Stop navigating from one website to another, and read ALL the information you need before you leave home.
If you are considering renting an apartment while you are in Seville – something you should seriously think about, VeoApartment has probably the most appealing offer in the market.
While there are many websites and companies providing an accommodation other than a hotel room, I believe that VeoApartment’ strategy of cherry picking the apartments, their website presentation and the terms are perfect for someone willing to experience Seville closer and deeper.
In order to reveal all the secrets and details of VeoApartment, I organized an meeting with Markus Christmann – founder and managing director of the company.
In this special interview, you’ll meet Markus and learn about how he developed a successful business in the holiday rental industry. You’ll also find how VeoApartments was born and how the lodgings are carefully selected. He also shares his views about other potential competitors and the special features of their properties.
Let me introduce you to Markus.
Q: You moved to Seville in 1999 (long time ago!). Why did you decide to stay?
I had quit my job at a large German company and tried to do something on my own. It worked out well, and so, along with other reasons, I had no reason to leave. Seville is an pleasant and easy city to live…
Q: A year later, you launch your first online project, sevilla5 – a website offering lodging reservations in Seville hotels and apartments. How did you come up with the idea? Was it hard to set it up?
The idea was not that ingenious. I just tried to start a business based on my own needs and experiences as a foreigner. The language and accommodation theme was very natural. From today’s perspective, this was a very easy project, because the market was not yet very competitive. Most Spanish schools, and even large hotels, did not have a professional internet presence. On the other hand, as I was new to all this as well, I had to start from scratch, learning html, etc. I was not even interested in photography at that time. So the technical issues, together with not having any contacts with Spanish schools and apartment owners, made the first year very difficult.
Q: Were there many companies like yours at the time?
There were a few around. But what you could find on the internet at that time was all very home-grown, which made it easy for outsiders to start.
Q: You have recently launched your new baby, VeoApartment – a website focused in rental apartments for both short and long term periods. I guess this was a natural move…
Yes, though it came a few years too late. As the original site was doing very well, there was actually no need to innovate.
Q: Aren’t you afraid of the increasing competition? I am talking about websites like AirBnB, 9flats, Wimdu and that offer owners a platform to showcase their apartment while tenants can find a place to stay for a while.
The competition is very hard these days. However, I don’t consider the websites you mentioned to be our direct competitors. They focus on a lower market segment, which is shared accommodation, even though they have upgraded to individual apartments as well. But their typical client, at least this is my assumption, is more the “student” type.
Q: What’s the main difference between them and veoapartment? In other words, why should people rent an apartment for the holidays in Seville through your website instead of the others I mentioned before?
Take the first three letters of our brand: “veo” means “I see”. We try to have the best possible apartment presentation on our website, at the best price. Also, we are based in Seville and know the city and the apartments personally. So we can offer a much more personal and complete service.
Q: What criteria do you follow to choose the apartments or buildings you decide to work with? If location is important, what areas or neighbourhoods do you prefer?
In Seville, we focus on the historic center, within the old city walls. The apartments have to comply with some technical requirements, in order to be useful as tourist apartments. But the most important thing is always the owner. You can change and improve the apartment over time, but the owner, from a certain age on, you cannot.
Q: Does veoapartment offer any additional services apart from the apartment’s rental? Could you give us more details and explain if they are included in the rent fare?
We try to focus on our core business, which is “accommodation”. Very related, and a concern for many guests is the arrival and reception at the apartment. As most tourist apartments do not have a 24h reception desk, this has to work without hitches… and it does. For those who want the smoothest arrival possible, we offer an airport to apartment transport service for an additional fee.
Q: I have noticed that most of VeoApartment’s team is not from Spain. Is your business mainly focused on foreigners or do you also have Spanish clients?
In Spain, most apartment guests are Spanish, by country of origin. Even so, I think more than 50% are English speaking foreigners. Perhaps I have added the Dutch and Scandinavians to this group, as well.
Q: And a final curiosity… I am sure you are very busy already with such a successful website but I was wondering… do you have other online projects for the future? Could you tell us more about them?
Time will tell… VeoApartment just started up in December 2011. But we are presently looking for other like-minded representatives in large European cities.
Additionally, Joao – another member of the VeoApartment team recorded a while ago a video in which he explains what’s his work about and details a bit more about what you can find on their website.
I’m sure now that you have seen these beauties, you can’t resist the temptation of renting one!