One of the most optimistic members of Direct Booker family is the Star Tim from Pula, Croatia. We spoke with Milena Nekić, Head of the DB franchise for the area of southern Istria. How she decided for the Vacation Rental Industry, the advantages of the franchise business and her predictions for the 2021 season are just some of the questions she gave us the answers to.
For a start, introduce yourself. Who is Milena Nekić?
Hyperactive person, who loves 1.) family 2.) work.
How did you decide to switch to the tourism industry after 20 years of working in the commercial sector?
Even 20 years ago, I had a plan to work in tourism because it seemed like a dynamic and exciting environment. However, at that time, I thought that first I need to build my experience and learn a lot of different things to try myself in such a complex business as tourism.
In your opinion, what are the advantages of a franchise compared to starting your own business from scratch? How much the Direct Booker brand helped you with your business?
The franchise gives you know-how and support. You don’t have to learn from your own mistakes, but use the franchise experience previously gained. Of course, you also have to adapt – because each market has its differences, but it flows relatively painlessly. The brand helps a lot because it is recognized as quality in our area, and it is much easier to access clients than if we started working from nothing.
How did you find out about Direct Booker and the franchise? Why did you choose this particular business concept?
I found out about DB through a Facebook Ad. As soon as I saw it, I knew that I was waiting for this for almost 20 years. And so it all started …
How much has your business developed from the very beginning? How many units do you currently manage?
The business developed far better than expected. We offer mostly apartments, and the number of Holiday Homes and villas is significantly increasing. Glamping tents and mobile homes are currently on the rise. At this moment we manage sales for 294 units.
What area does your franchise cover?
Our area includes the southern part of Istria, Croatia, the route Vrsar-Žminj-Zagorje near Labin. These include interesting tourist towns such as Vrsar, Rovinj, Medulin, Pula, Rabac, Labin, and many small settlements, which are developing by increasing Holiday Homes’ number.
What are the specifics of your property units?
Given which markets gravitate toward us, the higher class of properties goes the most. With the appearance of COVID 19 – the market of remote luxury villas has significantly developed. They were attractive before, but now they are the most crucial segment of our offer.
Where do you see yourself and the company in 10 years? What are your development plans?
Plan for the next 10 years: develop the company as much as possible. We intend to increase the portfolio of quality properties, with unique stories (such as old renovated villas, which have the charm of some past times), they are enriched with additional offers, such as swimming pools and saunas jacuzzis …). By increasing our portfolio, we certainly intend to continue to employ quality staff.
How has the corona crisis affected your business?
It brought a lot of discomfort and fear, but it also prompted me to think differently, in the way: which properties could be in high demand for renting in this situation? What can I do to attract such properties? We worked day and night on the acquisition of Holiday Homes to be ready when the borders open. That effort paid off, which could be seen in the revenue increase of 52%.
What is your motivation at work?
Motivation varies from day to day. Sometimes the reason is lovely clients, sometimes beautiful objects…
Who are members of Star Tim?
Sanja is everything but not an ordinary administrative worker. Every day she creates new quality ads, helps potential guests by giving them advice and guidance. She always has creative ideas and is ready to help.
Elvis, our official photographer, and everything else that we need, depending on his free time.
I, a commercialist who enjoys working with people, even in those most difficult periods with about 100 phone calls a day.
A message for people thinking about taking a franchise and starting their own business. A recipe for success?
Work, work, work, and results will not be missed. And, if you’re smart enough, you’ll be endlessly having fun all the time.
In addition to all your business commitments, do you find time for yourself? What do you do in your free time?
I always find time for myself, family, and friends. I adapt to the situation, and I get the best out of everything.