ShortStay 2024, the meeting point of the short-term rental industry


-The ShortStay Conference 2024, held on 9 & 10 February at the Ancient Eleonas Conference Centre, once again confirmed its role as a focal point for the short term rental industry.

For the 6th consecutive year, the owners and managers of short term rentals, villas and serviced apartments, faithful to their annual appointment, were informed about the market developments and new trends, discussed the prospects and challenges and entered into partnerships. At the same time, major companies from the now huge business ecosystem that has developed around the sector were present, presenting their solutions and products that help professionals to develop their business in a more efficient way.

More than 45 speakers analysed for two days, on the main stage and in the workshop hall, all the burning issues that concern the short-term rental sector.

This year delegates had all the information related to the conference on their mobile phones, in an app created exclusively for ShortStay 2024 by Tourmie.

The new trends and how they affect short-term rental

Travel will continue to play a leading role in 2024, as revealed by major travel platforms and Especially when it comes to short-term rentals, Athens, Crete, Rhodes and Corfu are again attracting the interest of travellers booking through the platforms this year, while the moderation in bookings for Mykonos and Santorini continues in 2024.

Airbnb accommodation on these two islands saw a decrease in occupancy rates last year of 4.5% for Mykonos and 6% for Santorini, but with prices following the opposite trend, at +11% for Mykonos and +10% for Santorini.

Based on the data presented at the ShortStay 2024 conference by Tasos Efthymiou, area manager for Greece and Cyprus of, the classic European markets are the ones that are interested in Greece this year (British, Germans, Italians, Austrians, Scandinavians, etc.).

On the other hand, for Vrbo, Expedia’s short-term rental platform, which has a greater appeal in the US market, the US is the number one country booking Greece, followed by the UK, Germany, France and Canada, according to Ciaran Lawlor and Sinead Lim of Expedia.

Iason Anastasinis, Managing Director of the short term rental property platform Travelstaytion, described the importance for every Property Manager of designing a comprehensive Brand Identity, adopting specific operating standards, leveraging targeted synergies for the complete guest experience, and selecting the appropriate distribution channels.

Listening to the global trend towards more sustainable travel, ShortStay 2024 also addressed the issue of sustainability in the short term rental industry. Dr. Ioannis Pappas, CEO of Green Evolution, explained the ways in which a property can adopt more sustainable practices.

The short-term rental market in Greece

Significant growth in off-season travel is recorded in data presented by Sally Henry of Key Data, a company specialising in providing short-term rental data. This first quarter of the year, which is traditionally the lowest in demand of the whole year, the Peloponnese and Crete are both seeing very high demand. Last year Greece followed the European trend in terms of the short-term rental market.

Specifically, the occupancy rate of accommodation moved to 36%, compared to 31% in 2022, while in Europe the average occupancy rate in 2023 reached 43% (compared to 40% in 2022).

More than 130,000 active short-term rental listings on Airbnb are currently active in Greece, up 19% compared to January 2023, according to data presented by Maria Flores Portillo, EMEA managing director of Beyond, a company that provides dynamic pricing solutions for short-term rental properties.

In terms of 2024, based on bookings to date and compared to the booking picture in February 2023, Beyond has recorded a 16% increase in revenue per available accommodation, an indicator that combines the price of the accommodation with its occupancy rate.

Artificial intelligence and new technologies

The new technologies that are now available to short term rental property owners and managers were discussed at length at ShortStay 2024. Among other things, artificial intelligence was mentioned in many instances, with platforms and tools alike incorporating AI into their operations. At the same time, there are a number of tools that can help the small and medium-sized professional in the hospitality industry to upgrade their accommodation, organise their daily processes more efficiently, and respond more directly to any problems and setbacks.

As Alexandros Karavitis, co-founder and CEO of Hosthub, told ShortStay 2024, AI can help short term rental owners with suggestions on how to decorate the spaces, create descriptions of the photos they post on the platforms, on their websites or social media, respond to customer reviews, analyze reviews while suggesting improvements to owners, automatically respond to customers, and give customers suggestions that will improve their experience.

Thanasis Pilionis, CEO of Radefy, referred to the technological revolution that has taken place in the hospitality industry and presented its contactless solutions and its new Guest Experience Application which it calls GEA.

At the same time, management tools (PMS) such as those of Avantio, Hostaway and Loggia, pricing tools such as those of PriceLabs and Beyond, management strategies and sales techniques from UPSTREET and etouri, as well as applications for better customer experience such as Tourmie were presented.

Also, Ergo Insurance presented the ERGO My Home Bnb program and the president of the Association of Disinfestation & Masonry Companies of Greece, George Lambrou, presented the ways in which an accommodation can ensure hygienic conditions for its guests.

But also new markets

Beyond the established tourist markets, ShortStay 2024 also analysed the opportunities to reach new markets, such as digital nomads and travellers with some kind of disability. Dimitris Tselios and the Nomad365 team presented the certification for accommodation suitable for digital nomads, while Dimitris Kontopidis of Greece no Limits explained the modifications that can be made to an accommodation to make it suitable for people with disabilities.

The new taxation and legislation

The issue of taxation, following the changes in the relevant law, attracted the keen interest of the participants. In a videotaped address, Deputy Minister of Finance Harris Theocharis, who acknowledged that short-term rentals are a source of income for thousands of owners, outlined the key points of the new regulation. He stressed that “the government’s next steps include measures to further simplify transactions for receiving benefits, paying rent, i.e. the most common acts in everyone’s daily life, but in which there is either a bureaucratic burden or allow to tax evasion, characterizing it as an anti-social act.

Afterwards, the representatives of the Governor of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue, Angelos Kouros and Apostolos Boutos, gave answers to basic questions regarding ambiguities included in the new tax framework. They pointed out, however, that a clarifying circular will be issued immediately and clarified that individuals with up to two properties will not pay a visitor’s tax.

The issue of the new tax closed the discussion that had on stage the representative of the accounting company KRS Christina Bougioukou with the owner of the management company Kalypso Hospitality Ioanna Kellarakou, who analyzed the ways in which a manager can organize the accounting obligations.

However, there is also new legislation coming from the European Union that provides for transparency in transactions with the platforms, as explained at the conference by the acting secretary general of the European Holiday Home Association, Viktorija Molnar, Expedia‘s public relations officer, Iban Rabasa, the President of STAMA Greece, Nassos Gavalas and the president of the Italian Association of Short Term Rental Managers (AIGAB), Marco Celani. The interlocutors called on Greek professionals to participate in the relevant collective bodies in order to push the European Union towards the creation of a framework that is sustainable for the short-term rental activity.

The advantages of short-term leasing and its implications

The advantages of short-term leasing in local communities were mentioned at ShortStay 2024 by the President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce, Yannis Hadjitheodosiou. Speaking specifically about Athens, he noted that the sector contributes decisively to the growth of tourism, offering more alternatives for accommodation in the choices of visitors, which has the consequence of stimulating the commercial part, supporting to a large extent small and medium entrepreneurship. In addition, the sector has given a boost to construction activity and has contributed to improving the image of entire areas of Athens. “We can therefore clearly see the benefits of the short-term rental sector, which is already recording an annual turnover of close to 3.5 billion euros, with all that this means in terms of strengthening public funds from taxes,” Hatzithesodosiou noted, referring however to the existing housing problem in many areas.

Especially on this issue, the President of POMIDA, Stratos Paradias and the Director of STAMA Greece, Stathis Karopoulos, presented their proposals on how to solve the problem of homelessness of primary housing.

In fact, Mr. Paradias mentioned the proposal that POMIDA has made to the government, according to which those houses that were closed throughout 2023, which most certainly will remain closed for all the years to come, will be given the incentive of exemption from income tax if they are given for long-term rental. Short-term rental accommodation can also be included in this proposal. This will also rationalise the level of rents, because since there will be a huge supply, it will now be the landlords competing to see who gets the good tenant rather than the tenants struggling to find a home.

The conference concluded with the ceremony of the Greece Stay Awards, the first awards in the short-term rental sector and the announcement of the second conference to be held in Chania in the autumn.

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