Short-term rental industry unites for inaugural HOST 2019 event: Review

UK: The inaugural HOST event [HOST 2019], organised by global events organiser, Terrapinn, had lift-off this week as the short-term rental industry came together for a two-day free-to-attend event at London’s Business Design Centre to dissect the latest news, innovations and movement taking place in the space.

The conference welcomed industry professionals, including rentalpreneurs and hosts, holiday home and rental villa operators, channel managers, OTA representatives, property management companies, sharing economy insurance firms, suppliers, investors, media and more to share their experiences about how they are pioneering growth and expansion within the short-term rental industry.

HOST was principally designed to teach attendees, including operators and hosts, how to:

  • Make real money from your most valuable asset – your home
  • Get started in the holiday rental business
  • Navigate pitfalls
  • Choose the best partners

Attendees could sit in on any of the talks and keynote speeches taking place across five free conferences: Business Strategy and Growth; Technology and Innovation; Marketing, Distribution and Sales; Regulation, Finance and Tax; and Business Partnerships.

A talk in the Business, Strategy and Growth theatre [Credit: George Sell]
The ShortTermRentalz team was also present on both days at stand 1B as media sponsors, meeting new and existing clients and driving nominations for next year’s first Shortyz Awards for the industry, which will take place on Wednesday 11 March 2020. For more information on the awards, categories, judging panel and how to complete the nomination process, visit our newly-launched Shortyz website here.

In addition, news editor Paul Stevens chaired the morning session on Day Two at the Marketing, Distribution and Sales theatre, introducing to stage Andrea Gerosa [Think Young], Pieter Hamman [Glazebrook House], Mark Forrester [80 Days], Eleanor Nezic [Sloane Collection], Robert Geller [FabStayz] and GuardHog’s CEO and COO, Humphrey Bowles and Andrew Boldt.

Chairing sessions at HOST 2019 [Credit: Eloise Hanson]
Kicking off HOST 2019, global business manager for travel at Google, Shaun Aukland, gave his speech on ‘Short-term rentals in the age of assistance’, in which he outlined some of the major emerging trends in changing consumer travel and advised the audience how they could “drive growth in their businesses and be successful”.

The main takeaways from Aukland’s presentation were:

  • The three major trends for consumers in travel are revealed as “curious” [a 300 per cent rise in Google searches for “best travel pillows”] “demanding” [64 per cent of those surveyed expect companies to share relevant information] and “impatient” [69 per cent of those surveyed want a “fast mobile site”]
  • The booking journey is becoming more complicated, leading to more sessions over more days, while unmet needs deter bookings twice as often as price
  • Companies need to get the right information in front of consumers quickly [Expedia]
  • Now that Google has launched its vacation rental category on mobile and desktop, there has been a 500 per cent rise in searches for events or attractions “near me” on mobile in the last five years
  • Video exposure can lead to faster decision making
  • It is important for companies to customise content for a diverse group of travellers
  • Impatient is about being as fast as possible: 66 per cent of travellers are not favourable to websites that are slow, so you should know how your mobile site stacks up and you must be assertive throughout the customer journey

Among the other keynote highlights were: Marriott International’s Chris Stephenson on “What large hotel groups can bring to the party”; HomeAway’s Karen Mullins on “The future is bright”; and Chilango’s Eric Partaker on “10x you to 10x your business”.

Marloes Knippenberg, CEO of Kerten Hospitality [Credit: Piers Brown]
Terrapinn event director for HOST 2019, Oliver Hannaford, summarised: “We are thrilled with the success for the first edition of HOST. We saw 2,568 attendees watch 198 speakers across the five theatres which surrounded a marketplace of 134 industry-leading vendors.”

Hannaford also teased exciting news for how Terrapinn would be looking to expand HOST in 2020, given the footfall seen at this year’s first-ever edition of the event.

“Based off of our initial feedback forms, we can see that HOST is not only the biggest, but the most important short-term rental event in the world – we can’t wait to make HOST 2020 even better,” he added.

For more information on HOST 2019 and how to sign up for a stand for the 2020 event, visit the Terrapinn website here.