Crowning Connections: Adaptive Marketing with Alex Husner

Rob Clemons looks to share with you the THE BEST Leaders in their industry and on this episode he connected with Alex Husner, Chief Marketing Officer of Condo World. Get to know this award winning Leader, Marketer and fellow Podcaster as she shares the marketing changes she has experienced at Condo World, her activity in the local community, and the strategic moves she is making to keep relevant and impact her industry. Listen in:
Full episode on podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1829238/10559252
Full episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/_jYw08H5Ul8

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Rob Clemons
Welcome to Crowning Connections with Rob Clemons. It is May 11. And today we are really, really going to dive deep into powerful women in industry. And we’ve done the show a few times and had some great guests, but today may be the best of them all, to date. With all due respect my past guests who were also awesome, but…

Alex Husner
No pressure.

Rob Clemons
Yeah, no pressure at all. So we have Alex Husner.

Alex Husner
You got it.

Rob Clemons
Yeah. I’m so good at this right now. With Chief Marketing Officer at Condo World. Alex, welcome to the show.

Alex Husner
Thank you so much for having me here. I’ve been listening to the show and just following everything that you guys do here at Monarch and very, very admirable and just, it’s a great company to look to. And I love what you’ve done with the show. And your voice is just so radio booming, I love it.

Rob Clemons
Oh, well, I appreciate that. Yeah, my, you know, it’s good until you’re trying to tell secrets. And then it didn’t have to be very careful. You know, it was a funny thing, because I have had this this deep voice for a while and people would say, you know, hey, sometimes you got to lower your tone a little, you know, you’re you’re overpowering. And I was like, okay, so then when I tried to do that people were like, “How are you doing, Rob?” And I’ll say, “I’m doing alright.”

Alex Husner
Oh no, something wrong with Rob!

Rob Clemons
What’s wrong Bud. And I’m like, no, okay, nevermind, we’ll go back to the booming thing. Well, Alex, super excited to have you here. Really pleasure because you also are doing your podcast. So tell me how that’s been going?

Alex Husner
Yeah, sure. So we have my partner and I Annie Holcomb, we have Alex and Annie, The Real Women of Vacation Rentals. And it’s a podcast about vacation rentals, short term rental industry. But as I was telling you earlier, we talked about a lot of other things that are just more business related. Leadership, Mindset, Destination Marketing. I mean, like we kind of go between few different verticals there. But we’ve really enjoyed it. We started it last fall and it’s been wonderful so far, just getting to talk to some of the brightest minds in the industry and outside of the industry, and really just connecting the dots. And that’s kind of what the premise for the show was we first decided to do it was actually Annie and I during COVID, we did a bunch of Clubhouses, and we were having these great conversations with these people. And on Clubhouse, of course, once it’s done, it’s done. You can’t go back and listen to it. And I said to her, you know, we’ve got to figure out a way to keep that content. I don’t know if we’re gonna do videos, or we do. And so finally, we’re like, Well, why don’t we do a podcast and Annie’s joke is: All good decisions happen after a couple of good glasses of wine. And that’s basically what it was. And, and we were trying to figure out what we call it. And I said, “Alex and Annie.” It’s our names, right? But it’s Alex and Ani is is another brand, but I thought you know, it’s kind of cute does Alex and Annie, so we did that. And then we thought the real women like the Real Housewives, real women of vacation rentals. And so I just I kind of all we didn’t know where it was going when it started. But it just all came together really quickly. And it’s it’s blown up now. And we’re just we’re loving it.

Rob Clemons
That’s really cool. You know, for a minute when you’re telling the story I thought you were gonna say and so we named it Merlot Talk. Very well could be called. It would be great if like you always had like a glass of wine that became your theme.

Alex Husner
Well, we have coffee, we have coffee mugs. Okay, so our logo is it’s where it’s our little cartoon characters, but we have coffee mugs with them with the logos on there. And so when we’re doing our episodes and watching YouTube, you can see us drinking.

Rob Clemons
Awesome. Awesome. Always coffee and

Alex Husner
surprise. We have not had any wine during an episode. Yeah. Which is really surprising. But it’s not to say it won’t ever happen.

Rob Clemons
Yeah, well, good. You know, you gotta keep it exciting. And then kill almost like guess was this episode where they were very festive, though. That’s awesome. Well, you’ve had a lot of success with Kondo world. I mean, tell us a little bit about the business and how we got started.

Alex Husner
Yeah, sure. So I moved to Myrtle Beach in 2007. And I moved down here I went to school. I’m from New Hampshire originally, but went to school at Radford University in Virginia, and had some friends that moved down to the area thought I’d try it out and came down. And really, for the first year that I was here, I just in 2007, Myrtle Beach was a different place. I mean, it has grown so much in the last decade or so. But I didn’t really see a whole lot of opportunities for not just not necessarily women, but just young people that weren’t connected to the you know, the the roots of Myrtle Beach to do well in business. And I just got was constantly getting discouraged that I was in sales, and I just I wasn’t selling well. And I just wasn’t making the connections and didn’t have a good support system for people that were going to kind of get me to the next level. And I was considering going back home to New Hampshire. And one of the jobs that I was at condo world actually was a client that I got, and this was 2008 2000 2008 when the economy was crashing, and to try and sell any kind of marketing at that time was insane. And I remember my bosses saying, you know, just sell it just if you get 510 $1,000 websites, you know, you’ll you’ll hit your quota. And I’m like, That is impossible, right? Like nobody’s spending any money.

Rob Clemons
And by the way, I remember that. Yeah, I had just gotten into the homebuilding industry shortly before that. It was like everything I knew was budget, right? Like, you know, we can’t afford this. We can’t afford That’s, that’s a that’s a tall task, right?

Alex Husner
It was. And so when I went into Condo World actually, that was they were on the kind of the digital tipping point of the company was gonna go in one or two directions. And Roy Clyburn, who is our owner and founder, he just passed away last year, actually. But he built the company from scratch. And he was the CEO, slash marketing director all those years, but marketing back then used to be picking up pictures for the brochure and writing copy. And when I met with them, I just saw, you know, they’re, they’re going backwards. And they’re not they’re not progressing into where they need to go. And so I started showing them some different things. And they became a client. And then eventually, they called and said, We want you to come on full time. So that was in 2009, that I started with them full time. Yeah. And I’ve been there ever since. So, Chief Marketing Officer now been through, been with the company for, you know, several years and seen it grow and expand. And I mean, short term rentals, you can’t find a hotter market, maybe roofing but short term rentals. It’s just been unbelievable. So we’ve seen just, you know, technology has taken the industry, it’s a mom and pop industry, it’s not new, you know, Airbnb is a new channel. But short term rentals have been around for decades. But it’s just now people are seeing and understanding how you can book them and how convenient, nicer for families. So just the technological journey of doing what we do all of our tech in house, our website, property management, systems, scheduling, all that stuff is all done in house. So we’ve really grown the company into both a technology company and vacation rental business at the same time.

Rob Clemons
That’s so cool. I mean, what would you say? You know, because you really have I mean, you’re always underselling it. You’ve done a lot of really cutting edge marketing stuff. And I have followed you on LinkedIn for a while. And I’d recommend anybody, you know, follow you because you guys are doing wonderful things. What do you think has been the evolution of the marketing? Because if you go back, no seven, people were still putting a lot of like ads in the newspaper, for example. Yeah, yeah. And you’re not doing that. So where has it evolved to now? What’s the best way to kind of get your brand out in your mind?

Alex Husner
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s two sided. So it’s branding. And then it’s anything online. Getting your brand and getting online. Sounds simple, but it is true. And one of the benefits or the advantages I had when I started condo world was condo world is a incredible name, right? I mean, it’s like a McDonald’s kind of name, that it has the runway for growth for anything that we want to do, and the backbone of a really well built company that they just needed to kind of get everything together from a, from a branding standpoint of how they were perceived, and marketing and audiences we go for. So really, we just kind of got all that under one roof, got it together, and then just started executing on, you know, the best strategies. But really, I mean, just seeing online booking takeoff. And when I first started, we did some online bookings. But I mean, now we’re, we still we have an in house sales center, too, but our calls call center, but online is just, you know, huge. And because of VRBO and Airbnb, really, that’s just really taken it to another level. But just, you know, I guess the best thing I can just say is just really focusing on the brand and then making sure you’re everywhere that travelers can be because travelers look at a lot of different websites when they’re booking a vacation. And you just have to be everywhere.

Rob Clemons
Everywhere. I totally what how how often do you have to deal with knuckleheads in your in your business? Because I imagine short term rentals, you get occasional knucklehead who goes in and does something, you know, with short term rental. Yes. Oh, yeah. Right.

Alex Husner
So the nice thing is I actually don’t really deal with guests. I have a complete 100% empathy for our team does. It still affects me for sure. But yeah, now they got it’s been in the hospitality industry in any vertical right now is a tough thing. But yeah, we’ve had some crazy, some crazy guests. We’ve had guests that go into the wrong unit, and another company had the unit and they didn’t cancel the reservation. And somehow the guest still got the keys. And then our guests showed up. He had two people, two families in a condo and God, one was down on the beach, and the other family showed up and he thought it was just other people in their family. You can see where this is going right then they got out of the beach. They all end up in the condo, and everybody’s screaming this was this was like, I don’t know, maybe eight years ago. I’ll never forget that story.

Rob Clemons
It’s almost amazing. It doesn’t happen a little more often.

Alex Husner
I know. Honestly.

Rob Clemons
Oh, gosh. Yeah. Well, that’s awesome. What from your perspective? I saw that you were the North Myrtle Beach chamber rising star you get that title? Yeah. How did you get that? I mean what all kinds of things did you do to get that because it’s a great award. It was it your your business exploits, your volunteering, what kind of things?

Alex Husner
So actually this kind of ties into the marketing too. Our area here is very well supported by both two chambers. So the Myrtle Beach area Chamber of Commerce, that’s the DMO for the area and also North Myrtle Beach. And when I started at Condo World that was one thing that Roy always said was we got to make sure that we stay really active within the chamber, that’s how we market. And I didn’t really know much about chambers and in our in most areas of the country the chambers isn’t actually who promotes it’s the CVB. But both of ours are dual chambers and CVB. So that means that they get the tax money to go out and market out of market to get visitors here. So I have been very involved with both boards. I was on North Myrtle Beach Chamber Board for six years in, well, I think like 2010 to 2016, somewhere in there. And then I’ve been on the Myrtle Beach Chamber Board since 2016. And I’m actually I’m the Chair of the Board of Directors this year for that one. But I got the North Myrtle Beach Rising Star Wars kind of bounced around our businesses in North Myrtle Beach and still support both of them, obviously. But it’s it for me personally, my personal growth and as well as the company too. But it has been just the experience of a lifetime being involved. I think it’s really easy to just get into one business and stay between the walls and just know what you know about whatever that topic is or industry you’re in. But you really have to get out and meet other leaders and think about things differently. And that’s 100% what I’ve gotten from being involved in those boards.

Rob Clemons
It’s amazing. I think that what I have seen and I can speak for myself, I’m almost more like on the Home Builders Association side. But it’s the what it did for my career growth to be able to get into that and volunteer and spend the time get to know my peers. And of course, you know, I served as the the local president here, I’m on the State Board for the homebuilders now. But um, you know, how much has that affected your personal career? I mean, it sounds like it’s done great things for you? And did you decide to do that on your own? Or Did somebody give you that advice to do that,

Alex Husner
I just, I, when you start showing up a lot you get called on to serve. I don’t know that I didn’t go into either situation, planning to try and be a board member, but just getting involved in the marketing side. And, you know, being able to help shape the direction on a lot of things. Like once, when you get connected to something like that, you just want to you don’t want to stop like you want to be able to keep giving to it. So yeah, it’s been a labor of love over the years. But I love the work that I do. They’re very much but yeah, I just I think it connects you and opens you up to different opportunities within the podcast. And that’s part of you know, part of what we do on the podcast is talk about destination marketing and these other areas and how they do it and tax regulations. And, you know, I mean short term rental regulations, all these different things that we’re dealing with in the industry. And I feel like I’ve got a good seat at the table to talk about a lot of those things, because I have become very well versed in it through that work with the chamber. But I’ve watched you guys on LinkedIn here always going to conferences and everything to is I love it. And I go to I think I’ve traveled almost as much as you guys do. pretty often. And it’s so great, though. And I don’t know if it’s the same way with the roofing industry, but with our vacation rental industry is certainly is it’s a very collaborative type of industry that we go to these events, and it’s like, we’re all competitors, but we’re sharing information together. We’re all trying to, you know, move the industry forward. And it’s like, you know, especially after COVID Not seeing everybody for so long, these last ones that we’ve gone through, it’s like a high school reunion, everybody again, so that that makes the job a lot more fun. And I think just being involved. I’m also involved in the vacation rental Managers Association, which is an a national board, and trying to get more involved in that side of it. So it’s, that’s probably one of the biggest pieces of advice I’d give to anybody young in their career is get involved, you know, and you can go and just serve on a committee. I mean, you’re not, you’re not going to get right on the board, but go serve on a committee get involved, and you’ll meet people and it’ll change your life.

Rob Clemons
I agree with you completely. It’s like when you come out, it’s a thing where you, you first walk to that that first time at a networking event, you don’t know anybody. And it’s and it’s a grind, but you join that committee, you get to know people and it leads to great things that totally great. What motivates you, Alex? I mean, obviously, you’re you’re very motivated person is there? Is there any person that was an inspiration or just something else that drives you, like you do?

Alex Husner
Say, I mean, Roy was definitely my probably the biggest mentor but my parents to my my dad was an advertising for 25 years before he sold his agency in the New Hampshire area. And really, I think, just a lot that I saw him growing up, I knew I wanted to do something in advertising. And that’s what I went to school for was advertising. But I thought I was going to work on the agency side because that’s what I always saw that he did, but turns out I didn’t like that. I like working for one client and being able to do a lot of things for one client, but keeping the strategy kind of more honed in there. But yeah, I guess just just growing up and seeing that and seeing how much determination can get you and really that you can use whatever you can think I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true. I mean, like you can train your mind to be able to achieve anything and you have to work through uncomfortable situations you have to get outside of your comfort zone. Like that’s definitely something I’ve learned in the last, you know, 510 years here is that during other podcasts that was super nerve racking when we first started, it didn’t even know. We didn’t know anything. We decided to do it. We were like, Okay, we’ve got to figure out software, we got to figure out the microphones like, had we even published this and we had no idea. And then you get past that. And it’s just it’s so rewarding. But I think that’s overall what motivates me is I like to see progress. I like to be able to feel like I’ve accomplished something and that I’ve I’ve done something that I knew I couldn’t do before last night, I emceed our chamber annual meeting. For people, I’ve never spoke in front of foreign people, but it’s these little things that you do along the journey that like it just builds up that confidence muscle that you have you have it when you need it. And normally, if this was a year ago, last night, I would have been shaking like crazy going up on stage. Well, I didn’t I wasn’t nervous at all. So it’s just I honestly, I think a lot of that’s come from what I’ve gotten from the podcast. So

Rob Clemons
I was about to ask you, you know, like, like, so it’s not for everybody. And I found you know, I’ve I love public speaking is one of my favorite things. And sometimes when people were coming up to the front, I see the terror in their face. And I have to remember like, oh, yeah, some people really don’t like this. How did you get over that fear? I mean, because last night, you said no fear, right? Yeah. So like, how, what do you think it was? Is it just practice makes perfect? Or

Alex Husner
I don’t honestly, I don’t know. Because I’ve never, I’ve never liked public speaking, I’ve always, I’ve always kind of made myself do it and raise my hand and class and you know, raise my hand at board meetings. But like, even still just asking questions in front of a group of 20 people that are, you know, much older than you and more established, I would always still get really nervous in those situations. So now, I don’t get nervous in those either. So it’s, I guess it’s really just building the confidence that you can do it. And at the end of the day, I think I’ve learned too, that way, if you’re if you’re nervous about something, everybody else in the room is nervous or thinking about something else to where? Absolutely, absolutely, yeah. And that’s a really important thing to remember. It’s like we all get inside of our own heads and think, you know, this one thing that I’m worried about, they must be thinking about that too. And nobody is yeah, it’s more of a mindset thing, I guess.

Rob Clemons
Definitely a mindset for sure. Well, I’ll tell you a story. I don’t think I’ve told on the show before, but there was a I was asked to go to a graduation at one point and I give out an award. And so as the word they said, you had to give a little speech. I’m like, Man, I’m the king of given winglets. Normally, I’ll do that. I don’t even like practice, right? So I’m going number eight. I’m like the eighth award giver slash funniest giver. Oh, yeah. So I sit down and I’m like, Just confidently sitting there. It’s a giant crowd, by the way. I mean, it must have been 1000 people there. I’m like, you know, it’s all good. I do public speaking this great. And then the first person comes up, and they’re like, our company was founded upon blah, blah, blah. And JFK once said, blah, blah, blah. And I’m like, oh, no, the second person. And the third person, they all have like quotes. And so I get up there. I’m like, you know, I’m like, Well, guys, Hi, how’s it going this way to turn a winner or personality? The end of the day, like, mine sounded different than everybody else’s. Because I was like, trying to speak from my heart to the people. But at the end of the day, I was like, You know what, when you love it, hate it, whatever. I’m going to tell them what I felt like when I was graduating. Yeah, I just gave that perspective. And I think that’s what a lot of times people want to see. They want to see authentic absolutely teaches, right.

Alex Husner
Yes. Yeah. I’m so glad you said that. And that’s so true. I mean, I’m sure that audience got way more from what you said, than the people writing the scram the history lesson. Yeah. So people want people want to hear real, they want to know, I mean, authentic is just the perfect word to say it we just heard from Chris Christie was good former governor was here in town yesterday and did a speech and he was talking about is like, you know, love me or hate me, you know, I leave it on the table. And I tell it like it is and I’m authentic. And yeah, I’m gonna give him credit for that. And I think that’s, that’s what our that’s what everybody wants is authenticity. If you’re authentic, you don’t have to worry about what, who’s who you are showing up that day.

Rob Clemons
And you don’t have to worry as listener, you don’t have to worry what the actual motive is. And so yeah,

Alex Husner
Right. Yeah, and we’ve done the same thing. But I think you’ve done with your podcast, which is why it’s so enjoyable to listen to is that it’s we’ve made it into just as a conversation and it’s not like this feel I had the speech we don’t have 20 questions that we’re going back and forth reading we meet with somebody we get a gist of what we want to talk about, but then we make it into a conversation and I think that’s that’s where the authenticity really shines. And I think that’s the cool thing about podcasting because it’s not it’s not as scripted as just watching. You know, somebody’s on on on camera, but we are on camera.

Rob Clemons
No, it’s great. But you know, we’ll be fun. Since we’re you know, we’re a couple of podcasts veterans now, right. We started ours around the same time you started your so yeah, around there. So we should do sometime like, like almost a spoof. Like, “Hi, Alex, tell me about…”

Alex Husner
We should actually we’ve thought about that. Having somebody come on our show and like when it starts after the little jingle like I’m Alex today. Anyway, like it’s not it’s Rob and somebody else.

Rob Clemons
Totally cool. Yeah, we could actually like flip flop podcasts.

Alex Husner
Yeah.

Rob Clemons
You’ve got to do Crowning Connections. Yeah be great.

Alex Husner
Podcast Swap, like Wife Swap.

Rob Clemons
We just came what was something?

Alex Husner
I think so actually, that’d be really cool.

Rob Clemons
Well see see the sales good marketing works. Yeah, exactly. bouncing ideas. You want to watch my marketing team? These guys, they get a couple of lattes in them. Oh, yeah. Things are going crazy over there.

Alex Husner
Yeah, Dunkin Donuts right across us.

Rob Clemons
We do try to get a Dunkin donut sponsorship. I think we’re still working on that one. So tell me about global hospitality. I saw you on the cover of this magazine. What? What’s that all about? Yeah,

Alex Husner
so actually, that person another funny thing that happened. So we we were nominated for our podcast for the top 30 hospitality podcasts of 2021. Well, when that when that nomination came out, we had only had I think four or five episodes under our belt. So I got the notification on LinkedIn. And I read it I thought I must be reading this wrong. Like there’s no way that they mean this. And that does like we we don’t even know what we’re doing yet. So. And Annie I call her she’s like that is just absolutely crazy. But International Hospitality Institute. It’s a It’s basically an institute that promotes professionalization of all verticals within hotel, vacation, rental, travel, everything. So between operations, and I mean, just best practices, and maybe courses and stuff like that. And they’re kind of looked at as as, like the giant go to university type situation there. So we got that we were on the on the cover. And, you know, it’s it’s crazy, but it happened somehow. But the funny thing is when we announced that we were going to do this podcast back in October, and we were at one of our trade associations, VMAs events. And we had just left a session. And I said to Annie, I was like, now’s the time. I was like, We gotta post it while we’re still here. Because people have been hearing that we were gonna do something I was like, let’s post it. So we posted our logo, which is those cartoon characters, actually, because Bitmojis.

Rob Clemons
And by the way, they’re super cool. That’s like, such a great idea. And

Alex Husner
if anyone’s here, if you’re like, yeah, that actually looks just like you guys. But we posted that and you would have thought that we had discovered fire or something. I mean, like, everybody’s gonna have to ask, When is it going to air? What does it look like, we have no idea. But like we, you know, commit first figure it out later. So my favorite quotes, we did that, and then we had to go back and do it. But when we have a couple of weeks later, we had started the show, we had another event in New Orleans, and we set up to do a photo shoot. So I was like, I just have a feeling we’re gonna need pictures of us that are better than us just drinking wine. And it was such a good move to do that. And I think that pulls in the personal branding side that it’s like you really, you got to have a good headshot. That’s number one. But having other pictures like that, that you can use in these situations, like that was just killer. And it’s really it’s amplified. Our brand, Amanda’s looks so professional that we didn’t even, we didn’t really know why we were doing it. I just I felt like this is good opportunity. Let’s just get some done. And it was great idea.

Rob Clemons
No, it’s really, it’s really funny, too. They like you, you put it out there. So now there’s a little pressure on you. Because I can’t wait till it comes, man. And we hope it’s good. Yeah. Because I can tell you one of my most stressful parts of doing the podcast in the first place is I’ve been on the receiving side of the mic a lot. You know, people were asking me questions. And I know I can rap for a while never worried. But my biggest fear was like, I don’t know if I can actually MC, you know. And the thing is, if anybody’s ever thinking about getting into podcasting, interview style podcasting, one of my challenges was, and I think you’ve probably experienced this, you want to listen and understand what you’re hearing and have some good dialogue. But at the same time, you have to have a question. Exactly. Yeah, it once in a while, my, you, you find two different types of, I guess, guest in this has been my perspective, for anybody who’s thinking about doing a podcast, you got certain kinds of guests where you do have to extract information, you know, and the whole challenge becomes, can I get enough information for a show? And you have other guests with so much great information that you have to contract now? Yeah, exactly. I mean, my gosh, I had Senator Hembree on the other day, just listen to that one. That’s such a wealth of information. I was like, Wait, how do I ever stop talking? You know, it’s so much good stuff. I think you told me you had a two hour

Alex Husner
one. Yeah. We just recorded one with our friend Ed St. Onge from a company called flip two. And it was so good. And he I mean, he he’s been in the industry for a long time, he invented the original channel manager, which a channel manager is essentially for it started with hotels, but how hotels and navigation was put their properties on Expedia, Airbnb, VRBO, booking.com, all those channels and how that syncs their rates and availability, so you don’t get over bookings, and you can yield rates everything. Well, he invented the original one. And now there’s multiple versions of that we have our own. That’s called the connector within our company that we built, but he invented the original one and so the first hour we’re just talking about the history of channel management that we went so deep on that, that I was like, I know we need to keep talking because the people in our industry, they don’t know all this stuff, because this is its this is like it predates them or are really the vacation rental industry, as far as the technology is concerned, has really blown up in the last couple of years. And so you’ve got this influx of really, really smart technology minds, but they don’t necessarily know the industry or the history on things. And so that’s kind of where we kind of rubber hits the road in certain situations that, but so I was like, We got to keep going with that. And then we got to the end, and I just went like this. I did pause. I was like, let’s just pause it and rerecord again. And let’s go into the other topic, which is his business. Now flip to that. I’m like, I got to start the next topic, because that was so interesting, too. But it is you’re spot on, you either have conversations where it’s just, it’s really a great conversation. And you don’t have to worry about what am I going to ask next? I’m just listening. And then other ones that is hard that it’s like, you’re really trying to listen, but you’re trying to make sure you guide this in an entertaining way. Yeah, we do a pre show, like 30 minute call prior, like, not the same day, normally a couple days before we record just so we can kind of get an idea. And sometimes we use that to vet people too. We don’t? We don’t always Yeah, cuz in some way, I think we’ve had one or two that they came on. And like, I think we just kind of all realize, I don’t know if we have liked them enough to talk about.

Rob Clemons
Yeah, you’re like something called our short scale. Yeah, exactly. Keep these to five minutes. Well, so I want to go to your technology investment. Because you said something a minute ago that I thought was actually really impressive. You know, you’re talking about technology and the business. And obviously, you guys are staying on the forefront of that. Is this something that you you have an actual technology budget each year to like, stay ahead of things? Or is this just happened organically? I’m kind of fascinated by it. Because I was just meeting with my managers today. And we were talking about we have to stay ahead of the game can never rest and just say, Well, we know what we’re doing. Otherwise, you’ll you’ll go the way of film right? So how do you guys do this? Is it is it a budgeted thing or what?

Alex Husner
Well, and so one of the challenges you just talked about here, I think it’s really easy to not have to have FOMO on technology right now, right? It’s like you feel like you have to be doing everything and you can’t at the end of the day. And that’s that’s my probably my main stressor. Just feeling like I want to do all these different things. But we don’t have the bandwidth all the time. But so we actually are our CTO Mitch baton, who has been with the company, basically forever. But he started part time years and years ago. And at this point, the software that we were on a property management company has a property management system, and they were going to be switching that we’re gonna have to invest like $25,000 to change to their new version. And so Roy, the owner said to Mitch, well, can you build something like that, and Mitch is genius. And he said, Yeah, he’s like, I can build anything. So he built the first version of what is called RPM resort property manager. And at that it’s not the same thing as it was back in the mid 90s. But that has evolved into what it is now, which is our full blown enterprise system. But he’s now with the company full time, he came on full time, I think a couple years after I started, and I said to Roy, I was like, if we want to do if we want to grow like we want to grow, we want to be leaders on the technology space, we have to have somebody in technology full time. So he’s the CTO. And then we also have, he’s got assistant software engineer within the building as well. And then we also have a team that we actually outsource to that they’re kind of like an extension of our team. But as far as a budgeting standpoint, the way that we make decisions and what makes it really unique in our situation is that any project that we take on, it has to also benefit our bread and butter, which at this point is North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach area. So are managed inventory, we want to be able to book properties all over the world, we want to use the Commonwealth brand and the name that was so genius that Roy came up with to expand, but whatever we do, it’s got to come back and benefit where the revenue is actually coming. Now so and we’ve learned the hard way, we didn’t always do it that way. Sometimes. A few years ago, we started doing some projects that didn’t necessarily have direct benefit there. And then that that’s that’s where you get in trouble because that does become if it doesn’t work out, it’s a complete loss. But like perfect example, we just built connection to Airbnb for our properties. But we were always already connected on VRBO or VRBO. But built that so we’ve got the dual channel there and we now connect the majority of the oceanfront resorts and Myrtle Beach to those channels as well. But when we did that, we know okay, it’s going to it’s going to directly benefit our properties and our homeowners and condo worlds here to get our properties on there. As well as grow our reach on the other ones.

Rob Clemons
So cool, you know, yeah, and you guys aren’t really on top of it. And you mentioned not only are you invested in technology and sometimes you realize when and maybe this investment wasn’t quite what we were hoping for but you keep pushing for the bus.

Alex Husner
Yeah, everything’s more complicated than you think that it will be. Anything that you think you need to do you need to it’s gonna be 10 times harder than what you thought and we’ve we’ve definitely learned that.

Rob Clemons
What is next for Alex Husner of Condo World? What’s coming up next for you?

Alex Husner
Good question I had somebody asked me that at the last conference that I was at, they’re like, “what’s Alex 2.0? ” I don’t know, I think I’m, I think I’m in 2.0. Right now, I’m not sure I don’t have any numbers are gonna be on this. But I for us right now, I mean, just continuing the same thing that we’ve always done that just to amplify the condo oral brand to continue to grow and find ways that, you know, like I said, are going to leverage what we have here and then also enable us to grow elsewhere. But the podcast is an incredible opportunity, I think, and that it’s great, because it allows me to connect everything that I do that I went, I went into this year with one job as cmo and I came out with a podcast and chair of the board of directors. So it’s really three jobs every now right. But the podcast, I think, is great because it connects all three things together. And there’s just so much opportunity for growth. That it’s it’s one of the things that it’s like, we’re not really sure how to even assess it. But I know, there’s a lot there. So we’ll see, we’ll see. It’s kind of an open ended question mark there. But I feel like we’re going in a good direction. And just, you know, obviously just keep growing here locally, we we manage proximately 500 condos, on our program.

Rob Clemons
How many employees you guys have?

Alex Husner
About 25.

Rob Clemons
25. Well that’s is good. So a good sized operation. Yeah.

Alex Husner
Yeah, yeah. But we want more, you know, I mean, we want to be able to manage way more properties. So there’s still plenty of growth. I mean, there’s 1000s and 1000s of rentals in our area here.

Rob Clemons
What do you have to do to recruit good people nowadays?

Alex Husner
You know, so the challenges on the maid service, you know, that that’s, that’s the tough part, our core group, our turnover of employees is essentially nothing. I mean, once once you work a condo, or else you don’t leave, it’s really it’s just, it’s that good of a company. So we haven’t had a hard time with our core staff. But getting the people to clean the condos. That’s that’s been a challenge.

Rob Clemons
It’s a little bit harder to get some some kinds of work these days. Right.

Alex Husner
Yeah. And our turned a week turn every Saturday in the summertime. So I mean, we’re turning 500 condos on a Saturday, you got to be fast. multiple teams. And, you know, we work with vendors that outsource that. So we’re not directly hiring the people. But we see the challenges when they don’t have people, Ben Clyburn, who’s now president, he, he does everything in the business. And I have all the respect in the world for what he does. Last summer, he literally had to get up every Saturday morning at two o’clock, and start driving around to get the linens ready and like, do all these different things because we didn’t have enough staff. And I did volunteer, I had volunteer the marketing team. I was like, Do you want us? To? Not have to? But they said no. So I don’t think that they think we’re good cleaners, which maybe we’re not.

Rob Clemons
You guys have a great skill set. That’s awesome. So you went to college? And I did too. So I like to sometimes ask, what would you recommend to somebody who’s about to graduate from college or just getting into college? And they’re looking to maximize themselves? Do you have a recommendation for you know, how to make the most of yourself?

Alex Husner
Hmm, let’s say? Well, I think one, I think you from my own personal experience, you need to be in the understanding that the first couple jobs you get are gonna suck. Right? Yeah. And you come out of college and you think that you’re worth X amount of money. And then what you what they tell you, they’re gonna pay you is like, I can’t I mean, there’s I can’t there’s no way so true. But you have to do it. Unfortunately. I mean, if you are blessed to get a great job, right, out of school, kudos, but most people don’t. But if I hadn’t taken the two first jobs that I had, I wouldn’t have gotten, it wouldn’t have gotten me to where I am now. Absolutely. It’s everything happens for a reason. But I think, yes, you have to roll your sleeves up and just be thirsty and want to network want to meet people. I mean, LinkedIn is probably the biggest tool that any of us have access to that has the most profound effect, if you leverage it. And it’s like, I mean, literally just being able to post the things that we’re doing on the show. And with Condo World, I’ve become very well known in a short amount of time just by doing little things that you’re talking about your what’s going on your business and you’re interacting with people. And it just it can, it’s viral. And I think you have to be comfortable putting yourself out there. I mean, that’s another thing too, but you know, get involved if there’s a chamber of commerce big fan of that get involved with committees, it doesn’t even if you’re not in marketing, necessarily. There’s all sorts of different committees within those types of organizations that you’d meet people and that’s how you find opportunities.

Rob Clemons
You know, you’ve done an amazing job on LinkedIn, there’s no question about it. That’s how I actually ended up originally Yeah. Hooking up here and do you allow every single person on LinkedIn that you know how like people will be like, I want to link in with you. Do you allow everybody or do you just kind of like discriminate or not discriminate? But you know, I’m saying like,

Alex Husner
just depends on my mood to be like, No, yeah, no. I look got how many connections? We have a lot of shares? Yeah, that’s probably the number one indicator. But the one thing that it just it drives me up the wall. And I, it’s hard to believe that marketers still do this, I’ll see an invite from somebody, it’s not somebody from like a marketing type company. And I’m like, accept it. And immediately and I get a message in my inbox. And I that is such a turn off. Stop doing that people back because I know you’re sending that to everybody. And it’s just it to me, it is mind boggling. I mean, we are in the age of personalization. Yeah, customizing experiences for in our case for guests. I mean, for whatever kind of client that you’re bringing on, you’d that’s the last… that’s such a turn off, I will not respond to that.

Rob Clemons
It’s become, like, has it become the modern day telemarketing? I’m gonna look you up on LinkedIn and pretend I know you and then I’m gonna start dropping marketing on Yeah, well, I agree. You know, a lot of times I’ll see people and they’ll put in, like, Director of Marketing, and I’m like, you know, look, I want to help people. That’s one of my goals, you know, and if you’re trying to get into the business, I want to get to know you a little bit and I’m going to help you out. But when you do it in immediately see the message about three like, oh, no!

Alex Husner
You know, there’s there’s ways… I mean, I don’t know if it’s a setting on LinkedIn, but like, you can also just follow people without connecting. And then that way you can comment on their on the things that they shared. That’s the way to engage. If there’s somebody that you want to talk to, that’s what I would say, I mean, start engaging on their posts, because they’ll notice that I mean, that’s, yeah, that’s the way to do it.

Rob Clemons
Very, very cool tips, who’s the most famous person your LinkedIn with right now? This could be a segment right here, your most famous, you know, connection.

Alex Husner
Oh, Heather Monaghan. And I don’t know that she’s, I might, there might be somebody that’s more famous than that. But she is a best selling author. I absolutely love her books. Nice. One of them is confidence creator and the other ones overcome your villains. I definitely recommend it guys or girls read great books. But she is she kills it on LinkedIn. And like she’s built her brand 100% on LinkedIn. And it’s just inspiring to see and like she’ll say the same. She has a podcast author, podcast is awesome. But you when you start connecting with people, that way, I just I feel like it’s so much easier to build that true connection with them that like I will listen to anything that she puts out, because I love what she talks about. So.

So cool.

It’s kind of I don’t know, like LinkedIn is where everything starts these days seems like.

Rob Clemons
I’m telling you it really is. And by the way, another it I don’t know if this has happened to you with your podcast. Another thing that I enjoy is talking about people’s books because… I wrote this down, you said is “Overcome your Villans.” overcome your

Alex Husner
Overcome your Villains. Yeah. And Confidence Creator. Yeah.

Rob Clemons
Very cool.

Alex Husner
And her podcast is also called called Confidence creator.

Rob Clemons
So one of the things that I like to do is, um, I’m always starting to collect a collection of books that people are talking about. So this is one I have for you, oh, my gosh, we actually sold this one. It’s never fly solo. Okay. And I definitely, I’m gonna give you this one, I recommend you read it. I’m gonna let you borrow it, you got to bring it back to you. Okay, all right. We actually met this guy at a speaking event. And he did a great job. He had just given us a lot of great leadership techniques and stuff. So I wanted to give that to you. So you can kind of check it out. Let me know what you think we’ll talk about later. And this is when I actually went over it with my leadership team today. And I just wanted to give them something to continue to follow through with and bash forward. He talks a lot about you know, having your your teammates back, and you know, watching their six and all that good stuff. So should be fun.

Alex Husner
I will definitely read it. I appreciate that. I always love a good book recommendations.

Rob Clemons
All right, awesome. Well, Alex, we’re on the back end of our show here. And you’ve been amazing. Hopefully, we’d love to have you again on some time. And I’m always available if you ever want to interview me. Absolutely. I love that. But But no, seriously, thank you so much for being on. Alex, who’s their chief marketing officer at condo world. She’s got a podcast. It’s Alex and Annie. Yeah, Alex and Annie podcast.com. And go visit her there. If you like our show, follow us do all that good stuff. And we appreciate everybody listening. Alex, thanks for being here.

Alex Husner
Thank you so much for having me. This has been a pleasure. And I’m so excited to finally get to see inside the walls of this amazing company that I’ve watched from afar for so long.

Rob Clemons
Awesome. Well, thank you. Pleasure being here. And we thank everybody for listening. This has been Rob Clemons of Crowning Connections. We’ll see you guys next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Listen in:
Full episode on podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1829238/10559252
Full episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/_jYw08H5Ul8

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