Damian Sheridan and Gianpaolo Vairo open the 2024 SCALE Show

Review: STR industry gathers for third SCALE Show in Barcelona

Spain: Short-term rental industry professionals convened in Barcelona for three days of education and networking, headlined by the SCALE Show, the third edition of the main SCALE event.

Held at the Fira de Barcelona – Pabellón Textil, the conference was structured across three days, including the main SCALE Show as well as SCALE Open [the inaugural edition, targeting all “ambitious and scaling short-term rental hosts, managers and operators from around the world”] and The Book Direct Show. For the first time ever, it featured a SCALE Stage, Knowledge Stage and Workshop Area, giving attendees even more chance to learn about pressing topics in the short-term rental segment from industry leaders.

At a time when consolidation is accelerating across the industry, the SCALE Show exclusively focuses on professional short-term rental property management companies managing a minimum of 20 units, and welcomed hundreds of the world’s leading accommodation providers to discuss industry growth trends and key themes such as artificial intelligence [AI], data trends exit strategies, profitability, PR, property acquisition, property management systems [PMS], online travel agencies [OTAs], owner relationships, regulation changes and technology.

Among the key acquisitions in the space so far this year have been Guesty acquiring Rentals United, Touch Stay selling to itrinity, and Urban Rest purchasing The Urban Butler.

Key highlights from the three-day conference included:

Sally Henry, vice president of business development, EMEA, at Key Data, highlighted the latest market trends from various markets across the global short-term rental landscape, sharing the most up-to-date tips for how to use data to optimise the performance of a portfolio.

Jessica Gillingham, founder and CEO of Abode Worldwide, hosted a panel session on ‘Women in Leadership’, featuring female entrepreneurs who were able to share their stories about leadership, entrepreneurship, company culture and the intricacies of building a successful short-term rental business. The likes of Noelia Novella [Doinn], Rebecca Cribbin [Holiday Rental Specialists] and Cynthia Huang [Dtravel] spoke candidly about their careers to date and the challenges and opportunities they had encountered so far.

Guesty’s Robin Clifford was the moderator for a talk about ‘Next-gen marketing: Leveraging AI to maximise revenue’, alongside Dale Smith [Host & Stay], Sally Henry [Key Data] and Shahar Goldboim [Boom]. Attendees had the opportunity to gain insights into how the panellists themselves create dynamic marketing strategies through AI and how they use it to effectively communicate their unique brand narrative to their ideal audience.

Richard Vaughton of Yes Consulting led a provocative conversation with the title ‘Direct booking is a waste of time unless you’re a supermanager or a superbrand’. Whether you agree with the sentiment or not, Vaughton discussed the benefits and virtues of continuing to use OTAs [e.g. for choice, consumer trust, reduced friction in booking and payment systems], while also providing some tongue-in-cheek comments about the book direct movement.

AJL Atelier CEO Simon Lehmann addressed the “fundamental reawakening in the vacation rental industry’, while underlining the importance of bridging ancient hospitality traditions with today’s challenges to highlight the industry’s core values. Amid the challenges currently facing the sector, the talk centred around the principles of uniting owners, guests and staff, and emphasising the shared journey towards value and mutual respect, in order to create a sustainable future for short-term rentals and professionalise the industry in line with other travel, hospitality and real estate verticals.

SCALE presentations will be made available to all attendees of the event in Barcelona.

Later this year, SCALE returns with a packed series of events worldwide, starting with SCALE Dubai [9-10 October], ahead of SCALE Italia [29 October], SCALE UK [6-7 November], and culminating with SCALE France [27-28 November]. SCALE was first created and launched in 2022 by Damian Sheridan and Gianpaolo Vairo, while the team was recently shortlisted for the 2024 Shortyz Awards in the inaugural ‘Team of the Year Award’ category.

Book your tickets for future SCALE events at their website here.

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