In this second of our 2-Part series we continue excerpts of Perspective Magazine Editor Matt McDaniel's interview with RedWeek co-founder Randy Conrads.
When you started Redweek.com, what was the emphasis on?
The idea was that people could get more for that asset that they owned if they themselves were to rent it out. And so our first focus was on the rental - they can rent out their unit and it’s not all that difficult.
When people rent them out on our site they get to keep all the money – it’s not somebody taking it away from them. They pay pretty high commissions if they have somebody else do it. In our case, if they rent it, they keep it all. So that was our original plan.
And then we thought, as long as we’re there, these same people are looking to sell too. We said it’s the same units; they could put it up for sale, just put their price on it and list it. So that was our starting point.
Have you been affected by the recession?
We haven’t. We’ve been going through a certain amount of organic growth year over year, and it continues.
So you’re actually growing during this time?
Oh yeah. It’s a nice, solid, continuing organic growth. We are relying a lot more heavily now on word of mouth. We’ve got good traffic and transactions are happening, and we’ve got our people coming back, and they’re telling their friends about us, and so we’ve grown right through it.
So what is it that distinguishes you?
A couple of things that distinguish us from the people we see as competitors is that we’re actually recognized as being pretty honest; we have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. We try to protect people. We invented an escrow service for the rentals and got First American Title to back us on that - so when you don’t know someone and rather than sending them a check, you send it to the escrow service and it’s held there until after the vacation is taken. That stops fraud dead.
And our site has a forum for people to talk about their different experiences within the timeshare industry, and they give advice to each other. There’s a place there for them to share bad experiences that they’ve had and help other people from going to places that they shouldn’t go to. There are some bad players out there, and it's better that people are able to talk about them.
One of the things that makes a free market work is a free flow of information – and that’s what the Internet is doing. You can rely on people learning the truth, and working with it.
Read An Interview with Randy Conrads – Part 1