Create a sense of community: Creating a sense of community among guests is powerful for memorable travel experiences. This can be accomplished through social events, shared experiences, and communal spaces that encourage interaction and connection.
As part of my series about “How To Create A Travel Experience That Keeps People Coming Back For More”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Johnny Trevino.
Johnny Trevino is a US Director at eviivo, a global hospitality tech company known for eviivo Suite, an award-winning property and booking management system, as well as eviivo Collective, the first-of-its-kind collection of the world’s most unique, notable and luxury independent properties — from boutique hotels to Airbnbs and vacation rentals. Trevino is based in the Austin, Texas headquarters.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Growing up I always had a knack for being a leader with “entrepreneur” in mind. My parents could probably tell you many stories of me as a kid finding something to sell to make money, or going knocking door to door to sell my leave-raking services. As I got older, I found I enjoyed talking to people, and loved travel and technology. I wasn’t well versed in the hospitality software industry, so it was serendipitous to arrive at eviivo. I dove into my role fully, and it has been one of the best and most rewarding career choices I’ve made thus far.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
One of the most interesting experiences I had in my career was when I was tasked with launching a new product for my company. It was a software solution that was designed to help hotels streamline their operations and improve their guest experience. We had been working on the product for months, and I was confident that it was going to be a game-changer for the industry. I still think back to how it was a huge success. The product was well-received by the market, and we saw a significant increase in sales. But what was even more interesting was what happened next. One of our biggest competitors, who had been dismissive of our product during the launch, reached out to us and asked if we would be willing to partner with them. They were impressed with what we had accomplished, and they wanted to work with us to integrate our software into their own product offering.
It was a surreal moment for me, being courted by a major player in the industry. It was a reminder how important the right leadership plays in the success of a business.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Early in my career, I was given the responsibility of organizing a big sales presentation for a potential client. I was eager to impress, so I spent hours preparing the slides, rehearsing my speech, and making sure everything was in order. On the day of the presentation, I arrived early to set up the room and make sure all the technology was working properly. As the meeting started, I launched into my well-prepared presentation, confident that I had covered all my bases. However, about halfway through the presentation, I realized that I had accidentally copied and pasted a wrong photo into one of my slides — a funny meme I’d saved for a friend. It had nothing to do with the topic at hand, and it popped up right in the middle of an important slide. I was mortified, but I tried to laugh it off and quickly skip past it.
Thankfully, the potential client and my colleagues found it amusing and laughed it off, but it was a valuable lesson for me. I learned that attention to detail is crucial in any professional setting, and that double-checking your presentation materials is a must. Word to the wise: Be able to handle unexpected situations with grace and professionalism.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I firmly believe that success is never achieved alone, and there are many people who have helped me along the way. One person who stands out to me is my former boss, who I worked for early on in my career. He took me under his wing and mentored me, teaching me everything he knew about hospitality tech, how to find the need of a client, and structure a large deal.
One story that comes to mind is when we were working on a big project for a high-profile client. It was a complex project with many moving parts, and I was feeling slightly overwhelmed by the scope of the work. The executive took the time to sit down with me and go through the project step by step. He offered guidance and support, which gave me the confidence I needed to take on more responsibility and push myself to succeed. We were able to successfully complete the project, and it was a major milestone in my career. This experience taught me the importance of having a mentor, and the value of having someone who believes in you and supports you as you grow in your career. I have since tried to pay it forward by mentoring others and offering guidance and support to those who need it.
Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?
Nowadays, we live in a world of automation. Our culture is accustomed to instant gratification and instant responses to everything, which makes automation not only important now, but it paves the path forward into the future.
I’m excited to announce we are in final stages of launching a completely revamped communications platform — unlike anything out on the market to date — to make our clients’ lives a whole lot easier, and in turn, help them be more productive while improving their quality of life.
Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation and how do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?
This innovation will address the challenges that comes with the overall management of an organization or business in the hospitality industry, which includes guests, property owners, cleaners, maintenance, and operational contractors, general contractors, vendors, and employees.
There is currently no solution that allows management in one seamless and easy portal in the way we’ll deliver, so we are truly excited to be the first to offer it. This product is one of the most future-forward solutions in hospitality technology, and it will be hugely impactful with allowing businesses to take back their time — and enable them to focus on growing their business.
As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share a few examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?
We’ve seen plenty of changes. Travelers are preferring short-term rentals (vacation rentals, Airbnbs, inns, B&Bs, etc) over large-chain hotels. In fact, the short-term rental market is expected to rise from a $4.5 billion industry to $25 billion by 2032, according to Future Market Insights. More travelers are splurging on suites, luxury properties, etc, as we’ve seen in our own data, as they have money saved from years of not traveling, and more travelers are thinking “outdoors” and “sustainability.”
Cleanliness also became a huge factor post Covid-19 (for obvious reasons), and many guests see significant changes today when they check into a property. Hospitality companies had to adjust — and will continue to adjust — the way they handle cleaners and housekeeping in order to ensure guests their accommodations are safe to visit.
Last year, eviivo launched a mobile app, eviivo Mobile, and we are the only property management system that has a cleaning dashboard in an app. It’s helped boutique hoteliers, property owners and hosts tremendously, and they continue to write us about how this feature alone has made their lives so much easier. Other companies are likely to follow suit.
Hospitality companies will also focus on a lot more contactless experiences to elevate cleanliness and health safety, such as remote and self check ins, door lock automated locks, and email contactless check ins and outs — all communicating via SMS, messaging or email. In fact, many of our property owners and Airbnb hosts have completely implemented automation, and it’s destined to become a norm.
You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?
Self discovery, no matter the destination.
The perfect vacation experience varies for anyone depending on what they want out of the vacation. A traveler may want to completely relax and do nothing on a quiet beach or explore and backpack in an active trip, but one thing is for sure: they always learn something about themselves. Travel has always been a force of good, and the perfect vacation experience is when you feel that goodness down to your soul, whether you learned a new culture, got closer with your family on a trip or even had a solo journey to reflect. Ultimately, there’s an element of self discovery that is rooted in travel.
Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness driven experience? We’d love to hear about it.
Absolutely! As I mentioned, we launched eviivo Mobile last year, and it has been an overwhelming success, especially for wellness.
The app offers a unique way of handling every aspect of running a hospitality business, unlike anything out on the market right now, and it has dramatically improved the quality of life of our clients by giving them access to everything they need right in the palm of their hands.
Ultimately, an Airbnb host or a boutique hotelier can actually be on vacation themselves and run their business right from their phones. Even if they don’t travel far, they can spend more time with their family, in their garden, be outdoors — take back all the time they lost during the pandemic.
Over 80% of our clients worldwide downloaded eviivo Mobile, and have reported it has made their hospitality business a whole lot easier to run.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a travel experience that keeps bringing people back for more? Please share a story or an example for each.
As the US director for a hospitality software company, I have seen firsthand the importance of creating a memorable travel experience that keeps guests returning to their favorite properties. Based on my experience and success, here are the five most important things any director, manager, owner or host in hospitality should know:
1. Understand your audience: Knowing your target audience is key to creating a travel experience that resonates with them. For example, if you’re targeting families, you may want to offer amenities like a kid’s club or pool, while if you’re targeting solo travelers, you may want to offer unique experiences like local tours or adventure activities.
2. Offer personalized experiences: Personalization is becoming increasingly important in the travel industry, and customers want to feel like their experience is tailored to their needs and preferences. For example, offering customized dining options based on dietary restrictions or preferences, or personalized recommendations for local activities based on a traveler’s interests.
3. Prioritize customer service: The success of an unforgettable travel experience hinges on customer service. It should be prioritized for any travel business. This includes greeting guests with a warm welcome to addressing any issues or concerns promptly and with empathy. A positive customer service experience will go a long way, and you always want the guest leaving full hearted.
4. Emphasize sustainability: Sustainable travel practices are becoming increasingly important to consumers, and incorporating sustainable practices into your travel experience can help differentiate your offering from competitors. This can include using eco-friendly products and services, or partnering with local organizations to support conservation efforts.
5. Create a sense of community: Creating a sense of community among guests is powerful for memorable travel experiences. This can be accomplished through social events, shared experiences, and communal spaces that encourage interaction and connection.
In March 2023, we launched eviivo Collective. It’s the industry’s first collection of unique, notable and luxury independent properties in the world, and it sets up a “community” for likeminded boutique hoteliers, property owners and hosts. What they love about this is that they can be part of a community where industries intersect. An Airbnb host can be part of a group with a boutique hotelier who can be part of a group with a castle owner. There’s truly never been a community like this in travel, and it’s an added benefit for our customers who feel a sense of belonging.
Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world?
As a hospitality software director who embraces our company’s commitment to social responsibility, I believe it is important to use successes to bring goodness to the world. I have personally supported charitable organizations that align with my values and goals. For example, my company has partnered with a nonprofit organization that works to provide free meals for underprivileged communities. Through our partnership, we have been able to provide resources and food to help dozens of food shelters across the US.
In addition to supporting charitable organizations, I prioritize sustainability at work and encourage others in the hospitality industry to also make a commitment. We implement eco-friendly practices in our software and encourage our clients to do the same in their operations.
I also believe in the power of mentorship and giving back to the next generation of professionals. I have had the privilege of mentoring young professionals in the hospitality industry and providing guidance and support as they navigate their careers. Ultimately, I believe that success should not only be measured by financial gain or professional achievements, but also by the positive impact we can have on the world around us. As someone who has always strived for success in my career, I believe it is my responsibility to use that success to make a difference in the world and help others achieve their goals.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
As an influential US director in hospitality tech, I have always been passionate about making a positive impact on the world. If I could start a movement that would spread good across the globe, it would be centered around the idea of sustainable and responsible tourism. The tourism industry has the potential to bring immense economic benefits to communities around the world, but it can also have negative impacts on the environment and local cultures if not managed responsibly. By promoting sustainable tourism practices, we can help ensure the benefits of tourism are shared equitably and that our natural and cultural resources are preserved for future generations.
I love the idea of a global certification program for sustainable tourism. There’s a program that establishes clear standards for sustainable tourism practices and provide a certification process for businesses and destinations that meet those standards. Consumers are able to easily identify and support businesses and destinations that are committed to sustainability, and businesses are incentivized to adopt more responsible practices in order to receive certification.
I would take it further, aiming to support local communities and promote cultural exchange. By working with local communities to develop tourism experiences that are authentic and respectful of local cultures, we can help create a more equitable and positive impact on the communities we visit. I truly believe that by promoting sustainable and responsible tourism practices, we can create a movement that will bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, both now and in the future.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They can connect with me on Linked-In via: http://linkedin.com/in/johnny-trevino-168b942b
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!