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2015 European Seminar
23-25 February 2015 
Grand Hotel
Malahide, County Dublin, Ireland



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Presenters were encouraged to provide materials for download following the event. Please see each session description below to access the files that have been submitted.

General Sessions

Delivering a Great Guest Experience: What Do They Really Want? 
Tuesday, 24 February | 9:00-10:30

Customers no longer buy products and services – they buy experiences that are delivered via products and services. This particularly applies to the holiday rental industry, where it is no longer enough to provide clean accommodations that include cooking facilities, a shower, and a comfortable bed.              
 In order to improve the guest experience, a holiday rental agent must understand the guests’ goals and desires in regard to booking a holiday home. What do your guests really want, what are their real expectations and needs? The guest experience isn't limited to the specific moment in time when they are actually present at the property; it is also important to be aware of other significant touch points throughout the guests’ journey – from search to post-stay – that can make or break a guest experience. By revealing where and when those defining moments occur, and how guest expectations vary and evolve across different markets, this practical session will help you deliver a better experience to your guests.

Presenter: Niki Christian Nutsch, Booking Staff Ltd
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The Power of Reviews and Other User-Generated Content
Wednesday, 25 February | 9:00-10:30

User-generated content and in particular, reviews, have made a huge impact on how travelers plan the perfect trip. The hospitality sector has embraced this and hotels are making the most of it. This session will look at case studies, discuss best practices in generating and monitoring reviews and relate these to how holiday rentals currently engage and encourage reviews. 
Presenters: Fernando Oliveira, TripAdvisor; Simon James, Sykes Holiday Cottages
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Concurrent Sessions

The 2015 European Seminar boasts ten concurrent educational sessions to choose from. Concurrent sessions are 60 minutes in length and will be offered Tuesday and Wednesday of the Seminar. See complete listings below (in alphabetical order by session name). 


4 Steps to Automate Your Way to More Conversions
Sales | Tuesday, 24 February | 11:15-12:15
Know thy funnel. The cheapest, fastest way to get more bookings is to increase the percentage of visitors that book. If you focus on getting more visits and inquiries, you will consistently spend 2x as much in time and money to get 2x the bookings. Focus on optimizing for conversion among the travelers already visiting your site and inquiring on your properties and you can get 2x the bookings with minimal cost and effort.
Presenters: Frank Langston, PayByGroup; Eric Mason, RealVoice/RateCoaster
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Anatomy of Listing Pages on Distribution Channels: Stand Out From The Competition and Increase Bookings
Marketing/Distribution | Tuesday, 24 February | 11:15-12:15
Distribution channels spend a significant amount of time and money testing and developing their listing pages. This session will cover analysis of the elements on these pages, how they are evolving and offer insight into how rental agents can use the new features and functionality to gain a competitive advantage. In this session, we reveal the best ways to differentiate your listings from the competition to convert more leads to bookings.
Presenters: Koryn Okey, FlipKey; Amy Hinote, VRM Intel
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Creating Positive Perceptions of Holiday Rentals with Communities and Regulators 
Strategic Communication | Tuesday, 24 February | 15:30-16:30
Holiday rental businesses have an important contribution to society but are often misunderstood by the public, neighbors and regulators.  This presentation will provide an “elevator pitch” that can be used to change perceptions and raise the reputation of the sector.  Real-life examples will illustrate how companies and trade associations successfully overcame problems within the community or with regulators.
Presenters: Carlos Villaro Lassen, European Holiday Home Association; Robert Kennedy, SuperControl & Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers; Severine Obertelli, Maxxton; Pablo Zubicaray, Friendly Rentals & FEVITUR - Spanish Federation of Tourist Lodging Associations; Marie Pistinier, Paris-Be-A-Part-Of-It & SPLM- French Holiday Home Rental Association
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How to Reduce Your Dependency on Major Channels: Develop Your Brand and Find Your Gems in Niche Channels 
Distribution | Wednesday, 25 February | 11:15-12:15
Share your niche channels tips. In this session, rental managers will share their tips by country and destination type. We will also share pitfalls vacation rental managers must be aware of and the processes and precautions can protect them from inefficient channels or scams.
Presenters: Eric Bordier, VR-booster; Ari Eryorulmaz, AE Hospitality; Séverine Obertelli, Maxxton
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Let's Talk Business (Travelers)!
Business Strategy | Wednesday, 25 February | 11:15-12:15
Business travel represents a huge opportunity for the holiday rental industry as people are increasingly looking to alternatives from hotels for their work trips. To tap into a larger portion of this multi-billion market, some portals have teamed up with travel management companies or provide a specific search option for business travelers. In this session, attendees will gain an understanding of business traveler expectations and how to communicate that your properties meet business travelers’ requirements. Practical takeaways will include how to identify service gaps for corporate rentals in your area, how to customize the experience for business travelers, and how to leverage loyal business customers to generate referrals. 
Presenter: Niki Christian Nutsch, Booking Staff Ltd
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Major Channels: How to Set Them Up
Distribution | Tuesday, 24 February | 15:30 - 16:30
Looking to distribute inventory on third party channels? This session will walk through various options when setting up bookable inventory. You’ll learn the pros and cons of several different options to set up third party booking channels, as well as tips for getting live calendars to sync on these sites and allow your inventory to come up higher in the search filters. Find ways to manage and reconcile payments from third party sites and learn the difference between using a third party channel’s gateway or a direct feed into a holiday rental software gateway. You’ll also learn how to “gross up” rates and/or pass travel agent fees to property owners to compensate for booking fees.
Presenter: Steve Milo, Vacation Rental Pros
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The Biggest Threat to the Industry: Government Regulations – How to Prepare for Them, Learn from Others, and How to Work with Regulators for a Positive Outcome 
Government Affairs | Tuesday, 24 February | 17:00-18:00
Holiday rentals are a key travel option that greatly benefit local, regional and national economies while providing an option that is demanded by travelers. This presentation will provide data, facts and best practices that managers can use to help create fair regulations in their communities. This discussion will include thought leaders from European communities who have faced this challenge. Attendees will leave with useful data and model examples.
Presenters: Matt Curtis, HomeAway; Kari Jorgenson TripAdvisory/HouseTrip; Monica Figueroa, La Rioja Tourism Board

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The Holiday Rental Industry: Present & Future 
Business Strategy | Tuesday, 24 February | 14:15-15:15
Using the best insights from HomeAway proprietary market research, this session will describe the state of the vacation rental industry today, including market size and segmentation, marketing strategies used by owners and PMs, and traveler behavior and preferences. Looking forward, we will highlight the dynamics that will propel continued global holiday rental growth.
Presenter: Brent Bellm, HomeAway
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Social Networks: How Important Are They For Your Business?
Sales | Tuesday, 24 February | 14:15-15:15
An examination of how social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) can enhance your business. 
Presenter: Giovanni Marchi, Divino Villas
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Your Guests Are a Goldmine! Add Maximum Value to Capitalize on Every Booking
Marketing | Tuesday, 24 February | 17:00 - 18:00
Are you missing out on valuable revenue? Using case studies from SuperControl’s varied client base of property managers, we’ll show you how to boost the profitability of each and every booking. We’ll also demonstrate how to use guest data to deliver email marketing that is proven to generate more repeat bookings.
Presenters: Robert Kennedy, SuperControl; Chris Chamberlain, HTK Limited
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