UK: In a bid to transform the short-term rental landscape and support the thousands of operators within it, the CEO of I-PRAC, Chris Maughan, has approved an investment of £1 million into the sector, via the company’s verification platform for rental professionals.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Maughan believes there is a great deal to be learned in order to encourage property owners to build more future-proof businesses. According to him, such businesses should focus on sustainability via fewer commissions and more consumer control; which can only happen through more direct bookings.
As the majority of rental businesses look to navigate these unforeseen and challenging times, they will be aiming to come out the other side with increased focus, clarity and strength. Through its most recent initiative, I-PRAC says it is offering such businesses the chance to become members of its verification platform for free, allowing them to “reap the same benefits as existing I-PRAC Approved members; including a huge upturn in consumer confidence and an increase in conversion rates”.
Increasingly, the future of the sector will depend on building profitable and sustainable businesses. Regardless of size and location, it is vital that operators now focus on:
- Trust and confidence
- Hygiene, cleanliness and safety
- Insurance and fair contractual terms
I-PRAC will open up its global verification platform for property owners and managers to join for free, with the offer on the table as of 1 May and lasting until 31 May. The £1 million will be used for 2,500 company memberships for the duration of 12 months, with the goal being to allow businesses the opportunity to recover post-pandemic, “test” the consumer market, and focus on building sustainable, direct bookings businesses, without a financial commitment.
Owners and rental managers will be able to renew their memberships at market rate after the 12-month period is over, should they wish, although they also have the option to discontinue their membership any time during the first year too.
The offering will also be rolled out to industry partners, including service providers, who have their own communities of agents and property owners.
In addition, existing I-PRAC members will be able to renew their memberships for free for their next 12 months [when renewal is due], giving them the opportunity to drive further direct bookings.
Maughan said: “Eventually, the travelling will resume but make no mistake, the short-term rental landscape will never return to how it used to be. The sector has now changed permanently; and it’s crucial that we as industry leaders continue to change with it.
“Since the launch of I-PRAC in 2016 [and after two years of research and development, I-PRAC membership has grown at a phenomenal rate. We have successfully reached 28 countries across the world, and it is now time for I-PRAC to give back to the industry and help support the rebuild of many businesses through our Free Membership Initiative,” he added.
I-PRAC was founded and funded by Maughan off the back of a “harrowing” real-life experience in 2014, when he was approached by a stranded family in Cannes who had fallen victim to rental fraud.
The company’s mission is now to protect travellers from booking fraudulent properties and falling victim to rental fraud, while also promoting legitimate operators in order to grow consumer trust in the short-term rental sector worldwide.
For more information, visit the I-PRAC website here.