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A Summit Dedicated to Vacation Rental Design, Starting in High Point

Amy Gordon | October 24, 2022

A new conference is coming to High Point, North Carolina, next spring.

The inaugural Vacation Rental Design Summit will be held just ahead of Market in April 2023 and aims to address the growing niche of designing homes for short term rentals. Presented by High Point x Design (HPxD) and High Point Market Authority (HPMA), the two-day summit features a program dedicated to creating coveted listings for companies like Airbnb and Vrbo.

The concept was first suggested by interior designer Jessica Duce of JDuce Design, who mentioned the idea to HPxD CEO Jane Dagmi at the Spring Market. About seven years ago, Duce designed her first short-term rental. It’s since become something of a specialty for the Spring, Texas-based designer, so much so that she created a sister company, Vacation Rental Designers. Duce regularly attends High Point Market as well as the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and other industry shows, but she has always wished there were more programs for the niche market that has become her specialty. “I thought, ‘Why don’t we do it ourselves?'” says Duce.

Short term rental designing falls somewhere between staging and residential and hospitality design, a balance that can be hard to find, especially for those just starting out. “It’s really about creating that voyeuristic experience,” says Duce. “You want to feel like you’re entering 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 built-in smart home technology are also key to providing a simple, hassle-free experience for guests and hosts alike, says Duce. The conference program will be designed along these themes, highlighting resources and providing education for designers in the industry.

Dagmi felt the idea aligned well with the HPxD mission, which aims to make the North Carolina city a year-round destination that draws visitors outside of market days. “The market is so great, but the city is year-round,” says Dagmi. “We want to continue to introduce people to the city in other ways, and the summit gives those outside of the furniture and textile industries — perhaps hospitality groups, real estate agents and property managers — a reason to come to High Point.”

The idea was also attractive to HPMA. Together, the two organizations agreed to host the debut conference on April 20-21, 2023 in the days leading up to Spring Market to give designers the opportunity to attend both. “We are uniquely qualified to host this event, both in terms of the infrastructure surrounding High Point Market and the resources we have here for designers delving into this niche. The product base is here, the expertise is there and the inspiration is endless,” said Tammy Nagem, HPMA’s new president and CEO, in a statement.

Dagmi hopes the new event can bring together parts of Market, KBIS, CEDIA Expo and Interwoven Textile Fair into a unique experience that serves a unique sector of the design community. “We think this umbrella of vacation rental design provides so many opportunities to showcase other parts of the home industry in High Point,” she says. “Of course we have an unbelievable selection of furniture, accessories and textile manufacturers here, but there is also space for kitchens, bathrooms and technology. We believe we can do it.”

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