Schedule of Events

Note: Schedule subject to change. Please click on the session name for description, track, and speaker information.

Registration is located on lower level of the hotel and will be open during the following times:

Sunday, 4 March: 11:00 – 20:00
Monday, 5 March: 8:00 – 19:00
Tuesday, 6 March: 8:00 – 17:00

Your registration badge is your ticket into all programming, networking, and meal functions. Please wear your name badge at all conference functions.

Sunday, 4 March
18:00 - 20:00  
Welcome Reception
Sponsored by TripAdvisor Rentals

Monday, 5 March
9:00 - 10:15
Welcome and Opening Plenary Session: Javier Delgado Muerza

Currently Head of Vertical Search for Europe Middle East & Africa (EMEA) at Google, Javier Delgado Muerza leads the team that provides vertical specific solutions. His main focus in this position is maximizing yield from digital marketing and distribution investments for Google´s biggest and most sophisticated travel players in the region. Prior to joining Google in 2011, Muerza spent over eight years at Expedia INC, where he held different managerial positions in lodging supply, air supply and white label distribution across Southern Europe and the Middle East. He started his career in Iberia Airlines & Gate Gourmet, moving later on to Globalia, the leading travel services provider in Spain where he directed the launch of a new brand within the company's portfolio.
10:15 - 11:00
Break

11:00 - 12:00
Concurrent Sessions
  • Advocacy Toolkit 2.0: Be the Spark that Ignites or Revives a Firewall Against Rental Bans!
    Presented by Peter Allen, Managing Director, Agoda Outside, Agoda; Eric Bordier, Partner, CEO, and Co-Founder, LiveRez, RENTeGo Prague and VR Booster; Marie Pistinier, Owner, Paris Be a Part of It

    Track: Finance and Legal Operations

    In this session, we will put together an advocacy 2.0 toolkit that will be a hands-on experience in Prague and leverage the experience of session participants and experts present at the conference. Questions we will address include:

    1. Which arguments and studies can we use? Which objections do we face?

    2. Which modern tools can we use to leverage the help of many vacation rental managers, their teams and professionals?

    3. What processes can one use to start a common objective and end up many? What are the pitfalls?

    4. What are the official and real attitudes of all stakeholders, including big players like Airbnb, HomeAway, Booking.com?

  • Trends and Insights Shaping the European Vacation Rental Industry with Airbnb and Booking.com
    Presented by Florent Sciberras, Territory Manager, France and Belgium, Airbnb; Remy van Leeuwen, Product Innovation Manager, Booking.com

    Track: Business Strategy

    This session will combine findings from both Booking.com and Airbnb as they relate to travel trends in Europe.

  • Using PR and Earned Media to Increase Your Digital Presence and Create Trust in Your Brand
    Presented by Jessica Gillingham, Director, Adobe PR

    Track: Marketing

    In this session, you will learn how PR and earned media coverage can increase the online visibility of your vacation rental business and boost your organic search results. This session is ideal for any property manager or rental business looking to boost direct bookings, develop their business brand, and understand why it is fundamental to add a digital PR strategy to their marketing mix. Attendees will learn how to work effectively with the media, the importance of providing valuable content that online publishers want to use, how to use your expertise to develop a storytelling approach to PR and content marketing, and how to add value to current trends and topics to ensure your business is part of the influencer conversation.



12:15 - 13:00
Concurrent Sessions
  • The Courage of Embracing Change and the Power in Knowing Your Guest
    Presented by Jouke Baaima, Managing Director, Corporate Housing Factory; Jolanda Kamphuis, Managing Director, De Krim Texel; Severine Obertelli

    Track: Guest Relations

    Business strategy, trends, marketing, technology, guest experience,distribution and data: getting inspired by the defined views of Krim’s and CHF's strategy. While Krim is a successful property manager who has been able to use technology to boost its business strategy and grow organically a multi million euros organisation in its niche geographical market: Texel island in The Netherlands, CHF operates a younger organization out of its Amsterdam HQ which focuses on providing serviced apartments to mainly corporate clients. In this session we will talk about change, vision, successes and challenges. We will also help exploring the differences and possible opportunities lying between cities and coutryside/seaside operators, and leisure and corporate clients, with the intent to share and bounce inspiration with the audience.

  • The Real Truth of Working with OTAs - Unfiltered and Updated for 2018
    Presented by Steve Milo, CEO, VTrips

    Track: Marketing

    The OTA landscape continues to dramatically change especially for property managers who advertise on third party web sites. Meanwhile, Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway, Expedia, and many other third party integrators, software providers, and web marketing firms are pitching property managers to let them distribute their inventory for a fee. In this very candid session, Steve Milo of Vacation Rental Pros provides unfiltered detailed information on the real pros and cons of working with each of the major OTAs and the OTA middlemen. In addition, Milo will also share real revenue numbers through 2018 that may surprise you.

  • Everything You Need to Know to Successfully Sell Your Company
    Presented by Eric Breon, Co-Founder and CEO, Vacasa; Bob Milne, COO, Vacasa

    Track: Business Strategy

    The decision to sell your company is one of the most important decisions in a business owner’s career. During this session, Vacasa’s Co-founders, Eric Breon and Cliff Johnson, will provide a 360-degree view of the entire sale process, from finding the right acquisition partner and negotiating the best price, to seamlessly transitioning operations to the new company. The integration process before, during, and after a sale will be covered, including technology migration, marketing and branding integration, employee and contractor transition, and reputation management. The business owners’ personal transitions through the sale process, which are often the most challenging, will also be discussed.



13:00 - 14:15
Networking Lunch

14:15 - 15:15
Concurrent Sessions
  • Seven Ways to Attract More Bookings in the Off-Season
    Presented by Thibault Masson, Product Marketing Manager, Booking.com

    Track: Marketing

    This session shares practices to get bookings gathered by Booking.com while interviewing property managers. These best practices go beyond using online travel websites and can be used by property managers and owners to:

    1. Determine what low season is and who your ideal low-season guest is.

    2. Leverage your customer base by contacting previous guests, asking for referrals from previous guests, and contacting people who had inquired, but did not book.

    3. Effectively update your listing.

    4. Craft low season policies.

    5. Make weekdays attractive.

    6. Add amenities that convert well in the low season

    7. Add to your portfolio of properties that attract low season travelers, business guests, and corporate retreats.

  • The Smart Home and Other On-Property Services: How Amazon, Google, and Apple Will Revolutionize VR
  • Presented by Alex Nigg, Founder and CEO, Properly

    Track: Business Strategy

    In this session we will review three of the key smart home contenders, and how their offerings are relevant to vacation rental managers. From using these devices to capture guest contact and payment information, to delivering innovative services (grocery and restaurant delivery, property guides, local experiences), to participating in the associated revenue streams, to using them as hubs to automate the smart home and support other local services, we will examine strategies that leverage these interesting developments and align managers with some potentially powerful allies in the battle for the guest.

    What Vacation Rentals Can Learn from Hotels
    Presented by Anurag Verma, Co-founder and Head of Analytics, PriceLabs; Imran Latif, Owner, Hometown Holiday Homes Rental LLC; Walid Shihabi, Hometown Holiday Homes Rental LLC

    Track: Business Strategy

    We break-down vacation rental management into various streams (e.g., daily operations, reservations handling, sales, marketing, revenue management, long term planning) and compare and contrast how these are done in the hotel industry. The primary aim of this comparison is to understand what strategic advantages hotels have, and understand how VRs can position themselves to best overcome these. Some examples include (not all of these are things that VRs can or should emulate, but can something be learnt from these?):

    1. Daily Operations: Hotels have an advantage - all rooms co-located, dedicated cleaning crew can be hired; VRs are spread out, and inventory isn't constant - makes cleaning costs higher since travel time might get added. Are there ways VRMs have overcome this?

    2. Guest Experience: Support staff/front desk is always on site at a hotel. How can technology help VRs address this shortcoming?

    - Sales: Chain hotels tend to have large network presence in multiple cities, and are able to strike corporate deals for business stay.

    3. Marketing: The large network of hotels also allows them to have loyalty programs to encourage return customers.

    4. Revenue Management: hotels have a very different model where they own all inventory and can go as low as possible from a cost perspective; VRs have owner agreements that can include the lowest price.

    5. Room scheduling: Hotels have hundreds of the same room that they can sell at different rates; VRs prefer to have all properties sold about the same so some owners aren't left with no bookings while others are fully booked. This can reduce the overall revenue - since rooms aren't assigned till the end, hotels can reshuffle guests around to remove short gaps in bookings, while VRs are not at a liberty to do so.

    6. Long term planning: New hotels pop-up frequently enough, and hotels do a lot of location analysis before doing so. VRs take whatever inventory is available in the market.

15:30 - 16:15


Concurrent Session 

  • Drive Direct Bookings & Gain Independence with a Successful Online Strategy
    Presented by Ned Lucks, CTO and Partner, Bluetent

    Track: Marketing

    Online travel agencies have significantly contributed to the overall growth of the rental industry by providing managers with high-quality leads and reservations. However, the long-term success of the individual manager depends on developing a robust eCommerce strategy, with minimal commissions and fees; an approach that provides independence and sustainability with an exceptional user experience and thoughtful marketing.In this interactive discussion, Ned Lucks, Chief Technology Officer at Bluetent, will address how to develop an inspiring online presence with diverse distribution and share case studies of how direct booking strategies have supported rental businesses in the States. Direct eCommerce websites have been a focal point of holiday managers across North America, and with good reason. Now is the time to embrace opportunities with OTA’s to engage new guests and keep these guests returning year after year.

  • Property Care: Unlocking Your Special Power to Compete in the New Vacation Rental Market
    Presented by Jeremy Gall, Founder and CEO, Breezeway

    Track: Business Strategy

    With growing public awareness, increased competition and the attention of OTAs and hotel chains, vacation rentals are officially big business. Success in the new vacation rental market hinges on executing a comprehensive and smart property care program, from guest preparation to preventative maintenance, that promotes and defines your brand. The same intelligence that drives marketing budgets, dynamic rates and website optimization needs to be applied to property care programs. Managers cannot afford to continue running their operations the old-fashioned way. In this session, we’ll discuss how to leverage data and comprehensive service programs and manager’s special local advantages to delight guests, owners and drive the successful growth of a rental management business.

  • Tech Enabled PMs and the Future Barons of Urban Hospitality
    Presented by Alex Ward, Global Lead - Special Projects & Multifamily, Host Team, Airbnb

    Track: Technology

    A new breed of urban-focused property managers have built their businesses from the ground up with a technology-first mindset. These operators are focused on quality and hospitality, while keeping a keen eye towards maximizing the efficiency of their operations. In this session, we explore the opportunities and challenges that will define the future of the next barons of urban hospitality.


16:15 - 17:00

Break 
17:00 - 18:00
Industry Trends Panel Discussion
Moderated by Simon Lehmann, Senior Advisor, Phocuswright

Panelists include Carla D'Orsi, TripAdvisor | Emmanuel Marill, Country Manager - France, Airbnb | Timothee de Roux, Regional Director, HomeAway France | Gianbattista Vespucci, Booking.com

In addition to spending valuable networking time with sponsors, hear more insights from leading OTAs during the closing general session on Monday evening. Representatives from Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway and TripAdvisor will discuss the leading industry issues and trends and the outlook for the holiday home industry. The panel will share techniques to help grow your business and discuss how OTAs and holiday rental managers can work together to create successful partnerships.



18:30 - 21:00
Evening Networking Event
Sponsored by Europ Assistance and Generali Global Assistance

Join the Evening Networking Event, hosted by Europ Assistance and Generali Global Assistance, to embark on a magical cruise with a 360° panoramic view on famous monuments of the City of Lights along the river Seine whilst networking with your peers and enjoying the pleasures of French gastronomy.
Tuesday, 6 March
8:15 - 8:45
Sponsored Session: Growing into the Future of Travel with Airbnb

David Burden, Regional Supply Lead, Airbnb; Jamie Lynch, Product Marketing Manager, Airbnb

Join us to hear about the latest updates on new programs we’re launching designed to attract more guests, and tools we’ve created specifically for professional hosts to improve efficiency and productivity, both on the Airbnb platform or through our growing network of integrated software providers. We’ll share how we're continuing to evolve our platform to enable us to grow into the future of travel, together. Don’t miss this informative session! Coffee and light food available for breakfast.

9:00 - 10:00
Plenary Session: Latest Trends and Outlook in the European Private Accommodation Space
In the past five years, Europe’s private accommodation marketplace has witnessed explosive growth. Renting is now a solid mainstream accommodation option for European travelers and a surge in bookings has fueled growth of online distribution platforms. At the same time, a new generation of owners and hosts are getting into the rental game, challenging traditional property managers. Phocuswright’s Senior Advisor, Simon Lehmann will present data and trends from this dynamic segment to help property managers and distribution companies develop strategies to leverage the opportunities and confront the challenges in the market.


10:00 - 10:45
Break

10:45 - 11:45
Concurrent Sessions
  • Property Manager Roundtable
    Presented by Steve Milo, CEO, VTrips; Eric Bordier, Owner, VR Booster; Ben Edwards, Property Manager, Newman-Dailey Resort

    Track: Business Strategy

    In this roundtable session moderated by Steve Milo, Eric Bordier and Ben Edwards, property managers will speak freely among themselves on important topics including software systems, technology platforms, marketing channels, regulations, and much more.

  • The Heart of the Matter: Doubling Down on Guest Experience
    Presented by Tammi Sims, Head of Community, Properly

    Track: Guest Relations

    This session is for anyone and everyone who cares deeply about hospitality and guest experience. It yields glowing reviews and in a competitive industry where guests have a plethora of options, reviews are key to capturing new guests as they make their accommodation decision. And, in the world of giant OTAs, establishing a strategy for turning first time guests into lifetime guest is essential. Attend this session to hear and share creative ideas for delighting guests from booking to check out.

  • European Regulatory Update and Government Affairs Summit Report
    Presented by Matt Curtis; Greg Holcomb, Government Relations Manager, VRMA; Carlos Villaro Lassen, Secretary General, European Holiday Home Association (EHHA)

    Track: Finance and Legal Operations

    The regulatory climate for vacation rentals continues to intensify internationally. Panelists will discuss the regulatory issues facing holiday homes and vacation rentals in Europe and other major locations worldwide. The group will also report on policy and action items discussed during the annual EHHA/VRMA Government Relations Summit as well as advocacy tools you can use to fight back.



12:00 - 13:00
Concurrent Sessions
  • Making Better Business Decisions: Leveraging Data for More Efficient Operation
    Presented by Scott Leggat, LSI; Mike Copps, Executive Director, VRMA; Ben Edwards, Newman-Dailey Resort

    Track: Finance and Legal Operations

    Data has become an essential piece of managing a rental company. From the many pricing tools available in the market to aggregating global industry performance metrics, executives have difficult decisions around which tools to utilize in order to operate more efficiently and track industry metrics such as reservations, length of stay, booking window, revenue, and more. VRMA is entering the conversation with its new data program, VRMA Research/Insights. Currently in beta in the United States, VRMA Research/Insights will be expanding throughout the US and internationally within the year. This session will focus on the importance of data, why VRMA is getting involved, how VRMA got involved, and will demonstrate the tool to those in attendance.

  • Phocuswright European Research Findings
    Presented by Simon Lehmann

    Track: Business Strategy

    In follow up from the keynote session, join Simon Lehmann for an expanded look into Phocuswright’s European research. Simon will further explore the data and trends presented in his earlier session and provide valuable information for you to bring back to your business. An opportunity to ask your questions will be provided during this in depth look into the market.

  • Practical Strategies for Attracting More Owners
    Presented by Heather Bayer, CEO, CottageLINK Rental Management

    Track: Marketing

    Great homeowners are the foundation of every rental business but attracting them has grown more challenging. As OTAs are increasingly offering many benefits of a property manager, the task of bringing in new owners gets harder every year. Understanding that owners have varying degrees of interest and involvement can help property managers create a comprehensive strategy that considers a multitude of owner personas. In this session, you’ll be introduced to four owners, each with different goals, needs and motivations, and learn the exact methods of attracting them, dealing with their objections and creating a relationship of trust and confidence.



13:00 - 14:15         
Networking Lunch

14:15 - 15:15
Concurrent Sessions
  • Vacation Rental Technology in 2018
    Presented by Vanessa de Souza Lage, Chief Marketing Officer, Rentals United; Michele Diamantini, CEO, Vacasa Europe; Nicolas Junco, Chief Technology Officer, Welkeys; Filipa Leitão de Aguiar, Rent4Rest Technology

    Track: Technology

    Within the vacation rental industry has been progressing at a feverish pace within the past two years, and it appears that this trend will not be slowing down in 2018. In this session, you will share learn about the state of vacation rental tech. In the second part of this session we will have a panel with small, medium, and large property managers who will answer questions about the way they use technology to help with their daily workflow.

  • Housekeeping 101: How to Build a Successful Housekeeping Department
    Presented by Durk Johnson, Executive Director, Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals

    Track: Property Services

    Managing a housekeeping department can be intimidating and overwhelming. It does not have to be this way. Breaking down the department in to different segments or building blocks one can have a smooth and efficient department. I invite you to come and learn about the building blocks and how to apply them.

  • Strategic Financial Management for Your Vacation Rental Company
    Presented by Ben Edwards, President, Weatherby Consulting

    Track: Finance and Legal Operations

    No matter how big or small your company may be, financial management is key to success. This session will teach you how to set your company up for optimal financial management with best practices for taxes, proactive financial reporting, and tips on how to find outside investments.



15:15 - 16:00
Break

16:00 - 17:00
Closing Plenary Session: Best Practices from Both Sides of the Atlantic: A Global Approach to an Evolving Industry
Moderated by Alex Nigg, Founder and CEO, Properly

Panelists include: Eric Breon, CEO, Vacasa | Javier Cedillio Espin, CEO, OneFineStay/Accor | Steve Milo, CEO, VTrips | Tobias Wann, CEO, @Leisure

This panel focuses on best practices in operations with panelists representing multiple sides of the various debates: a former regional manager for a listing platform now managing a property manager; an urban-focused PM vs traditional vacation rental managers; and Europeans who have worked for North American companies and North Americans with extensive work experience in Europe. Topics covered will include: differences in approach between Europe and the US, and the rise of unbundling of property management services and the tech-enabled PM; the different challenges and opportunities in urban and traditional VR markets; how to cater to changing guest expectations; opportunities and threats presented by smart home technology; and how to position a PM vis-a vis the changing role of the listing platforms.