Coronavirus Industry Insights

The European Short-Term Rental Landscape: An Interview with Carlos Villaro Lassen of the EHHA

March 09, 2021 |
An insider's perspective on the short-term rental industry in Europe

To get an insider’s perspective on the European short-term rental landscape, we recently sat down (virtually, of course) with Carlos Villaro Lassen, Secretary General of the European Holiday Home Association. Carlos shared his insights on everything from the steps that must be taken in order for the industry to demonstrate its positive impact on local economies to his predictions surrounding the timing of the much-anticipated travel recovery.

Watch the video below or continue reading for some key takeaways (edited for clarity).

What are the goals of the European Holiday Home Association?

The purpose of the association is to connect the major industry players in the European short-term rental space, including everyone from homeowners and property management companies to OTAs and tech solution providers, in order to further their communal interests and ensure a fair playing field within the hospitality space.

How has COVID-19 impacted the position of short-term rentals within the European hospitality landscape?

The industry is young. As recently as 2019, 70% of Europeans had never stayed in a short-term rental even though there are four million units across the continent. However, the safety concerns brought about by the pandemic made the privacy and less communal nature of short-term rentals highly appealing and property management companies found themselves catering to traveler types they’d never hosted before. Now that those who may have normally opted for more traditional accommodation options have enjoyed the benefits of staying in private rentals, including the ability to enjoy home-cooked meals and experience a destination like a local, it is likely the industry will continue to draw many of these travelers long after the COVID-19 is behind us. 

“Short-term rentals will explode in the years to come, that’s for sure.”

Airbnb’s IPO pushed short-term rentals to be even more mainstream than they already were. With more eyes on the short-term rental space than ever before, how must it evolve?  

Our industry represents 25 million beds in Europe. The hotel sector has 11 million beds in Europe. Since we can expect to double tourism in Europe in the next five to ten years, we need to find solutions to be able to cater to that market as a rising star in hospitality. We need more beds, we need more professionalism, we need more digital solutions. We will see a lot of development in the industry in the coming years, in the form of both consolidation and advancements in travel technology to better accommodate a growing consumer base.  

How can our industry work hand in hand with local governments to showcase the positive impact short-term rentals have on local economies, while also providing alternative accommodations to travellers?

Despite the fact that we have proven that our product is COVID-safe, there is still work to be done, including simplifying the process of registering hospitality accommodations and ensuring processes are identical to those of hotels. We need to engage in more dialogue with our local governments and we need to be the ones to initiate this conversation and take a proactive role in coming together to find workable compromises. The key is working with governments and not against them and demonstrating our value, in terms of the number of jobs we create and how much revenue we bring in as an industry.  This impact will be especially important in the coming years as the economy attempts to recover from the effects of the pandemic. 

When do you think travel will fully recover?

I think recovery will begin as early as Easter of this year, when borders and flight routes begin opening up. Between then and now, thousands of Europeans will be vaccinated, new COVID treatments will emerge and corona passports will be issued. I’m optimistic  that by this Summer, we’ll be having meetings like this in person. 

Watch the video to hear more about travel recovery and the impact of COVID-19 on the European short-term rental market, and be sure to stay tuned for more posts featuring the unique perspectives of major industry players.

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