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Outer Banks Property Management A New Approach to Property Management Elans Norman Bibeau Moves the Company to the

Future There is a recurring pattern to the business cycle sort of a revolving door of ide as that always seems to come back to the same basicsknow what your customers want and deliver it to them. Norman Bibeau, who took over the reins of Elan Vacations on the Outer Banks this past winter, is either a visionary or reactionary, depending on where the curre nt thinking is on the business cycle. His business philosophy is straightforward and simple. Customer service is the most important element in a business success, he says. A simple philosophy, however, does not mean simple in execution, and it is in br inging that philosophy to life that Bibeaus vision takes shape. Bibeau has been a partner with Elan since May of 2003, but it was not until this past year that h e bought out the founding majority shareholder and became the principal owner. What Bibeau has noticed most since joining this industry is that property manage ment, as a whole, varies very little from company to company. The management com pany rents a home and the homeowners pay a set feeregardless of how much time and effort an individual homeowner may put into maintaining and marketing their pro perty. Its evolved to the point that there is no creativity in the thought process behind the business. Theres no out of the box thinking, he says. Bibeau, however, brings a unique perspective to the table. I own a business that relies on the homeowner and guest alike, he says. Im not looking at this from just a business owners standpoint, nor catering to the guests needs only, but viewing t he business equally from the owners perspective. Elan Vacations uses a different approach to property management. A passive homeow ner is someone who comes to me and have one fee schedule, Bibeau explains. An acti ve homeowner is someone who is hands on; they advertise their house, actively so licit their past guests to return, and consistently maintains their home. This h omeowner will have a different fee schedule. It is also an approach that emphasizes what works and redesigning, or eliminatin g, what doesnt. If it is a service or tangible item that Bibeau feels his custome rs want whether the customer is a homeowner or an Outer Banks vacationing familyit stays. If it doesnt work, it goes. Examplewe were the first company to offer weekl y newspaper delivery. As a company we felt it was unique and had value. It was, but it didnt inspire customer loyalty. Price is the biggest motivator right now, and weve chosen to downsize or eliminate some of our complementary programs in or der to keep our rental prices affordable for everyone. There is still a welcoming package for renters, but the emphasis is on practical use to the customer. Rather than a gift basket, we give our guests stuff they ca n use, he says. Paper products, trash bags, etc. in a reusable shopping bag is tod ays application. It could change tomorrow based on what our customers want. Promoting the industry is not just about the rental homes, says Bibeau. It is th e community in general that is the draw of the Outer Banks. I like the fact that w hen I walk into a store Im bound to run into someone I know, he says. We should be promoting that; the friendly, small town feeling. Its the local retailers that ma ke my business possible. Each business supports and encourages the other and that is what makes the Outer Banks a truly unique experience. As Elan moves forward, new ideas are coming to the fore. Although the company ha

s not been involved in real estate sales in the past, Bibeau is in the process o f forming a sales division. However, it will have the Elan stamp of difference. O ur sales people will not be commission driven" he says. Although agents will receive a commission on sales, they will also be paid a reg ular salary. They should not be trying to force a deal to put food on the table, B ibeau says. Were creating long term relationships with buyers and sellers and are still looking three to four years out before things start to turn. It is that type of vision, that sense of looking forward yet holding true to bed rock principals that seems to be at the core of Elans success. We are nothing more than a customer service business, Bibeau says. As a company, that is uppermost in our minds. At the end of the day, we are a very hands on company. For more information please, contact Outer Banks Property Management. Visit us on Facebook!

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