Istria, which is a large peninsula pointing down into the northern Adriatic sea, represents Croatian tourism at its most developed and diverse form. In the last ten years, the region’s closeness to Western Europe has ensured an annual influx of a large number of sun-seeking tourists from Italy, Germany, Austria along with the UK flocking to the hotel developments that dot the coastline. The rise in the tourism sector has provided local Villa owners opportunities like never before. Helping the local Villa owners rent out their properties by giving them more visibility is villsy.com . Villsy specializes in renting out luxury villas that they have handpicked from nearby areas. They work directly with homeowners without any intermediaries to give the guests the best possible price. Moreover, they provide local support and advise on many activities on site. To know more about villsy.com and the growth of the tourism sector in Istria, Croatia, we recently interviewed Toni Hrelja, the owner of villsy.com.
Toni, thank you for talking to us. When did you come up with the idea of villsy.com?
Though we launched the website earlier this year, we have been involved in the travel business, especially renting villas, for over 10 years. Our experience in the offline world led us into launching our own website. As I said, we are in this business since 2008. Initially, we had intermediaries and that did not result in customers having a good experience in many cases. Therefore, we decided to rent out the villas to tourists only when we know the owners really well. This also reduced the price for our customer.
What were the initial challenges that you faced as in this sector, given a large number of websites offering rental solutions?
Our focus is on handpicked villas i.e. we visit each and every villa that we rent and we know the owners. This unique personalization makes us different. Moreover, we offer custom solutions to our clients. Also, unlike other service providers we are focused on renting villas only in Croatia, thus we have a more focused approach and we are able to offer the best services to our clients. Usually, people rent Villas for 1-2 weeks for holidays in our Villas in Istria.
How do you differentiate yourself from your domain competitors?
As I said, we offer carefully selected villas. Moreover, all of our villas have pool. Also, the villas are kids friendly. Rather than diversifying at the cost of customer service, we are just focussing only on the Croatian market.
What changes have you observed in the Croatian properties market along with the country’s tourism potential in the last few years?
There is a big demand for Croatian villas by the tourists. Understanding this demand, home owners are investing heavily in quantity and quality of villas. Just to let you know, 10 years ago – there were just around 200 villas offered for rent. Nowadays we are talking about 5-7 thousand villas which are available for rent. Most of the guests are from Germany and UK – and it seems that that demand will remain high in the coming years as well.
You can get in touch with villsy.com for bookings here.