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Positive PR for the short-term rentals sector

During Episode #4 of the HCH Podcast we spoke to Jessica Gillingham, Founder and CEO of Abode Worldwide.

Jessica discussed her journey in the short-term rentals industry, the power of PR in the sector, and what people and businesses can do to better promote the benefits of holiday homes.

Click here to listen to the podcast, which was hosted by HCH Founder, James Varley. Below are some key excerpts from the interview.

James Varley: Tell us about the pace of change in the short-term rentals industry, especially over the last 10-15 years.

Jessica Gillingham: It really is monumental. Short-term rentals were [previously] seen as alternatives…an unusual choice and not mainstream at all. Today, we see short-term rentals as completely mainstream. There are conferences all over and events. Things started to accelerate before COVID with all the investment in the space, including tech vendors and enterprise property managers. But then COVID came along, and short-term rentals really had their time in the sun. Nobody wanted to stay in a hotel – everybody wanted their own space, and rentals became the obvious choice. It brought the short-term rental sector into a more elevated position – which is partially why there’s all sorts of things going on with regulation and lots of blame going on and some of the negative stuff we see.

Many other things have developed as well. I remember going to my first conference seven or eight years ago and the tech companies and solutions there were nothing like what we have now. So many companies have grown and adapted. There are some mainstays around also, which are doing very well, which is always good to see.

James Varley: The short-term rentals industry deals with a lot of negative headlines – but tell us about the positives. How do short-term rentals benefit people, businesses, and the economy?

Jessica Gillingham: An economy is based on small businesses. Without small businesses, it will not have vibrancy. So, it’s important to foster and nurture small businesses. Obviously, there is the negative stuff – and it would be naïve if we don’t acknowledge some of the negativity within the industry. There are issues at times in certain places. That is a fact.

But the positive things are about how those entrepreneurial small businesses can grow and innovate. And with that comes employing people. It comes with paying taxes. It comes with bringing money back into the economy through wages. It also brings tourists and guests and visitors within a location; locations that maybe prior to having rentals didn't have the kind of tourism economy that they have now.

James Varley: How can the short-term rentals sector get better at telling those positive stories?

Jessica Gillingham: I think that firstly, it's knowing to do it. Quite often, we kind of put our hands up and think someone else is going to do it, or I haven't got the power, or I can't do it.

The first thing to do is support your local association, who can have a voice for either PR or lobbying to fight for the industry.

But then also locally, property managers can tell their local stories to their local press, their local radio, their local broadcasters. Contact your local journalists and tell the stories of guests that we bring in and what we’re offering.

Click here to listen to Episode #4 of the HCH Podcast. For the very latest from the short-term rentals industry, including tips and advice for hosts and property managers, sign up for our weekly newsletter.


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