Director of owner and guest relations and senior reservation coordinator, Select Vacation Properties
When Patience Rodriguez took a job as a reservationist at the age of 19 with a vacation rental company, she had no idea the industry would grab a hold of her and not let go.
That’s exactly what happened: the 38-year-old Cape Coral resident has been in the same business since she took that first job. Today, she is one of the leaders at Select Vacation Properties on Sanibel Island as the director of owner and guest relations.
“I started in the business when I was just 19,” she says. “I saw an ad in the paper and needed a little bit of money before I went on vacation. It really evolved into a passion.”
She is proud to call herself a creative problem solver and recommends businesses and people focus on solutions, not dilemmas. For example, Rodriguez was able to help a client that needed a wheelchair-accessible rental house by finding an owner who was willing to install an elevator in their house.
“Anytime there’s a problem, there’s an opportunity to find a solution to make everybody happy,” she says. “When you take the time and step back, you can usually see there’s a creative way to find a solution.”
Rodriguez assisted Colleen Anderson, a coworker from Priscilla Murphy Realty, where the two worked together, in launching Select Vacation Properties in 2006 and has since added dozens of units to the company’s rental program. In addition to acquiring and retaining properties, she also helps with marketing strategies, social media, web development and other customer-facing components of the company.
“Patience is a primary reason for the company’s immediate profitability in year one, and double digit growth every year since inception; an accomplishment almost unheard of in this rapidly changing industry, especially with internet giants like VRBO, Expedia and Airbnb spending millions to take over the industry,” says Christopher Reublin, who works with Rodriguez at SVP, in Rodriguez's 40-under-40 nomination form. “She has helped to grow the company from a small startup to a multimillion-dollar grossing tourism leader on Sanibel.”
ON THE RECORD: Patience Rodriguez
City of residence: Cape Coral
Employer: Select Vacation Properties
Title: Director of Owner/Guest Relations and Senior Reservation Coordinator
Years on the Gulf Coast: 32
Marital status/children: Married with two children, son and daughter
Alma mater/degree: None
Where is the best place to network? Online, business luncheons and social gatherings. All offer great network opportunities.
What's the best business lesson you've ever learned? Focus on the solution, not the problem.
What's your top tip for being productive? Creative thinking. This sparks new ideas thus creating motivation and productivity.
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Building and packaging fish tank junior heaters.
What community group or organization are you most involved with? Treasurer for Sanibel Captiva Vacation Rental Managers Association
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Real estate photography
What's your favorite off-hours activity? Boating with my family. Cayo Costa is one of our favorite spots to visit.
What's your favorite board game or video game? Monopoly
What's the top item on your bucket list? Visit Tahiti.
Where is your happy place? On the beach with my loved ones or at Spada
What's your favorite podcast? "Sunday Sitdown with Willie Geist"
Who/what is your favorite musical artist/band? Imagine Dragons and Hillsong UNITED
Who would play you in a movie about your life? Gwyneth Paltrow
What was your first album/tape cassette/CD? "Color Me Badd"
What was your first concert? Garth Brooks
What's one song that will get you out on the dance floor? Really anything, I love to dance.
What's your favorite karaoke song? "Sweet Dreams"
What instrument/role would you play in a band? Piano
Please describe yourself in three words: Passionate, determined and kind