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Round-Up: HCH Financial Services Debuts, Marriott Homes & Villas’ Curated Collections Make a Comeback, and AltoVita Introduces EcoStats

Round-Up: HCH Financial Services Debuts, Marriott Homes & Villas' Curated Collections Make a Comeback, and AltoVita Introduces EcoStats

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For local inhabitants and businesses, the disaster is also economic. Florida is a big travel market. With great beaches and world-famous attractions such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, the state attracts many families who book a vacation rental for their stay. Cities like Orlando and Kissimmee usually rank high in market size for vacation rental revenues.

HCH Financial Services Launched to Help UK Short-Term Rental Investors Navigate Mortgages

Key Takeaways for Vacation Rental Managers:

  • Holiday Cottage Handbook (HCH) and HD Consultants have collaborated to launch HCH Financial Services, a dedicated platform that brokers holiday let mortgage products. 
  • The platform enlists a team of mortgage advisers specializing in the holiday let mortgage market who provide expert advice and connect you with suitable lenders based on your unique circumstances.
  • Offering a broad spectrum of services, HCH Financial Services also provides insurance and will writing services to cater to the comprehensive financial needs of holiday let investors.
  • The platform has been designed with a specific focus on the thriving UK holiday let sector, serving holiday let investors as an authoritative source of education, tips, and best practices, tailored to their needs.
  • To augment the launch of HCH Financial Services, Holiday Cottage Handbook has also launched a monthly podcast series focussed on holiday let mortgages. The series aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the mortgage market and share case studies from real-life situations.
  • Samantha Turmaine, a seasoned mortgage adviser, has been appointed to lead HCH Financial Services. Her experience in assisting holiday let purchasers and owners uniquely positions her to provide customised solutions and impartial financial advice. Samantha will also be a regular contributor to the podcast series, sharing her expertise and insights.

About Holiday Cottage Handbook:

  • Holiday Cottage Handbook (HCH) is a platform founded by James Varley, dedicated to sharing free education with short-term rental hosts, property managers, and industry professionals. 
  • They’ve been doing this through a weekly podcast and newsletter since their launch in September 2023.

About HD Consultants:

  • HD Consultants is a team of financial experts specializing in mortgage advice. 
  • They operate across various markets, dealing with everything from holiday lets and residential mortgages to buy-to-let, commercial finance, bridging finance, equity release, life insurance, wills, and estate planning.

Uvika’s View:

  • The UK holiday let market is maturing, becoming more sophisticated, and investors need reliable, professional advice to navigate it successfully. 
  • This partnership is a response to that demand, a sign that the industry is being taken seriously, and a testament to the growth and potential of the market. HCH Financial Services is stepping up to provide this expert guidance, demonstrating a commitment to enhancing services and expanding offerings.
  • As per the AirDNA 2024 Outlook Report, high mortgage rates and soft per-unit performance have somewhat curbed supply growth in the US from the extreme highs of 2022, but the slowdown isn’t as drastic as initially expected. 
  • A look at the supply data up until December 8, 2023, using PriceLabsfree STR Index tool shows a slowdown in supply increase relative  to 2022 in the UK as well.
  • What remains clear is that the interest in short-term rentals persists, despite the challenges posed by market dynamics. In this scenario, the role of expert voices becomes crucial. 
  • Navigating through mortgage intricacies and evolving regulations demands a nuanced understanding, and HCH Financial Services seems poised to offer just that.
  • It also helps that HCH Financial Services enters the scene not just as a facilitator of financial solutions but also as an educator through its new podcast, demonstrating a commitment to empowering individuals.
  • The true litmus test lies in how effectively HCH Financial Services can provide tangible value.

Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy Relaunches Curated Collections to Inspire Travelers in 2024

Key Takeaways for Vacation Rental Managers:

  • Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy has relaunched its Curated Collections, a selection of unique homes and destinations worldwide, to inspire travelers planning their 2024 journeys.
  • The initiative aims to cater to the nearly 40% of prospective leisure travelers who are still undecided about their 2024 travel destination, according to a YouGov study commissioned by Marriott.
  • The Curated Collections are designed to meet the diverse desires of modern American travelers. For instance, over half prioritize outdoor views, while 37% want pool access, and 25% seek on-site entertainment amenities.
  • The Collections feature a range of accommodations, from historic homes once inhabited by celebrities, to award-winning architectural designs, eco-friendly rentals, unique escapes, and tranquil retreats.
  • Jennifer Hsieh, VP of Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy, stated that their mission is to inspire members with remarkable homes in top destinations, making vacation planning fun and easy.
  • The company will continue to update the Curated Collections as more homes and destinations are added daily, aiming to help vacation rental managers provide a diverse range of accommodations and experiences to their guests.

About Homes & Villas by Marriott:

  • Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy offers luxury rental homes from Marriott, ranging from beachfront bungalows to castles, providing diverse accommodation options.
  • The focus is on professionally managed homes, differentiating from competitors, and they extend loyalty programs to travelers.
  • Top destinations include the US, Canada, Central America, Mexico, South America, Caribbean, and Europe.
  • The platform operates as a listing platform; Marriott’s role is not direct in managing properties or working directly with property companies.
  • Marriott Bonvoy, with around 150 million global members, allows the use of points for booking stays through Homes & Villas, integrating loyalty benefits into the rental experience.

Uvika’s View: 

  • In the era of information overload, curation of properties into distinct collections based on unique themes offers a simplified yet personalized approach to the vacation planning process. 
  • It’s not just about finding a place to stay anymore; it’s about discovering a vacation experience that aligns with your personal interests and lifestyle preferences. Airbnb realized this early on in 2022, and moved to inspire travelers first with the introduction of Flexible Destinations, then with Categories.
  • Analyzing this relaunch, one can’t help but draw parallels with Airbnb Categories. However, it’s not just a simple imitation; Marriott is tapping into key market trends and customer interests.
  • The introduction of the ‘Eco-Luxe’ collection is a direct response to the rising trend of sustainable tourism. Similarly, the ‘Homes with Zen’ collection is an answer to the growing popularity of wellness getaways. The latter trend has been so significant, it recently led to massive acquisitions by HomeToGo
  • The ‘Eclectic Escapes’ collection, meanwhile, competes directly with Airbnb’s unique stays offering. It showcases properties with distinctive character and charm, appealing to travelers seeking an out-of-the-ordinary vacation experience.
  • However, most of these listings are not exclusive to Homes & Villas, suggesting that the Curated Collections strategy is less about exclusivity and more about content curation. 
  • By organizing properties into themed collections, Marriott is simplifying the search process for travelers and positioning itself as a travel planner, not just a booking platform, an approach fast taking hold among big travel brands.

AltoVita Unveils EcoStats, Allowing Users to Evaluate CO2 Emissions for Each Night’s Stay

Key Takeaways for Vacation Rental Managers:

  • AltoVita, a corporate accommodation platform offering all lengths of stay, has introduced the EcoStats suite, a free tool that calculates CO2 emissions per stay and per night for all listed accommodations.
  • The launch of EcoStats is in response to the rising demand for transparency in environmental impact, offering vacation rental managers a reliable measure of their property’s carbon footprint.
  • The tool uses an advanced API integration with Thrust Carbon to provide accurate estimates and incorporates various sustainability metrics such as renewable energy usage, carbon tracking, efficient lighting and more.
  • EcoStats not only provides clarity in understanding the environmental impact of accommodation options but also facilitates easy comparison of CO2 emission performance, alongside rates and amenities.
  • This initiative aligns with the upcoming European Union Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, which mandates large companies to regularly report on their social and environmental risks.
  • AltoVita aims to expand EcoStats beyond just CO2 averages, considering multiple indicators that promote informed decision-making, ensuring compliance with the EU’s directive.

About AltoVita:

  • AltoVita is a platform for booking vetted corporate accommodations, designed for global mobility and travel managers to source and book extended stay accommodations. The company’s offering centers on providing smart and sustainable housing solutions for employees worldwide.
  • It has an expansive network of over 7 million properties, all duty of care compliant, ensuring that they meet specific standards for employee safety and well-being. This network integrates extended stay lodging and hotels onto a single platform.

Uvika’s View:

  • This development aligns with the growing trend of businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint, and comes at a time when the short-term rental industry is under increasing pressure to demonstrate sustainability efforts.
  • Namely, the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) makes it mandatory for companies to report their environmental and social impact activities. 
  • This new directive strengthens, modernizes, and broadens the scope of data that companies are required to report, thereby standardizing metrics across the board.
  • Effective already, it mandates companies to report by January 1, 2025, their activities for the 2024 financial year. 
  • The CSRD is applicable to all large companies, specifically those with more than 250 employees and more than €50 Million in turnover and/or more than €25 Million in total assets. 
  • Listed companies, except for micro-enterprises (those with less than 10 employees or below €20M in turnover), also fall under this regulation.
  • The CSRD also requires an audit of the reported information, adding a layer of accountability, ensuring that the data shared by companies is accurate and reliable.

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