eviivo CEO Michele Fitzpatrick

STRz spotlight: eviivo CEO Michele Fitzpatrick

Worldwide: eviivo CEO Michele Fitzpatrick speaks to STRz about the travel tech company’s evolving mission and recent launch of eviivo Collective, why it is important to recognise everyone in the travel and tourism sector from short-term rental hosts to boutique hoteliers, and the latest booking trends in terms of booking windows and seasonality.

  • Please introduce yourself, eviivo and the services you provide in the short-term rental / hospitality industry.

Thank you, Paul. As the CEO of eviivo, a leading hospitality tech company, I’m proud to deliver with our fantastic global team an award-winning, all-in-one guest and booking management system to our customers, with mobile capabilities at its core. For too long, the hospitality industry has been serviced by a patchwork of technologies or widgets that simply do not work as “one”, resulting in inefficiencies, high operational and training costs, and incompatibilities that hinder both growth and customer service. So, our vision is simple and effective: deliver a top quality all-in-one system that services well over 80 per cent of a vacation rental’s business needs, and integrates seamlessly and deeply with major advertisers and travel agencies. We work with all independently owned properties, whether it is a boutique hotel, vacation rental, castle, inn, B&B, Airbnb, campsite and more.

  • Given 2023 marks the 10-year anniversary milestone of eviivo Suite, your original ‘all-in-one’ cloud booking system, what are you aiming to achieve and how has your mission evolved over time?

At first, we have to put a lot effort in the core architecture and building blocks to seamlessly create a hotelier, owner or host’s PMS, website, all OTA connectivity and critical payment integration in one system. Our focus over time has now shifted more toward guest management, owner management, and financial reporting / accounting. We’re pleased with the success of our customers’ businesses thriving post-pandemic, and they always have resources in our Trade Secrets, webinars and eviivo University that helps them maximise gains in bookings.

  • As a travel tech company, what is your thinking behind the launch of eviivo Collective? Why now?

eviivo simply loves, appreciates and is a true champion for the independent accommodation sector. We know that most players in the VR and hospitality space are small businesses, so they do not always not get the airtime they deserve. We’ve been actively supporting the sector for 10 years, often with programmes like our eviivo awards [deemed “The Oscars of Independent Accommodations” by The Daily Mail], International Week of The Host, Stay for Heroes, registering Indepndent Accommodations Day and numerous campaigns that put our industry in the spotlight.

What eviivo Collective does is put all of these great initiatives into one programme on a global scale and take our commitment to the next level.

Our team across Europe, the UK and the United States have done a superb job in getting top recommendations and visibility in top-tier publications for many of our customers to recognise their professionalism, hard work and basically say “thank you” for being outstanding in the industry. Their success is our success.

  • Why did eviivo feel a responsibility to highlight independent properties and property owners with its officially registered global Independent Accommodations Day?

As mentioned earlier, we wanted to go big and do something on a large scale to recognise those in our industry. There is no other day like this. We decided to register and invite everyone to play, including our competitors, because anyone in the sector deserves a day of recognition for all they do for travel and tourism.

This day is not about eviivo; it’s about the sector. A vibrant sector is good for our customers and good for eviivo, and after more than two years of the pandemic, and an inflationary cost-of-living crisis, we thought that it was time for some respite, celebration and some good news to cheer about as well.

  • How is eviivo continuing to adapt to new technologies with eviivo Suite and your mobile app in order to provide a best-in-class product?

We are delivering new releases every single month. Most importantly, we listen to our customers. We now run product focus groups with key customers all over the world.

Our focus right now continues to be on integration and automation, which is absolutely the future. We may integrate with fewer third party platforms than our competitors, but when we do, we do so deeply and reliably. Guest and owner management is currently our main focus as well as giving customers the ability to acquire stock and manage their portfolio more easily.

  • How is eviivo able to support hosts and owners, hoteliers and boutique hoteliers in an increasingly competitive hospitality landscape?

Yes, we operate in an increasingly competitive market.  There is very little concentration in the sector, which is huge, highly fragmented with new entrants all the time. Not only do we have a superb customer service and an award-winning and reliable suite and mobile app — which has been wildly successful; over 80 per cent of our customers have downloaded and use it — we offer invaluable, research-intensive resources, such as our Trade Secrets, free webinars, and we actively promote properties through our social media and press.

In celebration of eviivo Collective’s launch, we worked with some of our more ‘luxury’ properties on a limited time sale, which brings them visibility and awareness. They were truly excited about participating. So the smallest things like this make a huge impact, and we’re proud to go above and beyond for our customers.

  • What are the key guest and consumer booking / length of stay trends etc you are observing at eviivo?

Just after Covid, booking windows shortened considerably. These windows are back to normal and longer than before, possibly as a direct result of inflationary pressures, as people shop for early bargains again. We also notice that seasons are less clearly marked – we have just seen a record quarter in the last three months. This used to be the worst quarter.

While school holidays continue to affect seasonality for many families, more people work from home now, and it seems that for a large number of travellers, any time is now a good time for a holiday, not just the summer.

We also see higher levels of recurring business in the VR space, than in the hotel space. An increasing number of travellers like returning to the same villa, hotel or cabin that they enjoyed for their first stay.

If someone’s work life has moved to their home, they may want their vacation time to really become family time, rather than adventure or discovery. Going back to a place you know and enjoy, is the easier option, for it’s nostalgic, and nostalgia has been proven to increase quality of life and wellness, which is what many travellers seek post pandemic.

  • Do you expect unique accommodations to continue to gain traction – what is most in demand?

Definitely. The best-selling argument is quality of service and cleanliness.  This is less about price or exotism. It is more about cleanliness, no surprise, and no hassle bookings. Just a quality break is what’s really trending.

  • What are your plans for the future of eviivo? Are there any more “groundbreaking” announcements to come?

Always! One of our main, groundbreaking projects will come in 2024, and we’re truly excited to be working on it.

We also have plenty of smaller releases planned this year – all focused on helping our customers ease and speed up their own acquisition process.

Be in the know.

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