Episode 142 : Helping The World To Access Wholesale-Based Travel

Ryan Beachum has sought to apply his knowledge of the hospitality industry to provide desperately needed solutions. Having previously worked with some of the largest developers in the industry, Beachum saw an opportunity to serve timeshare owners beyond what was offered and so he began building his business idea, ResortShare – from the ground up. In 2016, Ryan created HelloVacay and has consistently led the industry in independent resort marketing and resales. Now, in 2021 he is set to launch a subscription-based, wholesale-priced travel membership in partnership with the Priceline Group.

Questions

  • We just want to get an idea of how it is that you got to where you are today, if you could share with us a little bit about that journey and the opportunities that presented themselves to get you to where you are today.
  • For those of our listeners who will be tuning into this episode who don’t know what timeshare is and have no idea what subscription-base, wholesale-price travel is, what does that mean to the average person?
  • So, you’re a small organization. How have you found just motivating your team during this period, especially as we are trying to emerge out of a pandemic?
  • In looking to engage in HelloVacay, what are some of the benefits or opportunities that you think exists in this particular platform versus if they were to do another channel of hospitality, for example, like just book their own hotel or go through a travel agency, what are some of the opportunities that they get from utilizing your platform and doing the wholesale travel option?
  • So that’s all about vacation wholesale travel. Can you indicate over the time that you’ve been in business what demographic do you think gravitates most towards your packages? Would you say you appeal more to everybody? Or do you think you appeal more to, let’s say, persons who are more mature?
  • Could you share with us where you see your business evolving to within the next, let’s say, 3 to 5 years? How do you see the business growing even more, and expanding and offering even greater value to your existing and even new customers that you may acquire over the next 3 to 5 years?
  • Could you share with us what’s the one online resource, tool, a website or app that you absolutely can’t live without in your business?
  • Can you also share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could have been a book that you read a very long time ago, but it still resonates with you to this day, or maybe even a book that you’ve read recently, but it has just really impacted you greatly.
  • Could you also share with us what’s the one thing that’s going on in your life right now? Something that you’re really excited about – either something you’re working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you’ll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you back on track or keep you refocused? Do you have one of those?

Highlights

Ryan’s Journey

Ryan shared that he did quite well, all the way up until 2008. And most people know what happened in the real estate industry in 2008. The second worst economy that the USA has certainly ever had. And he knows it was bad everywhere at that time, but the interesting thing was, he ran into a friend that he hadn’t seen in years, actually, that he had grown up with that was working for the largest timeshare developer. And for those of you that don’t know, timeshare is really interesting, in that it’s kind of the combination of real estate and the hospitality industry.

So, although traditional real estate was not selling whatsoever in 2008, he found that people were still purchasing timeshare in spite of such a bad economy. So, it provided this interesting opportunity for him to at least look and learn about what is this timeshare product and as a by-product of that he ended up getting hired from that large developer and learning more about it. And it started this transition from real estate over to what is now fully in the hospitality industry.

What Does Timeshare, Subscription-Base, Wholesale-Price Travel Mean to the Average Person?

Ryan shared that his original transition was into the timeshare industry, which kind of got him into the hospitality industry. Their new platform is much broader for the hospitality industry as a whole. And so, they’re not really focused so much specifically on one kind of sector of the hospitality industry, which is it timeshare, although in case you don’t know, timeshare is really a deeded ownership, and it’s an interest in a timeshare resort. So, that’s really the first thing they started out in providing solutions for that industry. And then what’s happened over the last year or so is they’ve pivoted to actually come up with a platform with Priceline that is really for everyone, not just for the timeshare industry.

Me: In building your business, approximately how many employees do you have in your company?

Ryan shared that there are inside the office and outside, there’s roughly 10.

How to Motivate Your Team During a Pandemic?

Ryan shared that that’s a great question and a lot of that has been interesting because there’s been a lot more time where people haven’t been working inside the office so that’s presented something different.

In terms of the technology they use, it’s really easy, of course for what they do for it all to be web based and to communicate through the technology and all of that. But when people are working from home, he thinks it’s really important that you have regular meetings, regular conversations with everyone, deliberate meetings that maybe you would not have if you were all in the office together just to at least connect every single day and discuss what’s going on and discuss what you want to accomplish for that day, that week, that month. So, really, over the last year or so it’s presented certain challenges but communication is key and he thinks as long as you’re engaging with everyone on a daily basis, it makes a lot of difference.

Benefits and Opportunities in Using HelloVacay Platform

Me: So, as a customer who is looking for an opportunity to engage in HelloVacay, what are some of the benefits or opportunities that you think exists in this particular platform versus if they were to do another channel of hospitality, for example, like just book their own hotel or go through a travel agency, what are some of the opportunities that they get from utilizing your platform and doing the wholesale travel option?

Ryan shared that that’s a great question. So, what they aim to do is to provide everyone with access to private travel rates that previously have not been publicly accessible. So, one of the things a lot of people don’t know, if they haven’t been in the industry, when they’re going through to all these various online travel agencies that exists, some people may have noticed that if they’re looking for a hotel or resort for certain dates, and they go and they hunt around to different online travel agencies, they may notice that all the rates for the same resort for the same dates are pretty close to being the same. And the reason for that is resorts and hotels have agreements with online travel agencies that they will not undercut any one given public online travel agency with lower rates on a competitive site. So, what happens is you have kind of a flattening across the board where all the prices are basically the same on the public online travel agencies and for people that have hunted around and looked, they likely have noticed that, and that’s really, because the prices are the same that it’s felt that way. So those are public rates.

And then on the other hand, the other extreme is you’ve got the travel clubs, there’s a lot of travel clubs out there where they may be expensive to get involved with the travel club and there’s a long-term obligation, and they’re paying maintenance fees, or membership fees every single year that are expensive. So, they’re spending a lot of money to be a part of that travel club, they may have access to some kind of private rates through that travel club, but there’s so much expense and so much long-term obligation.

So, what they want to do is they want to sit in the middle between the public online travel agencies, and then between the expensive travel clubs, and offer access, affordable subscription based, flexible access to private travel rates on the resorts and hotels unsold rooms, combining ultimately some of the benefits that you see with the travel clubs, but without the significant expense and long-term obligation of the travel clubs. So, their prices are legitimately up to 70% off all the public booking rates. So, it’s kind of like Netflix style pricing, flexible, affordable, and then they can access all these private wholesale rates.

Me: Amazing. And this is for any type of hotel and does this apply to all aspects of hospitality? So, airlines, hotels, and car rentals, or is it just specific to different aspects of the hospitality industry?

Ryan stated yes, they provide all three through the membership, but he’ll throw out a small disclaimer. Their hotels and resort deals are really unbelievable for people that are getting registered and getting on and looking at the rate comparisons and as they look at their rates when it says it’s 47% off a hotel, you will see as you look at the other public sites, it’s legitimately 47% off.

So, for the hotels and rental cars, the deals are phenomenal, on the airfare, he never tells any members or people that may want to be members that their airfare deals are so amazing, they’re not. There’s a convenience for people, they are looking at ways that they can include big discounts on the airfare but the margins are very different on airfare and it’s very tough to get those deals, they’re going to work on it. But he doesn’t want to tell the world that they have amazing deals on airfare when they do not, they’re there for convenience for any members.

What Demographic Gravitates to the HelloVacay Package?

Ryan shared that their platform really can be a benefit to anybody that wants or needs to travel, including consumers, and businesses. With that said, they have a subscription-based model.

So, although anybody can benefit from huge discounts that they have on their platform, they believe that all the folks may be skewing a bit younger that are used to paying for a lot of different subscriptions. These days, that’s really broadening to everyone, if you think about the streaming services Netflix and Hulu, and Disney Plus, and all these different things and everybody’s really getting used to paying these subscriptions monthly but maybe even more so the younger generations, the Millennials, Generation Z are really in the habit of paying for subscriptions for a lot of various things. And so, they do think that they are a very good target audience for them.

Where do you see the Business Evolving to Within the Next 3-5 years?

Ryan shared that what they want to be, ultimately, is the world’s most affordable, flexible travel club, with giving people access to private rates that they’ve never had before, that’s what they want to be the most affordable, flexible subscription-based travel club.

And so, when he thinks about the long-term vision for HelloVacay, they really are looking at 3 different areas of what they can offer in terms of first, the inventory, they mentioned timeshare inventory, which is these multi room properties, for anybody that stayed at a timeshare, they’re kind of like little apartment a lot of times, little kitchens, separate bedrooms, washer and dryer. So, for people that are traveling longer term, more than just a weekend, it’s great to have separate bedrooms, and to have that privacy and all that. So, they worked in the timeshare industry, they have those relationships, they can start to include some of that inventory beyond just the hotels and all of that, that they get from their partner Priceline.

But also, in terms of the inventory, retreats, last minute deals, they are going to work on the flights on getting better deals on the flights, so that’s the inventory. But also, they want to add in as many benefits as they can in terms of discounts on attractions, sightseeing, they want to look and see how affordably they can offer people concierge service, perhaps VIP lounge access, these are all things that they’re working on to ultimately provide their members. He doesn’t have a date for all of these benefits yet, these are all things that they’re exploring right now beyond just the access to the private rates.

And then finally, beyond the different sources of discounted inventory and besides the benefits that they’re working on providing, they really want to focus on building some interesting technology that they think is going to be really useful to consumers. Some people have heard of a kind of new emerging term they used called Conversational Commerce.

So, a lot of us are now seeing not only on sites, but sometimes on Facebook Messenger and things like that where companies are using more and more improved chatbot technology and those kinds of things, some of that technology is getting really good through using artificial intelligence and those kinds of things is able to really make a good customer service accessible using the technology.

Now, he would never in this day and age just rely on chatbots and that kind of thing for customer service, you got to have real humans backing that. He thinks you can provide a lot of easy access on multiple social media platforms, WhatsApp, all these different things where the Conversational Commerce, the chatbots have gotten very good. And they want to offer decentralized rewards for people and so there’s a lot of interesting technology that they’d like to build as well. So, there’s really 3 things for them, it’s being an aggregate for various different sources of highly discounted inventory for people’s membership, it’s adding in benefits for people, and it’s building world class technology for consumers.

App, Website or Tool that Ryan Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

When asked about online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Ryan shared that there’s really a couple, but there’s one that stands out to him as a business owner more than any other that organizes his brain and it’s called Trello. He mentioned that he doesn’t own any interest in Trello, he doesn’t own any shares in their parent company or anything like that. But honestly, in recent years, for him, the style of service which is actually derived from Japan, it’s a Kanban board. And for him in the way he thinks, it’s huge in organizing his ideas and thoughts. And so, for people that haven’t been exposed to Trello, and you have any kind of project or your business or even just for personal use, he highly recommends it, it’s a series of columns where you move cards around. And so, for him, it’s like putting his brain into a digital format, it’s like he’s just moving around, all different thoughts he has and he doesn’t know what he’ll do without it.

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Ryan

When asked about books that have the biggest impact, Ryan shared that if he had to say that the one book that has had the biggest impact on his life, that to him is just a profound book and a lot of people know it and he’s read it is a book called The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. So, a lot of people are familiar with Eckhart Tolle now, he’s. When he first read that a long time ago, not as many people knew who he was, or what that book was, but for him, the way that that book is delivered, he thinks is beautiful.

And of course, when you read it, it’s really based around a lot of Buddhist philosophies and that kind of thing. But he believes, without getting too philosophical, he believes that the ability to have a high quality of consciousness and staying present, whether it’s in your personal life, or whether you’re working and having that presence is very important, because no matter what you do or how successful you are, if you’re not present as Eckhart Tolle always puts it. Instead of us using our minds, we have gotten into a kind of disease of our minds using us.

So, it was meant to be that we use our mind as a tool, but our minds have kind of went on overdrive where we’re overthinking everything and it’s just kind of on autopilot. And what that does, he believes, is it reduces our quality of consciousness and of course, with that is people that are depressed and anxious because they’re always either living in the past or they’re living in the future. So, he loves that book, it’s he’d have to say his favorite of all time.

What Ryan is Really Excited About Now!

Ryan shared that one of the things he wants to do and having this conversation is, of course, he wants to plug his business. But truly, that aside, yes, of course he wants to tell people about his business. But truly, he’s really excited about it, he doesn’t know why this is, but he’s never seen another travel platform offer this product in this way in such an affordable way. So, as an entrepreneur that’s had different products and services over the years, never has he been able to offer more value so affordably. People that have signed up for their service will pay $8.95 a month, or they’re paying $79 per a year. Well, if someone pays $79 a year, they can save more than that booking just a weekend through their platform. So, to him, he’s really jazzed about that, he’s really excited about that right now because he’s never had a product offer to the world that had such tremendous value over what the price is, it’s just very exciting to him.

Where Can We Find Ryan Online

Me: So, our listeners would have plugged into this episode and they are quite intrigued with HelloVacay, they want to learn more about it, they want to maybe connect with you, follow you on your journey. Where can they find you online? And how can they find HelloVacay online?

Website – www.hellovacay.com

LinkedIn – HelloVacay

Facebook – @HelloVacayWholesaleTravel

Ryan shared that the thing he wanted to do, he’s going to be on a few podcasts and only for the podcast he wanted to give anybody, any of the listeners, he wanted to offer them a free year, not a free week, not a free month, he wants everyone to just try this for a year over just using the public online travel agencies. So, what they’ve done here is they’ve set up a promotional page, and it’s www.hellovacay.com/freeyear.

And so, all he’s asking people to do please is it’ll give you some steps on there, this page is set up just for these podcasts, you will see a link to a post on there that you can share to either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and if you just take a screenshot of it, it’s got a little section on that page where you can upload a screenshot and once you upload the screenshot, it will redirect you and give you a free year. People are paying $79 every day for a year’s access and he wants to just give it to everyone for free, he just asked that people just share, kind of spread the gospel. It’s a new platform so people are willing to do that for the promotional page. He thinks you’ll really enjoy using it and if you plan on doing any traveling at all, it’s going to save you a boatload of money.

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Ryan Uses

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Ryan shared that there’s a lot of quotes that he really likes but one that he’s reflected on a number of times, especially when we think about the pandemic, and all that, and all the adversity that people go through is Winston Churchill, once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

And he thinks that is a beautiful quote, because we all have trials and tribulations in life. And so, there are some people, unfortunately, that give up, and they’re kind of stuck in that one place. And so, he thinks that’s kind of a simple but profound way of saying, if you’re going through hell, keep going and you’ll come out the other side, and things will improve through your persistence.

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