Grand Welcome is a rapidly expanding franchise brand in the short-term vacation rental sector, providing full-service property management to both owners and visitors of short-term rental properties. The Enterprise World is proud to introduce the company to The Best Franchises to buy in 2023.
In 2009, Brandon Ezra (Founder and CEO) established Grand Welcome, a property management company that currently oversees short-term vacation homes in 16 states throughout the US. Despite his humble beginnings as an outdoor enthusiast, Brandon’s love for the natural world motivated him to invest in the industry.
This has led to the growth of his business into one of the most prominent property management companies in the Mammoth Lakes area. Starting with a limited number of condominiums, Brandon’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit propelled the establishment of Grand Welcome.
As is typical of most small business owners in the vacation rental industry, Brandon initially had to overcome the lack of support and training. Nonetheless, his entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering commitment to growth enabled him to develop cutting-edge systems that are both user-friendly and translatable to anyone seeking to expand their existing business or enter the industry anew.
With a keen focus on delivering high revenue for property owners and top-notch service to guests, Grand Welcome has rapidly expanded its presence in the US, currently managing over 1500 vacation rental properties in the most desirable locations nationwide.
Despite the industry’s largest players controlling less than 5% of the market share, Grand Welcome has remained a significant force and continues to expand.
In 2019, Grand Welcome launched a franchise opportunity, which coincided with the onset of the pandemic. Despite the challenges posed by the global crisis, the franchise opportunity saw steady growth throughout 2020 and 2021 and enjoyed significant growth in 2022, with a total of 47 franchises awarded across 16 US states by year-end.
Talking about the franchise growth, Kit Steen (VP of Sales at Grand Welcome) says, “Each individual franchise owner is so unique and special. It’s a unique opportunity to partner with them, see the industry through their eyes, and while mentoring or coaching, learn from them as well.”
Grand Welcome has received numerous press mentions and awards in recent years, attesting to the company’s excellence and growth in the property management industry. In 2022, the company was named to Fran-Serve’s Fran-tastic 500 List, which recognizes outstanding franchise opportunities.
It was also recognized as one of the top new and emerging franchises by Entrepreneur magazine. The International Franchise Association awarded Steven Brown, a Grand Welcome franchisee in Nashville and Austin, the Franchisee of the Year honor.
Additionally, through a unique partnership with ThirdHome, vacation homeowners can use their luxury second home to travel the world. In 2021, Grand Welcome was named to Rental’s United’s Top 50 Vacation Rental Property Managers in the World, further solidifying its position as a top player in the industry. Recently. Grand Welcome of the Ozarks franchisees have won the Franchisee of the Year award by the IFA (International Franchise Association).
The Face behind the Curtain
For entrepreneurs, achieving a balance between growth and sustainability can be a challenging task. They must allocate resources equally to support their teams and clients, and avoid overextending themselves, especially during the early stages of growth.
A perfect example of a steadfast entrepreneur is Brandon Ezra. For as long as he can remember, he has been a business owner. Due to the lack of corporate options when he was growing up in South Africa, entrepreneurship was essential. Brandon has worked many jobs and tried various businesses in his early career. Fortunately, he stumbled upon the vacation rental industry, which has been a significant part of his life for over 20 years.
Brandon adds about the key achievements of his entrepreneurial journey, “It would have to be building a franchise that is doing so well and supporting so many communities in doing so. I measure success by how our franchisees are doing. I think that should always be the hallmark of any franchisor.”
Brandon beyond the Cabin of Grand Welcome
Brandon is an avid reader who has a love for books, and among his collection of preferred books, he has a current favorite, The One Thing. This book has caught his attention because of its discussion on the importance of focus and resilience, two qualities that he believes are essential for success in entrepreneurship.
As an entrepreneur himself, Brandon knows the challenges of staying focused and remaining resilient in the face of adversity. He understands that it takes dedication and perseverance to achieve success and that these qualities are what differentiate successful entrepreneurs from those who fall short.
Moreover, Brandon has great admiration for Elon Musk, who is known for his visionary leadership and innovative approach to business. Musk has demonstrated remarkable resilience and focus in his pursuit of ground-breaking technology, such as his work with Tesla and SpaceX. Brandon sees Musk as an inspiration and a model for what is possible when an entrepreneur is focused and determined in their vision.
Brandon also finds inspiration in the quote – Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm by Ralph Waldo Emerson. He believes that maintaining constant vigilance is essential to achieving greatness.
He says, “Stay focused on your health, your family, and your business. Do your best to not let outside influences affect your decision-making and try and overextend yourself.”
Leading from the Front
Alongside Brandon and Kit, Matthew Clare (Senior Vice President-Commercial) and Kevin Drudge (Senior Vice President of Franchise Development) are also playing an important role in the company’s growth. Matthew mentions that the team at Grand Welcome is made up of industry veterans as well as people who love to play a role in building something bigger than themselves. This team spends each day supporting entrepreneurs as they work to build their businesses and raise the standard for hospitality in their destination. “It is a special group we have here at Grand Welcome,” he adds.
The role of a leader is crucial in ensuring everyone in the team is productive and motivated. Expressing his views on the responsibilities of an entrepreneur, Kevin says, “Being able to face a moderate amount of risk and deal with challenges and change on a regular basis. Also being resourceful and continuing to streamline operations and create efficiencies.” According to Kevin, an entrepreneur should always be willing to reinvest in an existing business or in new ones.
Roadblocks along the Way
Within the business world, each sector has its own requirements and challenges. Some of the issues drastically affect businesses and organizations across a range of industries and sectors. Every business strives to maintain the quality of its customer relationships, the vibrancy of its brands, and the satisfaction of its workforce. A company that is successful overcomes obstacles to set itself apart from its competitors.
Similar challenges were faced by Grand Welcome, especially as a start-up. They were certainly many and consistent. Brandon says, “When starting an enterprise like this you really do not know what you’re getting into until you’re in it. That said my attitude has always been to address challenges one challenge at a time and not look too far into the future. I have surrounded myself with great people and that has made all the difference in the world.”
Brandon mentions that having enough cash to keep up with your growth is critical and highly recommends not being undercapitalized. He adds that nothing will kill a business quicker than a lack of cash even if you are profitable. “I’m in an industry that is developing and in the early days was very underdeveloped. This created some problems with vendors and simply finding the right people to scale this business,” asserts Brandon.
Prior to launching the franchise, the biggest challenges were that technology had not made its way into the short-term rental industry much. Companies like Airbnb and VRBO were not around and certainly not mainstream like they are today. And all the technology that accompanied that hadn’t evolved yet either. In launching the franchise, one of the biggest initial challenges Grand Welcome faced was launching in December of 2019, right before the. COVID-19 pandemic hit. That obviously slowed its growth in the beginning.
Triggers of Growth
The company’s real growth began to take off after it started offering franchises, which proved to be a more suitable business model compared to a large corporate structure. Despite the inherent challenges in running a franchise, it was the perfect approach for their business.
The success of the initial franchisees helped the company achieve significant growth and continued success. Additionally, the company attracted great people who contributed to its success. The key to any company’s success is the quality of its people. The company is committed to making decisions that benefit the entire franchise system, and they are honest with themselves in this regard.
Kit adds, “I think one of the biggest turning points came when we began to hire industry sales professionals to assist our franchise owners with unit growth. The sales team is a highly trained and successful group of professionals with an accumulation of over 150 years of industry experience. Collectively, they work together to help our franchise owners build density in their markets.”
Kevin mentions that the ability to adapt and innovate in a highly dynamic industry is also a prominent reason driving the company’s growth. Grand Welcome is a strong company financially that developed a strong business base through corporate operations while defining the franchising model to go to market with. The strategy is like no other in the industry to this point and is needed and well-received. Grand Welcome continues to dial in the franchise business model and make it stronger for future success.
Grand Welcome has settled on the Franchise model as its path for growth. Expanding a corporate entity is incredibly challenging and costly. With the franchise model, it gets to share the success of its approach with entrepreneurs from all over the country. The demand has been tremendous, and Grand Welcome has far fewer obstacles for expansion than a corporate entity would.
Average Total Revenue: $4,180,546 Average Gross Profit: $902,368 Average Net Franchisee Income: $456,180 Average Annual Revenue Per Property: $68,193
*Figures above are per the Grand Welcome Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) Item 19 reflecting performance for 2021. More financial performance representation details are provided in the FDD. To request your copy of the Grand Welcome FDD please submit your application today.
In the highly fragmented short-term vacation rental industry, Grand Welcome is leading the way. This industry has only a few national non-franchised competitors managing tens of thousands of properties and tens of thousands of local boutique managers, individually handling less than 20 properties. In fact, only a small percentage of vacation rental managers oversee over 100 properties.
Grand Welcome offers the best of both worlds by combining the efficiency of the larger national managers with the local boutique style of smaller managers. This is achieved through franchising, where locally owned and operated franchisees can benefit from a proven model, systems, technology, and processes to achieve quick success.
Unlike other industries, the size of the territory or the number of locations does not impact the potential for growth in the vacation rental market. With Grand Welcome, franchisees have the potential to quickly grow and expand their business by adding new vacation properties to their program. The more properties added, the greater the potential for earning.
Turnkey Franchise Opportunity
The turnkey franchise opportunity offered by Grand Welcome means franchisees don’t need to stress about revenue management, backend support, reservations, technology, and optional customer service. The company’s superior technology, proven operational model, and dedicated support teams are all in place and scalable to make growing their business as easy as possible.
Grand Welcome aims to reshape the vacation rental industry. It is expanding into new territories and locations across the United States and soon to be international. Once a franchisee launches their own franchise, their main goal is to acquire homeowners to add to their full-service vacation rental management portfolio.
The company also handles onboarding and listing new properties for its franchisees. It manages everything related to generating the highest possible revenue on their properties to generating guests to book stays at the properties. Grand Welcome has multiple teams that work every day to ensure the best results and invest heavily in technology and systems to support the efforts. It’s completely hands-off for the franchisees to focus on other aspects of their business.
Grand Welcome also staffs a team to handle anything guests need as it relates to reservations. It provides guests with assistance in anything related to booking a reservation, making changes to existing reservations, directions to properties, and even liaising between AirBNB or other Online Travel Agency support teams. Guests can also book their stays on its website, www.grandwelcome.com
A Step Ahead
The approach adopted by Grand Welcome is bottom-up, which means that the concerns and priorities of franchisees are given top priority. The company continuously makes small and big adjustments on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to better support its franchisees. This sustained effort has resulted in significant and noteworthy changes that have given the company a competitive edge in the market.
The company recognizes that technology is a critical aspect of success in the modern business landscape, and as such, is investing heavily in this area. These investments are aimed at developing technology solutions that can drive efficiency and growth for franchisees.
For the past two years in a row, Grand Welcome has had two of its franchisees win the franchisee of the year award with the IFA (International Franchise Association). For a franchise that has been in business for just a few years, this is a pretty remarkable accomplishment. For this and many other accomplishments, Brandon is grateful to these franchisees and all the other franchisees that the company works with.