Short Stay Summit
Sykes CEO Graham Donoghue in conversation with AirDNA's James Kinnersly [Credit: Piers Brown]

Short Stay Summit 2024 round-up

UK: More than 1,300 industry thought leaders and innovators convened at Old Billingsgate in London last week for the latest edition of the Short Stay Summit Europe, which is organised annually and powered by the UK Short Term Accommodation Association [STAA] and the European Holiday Home Association [EHHA].

Taking place the day after the 2024 Shortyz Awards, the Short Stay Summit Europe is a leading business conference and exhibition for short-term rental property managers and owners, enabling attendees and industry stakeholders to listen in to educational talks, expand their networks and exchange best practices to learn from one another, while celebrating the resilience and unity of the sector in the face of challenges.

The Summit also claims to be the only non-for-profit event for the short-term rental industry, which positions value and education at the centre of its decision making.

Once again, STRz was a headline media partner for the event, while 69 exhibitors, comprising property management companies, online travel agencies [OTAs], suppliers, associations and publications, were on hand to showcase their products and services, as well as the depth and breadth of innovation within the sector.

Following an introduction from STAA CEO Andy Fenner and new STAA chair Fiona MacConnacher, the Summit launched into a jam-packed agenda which addressed all of the key topics in the minds of property managers and owners.

The short-term rental landscape is vastly different to what it was 12 months ago when the Summit was last held, with the overhanging threat of regulations and the scrapping of tax relief in the UK, licensing schemes being introduced across Europe, and a standardised EU legislative framework moving closer. At the same time, the industry is dealing with continued political uncertainty and economic volatility, as STAA director general Shomik Panda discussed in conversation with political journalist and broadcaster, Isabel Oakeshott.

This uncertainty and volatility is having a knock-on effect in funding circles, but the signs are that investor interest in the short-term rental segment remains steadfast and that further consolidation through mergers and acquisitions [M&A] is on its way this year. The likes of Guesty, Blueground and Bob W have all raised significant funds this year, and should signal an uptick in confidence for the rest of the sector.

Topics such as the evolution of travel shifts and behaviour [as length of stays increase], technological innovation [e.g. ChatGPT, artificial intelligence etc] and sustainable communications and marketing were pertinent threads in conversations throughout the day, enabling Summit visitors to listen in to the insights of prominent thought leaders and take away vital notes and observations for their own respective businesses.

Sessions were spread across a main stage and workshop stage, attracting big crowds throughout the day, while there was also an invite-only CEO Round Table, and for the first time at the Summit, face-to-face Ask the Expert sessions.

Dany Williams, head of development at the UK STAA, said: “The STAA’s Short Stay Summit was a phenomenal day for the sector, with truly enlightening conversations tackling the biggest challenges facing our industry right now. For my first industry event, I couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome.

“The most valuable part of the day for many was speaking to STAA members on the ground, and learning more about how the association can best help them to keep revenues strong in a changing marketplace.

“Sessions covered topics as wide-ranging as investor interest, adaptability as new travel trends come faster than ever before, and the social and environmental responsibilities of companies in tourism. Of course, regulation was a key theme, and the STAA board were able to showcase their expertise in such a changeable field.

“However, the lobbying and hard work don’t end when the lights go off at Old Billingsgate. The STAA works year-round to make sure its members are informed of legislative changes, have the tools they need to make their businesses thrive, and have a voice for the industry in political forums,” she added.

Andy Fenner, CEO of the UK STAA, said: “As the STAA’s flagship event, the Short Stay Summit has grown into the most vital date in the sector’s calendar. The event and the STAA’s success is down to our complete focus on working for our members and our industry.

“The Summit is an amazing showcase for the work the STAA does helping businesses in our industry thrive and grow, not just through sessions and conversations on the day, but every day of the year through lobbying and dedication to being a voice for our members,” he added.

Stay tuned for plenty of Short Stay Summit interview content over the next week. For more details about the event and to keep updated with news about the 2025 event, visit the Short Stay Summit Europe website here.

As a trade association for the short-term rental sector in the UK, The UK Short Term Accommodation Association [STAA] exists to represent the industry to policymakers, improve standards through education and stakeholder engagement, and drive growth opportunities for its members by creating a community of like-minded businesses. Its aim is to support the sustainable growth and continued development of the industry in the British Isles. Visit the STAA website here to learn more about membership.

Founded in 2013, The European Holiday Home Association [EHHA] gives a voice to the short term rental [STR] industry. The EHHA members are online STR platforms as well as national trade associations that represent professionally managed serviced apartments, property managers and property owners in Europe. Follow this link if you are interested in becoming an EHHA member.

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