When your business is literally on the beach, we tend to use water in many of our analogies. For our ideas about the future, we talk about something many of us do for fun–surfing. In order to catch the best wave, we’ll have to see it as far out as possible and work to position ourselves at the right spot and the right time (with the right amount of effort) in order to get the best possible ride. Trade the wave idea for the technological wave that’s breaking everywhere, and we have a story. The digital transformation of just about every business is a topic that is hard to escape in our shared professional lives right now and Twiddy & Company is no exception. With a wide range of digitally transformative technologies and disruptive innovations arriving almost daily, it’s challenging to sort the signal from the noise in a way that keeps our guest and homeowner experience at the very forefront of everything we do. We know that we’re no longer being measured by our customers within our industry. We’re being measured against the best of the digital best–companies like Amazon, Netflix, and even Starbucks are offering a digital experience that’s personal, on-demand, accessible across multiple channels, and responsive in the moment. We also know in order to meet that expectation we’ll have to get all our data in the right place, have an engagement system that cuts across functions both in-person and digitally, and lastly have that system powered by things like AI and analytics. As a time-tested and proudly independent North Carolina Company, we get asked with some frequency what we’re doing to prepare for the future of the vacation rental business whether it’s in the mobile device space, guest engagement world, or even within our own experienced staff. In short, our strategy to build for the future is to make sure that 1) we’re as close to what our new and returning customers expect as we have ever been and 2) to make sure that our team–our best asset–is well equipped and well trained to deliver a world-class experience and finally 3) we operate in a way that is sustainable, impactful, and customer-focused. For a quick look at the why-and-what of our business, the way we earn money is simply to offer a great selection of homes and a great experience for guests through what we call our conversion loop. It’s a time horizon idea that governs a great deal of what we do on a daily basis and we’ve made both tangible and intangible investments over decades based on this idea. Our modern approach to this loop is to invest in data-driven decision-making at every step in the process with the goal of being able to engage at an individual customer level with scale, precision, and speed. For the management thinkers out there, much was made of an idea called the “OODA loop” that offered a decision-making cycle based on orientation, observation, decisions, and then action. Based on that shared concept, a winning strategy was often described as getting inside your competition’s loop and therefore be able to move more quickly, disrupt faster, and identify both scale and speed at a faster rate. We’ve taken that idea and applied it to our industry in a way that we think is a blueprint for customer value. Applied consistently with precision and speed, our ability to use analytics at every step (getting inside the competitive loop) is nothing short of a distinct competitive advantage when paired with great people who can quickly–decentrally–make faster and better decisions in the face of a guest or homeowner experience. All this is another way of saying that, here on the beach, we’re riding the very edge of the technology wave in our industry and actively learning from our customers each and every day. We don’t think for a minute that bigger is better or smaller is better–we simply believe that our goal is to deliver an uncommon experience in an uncommon place that we hope will become a tradition for your family like it has been for ours for more than 42 years now. We’re always up for talking management and leadership ideas–got an idea or think there’s a better way to do things? Please let our President, Clark Twiddy, know–he’s in the office in Corolla most days and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.