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.



CEO @ Enso Connect

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

My journey in the vacation rental industry began during my time at the University of Toronto, where I pursued Computer Science and Cognitive Science. While there, Enso Connect was born as a student project. Tasked with developing a robotic solution to an entrepreneurial challenge, I, driven by personal experiences and frustrations with rental properties, decided to focus on smart home devices. Teaming up with my friend Peter, who later became a co-founder, we dedicated ourselves to shaping Enso Connect’s vision. Although the product has evolved, our core aim has always been to harness cutting-edge technology to redefine the guest experience in travel and hospitality.

In a span of just 18 months, with the support of VCs and angel investors from Europe and North America, Enso Connect grew from 68 listings to over 16,000 homes. We also became a part of the UK’s top accelerator program, Founders Factory, and secured over $2M in funding. Today, Enso Connect operates in 54+ countries, 24,000+ properties, and has processed over 1.2 million guest profiles globally.

Throughout my career, I’ve been honored with several accolades. I was named the City of Toronto Entrepreneur of the Year by the Entrepreneur’s Organization (GSEA), voted the UK’s most innovative Proptech CEO of 2020, and was a finalist for the Royal Bank of Canada Innovation Award. I also had the privilege of representing Canada at the G20 Summit for the Young Entrepreneur’s Alliance group. More recently, in 2023, I was recognized by both Forbes 30×30 Toronto and Glory Professional Awards 30×30.

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?

The vacation rental industry is grappling with several challenges.

  • Performance is on the decline due to post-pandemic market normalization and economic downturns.
  • The industry faces stiff competition, from both hotels and new players, drawn by the easy entry and “quick income” opportunities.
  • Guests now expect a hotel-like service level from vacation rentals.
  • The hospitality technology sector is fragmented with too many software options, making users feel overwhelmed instead of simplifying their tasks.

Enso Connect addresses these challenges head-on.

Our smart automation and AI messaging enhance efficiency, allowing vacation rental operators to scale without increasing staff. This provides the core team more time to focus on guest satisfaction and stand out from competition.

The Boarding Pass web app streamlines and elevates the experience for guests. By offering personalized services, easy check-ins/checkouts, stay upgrades, and local experiences, we ensure that guest expectations are met and exceeded.

The platform helps businesses to boost revenue per guest through upsells, local collaborations, and affiliate marketing. Additionally, it’s a powerful tool, allowing to collect guest data to personalize interactions, build loyalty and drive bookings.

We see the tech fragmentation as “death by a thousand cuts.” Rather than just adding another tool to the mix, Enso Connect dives into the specific tasks operators perform to enhance the guest experience. Recognizing patterns, our platform provides operators the flexibility to tailor their operations. Our “connect instead of rip and replace” approach is transforming how hospitality businesses interact with technology. We offer a unified system that integrates various tools operators already use, streamlining operations and optimizing the tech stack for seamless functionality.

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

For the 2023 edition of VRWS in Barcelona, I expect to witness top-notch presentations from industry professionals, expert managers, and successful owners, all sharing their best practices in a collaborative environment. The event promises two full days of intensive training, complemented by networking sessions, panel discussions, hot seats, and more. What particularly piques my interest in attending this specific edition is the opportunity to gain business insights that major companies might not readily disclose, such as upcoming trends and critical statistics. The VRWS also emphasizes quality over quantity, ensuring attendees can learn from the best and network with the elite in the industry. Additionally, the focus on innovation is exciting, as attendees will be introduced to companies that are pioneering changes in the vacation rental space. The chance to vote for the “Best VRTech Start-Up of the Year” and the potential to win invaluable gifts, like a stay in a 5-star vacation rental or a website revamp, further enhances the appeal of this edition. Lastly, the opportunity to network with leading service providers, helping vacation rental managers optimize business operations and leverage the latest technology makes this edition of VRWS in Barcelona a must-attend event.

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

This edition of Vacation Rental World Summit in Barcelona is especially exciting for us as we are teaming up with Minut, a number one monitoring solution for property managers. In a shared booth we will be presenting an integrated solution, redefining noise control for a seamless guest experience and lean operations.

Through this integration, vacation rental property managers, hosts, and owners can effortlessly incorporate noise management into their digital guest journey and day-to-day operations.

Using Enso Connect’s “If this Then That” principle, operators are able to automate and personalize guest communication, effectively preventing noise issues. From now on they can consolidate all noise-related messaging in their Enso Connect unified inbox.

Users can choose how to reach out to their guests – whether through email, text, WhatsApp, or other channels. Personalize communication based on each guest’s language and preferences, harness the power of AI-generated quick replies, and prioritize messaging right in their inbox.

Stop by the booth #12 to see how Enso Connect and Minute works and how it can work for your business.

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

Not Yet Registered for VRWS?