As the world re-emerges from the shadows of the global pandemic, the power of human connection and collaboration will take centre stage at STRive. Tech entrepreneur, Bart Sobies reveals the story behind his rise as a short-term rental visionary, from Facebook groups to podcasts and now a ground-breaking face-to-face STR industry event.
Scheduled for July 12, 2023, in Melbourne, “STRive 2023 is a testament to resilience, innovation, and the transformative potential of a globally networked community”, said Sobies, the tech founder behind ibooked.online, who has emerged from the chaos of the pandemic as a driving force in the STR industry.
Reflecting on the early days of the lockdown, Sobies told AccomNews: “Starting a business from behind closed doors, leaving our co-share offices, and being bootstrapped was terrifying.
“The pandemic introduced unprecedented challenges and fears, but it also gave us a chance to pause, reflect, and reinvent ourselves. The essence of survival lay not in resistance but in embracing the change and leveraging it.”
Despite the global lockdowns and significant industry challenges in 2020, Sobies was undeterred, turning adversity into an opportunity for growth, connection, and learning.
From uncertainty in 2019, Sobies pioneered ibooked.online a dedicated platform helping accommodation owners and managers amplify their direct bookings. However, the emerging global lockdowns in 2020 caused the demand for websites to plummet, catapulting the industry into uncharted territories of fear and uncertainty.
Refusing to retreat, Sobies saw an opportunity in adversity. He founded a Facebook group for accommodation owners and managers, creating a thriving community that garnered him a grant from Facebook.
His initiatives didn’t stop there. In 2021, Sobies launched “The Accommodation Show”, a podcast that swiftly became an industry lifeline. With its blend of strategic insights, current news, and conversations with industry giants and smaller operators, the podcast perfectly demonstrated the potential of virtual connections.
By 2021, Sobies took another significant stride, launching The Accommodation Show. Hailed as one of the leading podcasts for hotels, motels, and short-term rentals, it nurtured a space for industry leaders to connect and share knowledge. The podcast reached over ten seasons and a hundred episodes, with a growing global listenership, highlighting its impact and reach.
Between 2020 and 2023, Sobies also became a sought-after keynote speaker at key hotel events such as Maximum Occupancy, APAC Revenue Management Summit, Destination Southern Tasmania and more. His compelling insights and ability to connect with his audience, even across digital channels, distinguished him as a thought leader and visionary in the sector.
The culmination of Sobies’ tireless efforts to rally the industry amidst a global crisis is STRive 2023. Drawing on his extensive network, he has planned an event that extends beyond Australian borders, featuring international speakers meeting Australian industry members face-to-face for the first time in the post-pandemic world.
STRive 2023 promises an exciting blend of expert-led sessions covering industry trends, marketing strategies, property management, technology advancements, and personal experiences of navigating the challenges of recent years. The speaker lineup boasts global industry luminaries, including Sobies himself, Julie George, known as “The Million Dollar Host,” and other renowned figures from the international STR community.
However, Sobies said: “STRive is more than just a conference—it’s a celebration of the resilience, adaptability, and innovation of the STR industry throughout the pandemic.”
With a celebratory dinner and afterparty, STRive will provide ample opportunities for networking, fostering personal connections, and sharing stories of triumph over adversity. But STRive’s biggest draw is the meeting of international minds with local Australian talent, all coming together in one event.
Julie George, known as the Million Dollar Host from Australia said: “From only knowing Bart from online interaction during the pandemic to becoming part of an industry-leading event like STRive, it’s been an incredible journey.”
Global companies like Guesty have also recognised STRive’s potential as a springboard for industry growth and innovation.
Yoav Tourel, Managing Director, APAC at Guesty said: “These are exciting times for the STR industry in Australia. As it continues to grow, so do the challenges. To thrive in this dynamic landscape, professionalism, and innovation have become indispensable.
“This is precisely what STRive is about and we’re looking forward to participating and contributing to the insightful discussions that will take place.”
Hostfully’s President and Co-founder, David Jacoby, mirrored this enthusiasm and is flying a top team member to meet business leaders in Australia.
“When Bart reached out to share details of this ambitious event, we realised that STRive is the perfect opportunity to showcase our award-winning property management technology and to have our first-ever presence in Australia,” he said.
As a tech founder, Sobies’ transformative journey, from creating a tech start-up to spearheading a major international industry event, encapsulates the spirit of resilience and the power of global connections. STRive is an affirmation of the strength of the STR industry and an embodiment of its ability to rise together in challenging times.
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