VRWS Leadership Interview of the Day

In approaching the 9th 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.

XAVIER ROUHAUD

XAVIER ROUHAUD

CEO & Co-Founder @ Swikly

How would you describe your career path and what led you to start Swikly?

“I’m a tech guy , i’m in IT since I’m 10 years old actually! I have always believed information technology can help us automate repetitive and boring tasks so we can focus on what matters: for me it is to create and invent new products or services. It’s what I love.

So I started my career working in an IT company, for large customers, helping them to implement international IT projects, most of them in the banking area. In my 40s, with one of my best friend, we wanted to try an entrepreneurial adventure so we started to search for The idea that would have a chance to succeed…”

 

Many travelers don’t love the idea to have money blocked on their bank account. So how did you come up with a modern solution for security deposits?

“The security deposit idea came up because, my co-founder travels a lot in the UK (he is half Welsh) and each time he rents a house there, he has to pay 1000 to 2000  pounds upfront for the damage deposit…He has to do this with a bank-wire which means:

  • banking fees 
  • the money take 3 to 5 days to arrive and then to come back
  • there is a huge trust issue between the guest and the PM 
  • it is time consuming for the guest and for the property manager 
  • and, most of the time, hopefully, the damage deposit is not used… so there is a lot of time and energy consumed to make sure the house will not be damaged.

so we started to invent The IDEAL security deposit service. and we put ourselves in the PM shoes and in the guest shoes to come up with 3 fundamentals : 

1 – PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECT: the guest must be incited to take care of the house as if it’s his own.

2 – GUARANTEE : the PM must be sure that he will get his money in case of damage.

3 – PAINLESS: it must be extremely user friendly for both the guest and the PM – automated, very fast, painless (i.e without unnecessary money transfers)

that’s Swikly!” 

A huge part of your value proposition revolves around the idea of automating security deposit requests. How does Swikly integrate with a PMS or channel manager?

“Yes ! This is one of the main values of Swikly . This is straightforward, we are integrated with the major and best PMS of the market. You just have to configure an automated email in your PMS. Then your guest just has to click on a link to secure the damage deposit. The mail is sent a couple of days before check-in in order to remind your guest to take care of the rental. You can also add a 2nd mail as a reminder. As soon as the guest clicks on the link he has to fill-in a short form with his credit card information. That’s it!

There is no debit, no money transfer, no money blocked on the card, but still the PM is guaranteed in case of damages.”

VRWS 22 is about to land in Porto. What do you expect from the overall experience?

“We would really like to meet you all to explain our solution in detail and answer your questions!

We already have around 2000 very happy customers in Europe, we are launching right now in Spain and in the UK in the coming months.”

You’ll have the opportunity to meet Xavier and his team on Sept. 15th-16th at VRWS in Porto

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