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Short Stay Week 2021: Alexis Barceló from ABAL Consulting

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Alexis Barceló is the CEO of ABAL Consulting, a revenue management expertise specialist. In the run-up to the 2021 edition of the Short Stay Week, he has accepted to answer questions about how he came to the industry and about how his company builds solutions for property managers. Alexis has also recorded a 3-minute video where he showcases what his product does.

This article is part of our Short Stay Week 2021 series. Rental Scale-Up is the proud media sponsor of this European online holiday rental conference. Rental Scale-Up readers get a 20% discount on all available passes and tickets for the event, with the code RSUP20 .

Where does your passion for the vacation rental industry come from?

After finishing University I went to London to start my career working in the Hotel Industry.

The first challenge was finding a place to live. Everything was so expensive and small,  so for young people, it was very normal to share their places with strangers. I was aware that this was something very common in big cities: London, New York but in Spain, it was something unusual, actually, it was frowned upon.  However, I knew it was going to happen sooner or later everywhere. I realized that was the future and at that very moment, I found my new passion.

After two years living in London, I came back to Spain and started living like this: Sharing

I bought my first apartment in my mid-twenties and I shared it with other students.

At the same time, I started to figure out my next steps in this area. I decided to continue my career within the Hotel Industry while combining this with my passion for optimizing spaces.

Since then, everything I do has been related to optimizing spaces: parking, real estate (buy to rent), offices (co-working).

I even contacted Brian Chesky once in 2010 when they were not well known yet, but this is another story 😉 …

What’s been your biggest aha moment when it comes to the vacation rental industry?

After 15 years working in the Hotel industry, I realized it was time to focus on the vacation rental industry, my passion. I realized I could apply my knowledge, my experience, and above all, help others. I realized there was a need.

Vacations Rentals was not something new. For decades, at least in Spain,  people were used to renting an apartment during the summer to spend holidays with their families or friends, but something was changing….Airbnb became a trend, “booking an airbnb” was fancy, it became a verb itself.

At the same time big players like Booking.com, Expedia also saw the opportunity there, so I realized we needed to move fast, become more dynamic, as we started to compete with the big guys: hotels.

What did you do at work yesterday?

Yesterday was Bank Holidays in Spain, so after having breakfast with my family I took my daughter to the park to spend some time with her.

I spent the rest of the day on things such as:

– reflecting on the goals I set for me and my clients for the previous months. Now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so it’s important to set ambitious goals in order to maintain momentum.

– I also spend some time doing talent research. I´m looking for talent anywhere in the world to digitize some areas of our business

– Preparing an atelier for a group of 10-15 PMs in France and preparing some material for the 2021 courses in a couple of Tourism schools where I work as a lecturer.

– Finally, I am looking for a new office. Wondering if it has to be big or small. How many days will we spend there? This is something I need to figure out.

What is a unique thing that your company can deliver?

We have grown projects of different sizes. I always say that what we have enjoyed the most is having the possibility of impacting the lives of people we work with, being able to understand the stories behind each project in order to help them and accompany them in the improvement of their business and life plan.

Real stories and their dreams come true.

How do the teams behind your solutions listen to the needs of the industry? How does it feed into your product development and marketing?

I always thought that my team should be part of the properties teams we offer consulting services to. They are involved in all day-to-day decisions.

From how to deal with reservations, setting the pricing strategy to strategic decisions such as keeping a property open or closed during the Covid Crisis.

We work with different types of properties, with different team structures, in different areas/countries which gives us a wider perspective.

Our clients’ needs always go hand in hand with the latest technology improvements and developments that we have nowadays and combining this is crucial to get ahead.

This is actually our guide. All that we do, what we develop, depends on our clients’ needs and all the developments in technology that we can see on a daily basis in the market.

What are common misconceptions that property managers have? How can these misconceptions be detrimental to them?

Unfortunately, I hear too often that property managers are more interested in the real estate part of the business than in Quality or Experience and in the long run this could be detrimental to them.  

We are not a Real Estate company that rents or sells a place where this is the end of the transaction. We are part of the Hospitality Industry, so we must remember that we create and sell experiences. If we want to have loyal customers we need to build trust. 

What is the best question a property owner or manager can ask before making a purchase decision when comparing solutions like yours? Why?

The key question I always wait for is: how much do you charge?

And our answer is Nothing. It´s a simple answer, I know, but after some laughs, I explained how we work. Of course, we don´t work for free but we just get paid if my clients see an increase in their profitability.

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Rental Scale-Up

Thibault is the founder of Rental Scale-Up. He owns vacation rentals in St. Barths and Bali. He also leads innovative projects for companies within the vacation rental industry. Feel free to reach out to Thibaut Masson on Linkedin.

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