In a diverse and increasingly year-round resort setting like Steamboat Springs, the business of rental property management has become much more complex than it was in the early days of ski condos. The COVID-19 property rush has created a whole new generation of potential renters, and it’s more important than ever to find a local expert in the rental management field.
Since the mid-1970s, Steamboat’s Resort Group has offered a comprehensive, home-grown solution for both residential and commercial property management, representing over 100 homeowner associations with more than 5,000 property owners throughout the greater Yampa Valley.
“We serve a lot of clients with a wide range of goals and expectations. Many are out-of-town homeowners who trust us with the keys to their dream and who wish to share their vacation home with others,” says Joe Cashen, Resort Group’s vice president of business development.
Along with Larry Mashaw, Resort Group’s vice president of sales and marketing, the duo help oversee a rental service that has grown exponentially since the days when it started with just a single property in 1976. Resort Group’s local team remains focused on cultivating great experiences and lasting memories for everyone they host, providing reliable and comprehensive property management services for homeowners, and attracting visitors to Steamboat Springs to create jobs and fuel our local economy.
Adapting to meet evolving needs
“Larry and I have been doing this for a long time. The fundamentals of winter demand and revenue remain fairly consistent, but our summer and fall tourism has evolved a great deal over the past 10 years” Cashen notes. “Skiing has certainly evolved too, and not just in terms of lifts and gear. Travelers now expect things like real-time online booking, on-demand shuttle service, and personal communication via text messaging. Skiers and riders also seek more from the resort, such as upscale food, free wifi, and craft cocktails at on mountain dining facilities. Despite all these changes, ski vacations are still the most rewarding way for travelers to recreate during the winter months. Skiing is an experience you can share with friends and family. It gets people out of their comfort zone where a lot of personal growth can occur. Standing on top of the mountain does a great deal for the human spirit.”
Over the course of almost five decades, Resort Group’s scope has expanded locally, and the company describes its role as “Total Resort Services,” providing everything from HOA management, long term leasing, and assisting builders with property development. But at its core, the company remains Steamboat’s go-to source for reliable, locally-run vacation rental management, with a diverse portfolio of properties that hosts more than 10,000 vacations every year.
Commitment to expert service and support
Resort Group is also one of Steamboat Springs’ largest employers, with a year-round team of 150 maintenance, housekeeping, guest services, marketing, and property management staff. This number more than doubles with the influx of seasonal employees working during the winter season. Resort Group offers its own, comprehensive employee housing program and a crew of fully-vetted, professional workers who can provide a wide range of maintenance and housekeeping services, even during the off-season.
In 2021, the do-it-yourself allure of online vacation rental marketplaces like Airbnb or VRBO might make property management seem like an old-fashioned concept. However, a lot of new homeowners underestimate the availability, cost, and logistics of employing staff and contracting service providers in Steamboat Springs. As a people-powered business, Resort Group makes it a priority to develop talent and create redundancy in critical operational roles throughout their business. This commitment explains the longevity and experience of their team members and the elevated services they deliver, such as evening maintenance and after-hours emergency response. Resort Group’s staff also offers a personal touch that owners and renters may not find by calling a 1-800 number for help, especially when an unexpected problem pops up after hours.
Resort Group’s reservations expertise starts with a locally-operated marketing and call center operation, delivering proven and reliable rental results to homeowners year after year. “We have a dedicated and experienced in-house marketing team. Over the years, we have built a significant database of past guests, and we can effectively target and personally connect with people who are equally passionate about our community,” Cashen says. “Our websites, visual content, and digital marketing are all built and managed by our in-house experts, giving us significantly more adaptability and responsiveness. Our call center is here, staffed by locals. When COVID first hit Steamboat and the resort suddenly closed, our team personally called over 400 customers that Saturday night, encouraging every guest to reconsider getting on the plane that next day.”
Offering unique local benefits
As people’s lives become increasingly busier, especially as the pandemic has begins to fade, working with a professional property management and marketing company can help property owners escape the headache and stress of the rental hustle, especially coordinating ongoing cleaning and maintenance issues. “We focus on this business on a daily basis, and this is a more complicated commitment than some homeowners realize,” Mashaw explains.
Resort Group’s long-established local connections offer preferred scheduling with local contractors, discounts from local suppliers, and access to important rental platforms such as Steamboat.com and Ski.com. Their rental platform also includes sites like Vrbo and Airbnb, providing unmatched exposure and rental revenue opportunities for their properties. In an era where positive customer reviews are critical to return business, Resort Group takes an especially proactive approach to making a renter’s stay as pleasant as possible. “We don’t wait until guests have come and gone – we check in with everyone shortly after they check in, and any special requests get addressed early in their experience,” Mashaw adds. “That extra effort is what grows 5-star reviews, which helps drive our future bookings and success.”