Whether it was a stunning oceanfront property that drew you in or a friend who couldn’t stop raving about their beach trip, Great Ocean Condos and Homes has become a familiar name among those who visit the New Smyrna Beach area. While today we’re the #1 NSB rental company with over 265 vacation properties in our management, Great Ocean Condos and Homes started humbly as most successful companies do…with only a vision and a tremendous amount of grit.
Over a decade ago, our CEO, Jennifer Frankenstein-Harris, found herself frustrated with how vacation rental management companies in the area were both outdated and were generating her property little revenue. It was 2008, the year the digital world started exploding. The first iPhone had just been released, Facebook was becoming a universal addiction, and the internet was rapidly growing into a tool people used for more than quick answers. As rental revenue dwindled and the internet took flight, Jennifer’s mind spun with questions: “Why haven’t rental companies hopped on this? Wouldn’t it be so much easier for guests to book if they could just do it online? Wouldn’t this allow rental properties to gain unlimited exposure?”
Though her career revolved around keeping tempos on beat and directing a middle school band as a public school teacher, this uncharted territory in the travel industry was something she couldn’t shake. As of then, the only way to book a property in New Smyrna Beach was to call an on-site office, book based solely upon a verbal description, and mail a check. This system was growing too antiquated as the modern vacationer didn’t want to be limited by office calling hours, no credit card usage, and paying without a clue as to what their beach property looked like.
Online booking engines were a novel idea at the time, and its potential wasn’t lost on Jennifer. She decided the entrepreneurial risk was worth it. Equipped with natural business-savvy and a driven personality, Jennifer started GreatOceanCondos.com, one of the first online booking websites in the NSB area.
Like any successful venture, the first years required unceasing dedication. In addition to being the only local company with a booking website, Great Ocean Condos and Homes was one of the first to be open 7-days a week, 9am-9pm. This gave the business a cutting edge that property owners quickly noticed. As the business grew, so did its demand for work. Armed with her laptop and flip-phone, Jennifer took on the 24/7 job of taking inquiries by hand, answering non-stop phone calls, and being the voice and face of the company…all while homeschooling her two elementary-age children!
Two years passed and Jennifer still found herself working around-the-clock and investing every penny back into the business. Managing 35 condos had nearly drained her stamina. She met with a leading vacation rental company and wearily proposed selling her assets to them. After all, she had worked 60 hours a week for two years and not seen a single paycheck. It had been an exhilarating and exhausting ride, but endurance could only last so long. After careful consideration and a lot of prayer, Greatoceancondos.com regrouped and surged in to the spotlight with a renewed marketing strategy, updated website and determination that could not be stopped. This renewed vigor meant that her company would not only survive, but would but dominate the vacation rental industry in New Smyrna Beach. A decade later, Great Ocean Condos and Homes generates over 6 million dollars and hosts over 26,000 guests annually, and holds the title of the largest vacation rental management company in the entire area!
Like all success stories, there wasn’t a simple, clear-cut way to the top. The past twelve years have been full of victories, mistakes, humorous lessons, and growth. From an entrepreneurial venture, the company grew into a three-person team that juggled all the roles of rental management from home. Between 2013-2015, the company gained an office, increased employees, and saw rental inventory double.
Today Great Ocean Condos and Homes boasts of two office locations, a full-time, experienced team, and manages over 265 properties from New Smyrna Beach to Port Orange to Daytona Shores. They were nominated for Florida’s “Vacation Rental Manager of the Year” in 2017-2018, and are currently listed by Business Insider as one of the “Top Vacation Rental Professionals in the World”. From podcasts (listen here & here!) to speaking engagements at conferences to serving on the National VRMA board, Jennifer has climbed the corporate ladder and her accolades now precede her.
Unlike multi-destination property managers that are too big to familiarize themselves with a niche market, her locally-based company has spent years specializing in the NSB area. They have dedicated every minute to studying the area, networking with local professionals, and using strategic marketing tactics that have drawn visitors worldwide to come experience this East Coast beauty.
While hard work went into building Great Ocean Condos and Homes, we truly owe all of our success to YOU, our owners and our guests! We can’t express how grateful we are to the owners who entrust us with their properties and for our guests who continually choose to spend their vacation with us year after year. Come experience an NSB stay with us and explore our selection of direct oceanfront, ocean view, and pet-friendly homes and luxury accommodations on our website. Can’t decide where to book? Call 386.478.7863 and a professional vacation planner will assist you in finding your perfect New Smyrna Beach rental.