Lino Maldonado is recognized as one of the industry's most innovative players, known for his collaborative spirit and uncanny ability to see opportunity where most see road blocks. Lino's career includes 23 years with Wyndham Vacation Rentals as VP of Operations, where he managed a staff of 1200 employees and a budget in excess of $500M. Utilizing his wealth of knowledge and experience as an operator, Lino joined BeHome247 in 2019 to lead the charge and development of cutting-edge smart home technology, workflow automation and energy management solutions for the accommodations and real estate industry.
Lino shares stories of the early days at ResortQuest and Abbott Resorts when property management companies were powered by AS400's and green screens, and the evolution that has since turned into The Leaning Tower of Tech for many property management companies using disparate systems. BeHome247 allows the front of the house to talk to the back of the house, with the ability for each client to customize the platform to fit their own unique use cases. This is very clearly a product built by operators, for operators.
We also dive into the synergies Lino saw while at Wyndham between the vacation rental and timeshare divisions, and the programs he developed to optimize inventory efficiently. Alex and Lino recently attended GNEX Conference and participated in a panel specific to this topic, along with Ryan Dame of Casago, Scott Bunce of Cabins for You, and Gregg Anderson, moderated by Amy Hinote. Stay tuned for more episodes on this topic!
Lino served as Chairman for VISIT FLORIDA during 2018-2019 and Chairman of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association in 2016. He was also selected by Governor Rick Scott as one of his six appointees to serve on the Gulf Consortium, which was tasked with helping to structure the States expenditure plan for the settlement funds from the 2010 BP Gulf Oil spill.
Watch on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/W2fY343as8g
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Podcast Sponsored by Condo-World and Lexicon Travel
Welcome back to Alex and Annie, the real women of vacation rentals. I'm Alex. And I'm Annie. And we are joined today with Lino Maldonado, who is the president and managing partner of Behome 24/7. But also many previous career stints in vacation rentals over the years. So excited to have you here. Lino, welcome.Lino Maldonado:
Oh, it's my pleasure. Looking forward to the discussion, ladies. Yeah,Alex Husner:
awesome. Before we get started, can you give our audience a little bit of your very accomplished history within the space and just where you you've been that's got you to where you are now.Lino Maldonado:
Absolutely would love to Yeah, I started back in the business back in 1996. For those of you who work in beach markets, I started Fourth of July weekend of 1996. Someone who I I'll say is a friend. But after all, he put me through I'm not still sure about that. But Jimbo and hired me, way back when and put me in this position. He called it the Guest Services Coordinator. Now I had no idea what this industry was I had no idea about the business, or what fire he was throwing me into on that Fourth of July weekend. But in essence, my job was to go to every single home, that grossed more than 75,000. You know, again, this is 20 plus years ago, 25 years ago, and I was to take a beating really from every guest that had any issue with housekeeping or maintenance or concierge services, anything they needed, I was to take care of, and expedite and, and so what it did for me, was helped me to understand the business very, very quickly. And I learned, I think that very weekend, that this was an industry not about me, but about delivering great experiences to other people. And I really fell in love with that aspect. And so that really started, you know, my career, I worked through a couple of positions with Abbott Resorts from rental manager on up and then we were sold to create the first IPO for Resort Quest. Back in those days, which was one of the industry's first consolidation, really, of brands and professionalizing this particular vertical, and so worked through several positions there, GM and upwards and onwards, and then ended up leaving the business in ninth it's going to be 2006 group of us got together in the fall and devised a plan to buy resortquest from Gaylord Entertainment Group and we were successful in closing that in June of oh seven. And you know, retooled the company got back down to the basics of what the industry really is all about. And that's you know, obviously owners guest and and you know, the people or associates that you're working with. And then we ultimately sold the business to Wyndham in the fall of 2010 to form Wyndham Vacation Rentals, North America had a great run for about nine years and then Wyndham decided to exit the short term rental business in the fall of 2019. And I decided at that time to really focus, you know, my career and a different path. And I had found Behome as a customer about 10 years prior and was one of their larger customers in the space and really helped to develop some of the workflows and automations in my business my region for Wyndham which was about a third of the US which I was running on an old as 400 platform. So try try telling your you know your interns every year you know from from 50 different colleges across the country that green screens and no mouse really Very fast right. And so I found to be home to for SAP 24/7 really as a as a customer and really started bringing problems that I had operationally to Joseph and his development team. And they would, you know, help to develop you know, the the workflows that I needed to improve how we were doing business. And really, with the basics, housekeeping and maintenance and laundry and smart device management and control and all of that stuff. And we sort of, in a roundabout way created one of the better operational platforms, enterprise platforms on the market today. And then started, you know, bolting on property management solutions as part of, of our, you know, of our technology stacks. And so we're really excited about where we've been we're very excited about where we're headed and what the industry the tools that they now have to be successful.Annie Holcombe:
There's so much so much there that you've covered. And having been in the Panhandle when all this was going on I, I can empathize with you. I started in the hotel side of the industry of Fourth of July weekend of 1992. And then was just front desk for a while and ended up ultimately running the front desk at a hotel for spring break. So I know being broken in and being the, the sounding board for guest complaints is a definite trial by fire. But I think that all the stuff that you've done in the Panhandle again, I've known you through people for years, and you bring up Jim Olin. And then of course, the as 400 just harkens to Steve Caron, and interviewing him recently. So I think that you guys have a lot of positive crossed. And one thing that you bring up is just the challenges that you had as an operator that you brought to be home 24/7. And they were already helping, but you were able to really help them modernize their offering. And I think that that's a thread that Alex and I have found pretty common with people is that there was just a problem that everybody had. And that was how they created, ultimately where they are now. So I'd love to hear more about what the home 24/7 is doing now for the industry and where you think it'll take you down the road?Lino Maldonado:
Yeah, you're absolutely correct. And you know, there's a lot of great software out there on the market today. In fact, when we started back in the late 90s, and in the early 2000s, the technology needed to even build good technology was not available. And I think that was one of the early stumbling blocks of resortquest. And I think two different times there was multiple millions of dollars spent to build a an underlying property management solution that was modern, and it was based on, you know, real workflows. When I say there's great technology out there, there really is the problem that I still see in the market today are really two things. The first is that a lot of these technologies are built by really smart people, but we've never cleaned a toilet or checked in a gap. Right? So that's a major differentiator between what we're doing with our workflows and and having actually been in these roles. And in these positions. Joseph and our team really integrate themselves into the issue first, I remember when when he helped build this this linen management system, which was a major logistical challenge for me, he spent like six months in the laundry, Joseph, six months in the laundry business in the back rooms with the people folding towels and marking bags and weighing incoming. And so when we build workflows, we build them from the foundation of what needs to occur. And then we build technology around that workflow for the optimal solution. The second thing I see and I see this just as much today as I ever have as an operator. And I'm also just as guilty as anyone throughout my career. As an operator, you've got many different challenges coming at you from every angle, every single day. And the you know, the easy way to solve a problem is to is to grab a particular technology and plug it into the thing that you need it right if you need got an issue in housekeeping, grab a housekeeping widget, and then you then you have an issue with maintenance. And you try to solve that with a maintenance widget. And then you got to advertising opportunities. So you plug in another widget for that, what you end up with thinking that you're becoming more efficient or more effective in your business, you're actually building what I call the leaning tower of tech. Because all of these things you're plugging in, don't talk to one another, they don't pass information back and forth. The people who need this information also need this as well, but maybe at a different date or time. And, and you're creating an environment of really disconnected city and inefficiency, thinking that you've just improved your business. So we've set out a long time ago in building our ecosystem. So all of these different things are components of operations, all are operating in a central nucleus, and then feeding back out all of the data that we're managing or mining back into the PMs underlining systems all the way down through accounting and, you know, payables and you name it. So we try to incorporate efficiency in every department or aspect of the business into a single screen. That is very difficult to do. And I think that's something that Joseph and team with the home have done very successfully.Alex Husner:
Yeah, that's interesting is when you're talking about the Leaning Tower of Pisa software, we refer to it as Jenga at our company. We've built our own software over the years, but in the last couple years, we've put a major emphasis on rebuilding a lot of those aspects where everything is now on Microsoft Azure and all in the same environment. But you know, under the same auspices of how we were, we were built it was okay when we built it all ourselves from afar, but we can do this Marketing widget or this housekeeping widget or this and that, but it's this, we've, you know, ended up at the same situation that you've got all this data and all this information and functionality, but it's not being shared in the way that it needs to be streamlined to really be able to optimize that. So we've kind of taken a step back to look through that and say, Okay, if this is something that we want to be able to be more utilized in the market, we've got to be able to, you know, start that foundation, again, but it's, you know, looking back on the progression of software over the years, that's, you said, Exactly, right. I mean, it's definitely been a, it's been a journey. And I think our software for property management, vacation rentals really has has really gone through the roof in the last few years. I think there is a lot of great technology out there. And I think there's a lot of information out there that's guiding how things are built. But for a long time, you know, a PMS was just a PMS. And it was very basic and simple. And it was an accounting platform. And I'm sure some of the software companies kind of missed those days. That was easier to build. But there's so much going on now. But, you know, I think I think it's a good thing for our industry, because I think it shows that we are very collaborative or innovative, and we're taking guest experience and all these different things to the next level. But it's exciting to see what B home has done. And you know, we talked about this in more depth on our pre call, but I didn't realize how in depth the offerings were of what you guys have built. So it's quite impressive. Well, thank you. Yeah, you know, we we look at operational at operations and in a completely different, you know, perspective. And, and we don't want to solve a single issue, I think we're pretty well known, Joseph and team have done a really good job, you know, getting our brand out there in this segment. But I think, you know, the folks who don't understand all of the different pieces that we offer, look at us as, like smart device control. And really, we do that over I think We've got over 1100 API's for different devices, device types, you know, our systems talk in a lot of different languages, ZigBee, Z wave 802, Bluetooth, cellular, you know, so we can, we can pull together a lot of pieces of hardware, and make them do things in your operational workflows that they weren't intended to do, nor that your PMS can control. But really smart devices, only about 15 to 20% of our offering. We everything from automation and status management, housekeeping, maintenance, laundry workflows, Guest Services, communication, digital documentation, and the list goes on and on. But we've built it in such a way that, that you decide how you run your business, not us. We're not a software company that hands you a license and say, Okay, here's our, here's our system, here's how you use it, you must run your business this way. You because what I've learned over the years is that I've probably been through 10, or 12, different RFPs for property management solutions. And there's some really good ones out there today. That's what I'm most excited about. And we've partnered, I think we've got integration with over 50 Different PMS brands, right now, which is fantastic as well. But I like to say front of the house who only meet back at a house. And so between us and your PMS solution that you choose, we pretty much are the only two technologies required to give you a robust operation system, which is great. When we do take over a new account, we typically displays about three or four of those little point solutions that we discussed earlier, which streamlines your operations, with the goal to generate more time and efficiency for your staff to focus on things that really matter, which is owner and Guest Relations, and then your company culture, right. So spending a lot more time on those things versus pushing paper through departments through tasks and the like. One of the truths that I found in the PMs searches over the years is that a there's a lot of good ones, depending on what you're looking for. Specifically, you can re rank the top 10 or 15, you know, from time to time, but the winner usually gets you about 80% there. And then you have to figure out the other 20% on how you run your business. The other thing that I found over the years is that you know, if Alex has a business and and he has a business, you're in the same market and use the same basic PMS software, you still run your businesses differently. And so what we've said from the beginning is let's keep the the power of how you want to run your business in your hands. You tell us what you need, and then our back end through the setting systems that we've built over the years will allow you to customize it to operate the way you see fit.Annie Holcombe:
I think that's such a good point to make. Because you said there are a lot of great platforms that are out there. Depending on what your needs are, but to your point that if everybody can have good operational efficiencies, that is good for everybody, but they do operate in different ways. And I think so many of these platforms come to us, you know, come to a property manager and say we have the solution for you. But it's not flexible enough to manage how the manager managers, they're, they're pretty. So you know, being in tune with their needs. And you said early on, and we interviewed Jim DeVos, from best beach getaways. And he's developed some platforms for his company and started out in half housekeeping and maintenance, and really, really fine tune it based on what they needed, not what somebody else was telling them they needed. And he knew how to run the company, and how to be efficient. And so they've developed their platform around that, and I think you're doing the right thing is that you're going you're listening to the people and you talk about your, you know, the developers with you guys, being in the weeds getting in there and understanding what everybody does. I think that's very important. And some of these technology platforms don't necessarily understand or focus on that part of the equation.Lino Maldonado:
Yeah, 100 100% agree. And I've and I've run into that a lot. You know, it's funny the educational side of learning how to position you know, the software for the epiphany for me was when again At Wyndham you know, large operation, I had went into one of my one of my managers, Wyndham and decided to in, you know, to integrate with a large maintenance company, you guys know, the brand in our market, but they were bringing that over from their HOA business and timeshare biz, they want all of our companies to use this maintenance software. And so I go into one of my managers who had I had heard refused to start using it. And I said, I said, Debbie, I said, why? I understand you're a holdout here, you know, this is a more of a directive, we everybody's got this. And I'm a big culture guy. So I'm not trying to jam anything down anybody's throats. But you know, I was a, you know, a VP and really needed to understand why my people were revolting, you know, and so Debbie, who ran the largest project for me in the panhandle, by the way, sat down with our So Debbie, what's the problem, she's like, she said, Lita, I am not signing on to another, and she said, you know, dang, you know, software to run my business I'm already doing and I just followed her. And she was looking at only two or three things that she had to get in and touch, and even do, you know, dual accounting in just to complete a work order, right? That was a huge eye opening opportunity for me to learn from the people doing the job every day. And this was, you know, 810 years ago now. And I said that day, I will never make a decision for my people that I don't fully understand the benefits and how it's going to positively impact their day. Not if it comes from, you know, senior leadership At Wyndham or anywhere else, it's not getting past me, until, until I know how it's gonna affect the people that do these jobs every single day, if it makes their life easier, better, more effective and efficient, I'm in, if not, I'll be this I'll be the roadblock for the people above pushing it. And, and I've really learned a lot at that moment.Alex Husner:
And that can really kill a culture. I mean, when you start, you know, giving so many different programs that an employee has to use to do their job. It's that can make or break the culture within your company and the success of those employees within your organization. But you know, it's from the outside, I'm in the Myrtle Beach market, you you are both down in the panhandle, and we've had several panhandle, graduates of vacation rental on our show so far. And it's really interesting to listen to all of you speak about those early days in your experience, because, you know, many of you are now doing something outside of what that original job was what you've taken that operational, you didn't start out as technologists, you guys started out as operations guys, for the most part are in sales. And now you're leading these businesses that are excelling on the basis of technology. But, you know, when you think about that, like you said, it's because you built these workflows, these user flows, these situations based on what you know, is necessary for an enterprise level company. And a lot of the software that we're seeing that comes out now it really it does cater to the new wave of vacation rentals, which is somebody with five to 30 vacation rentals, and it's very different than enterprise 123 400. Properties, condos, large homes, it's just as a different approach to the business. But you know, going back to Steve Karen's episode and talking about as for hundreds, like I just I wish I could get a glimpse back into those days because it sounds like you guys were probably had to work 15 times harder to get the job done. But at the end of the day, you got it done. And then look how far the industry has come because of what all of you have put back into it with that knowledge. So it's very it's cool to watch and listen and hear about now. On the show. Oh, yeah. Yeah, a lot of good things there. I've got I've got a question about Lyndon this a little bit unrelated. But, you know, looking back on when they went out of vacation rentals, that was October of 2019 or fall 2019. What do you think? I mean, looking back on them, and they didn't know, obviously, that the pandemic was coming, but what do you think about one of them's decision to you know, get out of that side of the business? And then, you know, obviously, they sold the Bokassa, but from Williams perspective, what do you think of that decision?Lino Maldonado:
Yeah, I mean, looking back, you know, it first of all, I think that Windham was perfectly positioned to go as far with the industry as they wanted to, we had had tremendous synergies between our divisions, the hotels, the resorts, the timeshare, the exchange companies, we had built some really cool owner retention products and even rewards programs, I mean, the list goes on and on. But when Jeff melotti left the you know, our side of the house, if you will, to take over the the hotel side, I think we lost a lot of the you know, a lot of the familiarity with this particular component of lodging and how it could could fit in. And so from that perspective, you know, once once senior leadership you know, is no longer focused on you, you know, it makes the decision to exit a whole lot easier versus looking at what the investment would be to do what you're seeing in other markets with our other segments with evolve and Vacasa and some of these others we were lightyears ahead and could have could have done I think amazing things with that said you know, Wyndham is a great organization they're a they're a timeshare and hotel you know company they like to keep you know their focus in their lanes and you know, you really can't argue with the decision was it disappointing for me personally Absolutely. You know, but at the same time, I understood that you know, we were a small percentage of their overall you know, picture and to get the focuses on our industry that are necessary then you've got to get you know, that married with a company that is focused and certainly Vacasa is focused on this segment as are others as well and I think that the the people and the units and the owners will do much better when they have you know, ownership that is purely focused versus you know, sort of distracted in other lanes as well so personally disappointing because I was not finished with it, you know, things that we had done but at the same time tremendous opportunity, you know, for me to get into some other things and and you know, and continue in the industry that I love so much.Alex Husner:
Yeah, absolutely at that end of fall or fall of 2019 That was a interesting time for a lot of vacation rental operators that's when we had purchased one of our largest competitors CondoLux at that time. And you know whether good or bad having a pandemic the next year was hard obviously if everybody but of that came such demand and spotlight on vacation rentals that I just wonder if they kind of wish they had kept more of an ad they've died in because I but it's like now you know you see Marriott making such a push to get involved in that Marriott is hotels vacation rentals and timeshare. So you know, Hilton, we haven't seen yet what they're going to do on the vacation rental side. But I'm interested to see what what that will look like it Lena, we were just at gene X last week and got to hear from Mike Flaskey, who was the CEO of Diamond Resorts. He was the keynote speaker. And I mean, they they sold the Hilton for $4 billion last year, so I'm sure they're probably waiting a little bit more than make a huge purchase again, but it's just it's it's interesting to see you know how timeshare has evolved within the industry to and I think it's just an exploding segment of travel that just with vacation rentals. Also, you know the the margins are different, obviously, but there's demand for both sides of it. And I think it was an interesting conference. I'm glad that we went and then we got to speak about vacation rentals. I think there's a lot of interest in how the two can work together. But do you want to give a little bit of a backstory about the idea for our panel to start on that side and just your experience with Wyndham working with the two segments?Lino Maldonado:
Absolutely yeah. So we you know as Wyndham had three divisions plus RCI so you know, hotels you had timeshare vacation rentals and then RCI we owned as the you know, the exchange company. And you know, initially when we joined Wyndham, there was the, you know, sort of arms around each division, how you can't touch my customer list and I, you know, really fire drills to figure out for me how we could work together versus being told why we can't have or get to certain information or data or whatever. And so, as a builder, you know, model myself, it's it's, I don't, I don't look at roadblocks, I look at opportunity. And I tend to focus there, some will tell you maybe maybe too much. I love to be challenged by things I do not know or understand. And so I jumped right in on the timeshare side, I said, look, the way that I see this, you guys are a sales company, you make most of your money on sales transactions, you do things exceptionally well, from that perspective, you're 50% of every owner, you have 50% of your sales come from developing the higher level clubs and selling to existing owners. So there's a there's a demand, there's a love of the product, we we have a lot of similarities from from our owners perspective, their goal is to generate the sale side and they need leads to do it 100 leads to get to 10 tours to get to one and a half sales. And so I'm looking at those numbers. And I'm going, man, that that tour, no buy list, you know, of 98.5 people that did a tour, I'd love to sell them a regular vacation, they already been to the area, they already love the area. So I need that tour, no buy list is the industry term for that. And so they said, okay, great, you know, and so I started using that list to market to Yeah, regular guests. And then I said, Look, I've got this list of people already in the market. Perhaps there's a way for me to send you good quality leads at a at a much reduced cost because they spend it's like a 50% margin marketing spend to get these leads that the timeshare does, that's a man, what if I could lower that lead generation costs for you by by allowing you access to the people, you know, that we already have here as well. So that was another great synergy. Then we started looking at inventory swapping, where they had a tremendous unused inventory or unsold inventory structure in areas that I needed more rooms, you know, times a year. And then vice versa. I had a bunch of rooms in the offseason, that that they were still running 90 plus percent occupancies of owners. And so I had all these other buildings that I could say, Hey, guys, let's figure out a way for your owners to consume this inventory. Even at a lower margin for me, my owners have full calendars, you guys have greater opportunities to send owners that didn't have a an available, you know, reservation, and now you've got, you know, 67 other buildings that you can sell to those owners as well. So that's just a few of the initial concepts that we had and developed together. But we had just started scratching the surface on the synergies went all Windham ultimately sold in 19. And if for some reason, and it's beyond me, I think Vacasa, you know, clip those programs. And, you know, they're, you know, certainly had the right to do that. But these were these were money making opportunities between both that will pick up the pieces on.Annie Holcombe:
Yeah. You mentioned, I think in our pre call about, I think you were working with a property that's in Destin that has timeshare and vacation rentals, if I'm not mistaken, and how you kind of bridge the gap to have their system speak to each other. Did I misunderstand that would be home? Zions?Lino Maldonado:
Yeah, we actually built that, The Bridge is we call it is that the way that our system is built in the back end is that we can take data from a multitude of data points, and then we can organize that information in the center and then push it back to you know, where else that it needs to go. And one of the challenges we identified really early on is in mixed use or shared facilities there are you might have half the house that is timeshare half the houses hotel or, or vice versa, you might have you know, hotel with some short term rental floors, you know, in it and and we're really seeing that more and more on the residential side of our business as well with new developments. And so we built a bridge between two technology so we we won't be able. So instead of just connecting to a single PMS environment in a building, we can actually have multiple PMS is in the same building feeding data to our central point and then us pushing out reservations, you know, to both sides. So when you think about it, think about a building that's half and half that has a shared front desk, and you might have occupancy opportunities to cross promote, based on last minute availability. That before you never had technology that could read those gap nights or sales opportunities. And so we built that to overcome that that specific issue.Alex Husner:
Yeah, definitely, definitely need to go. Sure.Annie Holcombe:
So I think you've, you've been able to, you've identified what we were just talking about the the synergies between the two types of businesses. So I would say like, is, do you think that Behome can be out there as a leader to get these two types of accommodations to work closer together? And then I think, again, going to this next conference and sitting on these panels to have the conversation, it's out there to be had, you know, where do you think we can go with it?Lino Maldonado:
Yeah, so the technology is built, the short, you know, when you start thinking about the differences of the industry, and I tend to oversimplify issues to begin with, but what I thought about was really the difference between the timeshare industry and the short term rental industry, all that I could really come up with is they're dealing with someone that owns a piece of time, and we're dealing with somebody who's renting a piece of time, but housekeeping, maintenance, guest services, you know, communication, marketing, all of those things, distribution, revenue management, which I think is one of the biggest areas of opportunity, you know, for us to teach the timeshare side, how to monetize those unused rooms and how to get last minute availability. You know, in those things, you know, the those were really the, the, you know, the the key things are all the same for our for our industries. And similarly, when we launched into residential, we've got a, you know, a couple of really sizable customers in the residential leasing space. And one of them's got over 50,000 keys, we're think we're 20,000 or so installed already with them started actually March 1 of 2020. Right as COVID started exploding. And so we started adding about 800 units a month with with this company, when we looked at residential leasing, I did sort of the same thing. So what's really the difference between what our technology does in short term rentals versus what it can do for residential, and they only come up with was length of stay somebody living there a year or nine months and versus three days, long weekend or a week. And so we were able to, to start our residential side of our business as well. And that's just, I mean, it's just blown up, we see very similar things happening in the timeshare space, you know, there's the technology is just legacy, you know, and when you think about the companies and what they're offering, some of them have a best way to describe it a unique perspective on development and, and innovation. And our mindset is just very different. It's, it's what do you need to run your business more effectively and efficiently? And how can we help you with in that regard, most other technology companies that are legacy are like, here's what we offer, take it or leave it, you know, and that's just not our mindset, it'd be home.Alex Husner:
Yeah, and it was definitely It was eye opening being out there this week. And I think for the most part, I think there is interest on their side as well to figure out how to work with vacation rentals, and a lot of different ways. And it's like, there's different ways you can kind of peel the onion. Being there as Condo-World, we've got different use cases for it, and potentially to book their guests within our units to use their guests, and vice versa. And from a technology standpoint, I had several conversations with people that said that, the main prohibited to expanding their horizons on how they get new guests really is from a technology standpoint, that they're using some legacy build systems that they don't connect to these different ways of getting guests. And marketing for them is very different than marketing for us. As far as what that means to all of us. I mean, marketing for them costs 50% of their sales, which is a crazy amount of money. That's really people, to get tours or to do these big shows to get tours. And it's you know, it's very different. They're not out there doing, you know, the Pay Per Click or SEO, email marketing or branding, it's a different way of getting it. But at the end of the day, if we're able to help them get guests at a much smaller margin, you know, that should make sense all day long, as far as I'm concerned. But it was good to see that there is interest there. And I think, during the boardroom discussion, at least three or four of the developers that were at that table said they are putting a focus on vacation rentals to have that within the offerings that they they have for their owners, because there's it's just an opportunity zone. They know that travelers want to be able to go and stay in vacation homes, they don't always want to stay within the product of what they bought. And really I think timeshare has done a better job than that on that than we have and I don't know that we've even really attempted as vacation rentals but to have another offering have types of inventory that you can book. Because through being a Condo-World customer, for example, you can book all of RCI's offerings. And there's several different platforms out there that are similar to an RCI where you can book at discounted rates for hotels, flights, cruises, all these different things that, you know, we, we all are mindful of the fact that guests don't only just come to travel to see us throughout the year. So if you are a big brand that has a loyal following, it just makes sense that you build a platform where they can connect to other types of travel. So it'll be interesting to see. I hope that this was a good start to opening the conversation. I think it was we had Lino, myself, Greg Anderson, Amy Hinote moderated and Ryan Dame from Casago and Scott Bunce from Cabin's for You. But it was a good opening part. And I think Amy's got some interest in continuing the conversation and maybe doing some webinars and hopefully at some of the VRM events, we can dive into a little bit more.Lino Maldonado:
Yeah. 100%. And in really what you described, there is the is a perfect example of where a fear based decision early on for us At Wyndham turned into some of the greatest opportunities and synergies between our divisions. Because you're absolutely correct. You know, we don't dictate to customers, how and when they make the decision on the type of lodging they need for that particular time. And the example I'll use would be some of the work we did between our hotel Division and Short term rentals, we find in business travel, you know, people use the heck out of the Wyndham rewards programs, they accumulate a bunch of points. And now it's time to take their family on vacation, they're not going to go back to a one bedroom, you know, King suite at a hotel, they want a vacation rental, they want some face and beach front and all the amenities and action and you know, in the things that our industry provides, and that's okay, that's not stealing market share, that's being available to the customer for how and when he or she wants to utilize those points that they've accumulated on business travel to the benefit of their family experience on their vacation. And you know, and even internally with Wyndham that was something we had to overcome, you know, ourselves first and then realize that man, there's a product here and people are loving it. We did Wyndham home exchange for our owners, allowing them to deposit some of their own time into RCI in their wholly owned unit, and then go travel to all these other places around the world that RCI offered, which, you know, what that did it made our owner sticky to us, you know, not, not, not jump on the first 15% management fee postcard that they get like every day from all these, you know, brands, right? So there's just a ton of opportunities like that I look forward to Alex and Annie to, you know, sharing, you know, our successes and our failures, you know, as we help bring these two industries together.Alex Husner:
Yeah, and I think a lot of it is just, you know, a previous, or misconceptions or perceptions, perhaps of how the industry used to be versus what it is now. And I think, you know, I learned so much at this conference and appreciate the opportunity for everybody to just kind of listen to my questions. I felt silly asking some of them but it's just, it's it is different than what we do. But you know, timeshare is not the fixed week that we remember from the 80s, where you bought something and then you're stuck in it, you've got it forever and ever and ever. I mean, about 15 years ago, it became a point space system, but you've got the biggest brands and hospitality Marriott Disney Hilton, you know, I mean, all the best ones, those are the brands that people are buying, that they're putting together a great program for these people. And really, if it comes down to somebody that they want to get out of their timeshare, it's really not hard to get out of it. I think that's the misconception, too, that they can go back to the developer and say, you know, I'm not interested in this anymore, and they'll work with you because the developers don't want to have a bad, you know, edge on their reputation of not being able to get out of it. So there's, there's those misconceptions that I think have kind of skewed the interest on the vacation rental side to have anything to do with it, really. And that's where just just, you know, learning about each other and being open to learn starts the next steps in this journey, thatLino Maldonado:
you're you're 100% correct in you know, I'll tell you on the I am not a timeshare guy, I'm not a timeshare owner, but I do think I understand a lot more about the industry than I did you know, prior but I had some of those same initial concerns, you know, that we didn't want to put timeshare concierge desks in our condo lobbies as you know, we didn't want to have the carnival barking and you know, tactics and all that. But the reality is a timeshare vacation today or even ownership today is really just a prepaid vacation. You know, to go on vacation, you haven't decided where yet So buy some points and then apply those points to whatever you decide is really the modern approach. When you think about just Wyndham I think it's led 10 $11 billion, you know, timeshare company 50%, five 0% of their sales every year. Our owners buying more. Right? Yeah. heard that. sounding. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, very good product and certainly right fit for for some, you know, and not all. But I definitely feel like when you think about the younger generation today, who doesn't want a mortgage who doesn't want car payments, so it might be a more perfect position for them than even buying a whole condo or house? Who knows. So I think that there's tremendous opportunity for sure.Alex Husner:
I know one of the benefits that they try and sell on this, I've heard over the years from friends that work in it. And then recently, I've been able to see that example. But I mean, you're in essence, you're preparing for a vacation, but that prevents inflation, which right now we know, is a massive thing. And so I've taken a couple tours, and we've been to Mexico, and probably should have bought, because we're looking to plan our next vacation. And it's significantly higher than it was the last time I went. So you know, the the overall premise of it, it does make sense. And I think with vacation rentals, we have such a, a user group of travelers that they do book well far in advance. And they they do want to know that that next trip is coming next year. So I think the intent and the loyalty of vacation rental travelers, they could be thirsty for product like that. And it could be that it's a vacation rental company that starts to do kind of more of like a timeshare membership base model, you know, where you can buy those points up front, but lots to learn. I guess the only advice I would give to anybody listening is just keep your mind open. And there's a there is a lot to learn from from the two and just having those conversations doesn't hurt anybody. SoAnnie Holcombe:
yeah, I think that one of the things that we've found with everybody that we've talked to is that we can accomplish the most great good for any organization outside of that comfort zone. Just get outside of what you know, and try something different. And you know, what you did at Wyndham, obviously, was not something that they were enamored of initially, but it worked out, you know, to the greater benefit. And I think, you know, to your point about, you know, using points and companies that don't Marriott's banking on him, and they're making on their bonvoy, leveraging your bond by membership. So I think that the industry overall has so much more room to grow and so much more advancement that is there to be had. And it's exciting to see another great mine from the Panhandle. I don't know what it is about the the water on here, but we grow a lot of great minds about where we go. We're kind of at the end. And I know I sent you a few questions just kind of to get your mind thinking about things we could possibly ask. And I think the one thing that I would love to know from you is lino today, what would you tell lino of when you were first getting into the industry about what you needed to know? Or maybe what you didn't know? And you were gonna find out?Lino Maldonado:
Wow, what a great question. What I tell little Lino, right? Yeah, I would tell him a couple things. One, you hang on, you know, it's gonna be a very interesting ride. The other thing I would tell little Lido is that, you know, you are going to be so appreciative of all of the relationships and the experiences that you're going to have on this journey. And never stop learning, you know, because that's one thing. As I look back, I think about all of the wonderful people, the relationships that we've built, the fun, we've had the excitement in hospitality. That's something that never gets old. I'm just as excited about, you know, getting up and getting involved in this industry today, as I was 25 years ago, and I don't think that's, that's the same for every industry. But that's something we can offer with this one. So I hope that answers the question. Yeah.Annie Holcombe:
Great. That's a great answer. And I agree with you, 1,000%. On all of that, I think that's wonderful. Very true. Yeah.Alex Husner:
Especially within our industry, I agree to I don't think that it is the same within all industries. And we're becoming a bigger industry. But at the same time, it always has been big, but it is has always been small at the same time, too. And I think, really technology and everybody keeping in touch better between LinkedIn and conferences has fostered that to really see how we can all connect the dots together. And you know that it does, it makes you want to come to work every day when you know that you're working with a great group of people that they're not even necessarily in your organization, but you're able to share ideas with and you definitely don't want to burn any bridges because it is small. And you're gonna see that vendor that partner that past employees somewhere else on the journey pretty guaranteed on that. But Lena, thank you so much for being here with us today. And hopefully this is one of many Any conversations we'll have going forward I think there's a lot to unravel here with the timeshare vacation rental synergies I think we could probably have a whole just discussion on that and maybe bring in some of the other people that we've talked to last week and just just figure out where we can all benefit from it but that and we're excited to watch at home continue to grow love what you have done there and just incredible use cases built by people who really know the product so in the end the needs for it but if anybody wants to contact you, what's the best way to get in touch with you?Lino Maldonado:
Yeah, so thank you any the Alex the best number is 850-685-8325. That's myself, give it to everybody and I respond as quickly as possible. And then lino at be home 24/7 Calm just li n o at be home. 24 seven.com.Alex Husner:
Awesome. We'll put that in the show notes and a link to be home as well. If anybody wants to contact Annie and I or if you have been listening or would like to leave a review, go to Alex and Annie podcast.com. And you can contact us from there or leave a review on whichever podcast app that you listen on. And until the next time, we appreciate everybody listening and we will see you soon. Bye. Thanks so much. Bye bye.
Lino Maldonado is the President and Managing Partner at Behome247, the industry leader in smart home technology, workflow automation and energy management. Lino Joined the team at Behome247 in November 2019 and has been instrumental in leading the charge and development of cutting-edge hospitality, multi-family and real estate solutions. Partnering with leaders in the industry like, Airbnb, Wyndham Vacation Ownership, VRBO and VRM Intel.
In his previous role, as VP of Operations for Wyndham Vacation Rentals, he led business development and ownership strategy across North America. He worked for the company for 23 years, beginning his hospitality career in 1996 at Mainsail in Miramar Beach in the management training program offered by ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals (formerly known as Abbott Resorts). Maldonado moved through several key positions in operations, sales and marketing. He led a staff of over 1200 full, part time, seasonal and contracted associates and budgets in excess of $500 million over operations and real estate sales.
Understanding the importance that community and industry involvement play in the overall success of any business, Maldonado sits on a number of state level boards such as VISIT FLORIDA where he served as Chairman during 2018-2019. Maldonado is the 2016 past Chair for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. He was also selected by Governor Rick Scott as one of his six appointees to serve on the Gulf Consortium, which was tasked with helping to structure the States expenditure plan for the settlement funds from the 2010 BP Gulf Oil spill.
Locally, Maldonado serves/has served on boards for The United Way, The American Heart Association, Okaloosa County Tourists Development Council and was a founding member of Coastal Vision 3000 “THE Beach” group that was instrumental in bringing the first low cost air carrier (Southwest Airlines) into the Northwest Florida Panhandle. Deeply committed to the local community, Maldonado helped grow ResortQuests’ brand as a generous and engaged sponsor and supporter of numerous causes, charities and local events all along the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast.
Maldonado has been recognized at the state and local levels for his accomplishments in the industry. He was recently the recipient of the Van Ness Butler Jr. Hospitality Award, which is an award, established by the Walton County Tourist Development Council and is bestowed upon a community member for their visionary leadership in helping to shape South Walton into a premier tourist destination.
Maldonado is married to Vicki, has three daughters, Stephanie, Maci and Madison, and recently their first granddaughter, Emerson.