While revitalising this news channel for the STR world, I uncovered a photograph and a post from the first VRWS (Vacation Rental World Summit) in Barcelona with 47 Golden Nuggets of Wisdom from October 29th 2016!
Reading through this and other old posts, I was amazed by the people and the topics, how some have become mainstream, and the number of people still engaged in the world of STR. Below are some takeaways:
"Hospitality is the entire guest experience" - Antonio Bortolotti (the organiser), and we have come full circle, recognising this is the main game!
"Remove Damage Deposits" & "Use peek.com to watch how people interact with your website"~ Martin Picard, Vreasy. Martin escaped the rental vortex and is now using his unusual talents in a Spanish horticulture enterprise and helping young people to save the planet. Think sustainability and data.
‘Using the attractions to attract people on your VR website." Alan Egan of rentmoreweeks.com. Alan is still busy with various elements of the rental world, always with the same eventual focus!
"OTAs are like crack cocaine; they’re addictive but not very good for your health” - James Ellis of Original Cottages, who recently sold out to the "Travel Chapter". He wasn't wrong, looking at many regions' high percentages of OTA bookings. Twitter Link
"Use home automation to automate & control remotely" & "Vacation rental software will connect & share data" - Sebastien Grosjean of "Bookingsync" now "Smily" He was right about data connectivity and automation; he just forgot to mention the challenges for sharing!
"Convert more visitors into bookings with great branding, design and UX", Dennis Klett of Lodgify, still in the game and a company on the growth curve—spot on, as UX is a fundamental part of the booking journey that OTAs do so well.
"2016 is about offering a professional service, and 2017 will be about connectivity" This doesn’t conflict with the industry moving toward personalization – they go hand in hand. ~ Vanessa De Souza Lage, then of Rentals United and now of Sustonica
"97% of people are not ready to book when visiting your website" - Thibault Masson of Rental Scale up and now Pricelabs. He was right, and guess which companies worked hard to ensure they were the chosen few. Thibault has also worked at Booking.com! He also said "Use Facebook to nurture your website visitors, previous guests & newsletter subscribers into booking."
"Let’s talk about the importance of quality content for vacation rentals" - Andy McNulty, primarily of GuestHook then, focussed on content (AI enter here) and, more latterly, Touchstay, a much-loved guest app. Right on both counts!
"Airbnb guests rate their stay 15% better than on other listing sites like TripAdvisor" & "Go above & beyond for guests; it’s all in the details." - Alex Nigg of Properly and still driving this business forward. It's even more so in the stay experience and property management today!
This event was almost seven years ago, and all that was said has and is coming to pass! The VRWS continues year after year, and in 2023 will be held in Barcelona. Other events have been held in Annecy, France; Florence, Italy and Lake Como, Italy. All have been fun and educational.
Finally, a couple more photos, the author, team, friends and family!
A panel with a few well-known faces and backs.