Be Our Guest(y): EU Short-Term Rental Associations On Best Practices For The Path Forward
To ready the European short-term property management market for the anticipated return of travel as we head into 2021, bolstered by the gradual distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, Guesty sat down (virtually, of course) with thought leaders from prominent short-term rental associations.
Joining Guesty President and COO Vered Raviv-Schwarz to discuss best practices for the path forward were Merilee Karr, Chair of the UK Short-Term Accommodation Association, Carlos Villaro Lassen, Secretary General of the European Holiday Home Association and Eduardo Miranda, President of the Portuguese Association of Local Lodging.
Vered got started with a look at Guesty’s booking data for Christmas and New Years Eve, specifically in the UK, which recently saw a notable increase in average stay length, as well as Portugal and Spain, which also saw substantial boosts in reservation volume and average nightly rates. She then pointed to the reasons travelers seem to prefer short-term rentals to hotels in the thick of the pandemic.
After reviewing the ways tech tools can step in to help property management companies navigate this unprecedented time, Vered unveiled Guesty’s new suite of features, built to support aparthotel and boutique hotel management and provide multi-unit hospitality brands with everything they need to thrive in the new normal and beyond.
Merliee Karr began with a brief introduction to the UK Short-Term Accommodation, explaining how it benefits the country’s short-term rental market. Merliee honed in on what the Association has done this year, including the launch of NHS Homes and Trusted Stays, both of which garnered a lot of positive press and feedback for the industry.
Carlos Villaro Lassen then gave a quick overview of the objectives of the EHHA and presented the trends the European market has seen during COVID-19, such as a spike in rural reservations and an increase in bookings from individuals who had never before stayed in short-term rentals. He followed with forecasts for the industry post-COVID, including increase in both demand and supply of short-term rentals, and expedited growth for the sector at large.
Eduardo Miranda presented a map of the recommended recovery process for 2021, identifying areas in Portugal in which members of the community should direct their focus in Winter, Spring and Summer respectively. He then concluded with a summary of the Association’s priorities for 2021 and the final stretch of 2020, such as securing public support, the exploration of new segments and accommodating sustainable tourism.
Following these insights, our panelists answered key questions about what property management companies across the continent should expect in the coming months and how to prepare accordingly. Here are some highlights (edited for clarity):
Q: What’s the one thing that property management companies should be planning for next year?
Merilee (STAA): Property managers should be using this time to prepare for the future – to onboard more supply, add more homeowners to their portfolio, get their technology right, make sure they’ve thought about revenue management, field service management,diversifying their distribution channels. Make sure you’ve got all those elements in place because those are the things that are going to help you recover more quickly.
Short-term rentals are actually outperforming hotels, so the demand is there and it’s all about preparing to accommodate that demand when it comes.
Q: Have you seen a change in government and public perception of the short-term rental industry throughout this pandemic and do you think we’ll benefit from that going forward?
Eduardo (ALEP): We’ve been lucky to be able to open dialogue with the government, but our biggest challenge is always going to be the question of the urban housing situation. If we overcome the issue with urban areas – and I think that’s the main debate – we’ll manage to create an entirely new image for the industry. I think it’s an opportunity, as they have seen us a bit more fragile in the pandemic and seen that there are real people behind every short-term rental, to create bridges where formerly it may have been more difficult to meet halfway.
Q: What do you see as the role of the associations heading into 2021?
Carlos (EHHA): We need to focus on the reopening and on being part of the solution rather than sitting and waiting for others to push for it. We can use each other and learn from each other how to do things better.