our luck, too. But no, I mean, that wasn't the goal in the beginning, because no one knew what was gonna happen. So yeah, we saw some right.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, absolutely. So let's talk about a little bit about your tech stack has been to grow a company to have over 400 condos and homes. And that takes a lot of infrastructure to support. So what is what is your tech stack look like?

Unknown:

So we just migrated to Track last April is our PMS system. And on top of that, we have built also our own in house operations to a little bit like what breezeway does but there's just a lot more around it and customized for our operations. So before attract, we were on escapia for the eight previous years. So they had a core, they had very good accounting and reservation management, but they were lacking on anything operational. So we decided, yeah, we're going to have to build it ourselves. So we started in now, I think in this year, however, when we got into operations, so once we switch to tracking in April, only our accounting and reservations team really felt the difference. Everybody else are just kept on using our internal tools, and didn't know anything about the migration. So those are the two big ones. Our own software is also an older app, a laundry management system, housekeeping apps.

Alex Husner:

Wow, wow, that's a lot. And I think I had heard that you guys had custom. I wasn't sure if it was a custom PMS, but I knew there's there's obviously some stuff going on that you've built yourself, which is quite impressive. Do you have developers?

Dennis Goedheid:

Yeah, so no accounting, no reservations, no distribution, but everything durational is done in house.

Alex Husner:

Right. Now? Do you have developers that support that as on your staff, or? No, so

Unknown:

by two people. Yeah. And then of course, we also use a couple of additional tools, like wheelhouse for revenue management's. We use phones, as a communication in group inbox, to we have Rentals United and BookingPal as a channel manager. So there's a couple of other tools that we use.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, yeah. Great. Tell us a little bit about your experience. With with wheelhouse, I'm curious. You know, they're, they're good friends of our show. And we appreciate they are our brand sponsor. And so we always like to hear a little bit more about what they do. Can you tell us about how you use Wheelhouse for revenue management?

Unknown:

Yeah, absolutely. So I know wheelhouse already for a long, long time. From years ago, the had a booth at VRMA and then they kind of disappeared, because they Yeah, they were focused on on Yeah, operations and lyrics. So when they got back, he was very interesting. They, they had a couple of ideas and solutions is that we were missing in our back then current revenue management software. So I got to start talking with with Andrew and John. And the reason why we switched was really, the team. It felt like a startup, they were excited to work with us, they listened to us, they made improvements, a lot of improvements already over the previous months of things that we suggest should suggested. So I really like working with with companies really not just a number, and if you will feature request, it probably never is gonna be the one to push the limits and move forward together with your customers. So I really liked the smaller team and the personalized service and have a reason to, to our input.

Annie Holcombe:

Now, they just did some, they just did some enhancements, they announced in a DARM when we were on Nashville back in August, and a lot of the focus was kind of so go back through COVID You know, our industry had this boom of the technology, everybody was kind of I think all these technology providers were able to get get kind of in the in the weeds and really figure out what was the best technology and make a lot of advancements. So from from technology within hospitality, vacation rentals has just kind of surpassed where hotels was. And in that there was a lot of automation. And so the the theme of everything was, you know, put your information in and it'll do the work for you. And while that's you know, for myself, I've been in property management OTAs channel manager been all sides of it, I think automation is, is helpful, but there always needs to be a human component of it. So I think that Wheelhouse again, with their announcement, they wanted to give some of that control back to the property manager. So I'd love to hear what you think about this new feature or kind of this new iteration of their platform and how that works for you and your team.

Unknown:

No, so um, we have a full time revenue and distribution manager and on our team. So her name is Carrie and her job is to optimize those rates for all the homes using the tools that we have available. And that was indeed one of our frustrations with the other two that we used was kind of a black box So, if you didn't know what happened, or how they came to certain price, you could change the base prices and make some other changes. But you didn't really know what we're not behind. Why a certain date was all sudden price so high why we would not expect it the high. And that is the complete opposite with real house. So they give you the data, you can look at the data, you see how they come to the conclusion that certain items be priced at a certain price. And you can you can make your own use your own judgment to make changes and mechanical manipulator that a little bit. So that's something that we really like I think most managers know their market better than than anyone. There's also things that we miss, and that we don't know. And that's where those tools come in. Because then you really got to look at it and say, oh, yeah, this event this year is on this date, I thought it was the week before. So if you to focus or look at certain things, so it's absolutely helpful. But there's also things that we don't know that we know and that the software may not have picked up on yet. And we manage around 120 units right next to the convention center here in Orlando. And it's like micro market within Orlando, Sookie use pricing software, it may not pick up spikes, because in the greater Orlando market, it's not a big event. But for those 120 units right next to the convention center, it's huge. And that's why we have been outperforming a lot of other managers because they didn't really pay attention to it, they knew that Christmas was high in spring break, but those companies were able to just by having the right prices on the right days for those homes.

Annie Holcombe:

Yeah, I think that's valuable because Orlando was a market where you have to be in tune with not only the vacation rental and kind of the calendar, the typical calendar, like you said, the holidays when families are traveling, but it is a convention market. And as conventions come back, and it starts to get back to some normalcy, that you know, Orlando would drive that business, you have to understand what the hotels are pricing and what the conventions are, and what they have a, you know, huge tennis facility that's there in the market, my husband likes to go down there. And he's played in some tournaments there. And so there's so much going on in Orlando, that if you're not really looking at the whole picture and get grabbing data, or again, knowing that you're there on the kind of boots on the ground situation, you're gonna know better than the software. And I do think that that's where some of the platforms have missed out. So I really applaud Wheelhouse for really giving some of that back to the manager, because again, there is some gut that goes with it. But there's also just some practical knowledge that a computer system is not going to be able to scrape. If they're not, you know, they can't see it all. So

Alex Husner:

yeah, for sure. And I think managers like yourself, that you guys are obviously pretty tech savvy, and to make different suggestions to them. And for them to take those suggestions to heart and implement within the software. It's nice to work with companies like that. I know. I mean, if you guys are doing your own things, you're gonna see things differently than just the regular property manager that might not be quite as savvy. So it's, it's really cool seeing technology evolve in our industry, and just, especially in the last couple years, just how much we've all kind of contributed to that. And, you know, a lot of this technology is built by like you said, you've probably known Andrew for a long time, people that we all know. And I think that's that's kind of helped all of us grow and evolve together.

Dennis Goedheid:

Yeah, it's always amazing to see every year other conference like prma New technologies that pop up they never heard of or thought about and when they're in there you see them the next year and they're bigger or or they disappear.

Alex Husner:

Or they're gone completely. Yeah, right. Yeah. Yeah.

Dennis Goedheid:

Well, and I know in the beginning like the exhibit hall last year, May was it was always the same PMS systems. Every year, you already knew who was going to be there and now is new, fresh, small startups and upgrade. That's what I love about these conferences.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, absolutely. What would you say? What's the biggest pain point in your business right now? Like what's what's the thing that keeps you up at night?

Dennis Goedheid:

Mmm hmm. I think staffing is a challenge still, for us. Finding them retain them especially for frontline workers. Everybody in this market is dealing with it from from Disney to help there. It has it has gotten easier, but it has been one of the hardest years I think. Yeah, it seems we started 2020 One was probably harder than 2020, when we were under lockdown with with COVID. Because you have this surge in bookings and guests stay in our homes and people were still not working and they were getting $600 or more a week in unemployment, which is more or the same that they will be earning, like cleaning homes or inspecting homes. So that has been a really, really tough year for us. Also, our reading scores went down, we have guests arriving at a property, and housekeepers still had to get there and start, that's how bad it was. So I think there has been a big, big challenge. But I think it's going in the right direction. It's getting a lot easier if we post the job app now a few months ago, we were not getting any response whatsoever. And now finally, we start to see some regiments coming in.

Annie Holcombe:

How about regulations? Orlando is a market that I haven't heard too much about regulations, I think the greater Orlando area is pretty in tune with the fact that tourism regardless of where it's coming from is incredibly important to the entire ecosystem of Orlando from from one end to the other. But your use of your now managing and other markets, Miami is a market that there's a lot of push for regulation. So how are you seeing the landscape within Florida? And then the markets that you're working in? And I think you said you've got some in the Caribbean is as well. You know, what, what are your thoughts on where or regulation goes? And how property managers should be proactively engaging on that subject? Yeah.

Unknown:

Um, so I think it's a big misconception that Orlando is the Wild West and that you can do whatever you want. Lambda is actually very regulated. It's, I think it's done in the right way. So in everybody talks about the Rando, but it's actually four different counties that make up the area around Disney World. And in Orlando, short term rentals are not permitted. So you can have a guest in your house on Airbnb, but the owner has to be in the house during the stay of guests cannot rent out entire homes, unless you're in a community that zoned for short term rentals. And I think that's, that's really key. What they've done here, they have built communities purpose built communities, where you only have short term rentals. So there's a lot less of a mix between residents and short term rentals. Then you have Osceola County, which is what they call the the vacation home capital of the world. They even trademarked that. Yeah, that baseline. And they saw already, I think, 10 or 20 years ago, that they could not compete with Orange County in Orlando with all the hotels and resorts that they had so far back in in the past, they decided to focus on vacation rentals, their their tax, tourist development tax collections from vacation homes are higher than what they get from hotels. So for them, obviously, it's also a very important part of the local economy. It pays for a lot of their expenses. So it's all regulated, you need to apply for licenses, you need access, but it streamlines and they're open to it. So they embrace it. So that's, that's great. So regarding Miami, we know it's a very tough market there regulation wise, but it's almost the same there. You have buildings that are zoned for short term rentals. So as long as you stay there, there's there's no issues. But obviously, you cannot do it anywhere you want to have to focus on those buildings or zones where it's allowed. And each. Yeah, in general, it's not allowed so but other areas in Miami hunger is no problem. And for Aruba, that's probably like the most dangerous situation because there are no rules yet. And that's when things can really change. They can block you overnight, they can pass a law that puts you out of business. So there we really have been proactive when we started there with with local partner the first thing I told them is we need to start the coalition here. There may not be a problem today, but someday we're going to have a problem because there are no rules. So we formed the Aruba vacation rental professionals with support also. And we organized a summit, we did an economic impact study, we organized the summit, we invited all the politicians from from there. And that has really worked great, because now they actually send the proposal to us to come up or advise them on some software's to collect their tourist development taxes. And that is really what you want that they don't go on their own. And they find a system that may not work for us. But right, right, yeah. So now they're asking us for advice. Hey, what will you do? Which systems will you use? Which systems are used in other counties in the US? And that's exactly what their goal was. And yeah, getting ahead of the game, and not have having to be reactive when it's too late.

Alex Husner:

That's excellent. And so good to hear. And I think that's a conversation that's being had, and a lot of communities right now, at least starting on the vacation rental side that we're all trying to get to that point of, okay, let's instead of the city's, you know, investing in software that's not going to help with, you know, tracking these issues. Let's all work together and figure out what we're actually trying to tracks. I think there's, there's so much misinformation about what the real problems are. And obviously, you've seen our art, we are not Airbnb movement. And it's not about Airbnb, but it's about saying who we are as a industry. And it's a rallying cry. And I think that we're going to start

Dennis Goedheid:

the funny thing in Aruba, for example, we are pushing for regulations. And that may sound weird, but we know the issues that guests have or like noise, thrash and porn issues. So we want to have clear regulations, and we propose those to them so that they would go with our regulations and not come up with ideas from from owners or neighbors. So if we can lock those in the ones that we support, and we probably don't have to give them something to but if we can push for our proposal, then we're probably going to be better off than if we have to fight back on proposals from from neighbors.

Annie Holcombe:

Did you guys use our Did you engage with you said vrma helped you with that. And I'm just curious, because the way you're talking about kind of getting everybody together, bringing all the stakeholders together, that's something that Rent Responsibly is really concentrated on and in putting together, you know, making sure that again, that the people that live in the community, the people that work in the community, the people that have the business in the country, that everybody's getting together at the table to have the conversation. So did you engage with them? Or is this something that you kind of you kind of instinctually knew what needed to be done? And then VRMA stepped in to help you with that?

Dennis Goedheid:

Yeah, so we did not engage them we worked with with Matt Curtis, who has been with me for for so he has helped us and guided us a little bit through the process. But there's also a lot of things that we already knew, of course, and it's also important who you know, especially in a small community like Aruba, everybody, everybody. Yeah, network is almost more important than what you do because you need to get into by people.

Annie Holcombe:

Yeah, that's really important. And I think that some people forget, I know, I look back at when I was in property management back in the early 2000s, up to about 2012. And in the market that I'm in is in the panhandle of Florida, Panama City Beach. But there's Panama City Beach, there's Destin 30-a. There's the whole panhandle, and it's very, it was very siloed in the way people operated, there was not a lot of collaboration a lot, not a lot of sharing information. And even within the Panama City Beach market, I remember just trying to get data to understand what was really out there, there was a lot of friction between the hotel sector and vacation rentals because they were starting to take over the they were the bulk of the inventory in the market. And so you know, the the Convention and Visitor's Bureau as the DMO started to have to pay attention, but they didn't know how to do it. And so I think that COVID All the bad that came with it. The really great thing that came out of it is it made the industry so much more collaborative and so much more understanding that we are this large community that is spanning the globe really and that we are going to be so much stronger and so much better if we all work together instead of working against each other. So I think that that you know when you're showing exactly that you're being collaborative in a market that like Orlando, enormous market, but you've proven out that you know, working those relationships and being right there and understanding the market is important to the success not just for you as Casiola, but but for the industry as a whole.

Dennis Goedheid:

Absolutely. agree. And even here in Orlando, we also formed like small Association, or top five competitors. Basically we have monthly calls and we just share information. And that can go about Yeah, certain software? Or where do you get your benefits? What do you pay for is just to benchmark? Things? If you have a certain problem? Do the elders have the same problem? Or? Or is it something that you have to look. So having that call every every month on, you know, give so much value doesn't cost anything, we also want to limit it to just a handful of other property managers to give us like 20 or 30. It's just too big. So it's just five of the top property managers in Orlando. And I love those conversations. So each month,

Alex Husner:

yeah, and I have having having that group that you can bounce ideas off of is huge. We talked about that quite a bit on our show, just the value of collaboration and coopetition, I really want to phrase it, but at the end of the day, at the end of the day, we're really all more aligned. And we need to be able to work together within our own destinations. And it used to be the information sharing, which is something that didn't happen, but I think people like yourself, have really just kind of moved the needle on making others understand that it's okay to share and work together and things we all

Dennis Goedheid:

get better on beach. So yeah, absolutely.

Alex Husner:

Now, I have one other question, Dennis, I know you've been you've built a really great culture, I think a Cassiel. And that's, that's what I've heard from the outside, which that's a good thing for y'all. But tell us a little bit about the culture. And you know, how important that has been, especially with workforce issues that we're all facing? Um, yeah, it's, it's something from my experience with my previous company, we have an amazing filter. So we even went to a company called Zappos, you may be familiar with it. Yeah. And their headquarters were in Vegas. And I'm talking about many, many years ago, even before they were acquired by Amazon. And they were really known for their cultures and their happy hours, and their office looked like a crazy place every desk operated, insane ways. So we went there we did like Pilcher boot camp, I think, is what they call it for a few days. And now we're gonna circle to our company in Belgium. And we started organizing, like happy hours that we reach, or every month to people within the company that got randomly picked. So we can be on for maintenance together with someone from marketing, for example, they have to organize something for the whole team on limited budgets. So they have to be creative. They've worked together with someone that they usually don't work with. And it's just fun to create those activities that we introduced here too. We call it the CCC because Casiola Crew Celebration. So every month on or after busy season, because like in March, April, we cannot do that in the middle of spring break. But then we do it right after. And those things are really fun. I think everybody gets stressed, especially if you have gone through busy summer to lease together in the charge. And yeah, we did. We took the whole team to Disney World. So they could go to any part they wanted in the morning. And then we met up at 2pm at Epcot. And we did a Food and Wine Festival with a whole drinking around the world.

Annie Holcombe:

Yeah, that's always good. Yeah, it works.

Dennis Goedheid:

And it was so much it was a little bit too much fun because the day I'm not kidding you. So we did. It's a ride. It's called Living with the land. It's actually a very boring educational rights. And someone complained. So they reached out to us to social media, that we were making too much noise and fun and that they couldn't hear on the speakers. And they took a video and they looked up Casiola

Alex Husner:

oh my gosh, troublemakers apologize for

Dennis Goedheid:

the guest. But that means that we had a bunch of fun.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, exactly. That's what that's what it's about at the end of the day. And that's great to hear that you do team building stuff like that, because it really does. It's, it's you in order to make things happen in the business. You have to have trust in each other. And I think that happens normally outs outside of the business that you just get to know and break bread and enjoy each other's company. So that's great. Yeah. Very cool.

Annie Holcombe:

Dennis, I think we're getting near time and at the end of it. We like to normally ask a couple of questions. We did not send them to you. So this might be consider as your gotcha moment. But what would you you've been You've been here, right? Um, how long have you been in the US now?

Dennis Goedheid:

Eight years.

Annie Holcombe:

Okay. So what would you tell dentists of 10 years ago? Today, like if you had to go back and say, This is what you need to be prepared for when you move to the US, those things,

Dennis Goedheid:

don't go into property management.

Annie Holcombe:

My husband and I, we, my husband, I started a property management company here, like, right when the economy crashed in 2008 668. whenever that was, I can't remember. It seems like it's so long ago, but with some friends and we joked about I handled, he handled marketing, and I handled like, the owner relations and contracting and all that stuff. And we always joked that we were going to buy T shirts that said, friends, don't let friends buy condos. But I think you'd say, friends dont let friends buy vacationa rentals, you know, but it to your point, I think it's one of those things, you get into it. And it's like, oh, gosh, what did I get myself into, but you wouldn't change it for the world because you clearly love what you're doing?

Dennis Goedheid:

Absolutely. The and that's the weird thing about what we do. It's it becomes like a passion or an addiction. You love it. Especially at 2am at night when you get a conference conference like the VRMA. Or if you didn't do those team buildings, only CPE guests that have the vacation of a lifetime taking their kids or grandkids to the board. So yeah, it's an addiction, but, and I had some business experience before. So it's not that they got into something new. But this is hard. So everyone that has a small management company, just husband and wife, and I've been doing it for 10 or more years, I have so much respect for them. Because this is the hardest thing I've ever done. I run businesses all across Europe and North Africa, we have production we have ecommerce where people often found the euro, but this is 10 times harder. Operations running operations is so hard. Dealing with owners it's not easy. So yeah, a lot of respect. For those all the players and everything that are basically on call 24/7.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, it's a lot harder business than what people are some people are making it seem like it is isn't it's not a passive income stream kind of business. But it's very hands on and a lot of work but especially at scale, but as many units as you guys have.

Annie Holcombe:

Well, Dennis, thank you so much for joining us. We love watching the Casiola team at conferences. I mean, you guys, you take you clearly take, you know your team building and your your culture and you bring it to the shows and the energy is is It's electric. And I think people really gravitate to it. So just keep it up. And so yeah, if anybody if anybody wants to get in touch with you, what's the best way to reach out to you?

Dennis Goedheid:

You can reach me through LinkedIn, I think he's easy, or you can contact Casio and I'm sure they will forward message.

Alex Husner:

Awesome. We will include those links in the show notes. And if anybody wants to contact Annie and I can go to Alex and Annie podcast.com. And if you're enjoying the show, we'd love to hear from you. If you could leave us a review on whichever podcast app that you listen to. We greatly appreciate that. But until next time, Dennis, thank you so much and we will see everyone later.

Dennis Goedheid:

Thank you.

Annie Holcombe:

Dennis GoedheidProfile Photo

Dennis Goedheid

Founder & CEO at Casiola vacation homes

Experienced entrepreneur specialized in technology, marketing, real estate & company culture.

Started my first company at the age of 18 (Xedron)
2 successful exits: Xedron (2005 - event management ) and PrintConcept (2013 - online printing)
Born and raised in Belgium (Europe). Relocated to Orlando (USA) to revolutionize vacation rental investing and management.