The holiday apartments concept and the evolution of travel industry
We live in the rapidly developing information technology era where every day we receive, process and respond to diverse and dynamic information from different sources and in volumes unimaginable only a decade or two ago. The IT era has changed our lives immensely. It provided us with new tools to create services and led to significant changes in our culture of communication and sharing.
It is hard now to imagine our lives without smartphones or the internet. Those two major inventions of our modern time changed us completely as human beings, from the way we communicate through the way we behave and the new services and the businesses we create, to the way we think and plan our everyday lives.
This huge evolutional challenge has impacted the travel industry as well, and it dramatically changed in the past two decades. Many of us still remember the good old offices of travel agencies, with the neat posters of holiday packages on their window cases. There was at least one travel agency office in each smaller town, and of course many more in the bigger cities. Travel agents advised us about the best hotels, the most exotic destinations, the cheapest airplane tickets, and the exclusive holiday packages available on the market.
Then in 1996, shortly after the world wide web was introduced in Europe for the public, a man named Geert-Jan Bruinsma from the Netherlands came up with the idea to create a web site that would enable visitors to book online a hotel room in the Netherlands. The web site was called Bookings.nl, and it quickly gained popularity. After a period of mergers and acquisitions in the 2000's, and the web site name changed to Booking.com, this online platform increased in capacity and in popularity to become global. Today this is one of the most popular accommodation search and reservation web sites that advertises listings in over 125 000 destinations worldwide, with enabled support in 43 languages.
In 2008 another online concept emerged. It aimed to encourage the culture of sharing, and was quickly embraced by the younger generation. Airbnb offers the platform to advertise even a room in your own apartment, this time encouraging the initiative of everyone who owns a spare bed, to put it online and to host guests on their property for a price. This brilliant idea was welcomed by travelers from all around the world and prompted significant changes in the modern culture of travel. Suddenly an increasing competition to the established hotel chains emerged. Small property owners entered the accommodation business to challenge the status quo and to significantly change the market of holiday rentals. The sector expanded quickly, and in 2013 14 % of travelers booked a private home or apartment for a trip at least 1 time per year. People also started to look for more local experiences, which Airbnb started facilitating as well.
Croatia is a small country, with the area of just 56 594 sq. km. and a population of a bit over 4 million people. Nevertheless, the country is becoming an increasingly popular destination with its well preserved historical heritage, the natural resources, the beautiful long coastline with more than 1000 islands, and the stunning nature reserves. A Eurostat report from 2018 states that Croatia, among Slovenia and Latvia, has the fastest growing tourism industry among the EU countries. In 2019 it was visited by appx. 15 million foreign tourists, according to the state's tourist registration system eVisitor. Foreign tourists registered appx. 80 million nights at accommodation facilities and hotels. Dubrovnik and the area around it, being one of the country's top destinations, registered over 7 million nights in 2019.
Views from around Dubrovnik: the old city, the old port, Lokrum island, a restaurant in Old Dubrovnik and the main Stradun street.
Today over 65 % of all reservations for holiday stays in Europe are made online (Statista October, 2019 report). The accommodations sector makes a growing revenue, and this trend is likely to continue in the coming years. Over 65 % is also the rate of reservations made with private holiday rentals against traditional hotels, as reveals a 2019 analysis report for Croatia by the Institute of Economics in Zagreb.
Small property owners are true game changers in Croatia. There is many reasons why holiday homes and apartments are very often preferred over hotels. They usually are available at competitive prices, offer more space and more home-like facilities. This, as well as the availability of a kitchen or a kitchenette that gives travelers more food options, makes them particularly convenient for families and groups. Another advantage of holiday apartments is that they provide more privacy in comparison with hotels, and usually the space includes a private balcony or a terrace, just as in all our apartments. Housekeeping and any special local services can be tailored to the needs of the guests. For example, at our property we arrange with you the desired time and date for housekeeping in your apartment if you stay with us for longer than 7 days. We offer you support and information about the local facilities that suit your specific needs, and remain the personal approach towards all our guests.
Pictures from Suđurađ, Šipan island.
There are 2 hotels and appx. 20 private properties that offer vacation rentals, villas or holiday apartments on Šipan. While Dubrovnik offers a glimpse into the famous Ragusa Republic's magnificent past, along with the busy traffic, the night clubs, the restaurants, the bars and shopping centres that are part of an ordinary busy city life, Šipan remains almost untouched and silent. It takes you back in time with all the remains of fancy 16th century villas, peasant settlements and fishermen's houses on the shore, upon one of which our property was built. The bird songs and the cicada creaks in the hot summer days, the incredible variety of butterflies, the sounds of waves and the cool summer breeze are only some of the magical reasons why we love our island, and believe it is worth visiting at least once in a lifetime.
Orange alfalfa butterfly, queen page and lemon butterfly, photographed on Šipan island by Conny Kruider.