Aug. 31, 2022

Building the Perfect Tech Stack Starts with the PMS, with Terry Whyte


Terry Whyte joins us today for an insightful look at the past, present and future of the vacation rental industry, and he shares his candid predictions for who will win the long game in vacation rental technology. Named as part of the "Top 20 Most Influential People in Vacation Rental Technology" by VRTech, Terry brings an incredible combination of experience and passion for the industry to any conversation he engages in. Terry and his wife Sandy have built a legacy of excellence over the past 27 years as owners/operators of Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals on Florida's Gulf Coast, and are actively engaged at the national level of the professionally managed vacation rental industry.

What does the future hold for channel managers? Can hotel based software stand a chance to make it in vacation rental tech? Will Track become the largest enterprise property management system in the world? And why should you prioritize getting your website OUT of your PMS? Tune in to find out!

This episode is both interesting and heart warming all at the same time. It's all part of our Spotlight on Exceptional Property Managers - brought to you by Wheelhouse.

CONTACT TERRY WHYTE
LinkedIn
Anna Maria Condo Rentals

CONTACT ALEX & ANNIE
AlexandAnniePodcast.com
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Alex Husner - Linkedin
Annie Holcombe - Linkedin

Transcript
Alex Husner:

Hmm. Welcome to Alex and Annie, the real women of vacation rentals. I'm Alex. And I'm Annie. And we are joined today with a very special guest who has been a fan of the podcast and has been a big supporter. And we truly appreciate having him here today, Terry White, who is the owner of Anna Maria Island beach rentals. Terry, welcome to the show.

Terry Whyte:

It's great to be here. I never thought I'd be here. So I'm thrilled.

Annie Holcombe:

You give us far too much credit. Thank you for being our super fan. We appreciate it. You

Terry Whyte:

guys are killing it for sure.

Annie Holcombe:

Thank you so much. Why don't you tell? I think most everybody in the industry knows who you are. But for the few that don't, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be in this industry.

Terry Whyte:

We have a vacation rental business on in Anna Maria Island, which is an island on Florida's Gulf Coast. And 35 properties out there just got started like everyone else did, we started with one property really have never, up until the last year, I've never did any marketing, just word of mouth. And we've grown to 35 properties never, never really want to grow past that. I don't want to hire any employees. And it's just me, I'm I'm retired, I worked for General Motors for 32 years. So hiring people, you know, I can mess up enough without hiring somebody to do as well. So we're just happy with where we're at

Alex Husner:

35 units, that's a lot for one person that really it's it's just you and do you manage teams that do maid service and housekeeping on that,

Terry Whyte:

I have to Well, I have contracts. Because I've been doing this for almost 30 years, I I was just to the market a little bit ahead of the VRBO. But I have vendor contracts with every vendor on the island, whether it's air conditioning, plumbing painting, and you know, and I do have two cleaning companies that I rely very heavily on. And I have hired and fired so many cleaning companies over the years. But I've been in a real good place for the last five, seven years where it's, you know, in this industry industry, it's pretty much impossible to get through without a cleaning complaint. And I hardly ever get a cleaning complaint. And it really has very little to do with me. It's the people that I've hired.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, it's a vital part of the business. And I think we're more involved in the technology in the marketing space. But I give 100% credit to our teams to take care of that side of the business, because it's hard. But it's also it's hard to find the right people to do it. And that is make or break because you can have all the best marketing all the best technology in the world. But when guests get there, if the units aren't clean, then it's not gonna matter.

Terry Whyte:

It's a really tough job. I feel sorry. But you know, if everything is perfect in people normally don't say anything, you know, but if something's wrong, you know, they're the first ones to complain, say, they get very little credit for what they do.

Alex Husner:

Definitely. Yeah, that's a good point. So now you were let's back up a little bit. So I think you've got a really interesting history. You were with General Motors for 32 years. You said, Yes. Wow. And what did you do with them? I have a lot of things over the years, but

Terry Whyte:

mostly, mostly Material Handling was hourly. I got hired when I was 18 years old. So worked there for 30 years, have a pension with them now, but when I was doing the business, I probably I started, you know, I started growing, where I could work and do the business as well. But then I also got to the point where I've at that time, I probably had 15 to 17 properties. It was getting very difficult to do both. And then coincidently enough, that's when the car industry imploded. And you know, when the recession went through? Yeah. So they came to guys like me, and they said, Listen, if you retire, we'll give you $100,000 And a new car and a full pension. You stay at home, but it was a very difficult decision because I was 49 years old at that time, we had three kids living at home. Oh, wow. And but it was also really good timing is because my wife worked full time. And our youngest daughter was starting grade nine. And I got to drive her to school every day. I picked her up at school every day brought her home, she was a synchronized swimmer, she did her homework, then I took her to practice. You know, she swam like seven days a week. And so it was just really, you know, fortunate timing for me. It wasn't for everyone, but for me, it really worked.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, that's, that's interesting. And there's I feel like there's a lot of just amazing business people that had kind of a rebirth of a second life and business that starts like right around when you're 50. So I at least have something to look forward to.

Annie Holcombe:

Thats me. I'm rebirthing as a podcaster.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, exactly.

Annie Holcombe:

So Terry, I think you said that that your your love for vacation rentals are your kind of how you got into vacation rentals was used to come down here as a child from Canada to vacation. So can tell us a little bit about that. Because I think you talked about you guys would drive straight through and only stop at McDonald's to get food on the way and never stay in a hotel.

Terry Whyte:

Oh, yeah. That that McDonald's podcast that you guys did that just hit home for me. Counting catch

Alex Husner:

up pack. probably stopped at a lot of Tracy's restaurants.

Terry Whyte:

At that time we had had three kids. And you know, at that time, you have, we have no money. You know, when you're that young, the only thing you own is debt, you know, so that was us there. So but we were I was so excited. We wanted to get to Florida. So we would, instead of staying in hotels, we would just drive 24 hours straight through driving. And then we McDonald's always had the cleanest restaurants, you know, and there was always a gas station right next door to the restaurant. So it was just, we thought, stop and get gas grab McDonald's three or four times a day, you know,

Alex Husner:

I mean, that's like, that's a kid's dream three or four times a day. Yeah. Wow, that makes the car ride not nearly as bad.

Terry Whyte:

For us, McDonald's to this day still plays a big part in our life. Because our son and his his wife, they're both police officers. And so we have two grandkids with them. So we're we have them like so much. Like all the time and when we go out for dinner, McDonald's.

Annie Holcombe:

Happy Meals.

Alex Husner:

Yeah. That's what every child wants. I know. I did. Yeah.

Annie Holcombe:

So you came down here and you vacation for like just the summer or you just take a couple of weeks every year. How did that work out?

Terry Whyte:

We used to come down for the whole. We used to take at least a month with my white collar holidays. I would take my child we would come for at least a month. Every summer we spent every Christmas we spent at the condo until our son was born Christmas Day. So when he got to the age where he was like 19 and wanted to drink you know, and party and stuff like that. We had to stay home because that was we we spent every summer we spent every holiday including Christmas, we would jump in the remember the old minivans the safari minivan.

Annie Holcombe:

Yep. My mom had one.

Terry Whyte:

We had I think we have three of them. We own three of them at one time. And we would just jump in and just drive.

Alex Husner:

Wow. So did you make it was at the same area of Florida as where your rentals are now and Annamaria.

Terry Whyte:

What happened was, what happened was the first the very first trip we made in Anna maria Island , and we stayed in this condo, and it was for sale. And so my inlaws bought the condo, and then we started renting it out for them and stuff like that. But then when they died, they left it to us. So that's how we ended up with the first one there. Then the second one that we did on four wheel and three now. So the second one we bought, it was in my program, he ended up being my best friend. His name was Jerry Wilson. And he died of pancreatic cancer when he was 59 years old. But before he died, he came to me and he said, Terry, the numbers are off the chart here. He said, I think this would be a good fit for you and Sandy. So he says, I know my wife's not going to want to keep it. So fair enough. Couple, you know, usually when somebody dies and their husband or wife or whatever, they wait a year to make a decision. Like six weeks later, I get phone calls Terry. I'm selling the condo Jerry wanted meat offered to you. Wow. We bought it there. And then they then my wife and I we bought another condo just for us. So we didn't have to rent it out and do anything like that. But then the fourth one that we bought, we bought with our son and his daughter that to please lovers and our grandchildren, we just closed on that last August, but there was an owner that we knew in the same complex. So all three condos we own are in the same complex. So the owners, he lived in Dallas, he moved to Florida. So I went to him and I said do you want sell your condo? says Yeah. I said, Okay, how much you want for it. So my name is the price. And I said, Okay, we'll pay that party. He says, You mean you're not gonna negotiate? No, no, that's impossible. Pay what you want. And so if we just go, so now that's how we ended up with that one. But I actually in the complex, there's 32 units in the complex, and I manage between managing and owning I have 14 of them. And that

Alex Husner:

wow. Oh my gosh, yeah. Wow. So when you first started managing units down there, like What year was this? That probably

Terry Whyte:

19 it was just before nine? I think VRBO came in 1995. I was just ahead of them. So it was like 1992

Alex Husner:

I think when I came in, were there other rental companies down there or were you kind of the main one for a while.

Terry Whyte:

I wasn't any what happened was there's so many they're still there. Now the probably at that time, there was probably 10 rental companies. There's probably over 30 We were with a rental company, and we were getting six to eight weeks max the year so we had three kids it was like you either do something about this or you sell it. At the time. I was working for General Motors. I had elbow surgery, it got complicated, had another elbow surgery, so I was off work for a year over a year. But what I did was I went on to buy vacation rentals.com I just started I just started typing in like I was going across vacation rentals.com list your property for 60 days free trial. If you don't like it, just walk away. So as long story short that year, I rented it for four The nine weeks, and then the worst the worst year almost every year I do 52 weeks per other.

Alex Husner:

Wow. Wow. incredible incredible. Yeah, just reminds me of a story. This is one of my favorite stories about Condo-World when Roy the owner of Condo-World and his wife first moved down here they bought a couple condos. And it sounds like a building similar the one that you're describing. And he got the idea to start the company because this lady was standing in the parking lot. And she said, you know, how do I rent one of those? And he didn't even understand what she meant. And he said, What do you mean? She said, I'm staying at the Howard Johnson next door, and we can't fit in this room. But I see these are condos have I rent those? And he said you can't? And she said well, how do you stay there and he said, I own it. And it immediately hit me was like, You need to be able to rent these things. At that time. There were there were some beach home rental companies in the area, but they were strictly beach homes. And it was, you know, just a kind of a different thing. And so nobody had really capitalized on how you can actually rent condos. But it's funny thinking that now I mean, that should be like the history books of a VRBO or Airbnb commercial, like how do I rent this? And then now it's, you know, easy. It takes two seconds literally to rent a condo with technology and all the websites that we have now.

Terry Whyte:

Yeah, that's a great story. I remember. And I remember when the first time that when we had the one property, I knew I needed more, because there was just so much demand. The property that I told you about the way I went to him and I said, I guarantee you this much money. Yeah. Oh, yeah. And he said, Okay, I'll take it. Yeah, he was. He was with another rental company. I'll guarantee you, if you come to me, I'll guarantee you this.

Alex Husner:

Yeah. And we used to do that at one point. This is like in the early 2000s, that we will guarantee rental income.

Terry Whyte:

I only I only did it once. Yeah, I

Alex Husner:

think point pretty quickly. wasn't a good idea. But wow. So okay, so you're you're down there and you got started. But one of the interesting things is you still manage remotely from Canada, right? I mean, you're not you're only down in Florida for part of the year. At that

Terry Whyte:

time. At that time there. We only spent maybe six weeks a year on the you know, we'd go we'd go for a month, and then we go at Christmas. And then we would go maybe another time or two. Yeah. So it's I

Alex Husner:

mean, that's this is way before my work was even a term. So how in the world did you do that without zoom without really email being mainstream for

Terry Whyte:

the best stories to tell you? I was the king of distribution before VRBO. And so my other my other passion or obsession, what my wife calls it in life was is golf. So I had every golf magazine, every golf magazine, and every Golf Digest magazine ever printed from 1978 on and I had every instruction book ever, ever published. And then from 1978, and then we went moved a couple years ago. And my wife said, You're not taking this stuff. So give it all I had this. This playbook. It was full, it was binder, it was full of all my distribution channels. And it would have the name it would like you guys probably I'm sure you don't remember there was cyber rentals, great rentals, vacation rentals.com, there was we need a vacation. But I had this book that was full of it. And it was all my contact information, the website, my contact person over there, their name, their email address. And when we moved through it out, and I regret it to this day, I could I could take it. You know when I hear Carl Shepard talking about him buying all these? Yeah, I could give him this book and say, Here, look at look at what but I was to answer your question. I do the same thing that now that I did that. And i was the king of distribution.

Alex Husner:

Wow. I think you you you

Annie Holcombe:

honed in on something that has been a big buzzword of our industry is the trust factor. You developed trust with not only the people that you contracted with in the community, because you had to be able to trust them when you left, but a trust with your return and repeat guests and that people knew that they were going to get a good experience with you even though you weren't this big company. So I think again, not only were you king of distribution, but seems like you were king of identifying all the things that are hot now back then. Yeah,

Terry Whyte:

yeah, for sure. I've always been on the cutting edge of technology. And at one point I was 70% Booked Direct, which is you know, it's pretty good milestone there. But after COVID the end, you know, the onslaught like it, the gates blew open, or just something. So I dropped down to like 40 50% Now just because suddenly the bookings come from different channels, you know, but I have, I do get a ton of repeat guests for sure.

Alex Husner:

Yeah. And back in those days, too. I mean, there was distribution but much more limited than there is now I'm sure just like how we were back in those days you did. newspaper and radio Arrow In traditional advertising and everything too. So did you were you managing all of that from from Canada? Or did you have, like vendors that helped you with the marketing that actually were in Florida? Or what was that I

Terry Whyte:

used to go to grocery stores up here. And you know, they'd have the cork billboard there and I'd make them up there. and stuff. Yeah, I tried

Alex Husner:

distribution. Guerilla Marketing. Yeah. Wow.

Annie Holcombe:

Did that is that what pushed you to be kind of the industry sage for vetting technology? I mean, one of the things that people always talk about is if anybody wants to know anything about a PMS, or a channel manager, or, and I've referenced you a million times, but you have done a lot of research and you really dug in, and I think that you want to know how everything works behind the curtain, all these pieces of technology? Is that what drove you to do this? Or was it just something fun on the side?

Terry Whyte:

Not at all, there's a story behind that is, the best thing that ever happened to me was bet best match, you know, as a as a verbal match, right? So I was the guy that was gaming the system, I was used one property to feed 14 others, you know, stuff like that. But it got to the point I was getting double bookings, you know, when they were really starting to clamp down on, you know, the way they ran their business to. So I knew that business model wouldn't work. So immediately, I don't know what happened. It went off. I said, I knew I need technology, you know, I really have to I have to master technology to to get out of this mess that I'm in here now. And then. So what I was at the time, I was using a very small PMS was like $30 a month. So I need to I knew I needed to start over website, PMS, everything else. So I did start over. And at the same time, that was a use to theirs. Heather Bayer used to listen to her podcasts all the time. So then she introduced me to Matt Landau, and never heard him out Landau before. So I joined the inner circle. And then ice, you know, I just started posting stuff that I do in this research and research. And then he said, You really need to start documenting this. So I said, I'm going to take it a step further. Because at that time, I'd been I'd had demoed hundreds and hundreds of PMS companies and other tech companies. And I started scoring them on a scale of one to five, you know, I knew exactly what I was looking for. Yeah, and then starts growing. And then we fed it to this technology called Qualtrics. And then out of that, it would teach it we show people how to pick the out of the score. There was I think, 20 different questions, 25 different questions, that their score would dictate, you know, the best PMS to fit them. So to answer your question, this just came out of nowhere. And did I think it might lend out we were, we were conference one time. And he said, You know, when people talk about technology, you're the first name that comes up. Yeah. You can't be serious because I, yeah. So to answer did I want to be in this position ever envisioned being in this? No, never?

Annie Holcombe:

Well, and it's really interesting, because I think, again, when I first encountered you and had seen some of the things that I think I worked with you when I was at booking pal, you were an account there. I didn't know that you had such a small portfolio, given the research that you had done in the time coming with you and obviously put into it, it spoke to me as somebody who had a condo world portfolio, six 700 units, so to know that you were somebody that was that vested in what was going on in the industry, that just speaks volumes of your passion for the industry. And I will I love it. And it's we're very fortunate to have somebody of your caliber in our in our midst. So thank you for what you do.

Terry Whyte:

But thanks. You know, one of the I think the nicest compliment I've ever had came from Ed, Ed St Onge From, um, flip.to. Yeah, so we jumped on a zoom call like this one time when I was thinking about signing up with them. And he looked, he had looked at my tech stack and my websites and stuff like that. And he said, you know, he says, you run your company, you have 35 properties, you run your company, like you have 1000s. Yeah,

Alex Husner:

exactly. Yeah. Yeah, I

Terry Whyte:

think it was the nicest compliment I've ever been. That

Alex Husner:

is a great compliment. And I almost said it a different way. It's exactly like what Andy just said, That's really interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Wow, that's great.

Terry Whyte:

You know, I really dislike about this industry. You know, people don't want you unless you have 50 properties. You know, they don't look there's this criteria. Yeah, yeah. And you know, and I heard you're talking on your podcast with Koryn today, like the majority of the vacation rentals in this business, they have one or two properties 50 to 70% of them. Yeah. And then he's, then they're restricted with the technology that they use, like these tech companies. They don't want you unless you have like 50 properties and stuff. Like it drives me crazy.

Alex Husner:

Yeah.

Annie Holcombe:

Well, it's interesting because it goes back to a conversation we had with Steve Milo in that how companies are being valued, and that they're being valued on the number of units and not necessarily their profitability or how much money the units are actually making. And I know I work with accounts that have less than 100 units that do more gross bookings and hunt you know, What five or 600 unit companies do, because again, if you just if you don't have a good grasp on the units that you're taking in and how you're managing them, it doesn't matter how many you have, you know, you can have 10, or you can have 10,000. But they're, you know, at some point, the scalability has to be there from the very beginning. And, again, you've proved it out like you, you have a good solid business, and you don't have hundreds

Alex Husner:

of units. The industry has changed so much too, though, just in the understanding of like, what a vacant professional property management company is, and what it really looks like. And I know just growing up in this business, in our area, North Myrtle Beach, I, for the longest time, just assume that if you were a rental management company, like us, you had hundreds of units, I mean, I didn't know that there are ones that had, you know, 10s, or dozens of units. But now you fast forward. And there's so many people that are coming in that there, they are new, they have one or two, or they're partnering with an investor, and they might have 10, or 12. But you know, those, no matter what end of the spectrum you're on, you're trying to run a good business, a profitable business, and you need the right tools to be able to do that. And I think there still is some software caters more towards, you know, the smaller versus the enterprise level manager. But there has to be, you know, that tech and the quality of the tech needs to span both sides. Because what we don't want is the legacy enterprise managers to be losing inventory, because the smaller ones are getting the software that has, you know, the latest and greatest and the, you know, the best tech that's being built behind it. And I started to kind of worry about that, to be honest, when we were in San Antonio, just walking around the vendor Hall, it seemed like the more innovative and newer technology that was out there really was just catering to that side of the industry. And just just just curious when looking at both both sides for smaller or larger, larger PMS is what are you seeing? I mean, what what do you think about what's out there now? And just who's doing it right in the space? Would you say

Terry Whyte:

for sure. The last couple of weeks, I've seen the best PMs in North America, I've seen the best PMs in Europe get purchased. And never blindsided me, I never, ever drempt either one of them would sell the majority stake in their business to this. But I can guarantee you they get it for one reason. And what they didn't do it for was to accelerate the plug, plug and play strategy. Like what I see in this industry here, I'm going to see, I said in 2018, I said track was going to be the PMs of the future. I made that prediction when track was a very well kept secret. And I made that prediction before the parade nine formed in Cottage Grove, Minnesota for tracks front door. And I said it then I'm saying it now that the difference, the separation is going to come now. And they are going to separate themselves from the competition. And it's going to the future of technology in our business. You guys did it there with Matt Loney. There your podcast in there. He he touched on it. The future of our industry is going to be doing more on one platform. For sure.

Alex Husner:

I agree with that for

Terry Whyte:

sure more like this, this business of you're going to take a mid level, PMS morphed into nothing more than a reservation software and then integrate it with 9 million integrations. That's yeah, that's never gonna happen.

Alex Husner:

Yeah. On that note,

Annie Holcombe:

though, I think one of the things that you talked about several months ago, I think you did a blog post about it was that that channel management is not necessarily going away. And I know from a lexicon standpoint, we work with several PMS, and we do work with TRACK, they are a tremendous platform. But I think that one of the things that to the point of an all in one system, there are things that that PMS has in some platforms don't have the ability or the capability of having the depth of knowledge. And I think channel management is one of those areas where they can't necessarily get as granular because they can't, they can manage the technology piece of it to connect to the channel. But it's those relationships that kind of get in the middle of it, and how to navigate each one of those channels that becomes cumbersome. So what is your take on kind of that component? Because again, you know, coming from the channel management side, I do see there has been a lot of consolidation and there probably is going to be more within my vertical. Do you think that there will be three left standing? Or do you think again, channel management is something that's always going to exist as it is today?

Terry Whyte:

The most delusional thinking in our industry is the demise of the channel manager. I think they can even they have the potential to even take over the industry. I think when you look at where we're at now that it's only a matter of time because there's so much money and there's so much opportunity in our industry is companies like Cloudbeds, maybe even safer, you know, they're going to want in SiteMinder has always been a bit like SiteMinder it's only a matter of time before they want in here. is where it gets interesting, though, is vacation rental technology and hotel technology does not work. So even if they want in the there's no way that they can make their platform work with vacation rentals, so they're gonna have they're gonna have to buy PMS is they're gonna have to buy channel managers, you know if they want in, but I've, you know, I, I started hearing this in 2017 when we came out of vrma in Orlando, and it was the ultimate demise of the channel manager. And I've never met a channel manager that wants to be God's gift to distribution. They want no part of it. Let's see where this is coming from. I have no idea. I can't I can't tell you because to me, it's nothing more than dilusional.

Alex Husner:

you? Do you think that the bigger property management systems, they will acquire these channel managers? I mean, I think it's, it's still its own business, and it needs its own team and development to be able to keep keep up with that. But do you think that the bigger PMS is will actually buy this channel manager? So that is within the same platform? Or do you think it will still end up being separate?

Terry Whyte:

But that's a very Okay, so the best PMS I've ever seen, was in negotiations to white label a certain general manager. I'm not going to mention them. The channel manager is telling me it's on hold the PMS is telling me it's off the table. I don't think you alluded to it in today. What did your podcast again, white labeling? I don't think talking enough about it. We've seen Ziivo, the PMs they've white labeled channel manager we've seen Vintory, you know, go high level, they white labeled CRM, you looked at light maker, they came so close to being white labeled, it didn't happen all the deal off at the end. But I don't think our industry is talking enough about white labeling. But to answer your question, I think what you're going to see is the PMS. They're going to connect to VRBO Airbnb, booking.com, Expedia, Google Hopper, maybe one or two others. And I think they're just going to they're just gonna wipe their hands and say, Look, this is all we're investing in this. And we're just leaving it all to change. Yeah, it's

Annie Holcombe:

a lot to manage. I mean, from a channel management standpoint, it's it's a lot to manage. But to your point, I think the white labeling something that I know, we've looked at, and I know there's a lot of PMS that do white label a lot of their channel management. But you know, that I think the challenge with that is, once everybody figures out who that white label is, it sort of loses its lure, you know, loses it. So I think you're correct in that they're going to invest in the big channels. What's interesting going to be interesting is that, and you were a guest in or you attended the panel that we did at DARM recently about the the newer OTAs. Is that? What are those OTAs that are going to challenge the ones that are the big players at the moment. So is it a hopper? Is it a home to go? Is it you know, is it AtEase? Is it the some of these outliers that are just starting up that are providing more of a niche level of service? Or going after an each guest that you the other channels aren't focused on? Or are they going to rise up and be a channel that maybe these PMS's pushed aside and left for our channel management that they're gonna wish that they had connected to? It's anybody's guess I would say that

Terry Whyte:

what's your Yeah, it's very different than what it was. I'll tell you story back one year, because I was the king of distribution back before VRBO. But one year, there was one. They weren't even I don't want to call them channels because the channel didn't even exist. They were websites back then. You know, rent one on one, I made more money on rent, rent.

Alex Husner:

I've never even heard of that one before.

Terry Whyte:

Yeah, the one that I did on VRBO. And then vacation rentals.com, like consistently outperformed VRBO with vacation rentals.com. But I really don't see I think Hopper has the potential to do some really serious damage. But I think what you're going to see is the closed loop is going to kill people in the closed loop that I referred to is in North America. That's VRBO and Airbnb, and in Europe, it's Airbnb booking.com There's way too much supply on the market now for that close to work. But the way I see it now is when I said it in the conference call that you guys were that that was yours. There. Were going back to our roots and our roots is going to be massive distribution just like I was doing before. Yeah, when I see got to go when I see these when I see home to go all that I think if you're not if you're not in that domain, you're gonna Well, it's yeah, it's I always used to say there are two components in this industry that will kill you faster than anything is your rates and your reviews. It's three dimensional. Now if you don't have your distribution strategy. Yeah,

Alex Husner:

visibility, your lack of that. Love it,

Terry Whyte:

you're gonna be killer. Yeah.

Alex Husner:

Now that's a really good point. And you know, I think, in our market, it's been interesting to see we've been in Myrtle Beach, probably slower than a lot of other markets across the country to really adapt to being on VRBO. And Airbnb, even though as archaic as that sounds, but if you looked at the other channels a couple years ago, it was significantly less inventory than there is now. And so we're, I'd say, the average company, we were 95%, booked direct, even our, our biggest competitors are on here, they're still at the low end, maybe 80% book directs, and then we're still all very minimally relying on those. But one of the advantages that we've found that kind of world and with the OTA that we have is that the properties that lives with us this when you have your own niche, even if it's not your own, but it's one that you're on, and maybe a few other companies, or a small subset of inventory, you have such a huge advantage over here local competition. And it's like your there's just so much inventory now. And we're on Airbnb that it's like, to actually be able to get high up in in the algorithm is really hard. But when you do have these smaller channels that you can, one if you can form a relationship with them, so that you're actually helping, you know, really, it's a it's a two way street, you're both helping each other. That makes a big difference. But I think you're right, I think it's going to go back to people really looking for these niche OTAs and different ways to differentiate. And that really leads back into the the importance of the channel managers and the role that they'll play in the future, which is good for Annie for sure, because yeah, I think we've heard a lot at conferences people saying, Oh, no channel managers are a thing of the past but I don't I don't believe that at all. I think it they might change and how they're utilized. But whether it's within a PMS or white labeled are just still on their own, but their their role is still vitally important.

Terry Whyte:

Oh, they are there. They have great technology too. And they're, they're not going away anytime soon. But wanted to say I've always admired Condo-World I creep you guys I subscribe. But for but you guys should be so proud there if you're if you're 90% or 85%, booked direct. But in our industry, that would be way way less than a quarter percent worldwide of what you guys have accomplished.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, it's and honestly, it's there, you can always look at things two sided. So we have our own proprietary PMS. And the more that I read about what you look for in a PMs on your vacation rental software site and some of your articles, I think it's pretty similar to what we've built. But it's it was built that way because it was built by somebody that knows the business, right. And so it's very similar to what your understanding of it is. But because we've had our own PMS, we don't connect to all the channels, we connect to the main ones. And then we utilize channel managers. But we haven't had accessibility I guess to distribution as easily as somebody that's on a streamline or track or something other ones. But what that's forced us to do is to really double down on our brand. And we had to have a brand, I've always had a brand that has a lot of potential there. So I think it was kind of a sign it was we had to we had to take this route. But it worked out to be a very good thing to set us up for the future. And anything else that we want to do. And now we're able to bring on channels and distribution and but still be able to have the brand working alongside of it. I think you said to appreciate that

Terry Whyte:

I think you guys are in such a strong position. I was thinking about this last night. I know when you probably now you look at all this new technology, you're maybe a little bit envious, you know, but at the same time, I think you're in such a strong position. Because I've never said this publicly before, but I'm gonna say it now. We have challenged everyone in our industry that you're a little bit too dependent on OTAs. They control you they control you know, you know Matt Landau, he's done such a good job on book direct. You look at Mark, Mark Simpson, what he's done, Deborah, you know what, maybe she's done and Damien over there. But we've never ever held these companies. When you go down on the floor at vrma. You look at all those vendors or if you're not a PMS, they control every breath you take.

Alex Husner:

No, definitely yeah,

Terry Whyte:

no one's no one's ever said it. But I can't tell you who I said it to. Because every time I talked to some vendor, it's got to be off the record, you know. And I said, Are you not concerned like this PMS could just all of a sudden say sorry, and we're

Alex Husner:

gone. Yeah, we're, we're sold or whatever. Yeah. And ultimately, that's, I mean, when we get you know, we've talked to all the property management systems, and I know they would love to have us as a client, but, and our Mitch, our CTO is very honest about saying, you know, if we see another software that's out there, that's better than what we have. Let's do it. I mean, he's not being you know, selfish. I'm saying we have to stay with what we've felt. He knows he's got plenty to do here besides just our PMS. So you know, we want to use whatever was gonna be the best for condo world, but having the flexibility to do things how we want them, that is definitely a key advantage. I mean, there's there's disadvantages, but you know, not having a whole team of people that work on it. And we've got a small team that helps on the PMs side. But we are scrappy and creative and flexible to do exactly what needs to be done. For our,

Terry Whyte:

for our very, very strong position.

Annie Holcombe:

Yeah. And it's there's something to be said, for being the master of your own destiny, because you know, Terry is correct. And being again, on the channel management side of things, you know, and having been a property manager, making a change to a PMS is not a change. It's not a decision that you take lightly. It's a very big undertaking. And when you do it, it affects so many people. And so to do that thing, do that amount of change for especially when you're a larger organization, like a condo world. But again, if you were to have it, where they got bought by maybe somebody that you didn't want to work with, I mean, what do you do, you know, all of a sudden, you're stuck. So you guys have been very methodical econo world to be able to put together your technology stack so you can grow. And and you also have been very adaptable. And one of the things I really admire about Mitch is that he is open to other ideas, and he looks at kind of the best in class out there. And it's very easy to say like, Hey, we can't do that. Let's let's adopt that. So, you know, I think again, what Terry's saying is spot on Alex and Condo worlds in a greatp postion

Alex Husner:

I feel good today. I have a question, actually, Terry, that one of the questions we had sent you, and your answer is interesting to me. So we had sent me the questions, I have to share this because this is just too funny. But we had sent me of some of the questions that we asked our guests and normally, we asked the guests just to pick out one or two that they'd want to answer. But you've so kindly responded in writing all your answers all the questions, which gave us just so much awesome content here to talk about. But one of the questions was knowing what you would know what you do know now what advice would you give yourself five years ago, and you said, get your website off of the your PMS platform and build the perfect tech stack which starts with the PMS. So explain to be your thinking behind that.

Terry Whyte:

Okay, so when I think right now, we have no idea what technology what way it's going to take us. But when you have your website on your PMS platform, they build, let's say, your PMS build your website. Yeah, usually, what happens is, it looks pretty, but it really doesn't work all that well. And if you ever want to change your PMS, you're losing and you're starting to you're starting from scratch. And not only that, you're losing your Google reviews, you're losing your Google rankings. And then but what really two, I think, a big part of our strategy going forward, and we're talking about market saturation is digital marketing. So if you have your if your PMS build your website, you're really going to put your digital marketing firm in a really compromising place it probably to the point where they can't even help you. Yeah. So build built, get your website off your PMS best website that you can afford that you can build, knowing that if you can change your PMS and anytime, right, you walk away, you're not what you're not starting from scratch.

Alex Husner:

Do you are there companies that are doing that? Well out there? Because I feel like I've been we're in that boat for sure. I mean, our website connects to our own custom PMS, but for companies that work with a track or a streamline our their PMS, companies out there that are building a separate standalone, and they're having those companies right to streamline and tracks API's like Besides that, the vendors that we know within the space, like are you seeing other companies do that?

Terry Whyte:

Yes. And no, I would say I'm a big fan of icnd. You know, I were two huge fans. Yeah. So they they built they just my wife and I we own three properties there. So we have a separate website for that. It's called a run condo rentals. But anyway, they just built a website for that, too. Yeah. But for me, and when I said that, you should get your website, pop ups platform. There's a few exceptions, just like when I say when ever I look at a PMS, the first thing I do is I look at their distribution, I can predict 95% of the time before it even starts. If they just give me their district, I can tell exactly what they're going to score. So. So I wouldn't say it's, you know, you have to do it this way. But like, for example, if somebody were telling me they're going to go with a van to as a PMS and Avandia, what's going to build their PMS, I would say great, I love that idea. They built probably the nicest websites, you know, you can find are one of the nicest, their churn rate is really low, they're probably you're probably never going to lose. So you know, track again, you know, I think you'd be okay to do that. But that's a few odd exceptions. So, in general, don't do it.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, yeah. It's tough. I mean, I think a lot of companies, property management companies, they really have everything beholden to the PMS. I mean, I hadn't really directly thought about it in the way that you've explained it, but it's more than just making In the PMs change, it's making the website change in a lot of cases. So

Terry Whyte:

yeah, we have to look at the technology. Have you guys ever looked at Jarvis ml? You know, or

Annie Holcombe:

so? Yeah, it was. Enzo Connect. Oh, and so yeah, I'm in Jarvis.

Terry Whyte:

You guys ever had Ansel connect on? No,

Alex Husner:

we haven't. But I want to. And I'm so glad you said that. We were just talking to friends. The other day. He's just a ball of fire. I mean, he's such a smart, really smart guy. I

Terry Whyte:

love I love that technology. And I think going, I probably shouldn't say publicly, but I think if anyone has any PMS is looking to purchase software, for sure to look into. For sure.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, me too. Yeah. And we talked to them a while ago. And yeah, it's there's a lot there. And I think that would be a great service that could be white labeled into a PMS and anybody else would be very smart to do so.

Terry Whyte:

Have you ever looked at Jarvis ml?

Alex Husner:

I know that name, but I'm not sure. Okay. Yeah. I've talked to

Annie Holcombe:

the gentleman. The guy that reps for them before? It's interesting. I don't know. I haven't seen a like a demo of it. No,

Terry Whyte:

you gotta you gotta look at that. It's crazy. It's crazy. Like I talked to Evan, he's

Annie Holcombe:

an Evan Dungloe. Or I can never say his last. Yeah.

Terry Whyte:

So I talked to him, you know, I talked to him again at Durham there. And I said, you know, he's a little bit frustrated, because then like I said it to him. Last fall at vrma. I sent it to him after I said, You guys are it's just the technology just a little bit ahead of us. You know, you gotta let gotta like, you guys got to look at that. It's crazy. It's crazy. So where I was going with that, to answer your question, there was, there's so much good technology. Come on, who knows who your next PMS is going to be? Who knows. But get your read, get your website where you own it, you control it. And be be in a position where you're, you're, you're the owner? You dictate what happens?

Annie Holcombe:

Yeah. So I wanted to, because we're getting close to time. But you, as Alex pointed out, you answered all these questions. So it actually gives us like, great conversation. So I wanted to circle back around to distribution. And one of the things that you mentioned was not being talked about. And it was interesting, because I had read the article a few weeks back, and I was very intrigued by it, too. And so something came out this morning about it was the JP Morgan, entering into kind of the distribution space. So you clearly have a lot of thoughts about that. And I'd love to hear what they are.

Terry Whyte:

Well, you know, they betting so big on vacation rent on travel through big trouble, that their plan has to include vacation rentals, there's no way that there's no way that anybody company can have some kind of vision without vacation rentals being part of that vision. Right. And I'm thinking, and again, this is where channel managers come into that they're not gonna go to some PMS and say, we want to integrate with you. Right, right. Yeah, they're gonna go, wherever you're never going to do that. They're gonna they're gonna go to channel manager and said, Hey,

Alex Husner:

do you think that they're doing this? I mean, is this because of what they've seen Hopper doing? Or?

Terry Whyte:

Probably planning this long before? We haven't heard about? Yeah, yeah, I think this has been in the works for a long time, probably. And I think you have to get COVID credit like, this is accelerated. I think everybody plant, you know, like, probably, like five years.

Annie Holcombe:

Yeah. Yeah. And probably they have a lot of data points on purchase power in travel and sectors and like, where people are spending their money and how they're spending their money and what that pattern looks like. And I would imagine that they probably have a pretty good stable of analysts who have looked at this and gone over the numbers that said, like now is the time or it's now or never situation,

Alex Husner:

I think one of the biggest opportunities or biggest

Terry Whyte:

I think you just nailed it perfectly. They're things that people aren't talking about that is related to going to use the rewards and loyalty programs and I think are this is loyalty within vacation rentals, and somebody's really creating a really strong loyalty program. And essentially, that's why this JPMorgan Chase program and Hopper that's tied in with Capital One. That's why those programs have so much legs to them, because I mean that is a is a closed user group that one for them to be able to get inventory. That's, that's those types of channels that come to us. Absolutely. Because I know you're not competing against me directly in our local market on PPC ads. I mean, you're you're using the power of your market to be able to get bookings. But I think loyalty is a big part of that. I mean, you even look at like the Costco, wholesale our industry that we're probably getting behind there that we travel club and travel clubs used to be a big thing back in the day, and I think they're coming back and I think within should be making more of an effort to have a rewards program vacation rentals, if a company can figure out how to offer something like that to their, to their guests and owners, I think there's a big opportunity there. Something that we're looking into, quite honestly, there's or loyalty program. Yeah.

Alex Husner:

But that part is, as we've started looking at it one of the toughest part for us at least has been, since we have our we're a managed portfolio, but then we have our partner put portfolio and there's different margins between them. And that's going to be the same or similar situation with other vacation rental companies looking to do this because it's, it's almost like it's like figuring out, you need somebody that's really good on the finance side to figure out that financial matrix of the points and how they all work and how you just to do an analysis of if we had discounted anyways, which we all discount, right? I mean, I know we do, especially for our repeat guests, if we know how much we gave away and discounts to rebook a unit for the next year. If we change that into the loyalty program, that it wasn't discounted, per se, but they are buying into the loyalty program or some other way that that's another revenue source. I just think there's, there's massive opportunity. Nobody's talking about it. I think it's highly complex. But it's a it's a potential,

Annie Holcombe:

I think this is where we can crossover and bring into the component that we always talk about Alex is the conduit or the timeshare component. So the companies like interval International, you know, the ones that are getting they understand and have kind of the framework of managing points. And you know, clearly, that's what Marriott is leveraging within their HDMI is the bond voice. So they figure that out. But you're right, I mean, that component of it is so cumbersome, and it is so different. And again, is it just one more layer of accounting that you try to add into an already complex accounting system of vacation rentals that vary so vastly from state to state, I mean, it's a very hard thing to do. But I think that there's there's a lot of opportunity there. And I think the one thing that I love about you, Terry, is that you are always looking like you said you're ahead of the game, you're always looking at that next thing and you're assessing, and I can always I've been in sessions and watched your eyes, like follow the room and, and I was watching you at our session and DARM and just looking you were you were sizing up the panel and listening to everything that they were saying and taking it all in. And you really summed up the session by just saying, you know, I want everybody in the room to look at these people and know that this is the future, we're going back to our roots. And you summed up what we were trying to say to people is that there's so much out there, but we just got to get back to what we target we started out to be you know, we wanted to service all these guests, and we wanted to reach everybody and and not be beholden to any one, one kind of service or system. So I appreciate you being kind of that, that leader for all of us to pay attention to things.

Terry Whyte:

Yeah. Well, you know, there's just there's just so much opportunity out there if you if you listen, you listen to the podcasts, you go to the the go to the conferences, you know, every day is a chance to learn something new.

Alex Husner:

It is it is actually have you had in one of your answers. The questions said, let's see, what does the work you do say about your your life and your journey. And you put in there that the great Nelson Mandela was once asked what is the most lethal weapon in the world, his response education and that you can accomplish anything with knowledge and education. And that's so true. And I think we're, like you said, we're all very blessed that we have this community that we get together. And we go to these events, and we have the opportunity to learn together and all these things. But I have one last question just because we're going off of dorm and I know you've got some pretty sophisticated things that you do on revenue management. What What advice would you give to property managers out there just as they're looking at their revenue management strategy? And what do you see for you know, where the futures is gonna go for us?

Terry Whyte:

Data is data is going to be Kingin for sure I rely heavily on key data. I think if you're in Europe, you know, it'd be transparent, though, but I would be very cautious of giving up 1% of your revenue. Yeah, I've used five different I've used five different pricing tools to use beyond pricing. Price labs, wheelhouse, perfect pricing, rented, you know, that I'm the biggest believer, but they all do such they'll do a really good job. And I shouldn't tell people that I do this, but I have I have accounts with wheelhouse price labs and beyond pricing. And I pull a I have them open in three different tabs. Oh, wow. Yeah, I should probably tell people.

Alex Husner:

Okay. Give me your secret strategy.

Terry Whyte:

And, and I compare, you know what, they all do a very good job of what they do. I'm not saying you know, they're always right, they're right more than I am. And that's why I use them. But don't don't give up 1% of your revenue. I don't like that idea.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, I agree on that. For sure. I agree on that, for sure.

Annie Holcombe:

So well. Terry, thank

Alex Husner:

you so much for being here with us today. This is a great conversation and one we were looking forward to for a long time. So we were so excited when you said that you would come on and chat with us today. But we appreciate you very much. If anybody wants to get in touch with you. What's the easiest Wait for them to reach out.

Terry Whyte:

Terry at AnnaMariabeach rentals.com.

Alex Husner:

Okay, great. We will include that in the show notes. And when will we see you next I will be.

Terry Whyte:

I'll be in Vegas for sure. Are you guys going to book direct show in Miami?

Annie Holcombe:

No. Yeah, we actually got asked to be on stage for that one and emcee it, but we couldn't give you next year.

Alex Husner:

I think it's right before Vegas, isn't it? Yes. Yeah. I'm actually gonna work retreat. Yeah.

Terry Whyte:

Yeah, I think I'm, I think gonna go there and then go right on to Vegas. From there. Awesome.

Alex Husner:

We'll take good notes at that one, so that we can catch up with you in Vegas. And you can tell us everything.

Annie Holcombe:

We'll see you on the golf course in Vegas. Right.

Terry Whyte:

Problem might I know? Yeah.

Annie Holcombe:

We're working. We're working the tournament you have to?

Alex Husner:

Yes, yeah, we'll be we'll be on the course taking interviews as we off. So.

Annie Holcombe:

Terry, thank you for sharing your knowledge and for letting us speak to the king of distribution, you are the king of distribution, and you probably always will be. So we appreciate you very much.

Terry Whyte:

Thanks for having me. I never thought I would have this privilege. So it's been great.

Alex Husner:

It's our pleasure, if anybody wants to contact me and if you go to Alex and Annie podcast.com And until next time, thanks for tuning in.

Annie Holcombe:

Thanks, everybody.