trade shows | Oct 24, 2022 |
A summit dedicated to vacation rental design to launch in High Point

A new conference is coming to High Point, North Carolina, next spring. The inaugural Vacation Rental Design Summit will debut right before Market in April 2023, aiming to address the growing niche of designing homes for short-term rental. Presented by High Point x Design (HPxD) and High Point Market Authority (HPMA), the two-day summit will feature programming dedicated to creating desirable listings for the likes of Airbnb and Vrbo.

The concept was first proposed by interior designer Jessica Duce of JDuce Design, who mentioned the idea to HPxD managing director Jane Dagmi at Spring Market. Duce designed her first short-term rental about seven years ago. It’s since become something of a specialty for the Spring, Texas–based designer, so much so that she created a sister firm, Vacation Rental Designers. Duce regularly attends High Point Market as well as Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and other industry trade shows, but she has always wished there was more programming dedicated to the niche market that has become her speciality. “I thought, ‘Why not make it ourselves?’” says Duce.

Designing short-term rentals exists somewhere between staging and residential and hospitality design, a balance that can be hard to strike, especially for those just starting out. “It’s really about creating this voyeuristic experience,” says Duce. “You want to feel like you’re stepping into another life.” Furniture, for example, needs to be durable but more inviting than, say, a vinyl-covered armchair in the corner of a hotel room. Art should be interesting, but not too personal. Top-of-the-line appliances and integrated smart home tech are also key for an easy, hassle-free experience for guests and hosts alike, says Duce. The programming at the conference will be crafted along those themes, highlighting resources and providing education for designers in the sector.

Dagmi felt that the idea resonated well with the HPxD mission, which is to make the North Carolina city a year-round destination, drawing visitors outside of Market days. “Market is so great, but the city does persist throughout the year,” says Dagmi. “We want to keep introducing people to the city in other ways, and the summit gives those outside the furniture and textile industries—maybe hospitality groups, realtors and property managers—a reason to come to High Point.”

The idea was equally appealing to HPMA. Together, the two organizations agreed to schedule the debut conference from April 20-21, 2023, in the days preceding Spring Market, in order to give designers a chance to attend both. “We are uniquely qualified to host this event both in terms of infrastructure surrounding High Point Market but also in terms of the resources we have here for designers diving into this niche. The product base is here, the expertise is here, and the inspiration is endless,” said incoming president and CEO of HPMA Tammy Nagem in a statement.

Dagmi hopes that the new event can bring together parts of Market, KBIS, CEDIA Expo and textile fair Interwoven for a singular experience serving a unique sector of the design community. “We think this umbrella of vacation rental design invites so much opportunity to introduce other parts of the home industry to High Point,” she says. “Obviously, we have an incredible selection of furniture, accessory and textile manufacturers here, but there is space for kitchen and bath and technology as well. We think we can make it happen.”

Homepage photo: A short term rental in Phoenix, Arizona as listed on Vrbo | Courtesy of Vrbo

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