When you think about renting a home for vacation, do you really know what to expect? Are the pictures of the property accurate? Will the property be as advertised? InvitedHome is taking the guessing out of the equation for vacation rentals by bringing consistency to the industry. Founded in 2013 by Michael Joseph, Tom Feldhusen, and Henry Parry-Okeden, InvitedHome has been growing rapidly since its inception. It was recently ranked the 28th fastest growing company in America on the Inc. 5000 2015 List with a three year growth rate of over 8,000%. We recently spoke with Co-Founder Henry Parry-Okeden about InvitedHome and its tremendous growth.
Please visit the InvitedHome website at www.invitedhome.com to learn more about the company and to book your next vacation.
Will you give a brief overview of how InvitedHome works?
The first thing you notice with vacation rentals is the lack of consistency. When a consumer is looking to rent a vacation home, he or she will most likely find it through a website; see some pictures and read a few reviews. They will compare a few properties and make a decision. When they show up to the home, hopefully the pictures were accurate. If not, the vacation is off to a portent start. When we were looking to start our company, we saw this hole in the market. There was not consistency from property to property when looking at vacation rentals. If you compared it to the hotel industry, it was very different; most hotel chains are consistent from property to property. When you book a Ritz Carlton, you know what to expect. The same can be said of a Holiday Inn. When you book a vacation home, you don’t know what to expect, unless you have been to the house before. InvitedHome is providing standards, when you book one of our homes in Breckenridge, CO you can expect the same standards as you would in Vail or Maui.
Looking at the houses, does InvitedHome own them or do you work with individual homeowners?
We do not own any properties; our properties are owned by
individuals. Most of these individuals are looking for someone to manage
their property year round and that is what we are able to provide.
These homes are generally second and third homes and the owners are
looking to generate revenue instead of leaving the homes empty for a
majority of the year. Our property managers are based in all of the
locations that we have properties at and they are on site and on call
year round. Homeowners do not have to worry about maintenance or other
issues that might arise – our team is there to take care of the
problems. Another benefit which we have seen is that our homeowners are
able to generate a higher revenue stream from utilizing InvitedHome than
they could through other means. Finally, if a homeowner wants to go on
vacation and use their property, they are able to show their property as
booked for the times they would like. The homeowners always have number
On HGTV, you see shows such as Vacation House for Free. Is that realistic or does that only happen on TV?
In some destinations, you do see vacation homes for free, it isn’t just on TV. This is the case for a few of the areas that we offer rentals. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in every destination. Just like an investment in the stock market, you have to time your purchase correctly and if there is a downturn in the economy, consumers tend to cut back on vacations.
InvitedHome’s motto is “Best Vacation Ever.” How did you develop this saying?
Our tag line “Best Vacation Ever” was developed at an internal meeting. One of our employees said when I get home from vacation I want my kids to say that was the best vacation ever. We immediately connected with the slogan and knew that when our guests returned from vacation we wanted them to have the same experience.
Earlier you talked about the lack of consistency in vacation rentals. Will you expand on how InvitedHome brings consistency to the industry?
On a vacation, the first step is the flight but the vacation really gets started when you check in to your accommodations. I am sure you have been on a trip where you were expecting a lavish room, based on the pictures you saw prior to your arrival. However, when you walked in the door, you were not sure if the pictures were even at the same hotel or home. Our brand helps solve this, if you are going to an InvitedHome property, you know what to expect. It is really hard to turn around a vacation, if the accommodations are below your expectations. Our houses are well maintained, and local employees are on call 24/7. You don’t always see this level of service when renting a vacation property. We are trying to achieve consistency, the consistency you see when staying at a hotel.
How did you decide on the locations that are available and the future destinations such as Aspen, CO?
After our guests finish a vacation we want them to get home and say “that was the best vacation ever, I can’t wait to do that again”. Our number one customer is a prior InvitedHome guest. Once a consumer has been in one of our properties they usually return to InvitedHome for their next vacation. Therefore, we are continuing to expand our portfolio of popular destinations in the United States. We offer locations in popular skiing destinations in Colorado including Vail and Breckenridge. In addition, we have properties at beaches including Maui, Hawaii and Santa Barbara, California. There are also many other destinations that you can see on our website.
Any plans to offer international rentals?
We know that our guests want to travel internationally and we plan on expanding when the time is right. After the expansion, our guests will be able to travel to an international location and have the peace of mind that comes with using InvitedHome. In addition, the same standards will be applied overseas as they would domestically.
Will you talk about the culture of InvitedHome, and how did you help shape it as InvitedHome grew?
What stands out to me about the culture is that we are modern and trying to disrupt the industry. One of the people I look up to is Conrad Hilton. He disrupted and changed the hotel industry in the 1920s and that is what we are trying to do to the vacation rental segment. We don’t think of hotels as our competition, the typical hotel guest will not consider a home rental for vacation. Another part of the culture that stands out is the passion of our employees. If you go on a vacation and are not satisfied, you can’t return a vacation. Therefore, we look at all of the reviews from our guests. If there is a review that is not stellar, everyone in the company reads it. We learn from our mistakes and strive to deliver what we promise.