Modern travelers have more lodging options than ever before. Hotels, resorts, B&Bs and private homes around the world are all just a few clicks away. But with all that variety comes a lot of uncertainty.
The fastest growing sector is private home rentals. It turns out that a lot of travelers are looking for the homey feel of an individual residence. They also like to have a kitchen and gathering places for family groups. But not all of those travelers want to risk having their vacation experience marred by hosts who may not know how to make sure everything goes smoothly.
If you’re the kind of traveler who is not up for surprises, consider Vacasa, a vacation rental service that doesn’t just list properties and manage payments. Vacasa professionally manages each property, with the goal of a stress-free experience for hosts and guests alike.
RewardExpert spoke with Vacasa representatives Kalli Bean and Sarah Tatone to learn more.
An experiment that paid off
Eric Breon, Vacasa CEO, and his wife, an emergency medicine doctor, inherited a tiny, 400-square-foot cabin in Washington. They were living in Portland, Oregon and had limited time to stay in the cabin, so they decided to rent it out.
A property manager told them the cabin could earn $3,200 a year. But Breon has an analytical mind, says Bean, and thought he could do better than that.
He decided to list the cabin himself. But first he developed a pricing algorithm. Using his pricing method, the cabin earned an astounding $24,000 in one year.
The extraordinary success of the rental experiment convinced Breon to start a rental company based on his algorithm. The Portland-based company was founded in 2009 and now operates in the U.S., Italy, Spain, Chile, Belize, Costa Rica, Mexico and Nicaragua.
What sets Vacasa apart
Vacasa is often compared to Airbnb, arguably the best known of the peer-to-peer home rental services. But Vacasa not only lists properties and manages payments, but also manages the properties on behalf of the host.
In addition, Vacasa doesn’t offer shared sleeping spaces such as spare bedrooms or basements, says Tatone. “We deal in secondary homes, which are not used regularly,” she explains. “It’s always going to be home or condo, not a room or couch.”
And, in contrast to Airbnb and most other home share services, Vacasa offers housekeeping at the properties it manages, like the housekeeping services one would find at a hotel or resort.
Vacasa hires local teams to maintain properties, a service that is central to the company, Tatone says. “We recruit and hire a team on the ground. It’s hard to find the right people, so we pay well — a minimum of $15 per hour.”
Because Vacasa handles the full range of services, Bean says, “guests can book a vacation and have consistency and piece of mind, but also a unique experience.”
Owners set to benefit too
Property owners should expect to make more with Vacasa, as compared with other online listing services, the company maintains. By using a proprietary algorithm, Vacasa is able to set prices that attract guests year-round, even in the off-season, which maximizes income for property owners.
But property owners should keep in mind that renting a second home may come with legal constraints. Some US states and numerous cities limit and regulate short-term rentals. This is true in several other countries as well.
“We actually adhere to rules of cities and states,” Bean says. “Many locations allow for short-term rental, but not in New York City and other places.” A full-service property management company can help property owners stay within the limits of the law, but the ultimate responsibility still falls on the property owner.
Future of Vacasa
Vacasa has been expanding into more global locations. It raised $40 million in 2016 alone and has expanded, according to a Portland Tribune report. Worldwide, it has about 1,400 employees, including management, marketing staff, and housekeeping staff.
By offering a full suite of marketing, booking and property maintenance services, Vacasa promises homeowners less work for more income, while promising guests higher satisfaction.
To learn more about booking through Vacasa or about listing your property, visit Vacasa online