Your.Rentals is proud to be a sponsor of the 2018 ASSC (Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers) Annual Conference & Exhibition, taking place in Glasgow on 30th October.
It’s a great event not only for those in the Scottish short-term rentals industry, but also for anyone with an interest in the sector both in the UK and abroad.
We spoke to ASSC Chairman David Smythe about what people can expect from this year’s event, as well as the current hot topics and trends affecting the vacation rentals industry and how things might change in the near future.
Your.Rentals: In a nutshell, what is the ASSC Event?
David Smythe: The ASSC Annual Conference and Exhibition is the only major event aimed directly at the people and businesses providing short-term let and holiday rental accommodation in Scotland. The ASSC 2018 Conference will be a UK-wide event, attracting fellow self-caterers / short-term rental operators, suppliers and industry representatives from all over the United Kingdom. It offers the opportunity to glean essential insights into future developments in the sector; draw on the expertise and knowledge of UK-wide experts; understand the challenges being faced in different parts of the country and take away valuable and essential practical knowledge. Delegates can also visit a small village of 44 suppliers to the industry, to learn about current issues and best practice, and to network with each other.
YR: How would you describe the average Scottish property manager?
DS: The self-catering community is made up of a diverse range of operators, from single property owners, to multiple property operators, and agencies representing hundreds of properties. For some, self-catering offers supplementary income, for others it is their sole occupation. Properties range from city centre apartments, to rural chalet parks, large houses and castles.
If you’re a property manager and would like to rent your apartment, chalet, house or castle on all the major vacation rentals websites, sign up to Your.Rentals for free!
YR: Where do their guests come from?
DS: The short-term rental market in Scotland is 85% to 90% UK driven, with Scots making up 40% of this. 10% to 15% of visitors come from overseas, mostly from Europe but increasingly from North America, Australia, New Zealand.
YR: How does the Scottish region differ from others around the world?
DS: As a country, we have an incredible diversity of experience over only a short distance. The cosmopolitan, vibrant cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are less than an hour’s drive from sparsely populated, remote and rugged landscapes. We have more than our fair share of internationally recognised Scottish icons to build on, telling old stories with modern twists. Festivals celebrating music, literature, whisky and heritage are world renowned.
YR: ASSC 2018 will feature presentations and discussions on the state of the industry today. What are the current hot topics and concerns in the industry?
DS: The growth of online travel agents and collaborative economy platforms has changed the face of Short-term rental. Now anyone can enter the industry and be welcoming their first guests within hours of listing their property – something not possible in the old days. On the one hand this has raised the profile of the sector, but it brings with it challenges associated with quality, health & safety and market saturation.
Self-catering sits between domestic housing and commercial, and indeed our sector is defined in both camps, depending on who is defining us. This creates a lack of understanding of our sector – are we commercial or residential?
Hot topics and concerns include planning policy in Edinburgh, licensing proposals, increased regulation, amendments to the Planning (Scotland) Bill, introduction of a tourist tax, ‘over tourism’…. The list goes on!
YR: How do you see the short-term rentals industry changing over the next couple of years?
DS: Collaborative economy platforms will become regulated to bring them on to a level playing field with professional operators; ‘over tourism’ will start to be addressed; digital will get smarter; the visitor experience will be more important than ever; Brexit will throw up difficulties we have thought about (staffing, visas etc.) as well as major ones we have not yet considered. Political uncertainty over Europe and the possibility of another independence referendum may cause postponement of investment. We need to be ready for visitors arriving with electric cars – we are not yet. Also, the decline in the use of cash – there are already things you cannot do with cash any more, and this will increase.
YR: What can people expect from ASSC 2018?
DS: To have fun and meet others in the industry, to benchmark their business and take away ideas to improve their business, armed with key messages to tell others, to explore the trade stands and leave with a spring in their step in the knowledge that they are part of an economically vital sector to tourism, generating £723m a year to the Scottish economy.
If you would like to know more or participate on the 2018 ASSC Annual Event you can visit the official web page https://www.assc.co.uk/conference/.
If you want more insights into industry trends and hot topics regarding short-term rentals, hospitality and tourism, sign up to our blog for regular updates!