Terrapinn’s Oliver Hannaford: HOST 2019 preview

UK: ShortTermRentalz spoke to Terrapinn event director for HOST 2019, Oliver Hannaford, about what we can expect for October’s event and which firms will be attending from the short-term rental space.

  • Please introduce yourself and tell us how you are involved with the HOST event?

“My name is Oliver Hannaford, and I’m directing the event. I joined Terrapinn last August and almost immediately started researching the conference – lots of calls with prominent figures in the industry to find out both whether the event was in demand, and also where the pain was in the short-term rental sector. I found out quite quickly that the event was in huge demand, and pain points weren’t difficult to come across. Since then, I’ve been responsible for the content, research, speakers, sponsorships, partnerships and all revenue on the event.”

  • What was the motivation for setting up the inaugural HOST short-term rental event? How will it be different to the other events that are already taking place throughout the year

“This is seen as a very new industry that seems to have exploded out of nowhere but everyone in the space, especially in the UK, knows that’s not the case. Rather than being a new industry, we think of it more as being a long-lasting, almost archaic industry that has recently (shall we say around… 2008?) been revolutionised quite aggressively. Since the industry has in fact been around since 1624 [according to Rentals United], this isn’t the first time someone has thought about running an event to bring together everyone in the space.”

“There are lots of very successful events around which solely serve the more professionalised end of the business – the large property managers, and tech providers. But what about those who have only been made aware of the industry in the last ten years? What about those who are curious about how much they can earn via short-let from their most valuable assets – real estate?”

“As we know, the market will be worth $170bn next year. It’s no secret that this is a result of internet and virality, Airbnb, and millennials being millennials. This rate of growth isn’t going to slow down any time soon, so how do those property investors who are unsure of whether to play in the space really make the decision as to whether they will? How do they succinctly find out how to go about doing so? How do those who are already using these platforms understand that they are running a fully-fledged business, and connect with the industry they are unwittingly part of? How do those who have pre-dated the OTAs connect and network with the new generation of vacation rentals? They need all the information in one place. That’s why we run events.”

“HOST is free to attend so whilst we will draw in anyone with a pre-determined interest in vacation/holiday rental events, we’re putting a lot of money in to drawing in fresh faces and people who are ready to invest money in their short-let business.”

  • What can visitors expect from this year’s Host, particularly in terms of sessions and speakers that you can reveal at this moment in time?

“Initially, I think visitors will be surprised at the scale of the event. It’s going to be fast-paced, very expansive, and jam-packed full of important and insightful content from across all the verticals of the short-term rental space. We’ve got five theatres covering:

  1. Business Strategy and Growth
  2. Tech & Innovation
  3. Marketing, Distribution and Sales
  4. Regulation, Finance and Tax
  5. Business Partnerships

“Whilst those are the overarching themes, we’re really looking at everything that’s relevant from what effect large hotel groups are having and how they are reacting to the rental industry, to how for example quirky properties across Europe are competing with business-tailored apartments in London. We’ll be hearing success stories and lessons learned from those who have and are doing it, and we’ll hear from those who are innovating in every corner of the vacation rental world.”

“We have 130 incredible speakers on board already. From leading hospitality brands like Marriott International and Sonder, through to hosts at some of the hottest properties in Europe, through to some of the most interesting innovations affecting hosts like what3words – a geocoding startup who are redefining the notion of coordinates and maps. I’d love to write about every single speaker we have, but you can see them here on our website.”

  • Do you have long-term plans in place for the growth of this event?

“If you’ve come across Terrapinn before, you’ll know we have a history of running events that focus on the future of lots of different industries, and we run them all over the world. We take a long-term view on events and they become brands. Take for example our Aviation Festival (at the same venue as HOST), which has now been running annually since 2003 and now has an agenda laden with major airline CEOs.”

“As well as HOST, we launched MOVE this year. MOVE had 2,888 people attend but is looking at 7,000 people for 2020.”

“HOST will be annual, and we will keep tabs on the global markets to see whether we’re going to have overseas editions…”

  • So… how is it funded?

“HOST is fully funded by our sponsors and exhibitors. They are our only revenue stream. Special thanks goes to our first four sponsors, HomeAway, Guesty, GuardHog and Yapstone, and our exhibitors (see here). Without them, this event really couldn’t take place. Hopefully we can continue to receive support from across the industry.”

  • Why should people attend in three words?

“Get more guests!”

  • How can people get tickets to attend HOST?

“You can register now for free with this link!”

HOST 2019 takes place at the Business Design Centre in London from 31 October to 1 November.