In an exclusive interview with VRM Intel Magazine, Glen Kaiser announced today that he and his brother, Leonard Kaiser, are founding partners of Kaiser Vacation Rentals, Inc. in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Glen remains CEO and COO realtor of Kaiser Sotheby’s International Realty and will serve as the qualifying broker for Kaiser Vacation Rentals.
Though a CEO has not yet been named, Marcy Kichler joins Kaiser Vacation Rentals as COO.
“This has come about after decades of involvement in the industry, and because of relationships we have with owners, buyers, and sellers in Kaiser Sotheby’s International Realty,” says Glen Kaiser. “When we handle transactions for those owners, sellers, and, in some cases, new developments, they ask for recommendations for vacation rentals. It is a natural progression for us to go back into the business to recommend an alternative—and that is us.”
The Kaiser family legacy dates back to 1980 when Leonard, one of eight children, formed Kaiser Realty Inc. In 1999, after a 15-year career in business development with United Parcel Service, Glen joined the family business in real estate sales. Three years later, he shifted to the vacation rentals serving as assistant general manager for the Orange Beach operation. When Wyndham Vacation Rentals acquired Kaiser in 2013, Glen was promoted to executive general manager over Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, a role he held for six years. He left Kaiser by Wyndham Vacation Rentals before Vacasa closed on its acquisition of the company in October 2019.
Kaiser Vacation Rentals, Inc. will focus primarily on high-end beach houses and provide referrals for condo owners seeking vacation rental management.
“We have relationships we’re marketing through [Kaiser] Sotheby’s. We’re managing a development with 60-plus prime vacation rental properties, we’re marketing another development with 15 homes, and through existing clients who already own properties, our hope is they’ll be interested in our services when their properties are available,” Glen says.
While at Kaiser, Glen operated 494 properties. In his new venture, he says he’ll take a different approach.
“Our strategy is more about revenue than it is numbers or properties, which will allow us to be more focused on the owner and guest and not dealing with numbers….It’s more about the revenue portfolio than it is about the number of properties. That’s the major shift in strategy. It’s about quality and not quantity,” he says.
But first, the company must be established.
“We are building this from scratch—banking, phone systems, email—all of it has to be developed,” Glen says. “The intention is to be as much of a virtual company as possible while maintaining and providing personal relationship service.”
Glen suspects his tech stack may be new to many in the industry.
The PMS system will be by LMPM (Lightmaker Property Manager), founded by Adrian Barrett and co-chaired by Park Brady.
For workflow status management, guest communications, home automation, and linen inventory control, he’ll use BeHome247, a property care company founded by Joseph Morris and operated by Lino Maldonado, who currently serves as president (Maldonado also served as vice president at Wyndham Vacation Rentals until Vacasa’s acquisition).
“These systems will allow us to be much more efficient in providing information they want when they want it in a format that is convenient for them—that goes for owners, guests and staff,” he says.
Having a “brick and mortar” building is essential to Kaiser Vacation Rentals’ mission to deliver “personal relationship service.”
“The heart of our company will be about relationships. Hopefully, we’ll cultivate these relationships through these systems, but we’ll also be here, present, for owners and guests should they wish to talk with us in person,” he says.
Though he will office in the same Kaiser Realty building he has been going to for the past 22 years, this time, Glen says things will be different.
“We will not be going after numbers,” he says. “We’ll go after properties that offer revenue potential. You can then give more personal, individual service. That’s where all of the benefits come from . . . quality of life for me and anyone in our organization, as well as our owners and the guests that choose to stay in our vacation rentals. Sotheby’s has this phrase: “Luxury is not about price, it’s about the experience.” We’ll follow this same philosophy at Kaiser Vacation Rentals.”
As for service standards, a Kaiser clean program tops the list. “One advantage of starting new is not having to convert anything. So, we intend to start right off the bat with the clean bed program,” he says. “We will have triple sheeting replaced with clean bedding after every stay.”
Glen’s priority list includes providing management services without additional fees and being flexible with owner payments.
Central to Kaiser’s company culture are two pillars: people and community.
“We want to create a company that offers opportunities for people now, and into the future, Glen says. “Leonard and I have long been engaged in community activities and will continue with Kaiser Vacation Rentals. We feel it’s necessary to be good corporate citizens, and we plan to be an asset to our community.”
Specifically, Glen envisions partnering with the hospitality program at Coastal Alabama Community College to develop scholarships and internships. He also hopes to collaborate with the Gulf State Park Learning Center on education programs, saying, “It could potentially be a wildlife version of Space Camp [in Huntsville, Alabama].”
As a former Wyndham veteran, Glen may be one of the latest to open a business, but he isn’t the first. Pedro Mandoki (Mandoki Hospitality, Inc. in Gulf Shores, Alabama) and Doug Brindley (Brindley Beach Vacations & Sales in the Outer Banks, North Carolina) are other operators who sold to ResortQuest (then Gaylord, then Wyndham, and now Vacasa), but then restarted their businesses.
And Glen Kaiser won’t be the last.
He points to two Northwest Florida companies as examples. Scenic Stays 30A, LLC [managed by former Vacasa executive general manager Ron Whitfield], and Wendy Glover, formerly of Vacasa, now the principal consultant for 30A Vacation Rental Consulting.
“First and foremost, people gravitate towards these startups by former colleagues because of relationships that they enjoyed when they were with the same company. The second thing is how those colleagues approached the business versus where they are now, and they hunger for going back to when there was still the proper kind of relationships. So, will you see more people take opportunities? Yes, absolutely,” he says.