Simon Lehmann is one of the most respected thought leaders and operational experts in the world of vacation rentals. Simon has been our mentor and friend for several years, but it wasn't until a couple months ago at VRMA International that we got to sit down with him and learn more about his personal and professional life prior to entering the industry. This is Simon Lehmann like you've never heard before! His story is one of inspiration, innovation and putting real life experience to work for his businesses and clients.
Simon currently serves as President of AJL Consulting, and has previously served in other major industry roles in his career including his time as CEO of Interhome (48,000 rentals under management during his tenure), Founder and Chairman of Vacasa Europe, and President of Phocuswright.
But what most people don’t know is that Simon's impressive career began years earlier in the airport industry, where he worked his way up to become an executive with Swissport Worldwide. Simon ran ground handling operations for several airports in Europe, managing 1000's of employees and by the time he turned 35, was responsible for $1.3 BILLION dollars in revenue. In this episode we dive into those early days that got him to where he is now, and then flash forward to talk about all things related to the current state of vacation rentals. Simon points out that in 2005, vacation rentals had a 5% category awareness. In 2021, it has soared to 80%. Is there room to grow the next 20%, and do we need/want that? We also discuss homeowner retention, software choices, guest experience, the future of travel and how he believes blockchain will be the next major disruptor. Simon tells us about Dtravel, the first blockchain company to enter the vacation rental space that was just recently announced.
To quote one of Simon's inspirations, “There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
― Nelson Mandela
We couldn’t agree more.