ORLANDO – When An Flamand first heard about the product, she knew she had to check it out.
Once she did, she was literally quite glad to have it.
“I’ve already signed up with them,” she said. “This is new and up-and-coming.”
Flamand is the owner of USA Vacation Homes, a property management firm in Davenport that specializes in vacation homes – fully furnished houses rented on a short-term basis to tourists.
Ever on the lookout for ways to improve service to her guests, what she had discovered was a new Mobile APP that allows property managers to convey a wealth of information to her guests, instantly and conveniently.
“The company is called Glad to Have You,” Flamand said, adding that sentiment applies both to how this product serves her guests, and her attitude toward the product itself.
Under the slogan “Smarter Guests, Better Vacations,” Glad to Have You is a Mobile APP that provides information to customers, said Rob Johnson, a sales consultant for the firm. He said this is the first and only fully customizable mobile platform designed specifically for vacation rental management companies, hotels, and resorts.
“Vacation rentals can now communicate with guests more efficiently than ever before,” he said. “It’s an amazing new technology.”
Jason Sprenkle, the co-founder and CEO of Glad to Have You, said it started with a simple concept: assist vacation home managers with the way they communicate with guests.
“We started out as a Mobile App, a way of engaging with your guests after they have booked,” he said. “In order to compete these days, remember that Orlando is a very competitive market. It’s a tough market to make it in. So we said we wanted to build a world class APP.”
But as the company did its research, what they discovered was that similar kinds of APPs came with something quite undesirable: a hefty price tag of more than $30,000.
“Nobody in this industry has $30,000 for an APP,” he said.
So they developed a APP for closer to $2,000 – and found there definitely was a market for it within the hospitality industry, Sprenkle said.
“We built this product and we’ve been selling it for six months now,” Sprenkle said. “It’s a new product that is exciting in terms of what it can do for your customers.”
Because what the company discovered, he said, is that vacation home guests are quite technologically savvy to begin with.
“What we’re finding is people who can afford luxury travel, they’re a more affluent group,” Sprenkle said. “Eighty-nine percent of leisure travelers use a mobile device for travel information during trips. Sixty-three percent use mobile devices before trips. Technology allows us to give people very personalized information. This also allows you to know your guest. You can’t get those guests back until you understand who they are.”
By putting the Glad to Have You APP on their smartphones, guests suddenly have a wealth of useful information at their fingertips: directions to the main office or vacation home, the option to rebook, or to write a review of the property.
“This makes it insanely easy for you to get the content to your guests,” Sprenkle said. “It’s very user-friendly. The point is not to have generic information out there. Our goal is to make it look like to your guests that you spent $2 million on this — and nobody knows who the heck Glad to Have You is. You’re getting people to feel like you’re catering specifically to them. It’s custom to you, it’s custom to each guest. The fun thing about mobile is it’s just more fun information. You will be able to deliver efficient guest service – not just a bed and pillow.”
For example, property managers can use this product to send out an instant notification to guests, Sprenkle noted.
“The most exciting thing about this is it’s communication,” he said. “The concept is not to wow people with technology. The concept is when they leave, you want them to say ‘Wow, that was a good trip.’ You want them to tell you about your property. You don’t need bad feedback later on. You’ve got to hear bad feedback now so you can fix it.”
Technology, he added, “is making life easier for us.”
Flamand agreed, saying the options that Glad to Have You provides are quite extensive — and creative.
“It’s actually not just for the marketing” of vacation homes, she said. “In Orlando we have hurricanes and other storms here, and when that happens, you can actually let your guests know with the click of a button.”
To learn more about this product, visit Glad to Have You.
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