Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is CorporateStays.com Founder and CEO Vladimir De Suarez, whose company provides luxury apartments in major cities across Canada, Miami, and Panama City. What was the inspiration behind the idea? Find out in today’s profile…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
CorporateStays.com is a furnished housing company that provides luxury apartments in major cities across Canada, in Miami, and in Panama City. We work with companies relocating their employees, or requiring short and long-term housing close to the business and financial centres of major cities. We also do high-end vacation rentals and property management for luxury apartment rentals. I am the Founder and CEO of CorporateStays.com and I am a very hands-on boss. I work directly with my team in every facet of my business and I try to keep myself super available for every single person on the team. We have offices in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Panama City, so I travel a lot to check in with my excellent teams in all our locations, and to open operations in new cities.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I got the idea for the company when first I sublet my own apartment to go travelling. I posted an ad on craigslist and received a response from a woman who wanted to pay a higher per-week price, when my listed price was for a month. This had me thinking about the possibilities for vacation rentals. This idea sort of mulled around in my brain while I was on vacation, and after doing some research I discovered the corporate housing market, which proved to be more profitable and steady.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I love seeing our customers checking in at our front desk. I love sharing their new experiences as they live in a new city. Seeing the smiles on our customers’ faces is definitely the best part of what I do.
My passion for my business often keeps me working late into the night, that is also when I get some of my best inspirations for new ideas and innovations. So the most challenging part of my day is waking up early the next morning!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see CorporateStays.com being the most respected and innovative brand in corporate housing worldwide. As for me, I’m doing exactly what I’m doing now: throwing myself into my company to make it better!
What does success look like to you?
For me, success comes in the form of positive feedback from our guests about our services. Every one of our guests that enjoys a smooth relocation to one of our apartments feels like success to me.
On a more personal note, success also means finding a sweet work-life balance. Seeing family and friends, travelling, and living new experiences are very important to me, and I try to make the time to enjoy every aspect of my life.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I hit this point where I realized that my company had been growing steadily over a few years, but the financial results were not to our expectations. It was a real turning point for me when I realized that I had to rethink the way I was making decisions on spending. I had to step back and take a few months to restructure my company and I discovered the absolute importance of investing in the right people and focussing on my core business. I learned a lot real fast and turned around five years in just five months! Turning it all around and seeing a real difference was a huge milestone for me.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Focus on your core business, your team and your customers. I never look at what my competitors do because it kills our creativity. I would rather mark my own path in our industry than follow someone else’s.
Another way that I ensure my complete focus in the right areas of my business is with my phone. I never answer my phone unless it’s a call from my team or a tweet from a customer! Every employee or customer at CorporateStays.com has easy access directly to me, which is very important to me.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Yes, I’ve been very interested in TECHO.org for many years and I’m super excited to say that we just started a program where we support TECHO.org in Latin America. Techo fights poverty by building temporary housing in slums in the developing world. We are in the business of renting temporary housing to corporate executives at the other end of the spectrum. We are working in the same market, but with very different target demographics. I believe that by working with TECHO.org we can encourage well-off executives working in these areas to get involved in the fight against the housing problem throughout Latin America. I think it is our role to be the middlemen in this fight.
What to you is notable?
Hard work. Success doesn’t come by accident, you have to roll up your sleeves and dig your heels in. Everyone on my team is there because they have the passion and the drive to bring our company to the next level. I appreciate hard work in others and I think I can fairly say that I lead by example in that respect. I am constantly working on my company and thinking about ways to make it better. CorporateStays.com is definitely built on hard work and dedication and I couldn’t be prouder.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod, iPad mini, and any other Mac product you can think of… I’m kind of addicted.