Our integration with Avantio Vacation Rental Software is now old news, but having an interview with José Vázquez, the Vice President, CEO, and Director of Avantio Inc, is always an exciting experience.
Jose joined Avantio as Head of Business Development five years ago. He has a law degree, he speaks six languages and is an expert on expanding companies Internationally. He is only 47 years old, and he was trained Interculturally since he was 15 years old, living in different countries. Furthermore, he has an in-depth knowledge of European Institutions, served at the European Brain Council and worked for several Pharmaceutical companies.
Q: So, Jose, tell us a bit about yourself and your role in Avantio. How do you like Miami?
I joined Avantio in December 2013, and it really looks like it was yesterday. I fell in love with the project from the moment I walked inside the company on my first interview with the board of directors; it was about to make one dream become true, internationalise a company with the best technology in the market.
My challenge was to internationalise the company and expand, first in Europe and then in the US. We achieved our European Expansion in only three years, it was hard and intensive, but remarkably it was a great experience full of good lessons.
Today I live in Miami.
Miami is a fantastic city, it is not really that different from Valencia, both are sunshine cities with a sea, and the temperature is always really good. The only difference I would say is the traffic.
Q: Avantio has more than 18 years experience in the Vacation Rental industry and is considered one of the most tech-oriented Channel Management platforms. What is your secret for this success?
We are not just a Channel Manager, the Channel Manager is part of our complete solution (PMS + Channel Manager + Websites).
To be honest, there is not a real secret behind our success, the formula is simple, and everybody knows it, hard work, and “sempre Avanti” -our internal slogan.
18 years working hard every day to please and attend your customer’s needs, if done correctly, it is the right path to success, the merit is not mine at all, it is our CEO´s contribution and our customer's support.
Q. Technology is very important in our industry, and I know you have invested in it from the beginning. Do you want to share more on your commitment to innovation and technology?
It is a very interesting moment in our sector.
As veterans in the industry, we can see that two main things are happening at the moment:
First is the maturity of certain players, some of them exist for almost eight years (you can learn quite a bit in eight years) and secondly is how these players are reacting to the big growth and expansion that this sector is experiencing.
When we started, the sector was smaller, and there were fewer resources and money than there are today. The global amount of money that the industry moves today, is 20 times more than 20 years ago (although there is the same number of players). The growth has been exponential.
A long time ago the technology was less powerful, and human costs were lower, today, technology is more powerful, and human costs are much higher.
We have maintained since the beginning three basic concepts that are very convenient at this moment:
Cost, Technology and Services.
It is not a secret that our services are exceptional, especially our support and partner success team. Our technology is cutting edge, it has always been ahead of the industry, and the cost is really affordable and fair.
Q. How many countries is Avantio live in? How many agencies do you work with Globally?
I am happy to say that we are in 34 countries, in all six continents. Our servers never go to sleep, if you allow me to use this expression. We can count 980 active customers worldwide, that represent approximately 80,000 properties.
We specialise in big companies with a large number of properties.
Q. What new markets are on your roadmap for 2019?
We are expanding now in the US and Caribbean countries, but also starting to work with a few companies in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia. Our solution is compatible with six main languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian) so we will cover America as a continent, Australasia and some touristic areas of Africa.
Our road map is ambitious; we want to be able to find and provide our technology to any professional agency that needs a professional solution.
Q. We have seen fantastic growth recently in the Vacation Rental World. Where do you see most of this growth coming from over the next five years?
Europe, US, and Asia, but not China. China may bring travellers or customers, but not new property managers.
I guess the real challenge is Asia, from the technological point of view there is too much work to do, and it is too complicated to provide a technological solution but we love challenges as you know and why not, perhaps we will open an office in Malaysia very soon.
Q. So, which would you say are the three main Vacation Rental trends for 2019?
I will tell you first about the threats, and this will lead us to talk about the trends.
This is an emergent sector, but it was born to be enduring. There is no way back from where we came from. The only possible option is Evolution.
The main Threats come from the growth and expansion of the sector, this has caused certain discomforts, toxic speculators entering the market, new ways of scamming our customers (we are worried that chargebacks are increasing in this sector, and we need to solve it), and Governments trying to do their best to control and stop this growth, or at least take economic advantage out of it.
This will determine the main trends: Security, Regulation, and Reorganisation of the sector.
Q. Technology is advancing daily, both in our personal and business life. Where and how can you see these advancements being made in Vacation Rental?
I can't tell you what we are working on now, but I can assure you that technology will end 99% of all routine and bureaucratic tasks.
Our software already does 90% of it, the only thing missing is our future integration of artificial intelligence. Algorithms will be able to prevent human behaviour and make real-time exchange of information with other touristic bodies that will provide and manage most of the customer´s traffic very soon.
We are talking about Big Data and the use of this data, that is right now making the difference. I can't tell you more, we will find out how others companies are moving, but to give you a clue, in the last “Las Vegas VRMA event” nothing really “Technologically New” was presented, (only our new Channel manager with its new technology), we only noticed that there were three new Data Analysis companies, I wonder why.
Q. What is your view on the legislation that local governments place on VR companies?
As I explained before, it is sad to see governments trying to establish limits in a sector with a fund rising spirit, instead of helping to expand in an organised and fair way.
We see every day that mainly the fundraising initiatives made four years ago are now copied by other countries, but the good practices set by some countries are not copied because of the Hotel Lobby. Even in Spain, we have seen how some city governments have regulated against this Vacation Rental activity, while other countries have enforced and encouraged this new economy to flow and grow.
It is certainly confusing.
Q. What do you think about EveryStay’s value-add as an Avantio preferred partner? Are you seeing a demand for direct bookings with your customers?
Our preferred partnership always has a triple-win formula in mind: our customers, our partners, and Avantio.
Our customers benefit from the cooperation of two big players; Avantio and EveryStay. Both players joining forces together will definitely bring traffic and direct bookings to our customers.
EveryStay´s business model is very suitable for our customer´s profile, and it shares many fundamental principles that we also follow in Avantio. Cost effective, good technology and excellent service.
We are pleased that the technical integration was excellent and we are 100% compatible; This is not always the case, as not all platforms are 100 % compatible with all Channel Managers.
Last but not least, EveryStay´s project is set on a long term basis, this is very important, as stability is essential for bigger players. We are very happy, as we celebrate our launch together!
Thank you very much for this interview!
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