I-PRAC recently attended KigoWorld 2019, a yearly property management conference that takes place in Barcelona. As delegates at the conference, we were able to meet with friends and colleagues from across the industry, and had the opportunity to listen to keynote speeches and discussions regarding predictions for the future of the vacation rental industry.

KigoWorld 2019

Following the success of the inaugural conference in 2018, KigoWorld 2019 brought together industry professionals and influencers from around the world for the second time. Throughout the day, numerous discussions took place on the opportunities provided by innovations in technology and online marketing channels. There was also a lot of discussion about industry regulation and how it could it help stamp out holiday rental fraud and improve consumer experience – a subject that we’re very passionate about at I-PRAC.

This year’s keynote speaker was WIRED Magazine executive editor, Jeremy White, who began proceedings with a presentation on the evolution of technology – in particular AI and machine learning tech – and how this will soon start to impact the short-term rental industry. Other topics covered in tracks and discussions across the day included:

  • Implementing secure online payment processing technologies
  • Creating exceptional guest experiences
  • Overcoming your brand identity crisis

Key Takeaways

The future of the vacation rental industry does look bright, but it’s not without its fair share of weaknesses and threats. With the global rise of holiday rental fraud across short and long-term vacation rentals, it’s imperative for property managers, owners and travellers to see the significance of regulation and verification – in particular the positive impact that verification platforms, such as I-PRAC, are having on the industry.

Here are our key takeaways from KigoWorld 2019 based upon our discussions and keynote attendance throughout the day:

Building Trust

An interesting insight into the future of the industry saw us ‘Peeking into the Short Term Rental Crystal Ball’, in a session moderated by Co-Founder and CEO of AJL Consulting, Simon Lehman. Throughout the panel discussion it became apparent that industry leaders are beginning to leverage new technologies that will enable them to supplement and grow inventory and demand, all while enhancing the guest experience.

However, the most interesting takeaway from this panel discussion was the concern that panellists shared over regulation of the industry, which is due to come into force in 2022. When asked if they thought regulation was the biggest threat to the holiday rental industry, all seven panellists said yes.

But with stories of holiday rental fraud becoming more common, and families suffering financially – and often emotionally – at the hands of scams, we believe regulation can no longer be seen as a threat. Instead, it should be regarded as an opportunity to build enhanced trust between holidaymakers, travellers and holiday property owners.

Embracing Innovation

During his panel, Damien Sheridan of Need More Rentals discussed the growth of business bookings, stating that property managers need to be sure they don’t miss out on this revenue. Damien continued that large, corporate companies will eventually begin to incorporate short-term rentals as part of their travel offering, alongside their ‘traditional’ hotel listings. However, it became clear across the board that the only way vacation rental owners are going to benefit from this seemingly new revenue source is to position themselves as being trustworthy and professional, and embrace innovation.

Similarly, founder of VRMB, Matt Landau, showed amazing examples of strategies that are increasingly being used throughout the vacation rental industry to create great business. He demonstrated how channels such as YouTube and integrated strategies that encourage repeat bookings through email marketing and social media are being used to build brand awareness, trust, and enhance consumer relationships.

Direct Bookings

We also attended a fascinating panel entitled ‘Innovation in the Driving Seat: The Future and Growth of the Property Manager’ with Pierre Beceril, CEO of Transparent, Tom Powers of online vacation rental marketplace Abodeca, and Need More Rentals’ Dan Sheridan.

During this panel, keynote speakers and delegates had the opportunity to discuss the findings of a survey of 500 vacation rental owners in Europe, conducted by Transparent. A principal trend identified in this survey was a significant increase in marketing spend for vacation rental property owners. In the UK alone, there was a 59% increase in spend, but perhaps the most dramatic increase was in Portugal, which reported an 88% in marketing spend as a result of property owners marketing directly in an attempt to increase their number of direct bookings.

Existing and prospective members of I-PRAC will recognise the trials and tribulations associated with marketing and attracting new, direct bookings without relying on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), particularly after the news in 2018 that OTAs are facing challenges when it comes to differentiation and loss of margin.

But that’s where I-PRAC come in.

The I-PRAC Member Profiles

The I-PRAC members profile is our solution for travellers and property owners alike – an online profile that enables enhanced communication with target customers, improved security measures and space to effectively discover and market properties without the risk of fraud or losing your brand identity. With the issue of fraud dominating the industry and seeping its way into mainstream media, it’s imperative that rental agencies, property owners and travellers consider the significance of increased regulation, security, and the importance of sustaining brand image without losing trust.

We want to see this industry thrive, and that’s why we are championing vacation rental professionals across the globe to begin to reap the benefits of direct bookings. With no fees and faster payment processes, direct bookings will allow property owners and managers to have a closer relationship with holidaymakers and travellers.

What’s Next?

If you would like to find out more about becoming an I-PRAC approved member, visit our dedicated approval page to discover the benefits and next steps to becoming a legitimate operator. Alternatively, if you have a query or have recently been a victim of fraud, contact our team today.

For all the latest on KigoWorld 2020, stay up to date via the official KigoWorld website.