TurnKey Vacation Rentals announced today that it has appointed Chris Elam as vice president of guest experience. Elam was previously the vice president of global reservations at Hyatt Hotels, where he served for 24 years and managed 11 global call centers. He was also the senior vice president of customer service and west coast operations at Global Experience Specialists.
“Chris has led guest experience teams at some of the world’s leading hospitality enterprises, and we’re excited to work with him to expand TurnKey’s goals for quality guest experience and become an industry leader in hospitality,” T.J. Clark, co-founder and CEO of TurnKey, said in a statement.
Elam’s responsibility is to manage the hospitality team and to improve systems to work better with that team. “We’re already seeing some big improvements in how we manage guests,” said John Banczak, co-founder and chairman of TurnKey. “Doing that with nearly 4,000 homes and 150,000 checkouts is not easy.”
Elam’s major focus is to build and roll out a knowledge base and technology to get the right answer to the right question at the right time. “My goal is to continue to better understand the current voice of the customer,” Elam said. “What are they looking for, how do they talk about it, what does a question mean to them, not us. Understanding those things drives out what the future should be.”
Elam’s career in hotels from front desks to operations to customer service and call centers is translating well to his new role, he said. What’s new to him is the one-to-one match between a home and a person or family and the added element of introducing vacation rentals to those who are staying in one for the first time. “This is a really personal business,” he said. “How often in day to day life do you get to make that much of an impact on somebody?”
Established in 2013 and based in Austin, Texas, TurnKey has 3,700 homes around the US and more than 400 employees. The company has raised a total of $72 million over six rounds of funding, including participation from Adams Street Partners, Silverton Partners, Altos Ventures, and institutional and angel investors.