“We’re always available, yet completely invisible”, With Douglas Brown and Kate George of Omnifique

We go above and beyond for our guests without charging them extra and without them noticing. We’re always available, yet completely invisible. As mentioned above, this can mean finding the exact model of a rowing machine and shipping it overnight or covering all of the emergency lights from the smoke detectors in a 10,000 sq […]

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We go above and beyond for our guests without charging them extra and without them noticing. We’re always available, yet completely invisible. As mentioned above, this can mean finding the exact model of a rowing machine and shipping it overnight or covering all of the emergency lights from the smoke detectors in a 10,000 sq ft. vaulted ceiling property, so they don’t bother our guests.

As part of my series called “Five Strategies I Used To Grow My Business To Reach Seven Figures In Revenue”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kate George of Omnifique.

After over a decade in the corporate world creating strategy and marketing campaigns for some of the world’s top brands, Kate endeavored to start her own company with one pursuit in mind — excellence above all else. She then began her entrepreneurial career founding Omnifique, now leading a team of the best and brightest minds worldwide.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I left my job in 2015 after over a decade in Marketing and Advertising at gigantic and tiny firms in NYC and Colorado. I represented some of the world’s best-known brands to small natural food product start-ups. I took some time off to be strategic about my next move. I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose all the knowledge I had from my marketing background. After learning about Airbnb and Vrbo, I decided to rent my downtown Boulder bungalow, applying my marketing knowledge and skills to every aspect of the experience — and my listing took off!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?

Interesting story… wow — there are so many. I would say all the “unique” guests and their “interesting” requests. At Omnifique, our answer is always YES, and customer service plus excellence above all else is our differentiator. Hence, from the mundane to the extraordinary, we Make. It. Happen.

Upon arrival at our Verti Aspen property, a guest requested a very specific and rare exercise rowing machine to be there as soon as possible in the already fully equipped gym for him to use through his week plus stay. We had about half a dozen or so people working overnight during the holidays to find a solution — which of course we did — so when the guest awoke the following morning, he could work out as desired. We’ve bought a new mattress for a guest, created blackout blinds, added pink (yes, had to be pink) throw pillows throughout a house, arranged emergency dental care to fix a veneer, and probably the most interesting of all is renting a giant hot tub to fit over 20 people for a corporate retreat.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I started out renting my downtown Boulder bungalow. I took the same approach I did with all my advertising projects, and of course, I did it all to perfection — and my listing took off! I would share my success story with friends and family in Boulder, who then asked me to “represent” their properties. I said sure, again, not thinking much of it. I was making them so much money that they wouldn’t have earned without me. And that felt really immeasurable. I felt like I helped my community and made stays fantastic for guests in “my” town. So I would say my entire community supported me.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

There are too many to choose from. I believe in the concept of “better than yesterday,” and the only person in control over that is ME. My business partner Pam introduced me to a Latin phrase that I absolutely love: Quantuvis — which translates to “as great as you please.” You are the only person in control over your destiny. My biggest takeaway is to always have Unwavering Faith that if I give Extraordinary Effort (Hal Elrod — Miracle Equation), I can accomplish my dreams. I also love a saying quoted by Mark Cuban, “how you do anything is how you do everything.”

Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. We’d love to learn a bit about your company. What is the pain point that your company is helping to address?

Our discerning guests crave the security of a villa or estate along with the traditional infrastructure of a world-class hotel. Think daily housekeeping, bespoke experiences, chef-prepared meals, local expertise, 24/7 concierge, and whatever they can dream of. Plus, now more than ever, both corporate and private clients are looking to book stays that offer the social distancing precautions necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our offer meets and exceeds those standards while also allowing our guests to create unforgettable memories. Our guests don’t have to wear masks or share amenities at our homes, they can be as secluded as they want them to be, yet we can still safely cater to their needs.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We go above and beyond for our guests without charging them extra and without them noticing. We’re always available, yet completely invisible. As mentioned above, this can mean finding the exact model of a rowing machine and shipping it overnight or covering all of the emergency lights from the smoke detectors in a 10,000 sq ft vaulted ceiling property, so they don’t bother our guests.

When you first started the business, what drove you, what was your primary motivation?

I have an extremely entrepreneurial spirit, and I knew I wanted to create an outstanding and world-impacting company. I never wanted a local Boulder business. I always knew I would create a global company. But I didn’t know in what area. We are choosing to be in hospitality today, but I envision many additional companies with the same drive and focus: excellence above all else.

What drives you now? Is it the same? Did it change? Can you explain what you mean?

The absolute most significant thing I’ve faced is what has made and will continue to make this company so great. There is no manual. Nobody has done this before. And we are creating everything — not from scratch — but from our team’s collective knowledge. We are PIONEERS. Paving the way for ourselves and others that will follow.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

My personal goal for Omnifique is that our brand becomes synonymous with excellence. This will allow us to reach more people worldwide, offer more opportunities, and share our expertise.

The topic of this series is ‘Five Strategies I Used To Grow My Business To Reach Seven Figures In Revenue.’ Congratulations! Seven figures is really a huge milestone. In your experience what was the most difficult part of being able to hit your first million-dollars in sales revenue?

There have been SOOOO many challenges along the way! I’ll list a few just for fun, but I’ve faced every challenge, large or small, with the same approach — I GOT THIS.

-Creating blackout blinds in an entire 10,000 sq ft house in a day for a guest.

-Being summoned to court by the City because they thought we were breaking the STR rules (which we weren’t, and I won!)

-Having a client call another senior manager and me “girls.”

-Generally, for the first few years (and even today a bit), having my family and friends doubt this decision. Telling me to get a “real job” without understanding what I am creating and how hard I am working to do it.

-Sleepless nights. Many sleepless nights.

My biggest takeaway is to always have Unwavering Faith that if I give Extraordinary Effort (Hal Elrod — Miracle Equation), I will accomplish my dreams.

Could you share the number one sales strategy that you found helpful to help you reach this milestone?

Once I figure that out, I will let you know! I’m being cheeky, but basically, all our sales have been reactive, and we are just dipping our toe into proactive sales.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you or your team made during a sales process? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Not quoting a price correctly (think missing a few zeros) and honoring the quote given. That was a painful and expensive loss.

Does your company have a sales team? If yes, do you have any advice about how companies can create very high performing sales teams?

I led the Sales team for a long while. Recently, we’ve incorporated a team of seasoned salespeople with experience in the Luxury Travel sector. Genuinely understanding the brand and the people we’re catering to is crucial. Finding people who can be empathetic and stay ahead of what our leads need and want is critical.

Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Strategies I Used To Grow My Business To Reach Seven Figures In Revenue”. Please share a story or an example for each.

I believe it all comes back to the individual leaders. Whether you’re running a local pizza shop, head of a Fortune 50 company, or any fill in the blank leadership role — for better or worse — you are carrying the success (or failure) of your business. And it’s all up to you.

Quotes I live by:

  1. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
  2. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” -Henry Ford.
  3. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” — Robert F. Kennedy.
  4. “When you have confidence, you can do anything.” — Sloane Stephens.
  5. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” -Thomas Edison.

What would you advise to another business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth or sales and “restart their engines”?

“Try. Fail. Fix ponytail. Try again”. — Cirque Du Soleil

In your specific industry what methods have you found to be most effective in order to find and attract the right customers? Can you share any stories or examples?

Our clientele is extraordinarily niche and a bit elusive. Our most significant success has been to authentically befriend folks and develop long-lasting relationships, not with a sale or business in mind. We also understand we are all on the same level. Whether it’s a housekeeper, CEO, billionaire, we treat absolutely every individual as we are all equals.

Based on your experience, can you share a few strategies to give your customers the best possible user experience and customer service?

Researching our sector’s lifestyle and understanding the level of service they’re used to is crucial. Our customers’ everyday lives are already so high-end, we have to make sure when they stay with us, they get that and more — they’re on vacations, so they want to relax too! So staying ahead of what they may need or want is crucial to provide the ultimate guest experience — an adventure so unforgettable, it is hard to turn to another company after staying with us!

As you likely know, this HBR article demonstrates that studies have shown that retaining customers can be far more lucrative than finding new ones. Do you use any specific initiatives to limit customer attrition or customer churn? Can you share some of your advice from your experience about how to limit customer churn?

Providing the best possible customer experience the first time is crucial. For us is all about those money-can’t-buy-experiences that our guests can’t find somewhere else. For example: hiring a guest’s favorite band to play for them on their birthday in the middle of the mountains in Aspen or organizing a yacht excursion with environmentalist Ocean Ramsey in Hawaii. If we can provide them with an unforgettable memory, going above and beyond for them, that’s the key to invite them back.

Wonderful. We are nearly done. Here are the final “meaty” questions of our discussion. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We are working hard to bridge the wage gap in general and specifically (eventually) between female and male billionaires. While researching our target audience, we realized that they were mostly men. And we had to do something about it! It’s a long term goal, but something that keeps us motivated daily.

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

There are so many to choose from! Jim Collins (I love all his books and specifically Good to Great, it’s mandatory reading at Omnifique!), Rachel Hollis (her grateful attitude and determination are so inspiring), and of course Jack Daly (his eye for sales and business has inspired many decisions at our company).

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspirational, and we wish you only continued success!

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