Interview with Carlos Villaro Lassen – Secretary General of EHHA European Holiday Home Association

The pandemic has caught the industry off guard. Everything has happened so  quickly, there have been many huge changes in the industry, and there will be many more to come.

The industry is undergoing a major revolution, towards higher standards, both financially and technologically. This revolution is creating different trends in the sector from cleaning, to security and the automation of operations.

Given all these changes, we are seeking to group together different opinions from experts in the STRs sector, and we are counting on your opinion as a valued player in the STR sector. In this case, we have the opinion of Carlos Villaro Lassen – CEO Feriehusudlejernes Brancheforening and Secretary General of EHHA European Holiday Home Association.

Carlos In your case, what measures regarding operations do you think are the most important to take at this time? Bearing in mind that the current trend is to maintain more contained operations in the near future.

I think property managers stand in front of a downturn in the economy and in tourism that we never have seen before. First job was to find out what to do with all cancelations and zero incoming bookings. Second will be how to get tourism restarted and create trust in the product. Wich boarders open up – does Short-term rental open up before hotels? Cars versus flights? Etc. Etc.

Where do you think the sector is heading at the moment and how do you think it will evolve in the coming months? Do you think that the supply of STRs will be reduced by moving to long-term rentals, or will it continue working in the short and medium-term?

Some STRs’ will move to long-term rentals but no doubt the short-term rental will be a motor in the rebuild of the economy and will segment itself as an industry. Short-term rental in coastal and rural areas will begin first because private villas on the countryside is low risk holidays. Then short-term rentals in cities will begin because private breakfast and private rooms are low risk.

There is a market opportunity at this time for property managers, taking into account that they can acquire inventory in the case that smaller competitors are forced to close doors. Do you think there will be mergers of companies? As you see the growth of the sector at the moment.

The big lockdown will push development 10 years ahead. We will see increasing professionalization, mergers and mayor changes. But in all directions. Bigger players will come, but also smaller players becoming more professional. More standardization but more differentiation as well. More digitalization but more personalization. We must rebuild trust and we need to know more about what is going on in the units we rent to guests. Also, we will see increasing horizontal and vertical collaboration.

In general, reliable technology will be used to offset the reduction in operations and automate as much as possible. What automations do you think are essential?

Indeed technology will become key – and gust are much more tech prepared today than 3 months ago. The whole value chain will be automatized from the booking to the checkin to the ratings and not the least the communication and the service during the stay.

The need for a combination of short, medium and long term rentals, and the lack of physical interactions with guests, give greater importance to the knowledge of the property in real time that Roomonitor provides. In your experience, how do you value the help of our devices at this time?

The need to know what is going on in a rented property will increase. We cannot allow uncontrolled partying and we will need to guarantee authorities that we are responsible. Roomonitor plays a key role to the professionalization and to the trust of the STR product.

Do you think a new collaborative economy can be born between property managers? Sharing eg check-in staff, cleaning etc

Very interesting question. The value chain will definitely evolve and we will see new collaborations in the whole chain. Not only though big companies running the whole chain but also partnerships between platforms, property managers, service providers, IT providers, data providers etc.

Recommendations that you can give us regarding technology: PMS, Channel Manager, Smart locks, check ins online, house keeping, online reputation?

Collaboration collaboration collaboration

A new market will soon begin to emerge. How do you think it will evolve?

We will see stronger governments with more restrictions and demands, more consumer protection and more taxation. But we will also see new types of guests – more professional supply and in 10 years time…the STR market can double!

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