What do you get when a traditional Italian family moves to Brazil, works together closely in hoteling for three generations, expands their business in 2015 into vacation rental property management in Kissimmee, Florida, rapidly modernizes the enterprise with the latest technology, and achieves record growth at speed? Some would say, “tension!” But, to Bruno Scarabottolo, CFO and owner of Wonder Vacation Homes, it’s “the perfect recipe for uniqueness.” And he’s willing to share a few secrets of their success.
Secret #1: Understand the power of family
Bruno's grandfather started it all by buying hotels in Brazil and bringing family members into the business. The move paid off. Today, the Scarabottolos own three hotels in Brazil and manage 35 properties in Florida, with 25 more properties expected by the end of 2017. The whole family pitches in. For example, Mrs. Scarabottolo, Bruno's wife, majored in hotel hospitality to bring that kind of knowledge into the family.
“At the end of every business day, what you do is for the family,” says Bruno.
That includes keeping the family values and traditions. Fairness is a big one. Bruno stresses the importance of being fair to all the partners: guests, owners and employees. "When everyone is happy in their relationship with the company," he notes, "the business is a good one. The relationships will continue for years."
As much as family tradition anchors the business, so does looking to the future to prepare for growth.
Secret #2: Implement lessons from the past
We all know that hotels today are working to understand the vacation rental property management industry. Wonder Vacation Homes is far ahead on that path, thanks to their expertise in hotel management.
On first thought, the two businesses appear to have more differences than similarities. The hotel guest and vacation traveler are different kinds of people with very different needs. But Bruno sees every advantage in applying the lessons learned from decades of hoteling to vacation rental property management.
“We know how to clean a property back-to-back as fast any hotel can clean a room,” he points out. “We know how to make the basics perfect. The clean towels, the hotel amenities, a welcome gift and letter. Our guests appreciate the attention. When their reviews say something like ‘what you did touched our hearts,’ it makes us want to do even better.”
How do you take that next step to a better tomorrow? That's where Bruno's next secret comes into play.
Secret #3: Embrace modernization
Wonder Vacation Homes maintains a continuously updated database built from 40 years of hosting guests. It's a key source of return visits, many from online bookings. They also run their own marketing company to devise new solutions for cleaning, maintenance and booking. To keep the entire enterprise humming, they rely on state-of-the-art technology from Kigo vacation rental property management software.
“We chose Kigo because it’s the most modern and reliable system,” says Bruno. “We were happy with our website when we only owned the hotels in Brazil and a smaller number of homes. But we needed Kigo to grow. We use Kigo’s Core system, Operations Management and Revenue Management. It’s easy and gives us great views. Statements and communications with owners are now much clearer. With the Guest App, we can get answers to guests faster. And previous guests are returning to the website because it’s simple to use. They like it!”
Kigo's flexibility in presenting vacation rental property content on multiple platforms also made it a great choice for Wonder Vacation Homes. According to Bruno, "The most important thing today is adaptability and appearance. Kigo makes us look great on every platform: iPhone, iPad, desktop, whatever."
Lastly, Bruno notes that Kigo Channel Manager helps his business reach a wide variety of travelers. “It’s important for the business to get a mix of guests,” he notes. “We get tourists, of course. But we also get conventions, weddings, golf groups. We get clients from the USA, clients from Brazil. Kigo Channel Manager opens the window for more bookings. And the bookings just flow better.”
We asked Bruno if he had any other secrets to share. "Yes," he concludes. "We love what we do!"