The coronavirus pandemic has left its mark on tourism and changed the habits of tourists around the world. While losses from last year are still being added up, and experts offer predictions of how long this situation will last, renters across Croatia are trying to adapt to the "new normal" situation and provide guests with what they are looking for.
Trends show that visitors put safety first when looking for accommodation, and we mean health safety. Namely, although the coronavirus has gone on the defensive with the advent of the vaccine, there is still no room for relaxation. Vaccination, COVID passports and adherence to the recommendations of epidemiologists have partly restored confidence in travel, but domestic and foreign tourists still largely want to keep contact with others to a minimum.
One of the possible solutions in the tourism sector is certainly holiday homes, for which the interest of domestic and foreign tourists has increased before, and especially after the pandemic. This is especially evident on our coast, where holiday homes are springing up, usually with a swimming pool, so that all the benefits of private accommodation are available to guests.
But what is the situation in the continental part of Croatia and how much is the increase in interest in holiday homes in the interior?
According to the words Antonije Eman and an increasing number of new and quality holiday homes are being recorded on the continent day by day. By the way, Antonija, who has been working in tourism for more than 20 years, is an administrator Facebook group "Holiday homes - continental Croatia" which currently has almost 28.000 members and is growing day by day.
“The group was formed in September 2018 as my incentive and desire to provide all my landlords with additional booking and direct communication with the guest. Namely, as I have been working for many years for an agency that brings guests from Western Europe to Croatia and as these guests travel mostly in the period from April to early September, I did not want to leave holiday home owners empty during the late autumn, winter and spring months. . In the very beginning, I invited all renters who had already advertised on Facebook to join the group. It was also not enough to have only landlords in the group, of course we needed guests as well, so I asked all my friends to invite their friends, then their friends, etc. ”, Eman recalls the beginnings.
After a short period, there was no need to send invitations, because the landlords and guests were already asking for permission to join. In addition to landlords, the group also includes guests, lovers of continental Croatia, or all those who know that this part of our country has great potential and can work 365 days a year, and this has been proven after less than three years of the group's existence.
“As I regularly congratulate all my members on the holidays, so I had the opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and one lady in return congratulated me via Messenger. To that, I asked her which of her holiday homes was purely to help her a little, and by optimizing, I also gave her a few ideas and tips. The lady told me, “My house is still under construction. In your group, I absorb to find out as much as possible about my project and I am very grateful to you for that ”. This is our group, we help each other. I intentionally say “ours” because all members help each other with ideas and suggestions, and I constantly encourage them to discuss. With my knowledge and experience in tourism for over 20 years, I am happy to give advice, which is of course free. I shaped these tips into the “Topic of the Week” that we publish on Thursdays. So far we have had 34 Topics of the Week and we have discussed all the important things for both the landlord and the guests. In addition to the Theme of the Week, we sometimes have the House of the Week, a Sunday market where group members offer their products and services in exchange for money or accommodation, and we also had a post proposing that the landlord from Slavonia be replaced by a landlord from Gorski Kotar. they go on vacation without having to pay for accommodation. It's nothing new on the market, but sometimes you just need to encourage a good 'vibe' to connect people. ”says Eman.
The moment the ‘lockdown’ knocked on the door in the group there was an incredible increase in the number of members. People wanted to go on vacation but not far from their home, they wanted to be secluded without big crowds and while many hotels closed or recorded a reduced number of guests, holiday homes recorded a large increase in bookings and overnight stays.
If it is a better quality holiday home with good facilities and capacity, we can freely talk about the number of 180-200 days of occupancy during the year, and the number of such examples on the continent is large.
The coronavirus, as Antonia Eman says, has definitely encouraged turning to nature, exploring our surroundings and enjoying what surrounds us. “My motto, which I pass on to all members of the group, is that every property should be enriched, ie given value. If you have a client in a vineyard, a house on the river bank, a house inherited from your grandmother,… arrange it and put it on the market. One landlord told me a long time ago “Just make money for me to have a beer while I mow the grass” these are our landlords on the continent, modest, and they will give you everything you want when you come to him and choose his house. In the continental part of Croatia, most high-quality facilities are located in the area of Međimurje and the Varaždin region, and then in Zagorje and certainly in the Karlovac area. Gorski Kotar and Lika, which we have always considered regions for winter tourism, now play a big role in summer tourism. I testify that in this area new very high quality holiday homes are being created, which guests are happy to choose not only for a stay of two or three nights, but also for a much longer period. I am very pleased with the fact that in the group every day we have more and more landlords from the area of Srijem, Baranja and Slavonia. I would be awful if I singled out just one region on the continent because really each is different and each has plenty to offer. ”, explains Eman.
Eman: In two to three months as long as the pool is in operation you can earn more than in the rest of the year.
The number one content that guests are looking for is a swimming pool, so although renters find it difficult to decide on such a large investment with the explanation "pool for those two months, so it's not worth it", Eman assures them that in those two to three months function to earn perhaps more than the rest of the year. With a pool, the minimum stay increases and cleaning and maintenance costs decrease.
"My communication with all landlords is the same, and that is that if you have a holiday home, in order to increase the minimum stay, it is necessary to offer the guest and some other content. Every guest who comes to the holiday home wants a little fun, entertainment, especially if he is a family guest he wants some fun for his child and ultimately for himself. It’s not the same when you have a house without a pool and guests for two nights, so you clean and wash every two days or when you have a vacation home with a pool and a guest for six, seven nights and you clean and wash only once. The pool is a big investment at the start, but an investment that has a quick return. After the pool of contents the most popular is the whirlpool and then the sauna. I am of the opinion that no house should be without barbecue and facilities for children in terms of swings, slides, toys and the like. If the house is located in a beautiful landscape, there should definitely be at least two bicycles on offer. When you agree on the concept of the house in this way, the reservations are unquestionable, the price is high but with reason, and the guest is satisfied and his recommendation is your commission for the future. For the time being, we have the most Croatian weekend guests in our group. The Croatian guest is quite demanding, but in the end he is ready to pay for the quality. The guest should be respected, but the guest is also expected to respect the landlord and the house he came to. ”
With her experience and feeling that never deceives her, says Eman, tourism in the area of continental Croatia is on a great upward trajectory. An important item is the education of both the landlord and the guest, who, with his small steps, works in a Facebook group in which he is, and it should be emphasized, the only administrator.
Nevertheless, he tries to answer every question and selflessly helps and advises, and ultimately educates, so that the landlords are ready to welcome even the most demanding guest.
“The big and most important task of all of us on the continent is the synergy of renters with a local family farm or a local restaurant or a local adrenaline park. I always tell the same story with everyone "connect, cooperate, good for you, good for everyone". When we offer a guest who comes to a holiday home more than an overnight stay and connect him with the local community, he will come to us again eager for new experiences and new emotions. Tourism tells emotions, and here on the continent we have them for everyone. ”
The Facebook group "Holiday Homes - Continental Croatia", as we have already said, gathers almost 28.000 renters and guests, but according to Antonija Eman, there is room for new members. So if you have a holiday home somewhere in green Croatia or you are interested in a holiday on the continent, then this group is just for you.
All lovers of the continental part of Croatia are welcome in our group, says Eman, and adds that they all develop, grow and learn together.
"I will repeat just one of my posts from the group: It seems to me that… we have more and more lovers of the continental part of Croatia, more and more people instead of vacation at sea choose a vacation in green Croatia, we have more quality renters, that as a community we have done a lot development of tourism in continental Croatia, to love ourselves more and more by choosing a vacation in nature and to spread the good vibe and pass it on to others", Concludes Eman.