We created the Faces of Kigo series to showcase our talented employees, tell their stories, and share why they love being a part of the Kigo team.
Meet Montse DelFresno, Kigo Manager, Product Management based in Barcelona.
Learn more about Montse.
Tell us about yourself!
I have to confess that I am a dissident organic chemist who one day decided to move from a world of lab research to a world of SaaS. From there, I moved from creating online pharmaceutical databases to joining the rapidly evolving e-vacation rental evolution. Each of these always roles have common denominator: innovating to help evolve customers' business.
I live in Igualada, a small city 70 kilometers away from Barcelona, with my two teenage sons and my sports-passionate husband. During the school year, all of our free time is focused on roller hockey, our shared passion that allows us to travel throughout Catalonia's cities and towns almost on a weekly basis. When we aren't traveling for Hockey games, our beloved and shared passion is visiting the mountains and taking part in activities that allow us to enjoy nature: hiking, canoeing and rafting! These experiences make our vacations really quality time.
I am passionate about getting to know other cultures and different ways of understanding life. That is why one of my hobbies is learning languages, because it is through communication that things make sense.
What is your role at Kigo?
I lead the product team in our Barcelona office. As part of my role, I have the great privilege to work closely with not only my product team and the engineers that build our innovative products, but also with the rest of departments. We collaborate closely with the customer-facing departments to better understand what we need to focus on to make our customers' experience with our products the best in the market.
Why do you love your job?
I love having the opportunity to be part of defining the industry. It's important to Kigo to understand the challenges that both our customers and our customers' customers (travellers) are facing. We also seek to understand potential challenges that can emerge as the industry evolves and create a solution for them.
What really excites me about my job is working with such knowledgeable and experienced colleagues in the industry. They are the strong foundation that allows Kigo to scale our company, and they are always improving and iterating our processes and products.
What makes Kigo stand out from the competition?
As part of our mission and vision, Kigo is driven by innovation. Our goal is to support our customers and their unique businesses. We do this by providing solutions to the different activities that are part vacation rental management, as well as by thinking ahead to how we can evolve our products to better support our customers' business growth.
Tell us about Kigo's new Channel Manager! How does it benefit Kigo clients?
We are evolving the Channel Manager solution from a basic essential channel connection to a channel marketing tool, with a special focus on alleviating the accounting burden our customers face.
Property managers have different resources to promote their inventory, from their company website to big portal platforms such Airbnb, HomeAway, Booking.com and others. With the new Channel Manager, we want to help our customers create a strategy that maximizes their success by offering them different approaches for the different portals. Another key advantage of our new Channel Manager is the ability for users to make sense of what they are earning and paying to each of their stakeholders, normalizing data to be handled by customers accounting systems. We are very proud to be able to help here, as we know how often accountants' heads spin when they have to deal with a plethora of fees, taxes and rates in different forms.
How is Kigo changing the vacation rental industry?
Kigo is certainly supporting the professionalization of the sector. Vacation rental management no longer consists of just exposing properties and managing the availability calendar, it is also about focusing on: how to tailor the offer for the right traveler, how to improve communication with the guest, how to ensure that the property is ready for the check in, and how to guarantee that the potential damages are identified, fixed and managed. By having all of this handled in our system, our customers can focus on growing their business by increasing their inventory and developing a strategy that will differentiate them from the competitors.
How does your passion translate into your role at Kigo?
I love interacting and connecting with this complex entity: the human being! I'm passionate about understanding what and how people think that is not being articulated. I try to empathize with others and make sure I correctly interpret what the underlying message of what I hear really means. This is only possible by asking the right questions to as many people as possible, thinking outside the box and extracting the essence of the issues. At Kigo, this is translated into our internal processes and getting the requirements submitted for the development of new features and products that will help our clients.
How do you approach finding places to stay when you travel?
I Google my destination to find local websites and also search in the biggest channel platforms so I can better picture the different possibilities of places to stay. I like to read multiple reviews from different websites to feel comfortable that I choose the best option to our needs. If I can, I like to talk with the host to better understand the culture and expectations of the experience they offer.
What do you look for in a vacation rental? What do you avoid?
My number one priority is to understand how suitable the lodging will be for my kids. If they are entertained, then we all enjoy our experience. I choose a strategic location to avoid long car rides to get to our lodging (we normally select one base camp and move from there), a pool (if it's the right time of the year), and activities that will keep them engaged and off of their electronic devices.
How can property owners make their vacation rentals more appealing to travelers like yourself?
When you are on vacations or on business travel, the last thing you want to worry about is accommodation issues. I expect hosts to to make themselves available to support any unexpected issues. It is also important be proactive in identifying what will make the best guest experiences and increase travellers' loyalty. This can be done by providing all of the information they might need prior to their stay (amenities they will enjoy, what activities they will be able to pursue during their stay, what restaurants will make their stomach the happiest during their stay, etc.) and sharing personal experiences that will make guests feel part of their family. (Too ambitious? Maybe! But I have experienced this many times, especially in the countryside!)
As we continue to explore the Faces of Kigo, you will meet more members of our global team working every day to create the best products in travel. Stay tuned!