Daniela & Vincenzo_Skol Apartments Marbella

Short-term rentals case study: Scaling ‘out’ not up with Daniela Derin

Daniela & Vincenzo_Skol Apartments Marbella


It’s not easy taking your short-term rental business to the next level. If you are already managing multi units or have aspirations to do just that, read on.

Daniela Derin of the Skol Apartments Marbella – keynote speaker for The Short Stay Week and Scale Rentals Show talks about her experience of scaling a short-term rental business.

Fully booked with 90 Apartments!

Daniela and husband, Vincenzo, manage 90 units in Marbella; a destination that is hugely competitive. They are fully booked throughout the year and achieve that with 100% direct bookings.

What’s Daniela and Vincenzo’s key to success?

Well, they’ll be sharing some of their ground-breaking marketing initiatives during the Short Stay Week and at The Scale Rentals Show, but to whet your appetite, here Daniela shares how they successfully scaled their business through building relationships.

Scaling up or out?

“The first thing to say is that we don’t just concentrate on scaling up. It’s not sustainable and owners don’t give you their trust if you can’t also show them a successful booking rate and healthy reviews.

We have two objectives:

Vertical Objective: Get more properties/units and therefore more clients

Horizontal Objective: Sell more to the same people. What does that mean?

Horizontal scaling helps us to achieve a high rate of repeat direct bookings and additional revenue streams, such as transfers, day trips and experiences.

We also love to network and our goal is to build a network of properties which accept direct bookings, for when our guests decide to travel somewhere else.

How do we achieve 100% direct bookings?


Of course we receive enquiries via the OTAs but our goal is always ensure that these guests rebook with us directly.

To do that we have to be in their face – all the time: pre, during and post-stay. That means be consistent with every marketing channel, social media post and brand message we put  out there.

We send monthly newsletters, daily Instagram and Facebook stories and posts, youtube videos and shorts, and we use Whatsapp for marketing to our database: delivering a daily status and a weekly video to  our broadcast list.

And of course, when they arrive, we are always visible. We work on-site and make ourselves available to guests. By the time they leave, they feel part of the Skol family.

We build a relationship with them, so they trust us completely.


Brand building works

Our brand is built around our passion and knowledge of Marbella. Since Covid, we have consistently marketed Skol Apartments Marbella as an ideal place to stay for families and digital nomads. Providing them with great value and quality apartments in an unbeatable location.

We also tell them how to make the most of their time in Marbella, advising them on where to eat, shop and what is worth seeing. We are big ambassadors for local, family-run businesses too!

We call it the ‘Triple Win’!

  • We win because we’re the expert
  • The guests win because they discover amazing places
  • Local businesses win because they have more clients and they will be grateful to you, talking about you and promoting your services


How does this attract owner clients?

It’s not just our guests who see our daily marketing initiatives and our happy, smiling faces around the Skol.

Owners can see that we have more visibility than any of our competitors, and our owner clients are more than happy to recommend us.

Our hard work building a brand does pay off. But it is hard work! You have to set aside time every day to make yourself visible – on and offline.


We aren’t just property managers

Marbella Property Management

As well as renting our owner apartments and delivering them a great return, we also help them with refurbishments and project management, providing them with a full carefree service. Most of our owners don’t live in Marbella, so we are their essential lifeline to the services they need to maintain their apartment to the highest standard.

Once an owner trusts you with their rentals and you show them that you’re a capable professional, they’ll trust you with the refurbishment works they require, properties always need an uplift: painting, refurnishing, as well as the bigger jobs.

Many property managers do not want to be hassled, because in truth, it’s a lot of work but there are huge benefits, and here’s why you should make the extra effort:


A: Strengthen the relationship with owners and work towards making yourself indispensable. They’ll recommend you to other owners for ALL of your services, not just the rental management.

B: Build relationship with suppliers, widening your horizons and making people aware of all your services, building the know, like and trust factor offline and helping your neighbours at the same time, so again WIN WIN WIN 3 times.


Real Estate is lucrative

As you scale up your rental business and your reputation grows, you may be approached by investors, guests who want to purchase a short-term rental, and on the flip side, owners will come to you when they decide to sell – it’s all about brand trust.

Even if you need a real estate licence where you are based, I highly recommend that you get one. It’s worth it.

Don’t forget you are the expert in your local market, so you know what would make a good short-term rental investment and you can recommend properties to investors.

We have a waiting list of guests and pure investors who want to purchase an apartment at the Skol and it’s a very lucrative business.

Help them to get a good deal and all of a sudden, they will be trusting you with their refurbishment, the management, and of course a percentage on the sale.

Can you see how your strategy shouldn’t just be about scaling up? There are many facets to a successful and lucrative scaling strategy.

No outsourcing

Skol Apartments Marbella property management team

We do not outsource any staff requirements. All of our cleaners and maintenance staff are employed by us, which allows us to control the quality and build a relationship with our team, which in turn leads to trust.

They are in and out of our clients’ apartments where guests’ belongings are kept, but that’s fine. We trust them completely . They’ve been with us for years and we supported them throughout the pandemic years, so they’re totally loyal as well as taking a lot of pride in the work they do for cleaning, maintenance and refurbishments.

Pay it forward

The feedback we get from guests always mentions how easy and smooth it is to book a holiday with us.

They always know what to expect, they feel safe coming to the same place year after year and in the event something does not go according to plan, they know we’re here to help and solve their problem.

Some owners say they only bought the apartment because of us, because they can trust us with their asset and if they had had to go and find an agent, they would have never purchased.

Is scaling ‘out’ the answer for everybody?

Scaling out isn’t for everybody. You might be in a totally unique market or be at a stage in your life where vertical growth is more in tune with your lifestyle.

We could have gone that way. We could have set out to conquer the whole of Marbella; open shiny offices, hire a sales team, keep working with a % or rent to rent but that wouldn’t resonate with us because:

A: We’re control freaks that want and need to stay on top of everything

B: We welcome digital nomads, because realistically that’s what we are. We choose a more down to earth lifestyle over shiny offices. We love to work from sunny balconies, be flexible with our working hours and travel lots with our children.


Property management networking

We cherish our STR network! Networking with fellow property managers is very important to us. Our business can be very solitary, and we need human contact, even if sometimes it’s from behind a screen.

And of course, we can pick each other’s brains and help each other with positive feedback and ideas. Having a happy, positive and social network around us keeps our minds buzzing and our creativity flowing.

We can’t wait to say hello to you all at The Short Stay Week and The Scale Rentals Show in May!

Love, Daniela & Vincenzo



Daniela will be speaking at Scale UK – September 26-27th 2023 in London. Book to hear Daniela’s session on how she uses Whatsapp business to achiever her 100% direct booking rate.


Add Comment