It’s been a rickety road for the short-term rental sector in recent years. But now that traveller demands are back on the horizon and more hosts are looking to scale their STR ventures, the need for accreditation is greater than ever. Nevertheless, despite the up-and-down in the industry, there’s one such leader who has continued to invest in his company, for the greater good of the community. Chris Maughan’s latest £5 million investment in I-PRAC has made way for a new era of growth and positive change. The company has appointed Neely Khan as Managing Director – Maughan has officially passed on the baton.
Founded in 2016, I-PRAC is the short-term rental industry’s only accreditation and membership platform. The company verifies STR hosts and agencies – via a rigorous application process – before honouring them with an I-PRAC Approved logo that is entirely unique to them and cannot be replicated.
This ‘Badge of Trust’ shows travellers that the short-term rental operator has been verified and can therefore guarantee 100% trust and protection against holiday rental fraud and poor hospitality standards – something that online travel agencies have never been able to do.
Maughan invested half a million Euros of his own money to set up I-PRAC, in a bid to ‘clean up the industry’. The entrepreneur was approached by a stranded family in Cannes back in 2014, just after they had realised that the short-term rental property they had booked for a holiday didn’t exist, leaving them €15000 out of pocket.
Horrified by the family’s ordeal, Maughan took it upon himself to create a solution for the industry – which has seen travellers lose millions (collectively) to fraudulent operators.
Since its inception, I-PRAC has approved thousands of legitimate short-term rental hosts and agencies, across 28 countries. Thereby, eliminating guest uncertainty and dramatically improving the overall experience, and helping STR operators garner more direct bookings. It’s a win-win all round and I-PRAC continues to educate the sector about the threat of rental fraud (and how to overcome it), as well as how to build a trusted hospitality brand.
Now that Maughan is increasingly busy with his own luxury short-term rental business in the South of France (AES Events, which has been running successfully for twenty years), he makes the decision of bringing a new leader into I-PRAC’s senior team – one who understands the company intimately well.
Neely Khan has been working closely with Maughan for several years. The UK-based hospitality writer first met with Maughan in Cannes, when I-PRAC was in the early stages of its monumental growth. Khan then went on to become I-PRAC’s lead writer/ reporter and eventually, Head of Content and Senior Research Journalist. The pair launched a number of successful projects together, including the growth of I-PRAC’s one-of-a-kind ‘Resource Hub’, the COVID-19 Initiative (for STR hosts who were struggling during the pandemic), a high-production short film/ advertisement, and most recently, the launch of the industry’s first Rental Fraud Awareness Week.
Khan brings a unique set of skills and experience with her, for the next phase of I-PRAC’s growth. Through her own hospitality content and storytelling business, the writer has collaborated with a number of high-end hospitality brands (across the world), authored books and fiction podcasts, and spoken on global stages about the importance of storytelling, trust and authenticity for short-term rental business growth. The new MD is expected to lead with fresh, innovative, and creative ideas for the ongoing growth of I-PRAC, while also maintaining the ethos and identity of the brand that Maughan has so thoughtfully curated.
“Expect content. Lots of content! Over the years, Chris has worked hard to ensure that I-PRAC is known for its commitment to education and value – and that’s something we’d both like to build upon. Because that’s where honest growth starts. We don’t do shortcuts at I-PRAC, they simply don’t exist. Everything is detail-oriented, quality-driven, and in the genuine interest of our members, travellers, and the industry at large. As we continue to showcase the real threat of holiday rental fraud, the importance of trust psychology, and how STR operators can build a trusted brand that’ll outlive trends and shoddy schemes, we certainly have our work cut out for us! But I’m incredibly excited to get going. Not only am I professionally (and personally) invested in I-PRAC, I’m thankful to Chris for trusting me with this opportunity. He was my first client in this industry many years ago; and the support he’s become over the years is second to none. I’m very fortunate to now be able to play a part in nurturing his baby, I-PRAC.”
Maughan will continue to play an active role in the business, offering value on podcasts, articles, and via his networking in the STR community. However, now with the support of Neely Khan, who will take the lead on a number of projects. Both leaders have teased the launch of several upcoming initiatives, which is said to grow I-PRAC’s positive influence in the industry and largely benefit its verified members.
The CEO says:
“Neely not only understands I-PRAC as a business, she has a thoughtful insight of the brand’s values and core mission – which is the most important part of working with I-PRAC. Her taking on the role of Managing Director (with me stepping into more of a Board position) is perhaps one of the most important decisions we’ve made at I-PRAC, since our launch in 2016. I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Neely as we’ve grown the brand with a plethora of trust-related reports, articles, and research; and a very focused content marketing strategy. I’ve seen her grow as a writer and evolve into a true short-term rental industry leader. Watching Neely embrace the challenges of taking I-PRAC to new heights, with our additional investment, is going to be very exciting. I’m thoroughly keen to see the new I-PRAC come together, under Neely’s creative direction”.
To keep up-to-speed on I-PRAC’s new era of growth, follow the company on social media and connect with Chris Maughan and Neely Khan on LinkedIn. The team is keen to provide even more value to its growing community, so now is the best time to enquire about becoming an I-PRAC Approved Member.
Contact [email protected] for more information.