VRWS Leadership Interview of the Day

In approaching the 10th edition of the Vacation Rental World Summit, we’re releasing a series of interviews to leaders, key players and highly motivated people in our industry whose companies make a deep impact in our space and will be present at VRWS.

The aim is to get you some insight into these leaders and the company they founded, manage or work for, as well as getting some behind the scenes on their thinking, their motivation and their drive.



Regional Manager Spain & Portugal @ Booking.com

Describe your career in the vacation rental industry and how you reached your current position in the company.

I have more than 15 years of experience in the tourism sector, 11 of them dedicated to Booking.com and for the last two years I have held the position of Regional Manager for Spain and Portugal. In addition to representing the company as spokesperson, I manage the OTA business in Iberia as head of the commercial and operational departments as well as supervising the offices in both countries.

My professional career is directly engaged with the vacation rental industry because Booking.com was one of the early pioneers of the short-term rental market and has been offering these types of stays since the company was founded. In fact, the first apartment was listed on Booking.com in 2000, almost a full decade before some of the other well-known players in the space. We continue to work with hundreds of thousands of individual homeowners and small entrepreneurs all over the world, helping these local businesses grow together with us.

Also, we are very happy to keep working hand to hand with VRWS as it is a long-term sponsorship managed at European level by our amazing vacation rental team.

In your opinion, what are the main current challenges in the vacation rental industry, and how do you think your company can help overcome them?

In general: achieve sustainable growth. The most productive way to develop a comprehensive plan for sustainable tourism in any city in the world is to include all relevant stakeholders: policy makers, housing companies, academics, airports and cruise terminals, airlines, transport providers, tour operators, destination marketing organizations and the hotel industry. This is not a challenge that can be solved simply by addressing the short-term rental situation in the city.

But beyond that, talking about Booking.com specifically, the challenge is daily. Every day we have to make sure that we offer a good price and a good service to the consumer. We believe that booking a home or apartment should be smooth, easy and transparent. Not only does Booking.com offer the widest possible choice of great stays, but they’re all instantly bookable. Customers don’t need to go back and forth with an owner over several hours or days negotiating the details of their stay. We make it quick and easy. What’s more, there are no booking fees for customers on their stays – something our customers love and also differentiates us from other players in this space.

What are your expectations for the 2023 edition of VRWS in Barcelona, and what makes you particularly interested in attending this specific edition?

Short-term rentals (homes and apartments) in both urban and rural areas are a key component of Booking.com’s overarching aim to provide customers with the widest choice and diversity of great stays all in one place. In fact, of the over 29 million total reported listings on Booking.com, more than 7 million listings are in homes, apartments and other unique places to stay and actively participating in events like VRWS allows us to further strengthen our work in the industry, share know-how and enjoy networking days.

Moreover, this year is special because we will celebrate together the 10th edition of Vacation Rental World Summit in Barcelona and it will be a great to opportunity to listen and engage with our partners and other players.

Could you provide a brief preview of what attendees can expect from your participation during the Vacation Rental World Summit?

VRWS 2023 will be a perfect forum to analyze all of our customers’ behavior and to further develop ideas while all the players can collaborate to achieve our common goals in the long-run.

For example, we believe that the debate on sustainability in the sector is key to further growth and is one of our strategy cornerstones. According to our last Sustainable Report, despite the existing barriers and the tightening of purse strings, it’s clear there’s a huge appetite for solutions with four in five (80%) travelers confirming that traveling more sustainably is important to them and there’s been a significant uptake in travelers adopting everyday habits on vacation in the past year.

  • 67% turn the air conditioning off at accommodations when they aren’t there, up 29% from 2022
  • 60% re-use the same towel multiple times, up 25% from 2022
  • 55% use their own reusable water bottle, up 19% from 2022

You’ll have the opportunity to meet Pilar directly at VRWS in Barcelona

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