Utopia Around the World – Jeff Jenson of Utopian Luxury Vacation Homes

Jeff Jenson, CEO of Utopian Luxury Vacation Homes

Jeff Jenson, the CEO of Utopian Luxury Vacation Homes, grew his company’s revenue from $5.8 million in 2014 to $10.5 million in 2017, an 82% increase, and to around $12 million in 2018.  

Utopian Luxury Vacation Homes is a luxury vacation rental company.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Jeff shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Steadily increasing their inventory of luxury vacatin homes.  
  • Developing their own in-house marketing team.  
  • Encouraging repeat renters and investment in luxury vacation homes.  

Computer generated transcript - Utopia Luxury Vacation Homes Interview (transcribed by Sonix)

Download the "Computer generated transcript - Utopia Luxury Vacation Homes Interview" audio file directly from here. It was automatically transcribed by Sonix.ai below:

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of Eversprint.com. I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Jeff Jenson, the CEO of Utopian Luxury Vacation Homes, a luxury vacation rental company.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Welcome to the call Jeff

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Thank you Malcolm I appreciate you having me.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Jeff, you grew your company's revenue from $5.8 million in 2014 to $10.5 million in 2017, an 82% increase, and in 2018 you hit around $12 million. Before we talk about you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?

audio_only_33167361.mp3: You bet. We're in the luxury vacation rental sector focusing on short term rentals and what really differentiates us from the competition is our level of services and so we're a service based organization. And and our primary client in focus is the owner of these high end luxury vacation rental homes. And we we drive that message with with the brand promise of our ally first and second care control and custody approach where we really take care of their assets and own every component of that and we plug our owners into the Four Seasons equivalent hospitality platform. So they have all the services that one of our guests would have when they're in the comfort of their own home.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Nice. What were the three biggest drivers of your sales growth from 2014 to 2018 where you grew from five point eight million in 2014 up to around 12 million last year in 2018

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Now the primary driver is the inventory in our collection. And so we've been able to grow from around 50 or 60 homes back in those days to five times that number today. So we have about two hundred and fifty luxury villas there in our collection in nine different markets. And and that's what's really driven our growth. It's that additional inventory. The good news is there's awesome demand for luxury vacation rentals and travelers that like to stay in homes versus hotels. And so we're really just filling that gap with our inventory

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Awesome. How about drivers number two and three

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Sales and marketing. I'm I'm very fortunate in that we have a sales team that we've built up really since the inception of the company. And they convert at at about double what the industry average is. I haven't had a month of conversion in Park City in the last three or four years where I got below 20 percent converting those inbound leads into into into gas or putting heads in beds and marketing. Marketing has been a key component. Today we have less than 50 percent of our inbound leads come off of the channels which the channels for us. The three big ones are the home way group companies Air B and B in booking dot.com. And so we're getting an increasing number of repeat customers that are converting and coming back to us because of their experience in one market. You know they're now traveling with us into our new markets and that that kind of goes of homeowners too once the homeowner experiences our brand promise of Aro Y then they tend to buy homes and in more market more markets because it's such a it's a great investment vehicle. These these these homes you know your your your risks are fairly low you're in a first position you don't have a lot of outside factors that are that are affecting it. Aside from the economic stability of the country

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: So would you say sales and marketing now would be your second driver. And then more repeat customers would be your third driver.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: That is correct. Yeah.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Okay great. Can we dive a little bit deeper into the three drivers you shared with me. The first one being your inventory that you have and how you've grown it from 50 to 60 homes to about two hundred and fifty right now. How do you go about generating more homes to fit into your inventory

audio_only_33167361.mp3: You know that the key driver of for inventory is great business development or market development partners as we expand into new markets while our goal as a company are be hags so to speak is is 50 markets so 50 homes a market to get us to 20 500 homes. And so what we've looked to do is expand into good solid markets with good demand for what we do is luxury vacation rental homes and and I would say that the key to that is. Is finding good business development partners that can Recruit and onboard homes into our industry. That's that's our biggest driver.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: He showed a bit more about the partners that you have to help you with this

audio_only_33167361.mp3: You bet. You bet. So what what we've done is we've set up a business model whereby at corporate we take care a lot of the overhead the sales the marketing the accounting the owner's services the Cohen shares and gas related services. And then and then we we transition that to boots on the ground in a local market. And and that business development or market development partner we basically split our net margin with them at the end of the day. And and they're in. We get new markets going and we're able to attract the people that can that can indeed close and recruit homeowners and and so it's it's it's a people business but it's very lucrative for our partners. You know people that want to get into the vacation rental business and yet they don't really know where to get started work. Great option for that because we've got all the infrastructure in place. You know our Web sites are working great are all of our SVOD related stuff. We have money to spend on on on Google and and other analytics platforms and and so we really provide a platform almost a turnkey platform if they can bring inventory. And so that you know that that is that is our biggest opportunity it's driven our growth and that's also my biggest challenge is finding those folks that that can indeed close and recruit new homeowners.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Now

audio_only_33167361.mp3: I put it I put it on par Malcolm with you know asking it when you ask a homeowner for a multiple multimillion dollar home in your possession or under your control. Now I always I always joke about it say Yeah it's like me asking you to take your wife to Vegas for the weekend. Do you trust me to do that.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: For

audio_only_33167361.mp3: And

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: A

audio_only_33167361.mp3: And so you know it's a big ask. And

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right

audio_only_33167361.mp3: And. And so it's not a position for everyone but those that can do it and sell at that high level or it's it's super lucrative for them.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: So they let these partners that you're referring to are they individuals or are they businesses that are in that space

audio_only_33167361.mp3: They're individuals Yeah individuals

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Okay okay great. Now. Now you mention your biggest challenging challenge are finding these business development people with these individuals. How are you finding that like you finding people who are in this business now of of persuading convincing finding luxury homeowners to rent and rent them out. Are you finding people who are never been involved in the space at all and yet want to dip their toes in it and get started.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: I would say it's a combination. I'm focused today on finding people that have a background and a history of recruiting homes whether that's a real estate sales and marketing or someone that that is an industry that has an existing book and has the ability to go out and recruit homeowners. You know what I would say in the last year I spent the majority of my time finding and recruiting these folks a lot of them came off of some of the job posting boards you know and then we created a very structured interview process we've used scaling up which is the Verne Harnish book on how to grow your business as as really our text book version of how we're growing. So there's a whole component of that that is all about the WHO or the people. And it's kind of like Jim Collins says you know find the right people and getting them the right seat on a bus. And and so we've used that as our process for doing these and conducting interviews and trying to make sure that we get the right people on board because if you know if if our if our dynamics don't work together then you know that's the. That seems to be the biggest failure is is expectations. And and then consistency of the brand. And so that's that's been a big component of that

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right now I know I know that you get to market your home rentals are pretty heavy on the paper click. You have a bit of a SEO presence as well. Do you apply that same expertise in finding your business development people as well

audio_only_33167361.mp3: You know I I focus on what we're really good at. And so my answer is No. I have not gotten to the extent that we market to you know to our guests and our homeowners for our people. I think that there's there's existing companies out there that do a great job of that. And and they're not that expensive relative to what it would cost me to to do that stuff. Now with that said the last couple of years we've been one of the smart the top small business employers in our marketplace. And that credibility has helped us some the best. Park City which is where we're headquartered and yet we have offices in four different markets right now and as we typically grow to about 20 homes we open a new office. And so that gives you a sense of where we are in those new markets that are coming off

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right. Can we switch gears a little bit and talk about your second driver your sales and marketing. Can you talk about

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Absolutely

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: A few things within that have been really driving the success in that area. I know you talked about finding the right people to put on the bus. That's a big component of the sales side of things. Is there anything more you like to add about the sales side and maybe you can also share a bit more about the marketing side.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: So I would say that the sales begins with marketing for starters. So the marketing team you know we were really fortunate we were able to find a company in in our state after we after we'd begun begun our business. We had and we knew that this company existed because they were wholesaling some US but it was at the time was a company called Vacation roofs. It was founded is mountain reservations originally it was owned by Patrick Byrne at Overstock and he sold that company for a venture backed group and they'd grown to about 100 million doing wholesale. And so they were wholesaling mainly in the ski baskets of the Mountain West at the time. And one of their sales people that was actually either their number one or their number two in his tenure there. He was selling a lot of our inventory and I ended up having an interview with him and recruiting him to join the utopian early on in our business. And it was before that company that company eventually crashed. They changed their name and changed their business plan and got away from wholesaling and try to become a Channel Manager. So you know the some of the technology in this industry is a real challenge. And they found that to be the case and they as a switched business models and so from that crash I was able to recruit some just unbelievable people. And so I'm going to attribute the majority of my sales and marketing success to the people that were in industry that knew what they were doing probably knew more than I did at the time. And and they joined us. And you know I've taken off today my director of sales is still that number one salesman from from that company and and my head of marketing was one of their market managers and my head of guest services was their head of customer service. And so you know finding a company that that we could we could recruit from. Turned out to be a real boost to our experience level and I would say has led to our success to a degree.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: All right. And that's it. And these all came from those people making these were former vacation employees that you're able to hire.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Yeah absolutely.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: How long ago

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Absolutely

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Long ago was

audio_only_33167361.mp3: How

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: This.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Long ago did we start. Well we started the company in 2010 and I hired that director of sales in Late 2011 or early to that yeah it was late 2001 and so was a year after starting the company that I was able to recruit him over. I mean think about this now again. He just passed his five year anniversary last year so he's been with us now six years. So 2012 I guess is

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Well

audio_only_33167361.mp3: When I started in that. Yeah. And we started the company in 2010.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: So

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: And then can you explain a little bit by what you meant by wholesaling what was vacation roofs wholesaling. Exactly

audio_only_33167361.mp3: So in in the vacation rental space there's there's companies that specialize in taking the hard part of this business and the operations component. And so where firms really earn their money. Is in doing that care control and custody peace of the homes. And and so there's firms that have that have emerged that just sell. And that's all they do. And then they rely on someone like utopian to do the operations and service the gas in the House and oversee the housekeeping and the property management and all those types of things. And and so that's what vacation risk was. It's similar to a luxury retreat luxury treats rent that's a model now they have their own homes these days as well but they started out as a wholesaler. And obviously there's a lesser commission if you're not dealing with with the gas and in servicing and overseeing the home. And so those wholesale components out there. Another example would be like jet setter in Ghana et cetera book A House jet setter takes a commission on that reservation and then they hand that reservation back to someone like me to actually deal with it and service the guests and make sure they have a good experience.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right. Okay got it. Now hop in terms of the marketing side. What about what other than the people that you have driving the marketing. What aspects of your of your marketing has really been delivering the results that you're looking for.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: You know I would say again it starts with my people. I can't you know I can't say enough and my hat's off to my my team. But beyond that I would say that the more of this we owned because we really understand the business like when we started we couldn't afford to do our own paper quick and manage our own Google account. And we also didn't do our own web development. And and we had you know other folks that were providing content and things like that for us. And so as we've grown that marketing department the marketing department actually the biggest department in the company today. And and I would say that you know taking those various roles back in-house and really owning them because we understand the business and and then gaining that knowledge as to a where we find these customers how we communicate with them you know are our newsletters all that type of stuff plays into it. And and I would say that that coupled with the operations side where you know we're we're really delivering on that world class experience which is our brand promise as well our lives our brand promise our mission statement is a world class experience for all stakeholders. And it starts with the homeowner and then it goes to our team internally and then it basically ends with that guess who pays the bill at the end of the day.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right

audio_only_33167361.mp3: But if the first two components don't understand that brand promise then we can't deliver it. And so delivering on the brand promise of a world class experience has led to many many more repeat customers. And and then it's up to our marketing team to communicate with those guests and just make sure that you know that they rebook when they rebook they come back to hopefully directly and and book with us. You know there's been one of the challenges from marketing has been has been technology the technology in this sector is totally fragmented. And so I don't want to get too into that right now because you're probably gonna ask me about some of my some of my biggest challenges there in a minute. But technology being fragmented we're running like five different systems right now from a different CRM to different platforms to manage different booking sites. Nothing's integrated and our serums fragmented and not integrated our accounting fragmented not integrated. And and and so we've now we're taking that on and we're developing our software platform that

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Will be a best in best in class kind of solution but that's what it's taken to to really file this together.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right

audio_only_33167361.mp3: And and I don't think you can do that. So you get to a certain size either. So we're fortunate in that you know we've grown big enough now where we can afford to do development projects to create a best in class service provider

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right now your marketing has been mostly focused on finding people to rent the homes. More so than actually finding homeowners to provide their homes. Is that correct.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Yes. Yeah we we've we've embarked on several initiatives to to onboard homeowners. We do have some of that search marketing and things like that going on out there. But and as we grow and get into new markets our web presence grows and we have a lot of inbound unsolicited leads now in markets where we're was established or we're getting established. But the majority of our efforts have been on finding guests heads and that's

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right. And you mentioned it briefly in the discussion of marketing and sales but you also mentioned earlier about how your third driver is getting more repeat customers and also repeat homeowners. Can you elaborate a bit more about what you do to help encourage that. In terms of proactively have you know keeping in touch with them perhaps for example and letting them know when new properties come available or when new markets are hot for the homeowners. What do you do to encourage more repeat business.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: I mean you pretty well nailed it there. We we we haven't mailer that goes out biweekly to our guest list. So those are our existing customers where we focus on. We focus on a market we focus on an event such as bottle rock in wine country or South By Southwest in your country in Austin. And you know in that Coachella Valley that could sell a music festival or Stagecoach. And so we do kind of event specific marketing and then we do home specific marketing as well. And and it's just you know it's constantly touching those guests. We don't want to be obnoxious with it. That's why we don't do it weekly but biweekly We do reach out and let them know about new offerings new markets that have come on in new homes. That that's that's a component. But I will say that delivering operationally and creating that world class experience for a guest you know if you go to you if you go to a utopian house and and we've done our job when you arrive you're met by a concierge that concierge has done a pre arrival inspection on the home they do a walk through of the home with you and answer any questions show you how to run the technology in the home show you how to run the TV HBC the hot tub the barbecue etc. A B systems are a big one. And and then they're there for you and typically they've preplanned your trip as well.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: So that guest service concierge is arranged for your groceries your transportation your ski rentals your private chefs to come in your restaurant reservations your massage therapist they've gotten your ski tickets for you or they've gotten your tickets to Coachella. And and and so all of the components of a trip that make a trip perfect is is what we try to build as a folio for each guest. And so once you experience that and then you find out you know we try to find out as much about our guests when they're in house as we can as well. So we have a program that is a get to know your guest kind of program and and there's a checklist that we go through and and we won't ever get all those questions answered on the first trip but typically on the second or third we will. And and so as we know that guest we know where you know we know where they went to school we know what newspaper they like to read where they like to travel and so as they arrive in that home they like to read The L.A. Times they've got the L.A. Times if it's a new York Times or the USA Today or The Chicago Sun or Herald or whatever it is. We take care of that. And and and provide that just additional level of an experience for them. So our goal then is to get to know that guests as well as we can deliver on a world class experience.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: And if they have that then they're not going to go anywhere else has been our experience with with repeat customers. And and so that's what we really strive to do on every single guest is get to know the gas and then provide services that that just make their experience you know unlike anything else I've ever experienced in a home. And so it is that four seasons. Montage Ritz Carlton kind of touch and experience that we're that we're trying to to generate with that guest now the second component of that is every guest we view as a buyer. And so once they've been in a home and they've experienced utopian. And then you know they're considering buying a home in that market they'll come into our program once they're in our program. You know as we're expanding into new markets we do these same types of interviews that you're doing with me today with our homeowners. We really build a relationship with them. And and we are able then to show them a good our ally and deliver on our brand promise. And then that puts that puts top of mind for them as they're in Maui may or may not be staying in one of our homes but they know we're there and they're thinking about a house in Maui or a condo in Maui. Then we're gonna be there their natural partner in that marketplace

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right. Exactly. Now can you give an example or maybe Sheriff me. You talk a little bit about wholesalers who rent out a home and then turn to you to help with the operational side of things. How does the pricing differ between selling you just renting a luxury home just the home itself and then you know how much more would they typically pay to get all the other world class services that you had mentioned.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: So in terms of a utopian experience or relationship and a wholesale pricing is the same. So if if they're if they're booking this through a wholesale agent the pricing that they pay is the same whether they book director us or through that whole seller. I would say that in an established market like Park City where we have real close to 100 villas or residences we're probably 10 percent higher than the competition in terms of of of pricing in emerging markets or not. And so in emerging markets you get all that service for the same price as if you were to go and just book it you know through one of these wholesale channels and and then you never again you never really know what you're going to get on the other side in terms of services. So wholesale doesn't necessarily mean no services wholesale just means that you don't really know who your partner is going to be. On the other side providing that level of guest services

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right now when you said before in Park City with a hundred villas that you have your 10 percent higher than the competition is the competition just providing the Home Alone and nothing else. Are they also providing a different level of concierge and planning services.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: They may most of them try to provide a concierge service. And and I would say that you know that's a differentiator for us because we just really go over the top with services and and so you know most of the guests have stayed with utopian then gone somewhere else. They come back to us and the feedback that we consistently get is Wow you know the level of service with utopian is it creates that experience of utopia. When you're in these homes

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right right

audio_only_33167361.mp3: And yeah so you know it's consistent with our brand. I'm not going to say it and they don't try real hard because I think that they do but it's for us it's. It's the brand promise. And in our mission statement. That that drive it. And you know we kept those really simple brand promise our ally Mission Statement world class experience for all stakeholders. So you know I can drive that message all the way to the cones years in the field and and he now has the power to say OK does this help us deliver on our brand promise and does it create a world class experience for our employees our owners our employees and our guests. And and so it gives them a lot of autonomy to make decisions because that's a pretty simple brand promise a mission statement that they can follow. And and and I'm now I'm happy to empower them to go out and make decisions as long as it's consistent with those two things.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right now for sure you set up the environment where it's really easy for people to come back to you either as a renter or even as a homeowner and wanting to have your teen help with renting it out. Do you do anything proactively to encourage that repeat rental. Do anything you proactively to encourage your former guests to consider buying a vacation home and having you mentioned it having you manage it.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: So we do we we we. In terms of of guests coming in we have things like the pro forma projection of income for that house with the utopian folder that talks about you know the service that we provide in the home. So as they're in that residence they can look at what that how that residence performs in terms of revenue and and if it's a real estate agent referral. You know we rely heavily on referrals and partnerships of real estate agents. That have the clients are looking for a vacation rental management company to. Manage their assets. So. We we market also that real estate agent in that home. We showcase the homes that they have listed. And and and it might not be that particular home that they referred to us that's for sale but we allow them to as you know if it's okay with the homeowners to set up a marketing component within that home. So that's one thing that we do to transition guests into owners. And in terms of of repeat customers you know that's that that's that bi weekly email marketing constantly on their brain when they're in the homes. We've also incentivized our guest services team to ask him about you know are you coming back skiing this year would you like one of our agents to get in touch with you we're working right now on a on a on a technology component to that's going to play into that huge with a pad in the home that is customized with content. And and encourages them through. To. A discount of. 10 percent. You know Reebok right now while you're in the house.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right

audio_only_33167361.mp3: And. And so those types of components or they play into it. And A lot of plans for where that's going

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right. And speaking of plans to share with us what your 2019 plans and targets are yet to 2018 at around 12 million. What sort of revenue growth. Looking twenty thousand nineteen

audio_only_33167361.mp3: You know I'm I'm I'm. I'm a growth oriented and growth minded leader and so I'm I'm looking to get you know we had a 20 percent growth this year 38 percent the year before. I'd like to get us back into that 30 plus percent growth range this year. We've we've done a couple of things we're looking for homes that we can long term lease and lease arbitrage. So if owners don't want to take the risk associated with what this home can do and perform to we're willing to come in with a checkbook and and write checks and long term lease properties to sublet them. That's one strategy. Second strategy is mergers and acquisitions. We've engaged. A group Actually out of Nashville to help us with some MSA work and they're out trying to source some projects for us right now that we can make acquisitions on we're self-funded nice and profitable at this point which is somewhat of an anomaly in the space. There's there's some real big players in the space that are hemorrhaging money. We've grown responsibly and remain profitable with no outside capital since day one. And and so we're now looking at some acquisitions as well. Third I'm really focused on on a couple of markets right now and grow in those markets. And and and those markets alone should should get us to the same kind of growth that we saw last year and I've really turned over the business development component of the company to a head of business development. That's one of my C-level executives. And so I know with the stuff that I'm doing emanating wise lease arbitrage wise we're gonna get there and if we add what he's able to bring to the table I think that we'll see at least 30 to 40 percent growth again this year.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Nice. Can you share what the other markets you're focusing on that look attractive.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Well I would say right now we're focused on on the the nine or so that are on our Web site. So we really like Whistler we like being outside of the US with a little bit of diversification there. We're also really focused on Belize. We've got some great things happening and believes what a great business development partner we're focused on Cabo right now is in expansion and I've identified a great partner in that market getting through the the bureaucracy of paperwork and in Mexico and getting set up down there. It's taken us six months or so. So that's a little bit of a little bit of a delay in getting that market off. Hawaii is a big win for us. We're focused on Maui the big island in the water right now. The next the next market will be Kawhi. We're also doing some really great things for four for housing for just the you know the housing situation in most of Hawaii's is really bad. There's tons of demand and not enough inventory and and especially in the low income HUD areas which doesn't focus on our business but we are we're into giving to get. And so in that market we're working with the government and implementing a HUD program over there just to help people in getting into homes. Again if we can if we can create this reputation of giving to people in and helping out in places where we think we can handle that and obviously do a better company for us long term so that's kind of our strategy. Why we're in the greater Phoenix area and a pretty big way. Palm Springs in a pretty big way. Wine country. We've had some setbacks up there but that's another of our markets that we're in.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: And and then Tahoe and and pretty well all of Lake Tahoe is another one for us. So we've got you know we've got we've got some great expansion already in the works. Now we want to make sure if we can get nine or 10 of these markets performing to the level that Park City is now I think we'll be headed down the road of getting the 50 and in systems wise operationally is operationally is a real key component of that. And so I brought in a. Systems expert. Very senior. Former military lieutenant colonel. Type. That. Has succeeded. In the private sector as well and run. Three out of the last four companies With or for me. And so he's now heading up our operations and. And implementing his processes and systems. In Park City and then and then pushing those into the new markets is going to help us in a big way too. We're just doing that now. We also brought on a real senior level guy. In the Coachella Valley. That. Has played. Big roles. At. Major hotels. And Like the Ritz Carlton and the four seasons and there's also a developer. And so you know. I lean heavily into those people as part of that expansion. Now where we can go where do you like to go to travel. I mean. That's. At the end of the day. The top 50 places you want to go. That's where I'm going to be. And they're not domestic. They're worldwide. Destinations. And and so. You know it's it's it's the best places to travel in the world is where utopia is going to get to put a stake in the ground.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: All right so I'll be seeing you in Bangkok Thailand pretty soon.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: You will you will we have we have some great plans said to go to Thailand. We have a great partner over there that's a real estate developer and. And that's that's where we're headed.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Now to achieve your goals that you've mentioned to me shared with me just now I know you mentioned early on in our conversation the biggest challenge is finding that business development people to help you find a homeowner's right to to get onto your platform. You know what initiatives you have in mind that you're that you're looking to push out to help with that aspect of your challenge.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: You know the more of of the more credibility we get in the market the more years that we're on the inside thousand the more that I do. Speaking wise at conferences and getting in front of people. It seems like that is what attracts the good people to us. And as I mentioned there's there's some big companies that are in the space that have trained some great people that aren't performing right now. They're still losing money and and they're surviving on the venture venture strings and you know those folks or are starting to look elsewhere. And we had a great interview with one of them yesterday and again another gentleman that's written a book on vacation rentals and he's looking at Utopia now. So it's you know I think it's. I think it's just that. You know letting the market know what we're doing how we're doing and how we're doing it responsibly. And. And I don't have the goal. Of being the biggest. I just want the best properties. And so if we get the best properties in every market. And then. We become the best at operating those properties. You. Know I think the rest of the story kind of takes care of itself. And so. That's where we're really focused right now. It's just on on becoming the best having the best properties being the best operator in the space. And then you know that reputation goes to homeowners in it. And it also goes to. Those folks that can they can build and develop the business for us.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: And you know

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: What what metrics are you looking at to help you determine if your your velocity of getting to the 50 markets the property market is going as planned. How do you assess if you need to focus more resources more attention on on on say developing a market and finding more homeowners

audio_only_33167361.mp3: It's a hundred percent growth. So. So we've we've set up a goal as a company. Anytime we enter into a new market we like to onboard two properties a month. And so 24 properties in a year and two years were to 50 or we should be 48.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Okay

audio_only_33167361.mp3: And and so that's kind of the metric that we use and that we look at and and and then we gauge is as we set up our system with Verne Harnish and scaling up. You know we set up KPI for each department and each department reports and to that dashboard and. Every single week and we do a. We have a business coach and we do a call every Friday. And we talk about. Where we are versus where we said we're going to be last week. And so there's. No. We hold the team very accountable. And and as a result. You know things get done. Are our. Head of Marketing. Uses the tremolo CRM job board to get things done. And she won to get shit done award this last week. Or this last year and all of her team Got T-shirts that said just exactly that.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: I think we got shit done.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: So. Yeah. Yeah we get said done. That's

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Okay

audio_only_33167361.mp3: What we did.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: The

audio_only_33167361.mp3: And

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Gst.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: So.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Easier

audio_only_33167361.mp3: You know. That. So.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: If he

audio_only_33167361.mp3: We laugh about it now but it's a. Great award to get. You know she was competing against hundreds of companies and. And her team gets more things done than anyone else.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right. So if your teams are able to do get to market to new properties a month for each of your nine focused markets that's us like around hundred two 200 new properties right to be added to your portfolio.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Yeah

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: That's

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Yeah.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Almost double where you are today

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Yeah. So we're 250 last year we're 120 and we doubled. This year we should double again.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Okay

audio_only_33167361.mp3: And if the revenue were to go like it like it it grows in Park City if we can we double in Park City and country historically than we did double revenue.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: The challenge is you're is you're expanding into new markets. It's not as easy as it is in an existing market where you and you have 100 homes and so you know it takes us a little bit longer to ramp up. But you know long term those those homes should absolutely perform and and just keep us growing. So that's that's the goal.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Right. Okay. And. And so far I know you're only a few weeks into the new year so far four weeks in any year. How is your two home per month per market target looking so far.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: We're on track so far and and you know we set a lofty goal for sales of 20 percent above last year's number for the month of January and it looks like we're going to be within earshot of of hitting that goal as well. So you know we're we're performing from a sales perspective and and and that all makes homeowners happy and make some. You know. Continue to spread the word about utopia because it's. It's you know. It's. It's we can do as much as we as as we do from a marketing perspective from a search perspective but at the end of the day it's homeowners telling other homeowners about their experience with utopian or deaths telling homeowners about their experience with utopian. And those word of mouth referrals that work the best sometimes I think we're were six deep in the referral string now in Park City where we've got you know we've got a new home or that just came on that came from a homeowner six deep ago.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Oh really. Wow. That's fantastic.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Yeah

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Nice

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Yeah

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Nice.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Yeah.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: I think is a technical technical term for that's a morality factor. That's pretty good.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Yeah exactly

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Three last questions for you. Say you had a billboard on a freeway somewhere and that's moving along at a good clip. Typically people have only six seconds to read and see a billboard. What would be your six second message.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Get shit done with it. That's our philosophy of the company yeah. We just do that side. That's what I would put up there.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Okay. And I guess that appeals more to the homeowner. So I guess I can appeal to the renters I see right from that concept.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Absolutely.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: They want everything

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Yeah.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Anything done and ready to go when sit there and if anything needs to be changed they want it to get done as well. So to ask questions then who are your ideal renters who are your ideal homeowners and what's the best way for them to reach your teen.

audio_only_33167361.mp3: So our ideal homeowner is just a luxury homeowner that has an asset that is three or more bedrooms that typically is going to rent for over a thousand dollars a night and and along the lines of our ideal customer. You know. A. CUSTOMER THAT. THAT. Likes A high level of service. You know with a. With a four seasons equivalent. In a home. And. And so. You know That that's what we're looking for in terms of homeowners and guests just just folks that that want that level of experience. And in terms of how to get to us the Internet's the easiest way to do it. So our Web site is utopian. L.B. H. Dot com. That's utopian Lima Victor hotel Match.com. And then if they want to call us 8 6 6 6 7 5 5 4 5 5 that number is also on our Web site

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: Thanks for joining us today. Jeff in Shanghai you accelerate your company's high value sales

audio_only_33167361.mp3: Thank you. I appreciate the time in the interview.

audio_only_16778242_Malcolm_Lui.mp3: We've been speaking with Jeff Jenson, the CEO of Utopian Luxury Vacation Homes, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit Eversprint.com.

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