Podcast Have you ever been a guest in a vacation rental in a location you are unfamiliar with? I’ve asked this question of many home owners to find that most have never experienced what it’s like to be a guest. And you should do this, at least once. Owners will often say they’ve stayed in their own house and been to all the local restaurants, shopped in the nearby grocery stores and hiked the trails they recommend, so know what it will be like for their guests, but with respect, that doesn’t give the same experience they will have. Until you’ve arrived at a strange airport or driven along unfamiliar roads, tried to find an address that’s not on a GPS, and negotiated entry via a fiddly lock box, you don’t really know how a first impression is made. It’s often not the bright white towels in the bathroom, or the beautifully made bed that delivers the first impact. So, when I heard that the founder of the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog and the Inner Circle, Matt Landau, had just come back from a month of travels in Europe, I wanted to hear about his experiences in unfamiliar territory, and what it was about the places he stayed that really made his journey successful and enjoyable. Matt visited Spain and Italy, and stayed in a five distinctly separate vacation rentals, from a resort-style condo in Marbella, to a city pad in Barcelona and a villa in Umbria. He met the owners and property managers, their friends and relatives, and the local people who helped him discover the culture of each area he visited. He also had the opportunity to connect and network with many other vacation rental professionals along the way. Matt says his mom told him he needed to write everything down so he wouldn’t forget (Mom’s are always right!), so he reads from his trip essays which captured so much of what he experienced. In the first part of this two-part episode Matt talks about the Spanish part of the trip and his visits to Barcelona and Marbella.