Company / Founder's Story

Smily Founder's Story: Building a Vacation Rental Revolution

How Sébastien Grosjean turned passion into purpose, empowering the vacation rental industry with Smily.

Where everything started…

I'm Sebastien, the CEO and Founder of Smily and I would like to tell you a story…

where everything started…

It's back on 6th June 2003, and around midnight, my parents receive a phone call.
On the other side of the line, a lady tells them that the life of their child is in danger…and we don't know where he is. At this moment, as any parent you can imagine their entire world collapsed. Everything was at stake, nothing else relevant.

To put back in context, luckily they already had very successful vacation rental businesses they started about 20 years ago in France. First in the Alps buying lands, building chalets and renting them. Further down the road, they also replicated the same in south of France in Provence: they were able to buy lands, build some properties and rehabilitate some others, and again put them in short-term rentals.
Luckily, these two businesses were very successful and they had the financial freedom and the time to be able to do whatever it took to save my life, which of course I'm eternally grateful for.

From there, a couple years forward they started a new project in Greece and when they were about to launch it, they realized that the main acquisition channel which was Tourism Offices in France sadly didn't exist in Greece!

At this point, we started to think about the outcome, what is the solution, how can we fix that problem?
We realized that the need was websites: you needed to advertise on different platforms as we know them today such as Airbnb,, Expedia and so much more…
My parents were not very tech savvy, I was lucky that I had done my studies in IT. As you understood, this business that saved my life, along with the love of my parents that built this activity, and was behind everything that made me here today, there was no other option for me than going there and helping them!
I flew to Greece, stopped what I was doing and came to help out with their business. I quickly realized that updating calendars by clicking on buttons every day, because you have to mark your calendar daily, or in some cases twice a day per listing, to say that “yes my calendar is up to date” would put us back on top of the site search ranking.
Yet, I was living in a paradise, it was amazing, beautiful greek islands in front of me, very nice landscape, my family was around…but i was clicking buttons all day long!

Very quickly, I automated the process, and that's what became BookingSync, the former name of Smily, the first channel manager of the vacation rental industry.

Few years later, we grew way beyond this: in September 2021 we were nominated by Airbnb, and Expedia as the world's best connectivity partner! The only one to have the highest level of partnership with the three of them in the whole hospitality industry, and that's an amazing job achieved by our entire team. Thanks a lot to our customers and partners who made this possible.

Now, our former brand BookingSync, is way more than just synchronizing bookings today: we also help with guest communication, whether that’s centralizing everything in one place or automating your communication with your own brand, we also help with payments by collecting them and ensuring there is no fraud. We also help with increasing your revenue, on average around 40% more. That's a lot of tooling that we have built, a lot of services that are provided.
BookingSync was a brand name that was created from what we do, which is synchronizing bookings, yet it did not fit anymore with what we're doing now…

That's why we rebranded in 2022 to our new brand, called "Smily”.

Why Smily?
Because we transition not only from “what we do” but “why” we are doing it.

Why Smily?
Because we believe in sharing smiles: between a traveler and an owner, a traveler and a property manager, a property manager and an owner, within your teams, with family,  friends, within yourself… It's really why we exist.

We want to make sure that every day you share smiles and you enjoy life so fully that you can thrive and enjoy. That's why we exist and why we want to be your partner.
That's why Smily, is the driver behind anything we do. Why we do what we do and why we want to be in business with you.

Thank you,
Sébastien Grosjean
Founder & CEO