1. When did you to start working in the ShBarcelona?
ShBarcelona was created in 2001 by Mr. Itoiz – Barcelona’s enthusiast. He had the vision that real estate business, more specifically in Barcelona, should focus on a new kind of rentals: mid-term (also called monthly rentals).
Barcelona is a really attractive city, which welcomes every year new internationals students, companies, expatriates for a temporary stay of 5.3 months average. So, I became part of this company as a sales representative in 2004 when only 5 people were working in the company.
11 years later I’m managing the entire group, developing new activities about real estate services. Actually we offer holiday-, monthly-, and yearly rentals, sales, refurnishments with a decoration service, maintenance, cleaning and insurance services. ShBarcelona has a workforce of 54 people based in three premises in Barcelona and one office in Madrid..
2. Where did you study?
I studied in France, in a business school based in Troyes. After two years living in Finland and Scotland, I choose Barcelona to stay for a while where I decided to study an executive MBA at ESADE Business School.
3. Could you name new several trends in the sector?
We have been the first company to move on the monthly rentals market in Barcelona, now we have many competitors trying to get our market share. Year after year, to maintain a two digits growth rate, we have to create value for our customers, improve our brand, our services, innovate and work with a loyal team.
In ShBarcelona we take time to listen to our customers and try to understand their needs; that’s why we often improve our services. Each year we add new services, comfort and transparency. Furthermore, as we work with international clients and we have to reach them, our marketing team follows the last tendency, never stop redesigning our website, and create tools to improve the user experience, animate our socials networks. More than a Barcelona real estate services company, we pretend to be a Barcelona partner.
4. What types of problems are the most frequently asked now?
Most of our foreign customers often need to be reassured. Spain suffers from a bad reputation about the real estate treatment; no refunded deposits, fake ads, dirty apartments, unclear conditions, etc. That is why we try to make the difference to be absolutely transparent.
We provide updated pictures, clearly defined conditions, detailed equipment lists, we write reliable descriptions, our rental contracts and most of our administration documents are available in English, Spanish or French (soon in German, Italian and Russian).
5. How did you change the business over time?
When we launched the company in 2001, in order to make business we had to be visible on Google, work our e-reputation on forums, blogs, etc., provide the clearest information on our website, answer emails in less than 12/24 hours and offer nice apartments, penthouse, studios… It was the beginning of the online business and customers were happy with that.
But nowadays, it is not enough. Customers find you on Internet and want to speak with someone – personal contact is becoming indispensable again. They want to meet someone and exchange information so they can form their own opinion. Internet is our best showcase but it’s not enough.
Now, we have to be the best online and offline. Our team has to be motivated, professional and available. I repeat all the time to my collaborators that we are not a real estate company but a service company, clients are more and more exigent. This allows us to challenge ourselves all the time, to be able to provide what the customer really expects.
6. Any piece of advice.
Most companies manage their business with a short-term vision. They think one shot instead of considering customer lifetime value. From my point of view, customer should always be in the center of any business model – happy customer will always praise your company, what better way there is to promote your business? To conclude, in ShBarcelona a client is not a king, but our boss.