When I attended the More Bookings Direct Conference in February 2020, the coronavirus crisis hadn’t quite reached its “peak”. In-light of the current circumstances, I am now sharing an in-depth report which not only covers the conference, but has the potential to be a lifeline for short-term rental businesses, across the globe.
For decades, the economy and industry professionals have basked in the benefits of STR. However, what is often overlooked, is how the sector itself is associated (albeit unintentionally) with OTAs like Airbnb and Booking.Com.
Those who have solely relied on listing their properties on OTAs are now bearing the biggest brunt of this global pandemic. A recent article by wired.co.uk described how covid-19 has initiated the “Airbnb Apocalypse”. Thousands of short-stay bookings have been cancelled (in London alone), despite prices being continuously decreased. Whilst Airbnb has waived cancellation fees for guests and are now offering full refunds, after amending their Extenuating Circumstances Policy, hosts are still left massively out-of-pocket. Refunds are of course, flooding out; but barely a fraction of the “usual” income is coming in.
There is learning with every catastrophe. And what has become strikingly obvious in recent weeks, is that direct bookings is the answer to building more sustainable, “future-proof” STR businesses.
One such industry leader who noticed the impact OTAs have been having on short-term rental businesses, long before the coronavirus crisis, is Damian Sheridan, who hosted the inaugural More Bookings Direct Conference in Battersea London.
Featured in this report is Damian Sheridan, headline sponsors I-PRAC and Zeevou, and keynote speakers of the conference: Chris Maughan, Ammar Shaer, Alan Egan, Louise Brace, Deborah Labi, Mark Simpson, Moriya Rockman, Phil Tester, Yvonne Halling, Steve Kopandy, and James Mitchell.
All the information cited from various media platforms/ resources was accurate at the time of writing this report.
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