Sean Altice gave up the bright lights of Hollywood, where he worked in set and stage design, as well as audio and video production, to return to his roots in Sarasota. That was five years ago, and at the time, his mother was about to retire from a career as an executive in the hotel industry. They decided to team up and launch Altez Vacations LLC, a travel company that specializes in matching vacationers with unique properties that meet the highest standards of excellence.
Like Airbnb, Altez Vacations doesn’t own the properties it rents out, but rather works with owners who want to monetize their second homes. However, the properties must meet certain criteria — “what we call our Altez Diamond Standards,” Altice says. That means owners must do their utmost to ensure their properties are cleaned and presented properly; however, Altice, drawing on his experience in show business, offers interior design and staging assistance.
“The size of the property doesn’t really matter,” he says. “What matters more is the quality.”
'It’s all about having that positive mentality — if you want to do it, then do it.' Sean Altice
Uniqueness and desirable locations also help. In addition to Sarasota and Siesta Key, Altez Vacations’ network includes properties in Lake Tahoe; Palm Springs, California; Bend, Oregon; Los Angeles; Idyllwild, California; and Sylva, North Carolina, in the heart of the Smoky Mountains.
“We’re on a journey of growing and building the guest experience,” Altice says. “The guests who come and stay with us, they can find us throughout the country and experience all these different locations we offer.”
Altice says geographical diversity has been a big asset during the pandemic. It also helps insulate the company’s bottom line from heavy losses stemming from natural disasters — ranging from red tide and hurricanes in Florida to wildfires in the west — that dampen enthusiasm for travel.
“We are now constantly in a position of flux regarding natural disasters,” Altice says. “But if one area of the country isn’t doing so well, we can have another part that’s making up for the loss of revenue that we’re experiencing.”
Even before the pandemic, Altice says his mentor, marketing and business consultant Richard Rosen, has been a big help in the company's evolution, in everything from preparing for growth to pushing hin past his comfort zone.
Altice’s long-term goals for Altez Vacations are sky high — literally. Inspired by the exploits of his father, a NASA pilot during the Apollo program, he’s getting his pilot’s license and believes, with all seriousness, that he will one day own and operate “some sort of hospitality business” in space.
“It’s going to happen,” he says. “My wife and I, we take the standpoint of never saying anything is not possible. Every single thing we've said we wanted to do has happened. It’s all about having that positive mentality — if you want to do it, then do it.”
— Brian Hartz
Name: Sean Altice
City of residence: Sarasota
Employer: Altez Vacations LLC
Title: COO and co-founder
Birthplace: Beverly Hills, California
Years in the area: Six
Marital status/children: Married, no children
Alma mater/degree: None
What community group or organization are you most involved with? Friends in Deed, Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Booking manager for a music venue in Los Angeles
What's your top tip for being productive? Stay positive. Think about the larger picture and how each marginal task builds to accomplish the end goal.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Space launch brokerage services
What's your favorite off-hours activity? I'm working on my private pilot's license.
Have you gone to the movies in 2021? If yes, what did you see? Sadly, no
What's the top item on your bucket list? Go to space!
What's your favorite podcast? Radiolab
Where is your happy place? Sylva, North Carolina
Describe yourself in three words. Imaginative, inventive, adventurous
Who is your mentor for your career and why? Richard Rosen
What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? Richard Rosen has had an illustrious career as a world-renowned marketing and business analytics consultant. His industry knowledge has been an immense resource in an advising capacity for the growth of Altez Vacations. From a personal perspective, Richard has a boisterous, jolly personality and constantly pushes me to strive to new heights, seek new adventures and push my learning edge.