10 takeaways from the VRMA European Conference last week

March 14, 2018

Last week, some members of the Hostaway team were in Paris at the VRMA European Conference. The event was very interesting and we saw many partners and customers at the event. We also attended some of the sessions and here is a summary of 10 things we took away from presentation from Phocuswright, Airbnb, Booking.com and Google Travel:

  1. The private accommodation sector is bigger than ever, and distribution (Airbnb, Booking.com, Homeaway, etc.) is defining the future of the industry. Online intermediaries accounted for 42% of the total bookings in 2016, with an estimate that the total online gross bookings (booked and paid for online) will rise from 31% in 2010 to 72% by 2020!
  2. The term of “Alternative Lodging” is over, and we should no longer refer to it as “alternative” ;) Why do travellers choose a hotel or a rental? For the same reason: price and location! However, the speakers reminded us that rentals stays will be more hotel-like, having guest experience at its core. Travellers want more than a home: they want to live experiences!
  3. For Airbnb, more and more travellers now book in “Vacation Rentals” destinations (beach, mountain, rural) with a growth rate of 70% (2017 vs. 2018). However, Phocuswright pointed out that urban rentals are also here to stay. Research from Booking.com shows that beach holiday (48%) and city trip (39%) top the list of the most likely trips to be taken in 2018.
  4. In regards to the accommodation type, for Booking.com, next to hotels, 38% of people say they are planning to stay in apartments, aparthotels or condos in 2018 which is up from 27% in 2017. Villas will also go up to 31% and lodge, country house or cottage is a top choice for 20% of the surveyants by Booking.com. So Point 4 and 5 are great news as the opportunity is there for vacation rentals of all types!
  5. Booking.com also talked about the increase of the Solo Traveller, they may visit Friends or Family but are travelling on their own to the destination. They also told us that according to their data 30% of Business Travellers do want to extend their trip for leisure (this stats is higher for Spanish and British business travellers reaching 38%).
  6. Airbnb is also taking the Business Travellers seriously as well as Luxury Travellers. After launching Airbnb Plus and Collection, Airbnb will shortly launch Beyond with the message primarily focused on “the trip of a lifetime” and a very luxury feeling attached.
  7. Travellers want flexibility and this is needed in the industry to accommodate shorter stays and avoid the Saturday-Saturday thinking. Airbnb reinforced that their bookings were last-minute and short stays are the new “Saturday to Saturday” (nearly 90% of their bookings from them being for stays of less than a week and 40% being last minute). Booking.com also reinforce this with the stat that on average 73% of travellers will take a short-break domestic break in 2018 (this statistic is higher reaching 80% for Spain, Hungary, Italy and Portugal).
  8. Google keeps investing in the travel industry (also focusing on becoming an Artificial Intelligence company). Their interest in the "Alternative Lodging", as they called it, is increasing and they see the Vacation Rental as an opportunity for both them and Property Managers.
  9. Google Travel also reminded us that "digital should be at the core of everything we do". We’ll be posting more details about technology in the industry shortly!
  10. Finally, a fun fact: *did you know that every minute 200 guests do check into an Airbnb property? *

The sessions provided some tips and recommendations about what travellers are looking for when searching for acommodation as well as their main worries, more about this in our blog soon too!

What do you think? Did you also attend the conference and have other key learning or takeaways? Let us know!

We hope you find our summary useful, The Hostaway Team