Resort advertising often features couples frolicking in the surf and gazing into each other eyes and enjoying romantic moments. But families make up an important segment of resort visitors too.
Now, families have some help finding luxurious residences that are suitable for groups larger than two. Vacatia helps vacationing families and friends find, book and save money on resort lodging.
Like many great ideas, Vacatia started with one person noticing a problem and coming up with a solution. In this case it was Caroline Shin, now CEO of Vacatia. RewardExpert spoke with her to learn more.
“As ‘chief vacation officer,’ I had the thankless job of organizing intergenerational family trips,” Shin says. She wasn’t satisfied with available room options, which didn’t fit the needs of family trips. Hotels didn’t work well because there wasn’t a shared family room for everyone to gather. Airbnb wasn’t geared to the amenities that vacationing families and groups are looking for, especially families with children. Resort residences were mainly available as timeshares, as part of vacation clubs, or for outright purchase.
So Shin launched Vacatia Rentals in 2015 as a resort marketplace focused on connecting families and friends with suitable lodgings at vacation resorts. Vacatia brings these resort residences into the rental market so that families can access them without investing in a timeshare or joining a club.
Thousands of families have used the service since then, according to Shin.
Right now, Vacatia offers about 600 resort residences in nearly 30 destinations and the list is growing, but it’s expanding its selection continually, choosing destinations based on demand. Many of the residences are in idyllic tropical areas such as Hawaii, Aruba, Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico. For those who aren’t looking for a beach vacation, there’s Las Vegas, Vail for skiers, and Phoenix, famous for its golf courses.
Residences range from studios all the way up to five bedrooms, but they come with hotel-style amenities, including check-in, housekeeping, on-site staff and security. Unlike a hotel room, a resort residence comes with a living room and kitchen, on-site washer and dryer and more.
Many of the resorts are condominiums. Resorts meet several criteria such as being within a star-rated resort property and being professionally managed. You won’t find any hotel rooms on Vacatia, says Shin. Unlike other online rental marketplaces, Vacatia’s resort listings are carefully selected.
Vacatia offers the comfort and spaciousness of a home along with the amenities of a hotel, according to Shin; by combining the best of both worlds, families have a better vacation experience.
Finding the perfect family vacation spot
How do guests book a resort residence? They look through listings, as in other rental marketplaces — but with Vacatia, potential guests don’t need to deal with owners. Instead they deal with Vacatia directly.
“Guests don’t have to do the back and forth with an owner. The process is just like a hotel and the resorts are instantly bookable,” says Shin.
Guests have the option to put the booking on hold for up to three days, adds Shin. That gives groups time to discuss schedules and make a decision whether the resort is right for their vacation.
Vacatia offers guests a flex pay system to allow the resort to be paid in interest-free installments. There is a 25% deposit and the remaining balance is paid in two, three or four installments.
How resort rentals can save families money
A family vacation is a big investment, but resort residences with multiple bedrooms are actually cheaper than staying in multiple hotel rooms, according to Shin. Using the kitchen to cook some meals saves money too—restaurants in resort areas tend to be expensive.
On-site washers and dryers aren’t just a convenience, but a money-saver, too. Guests can pack lighter and save on airline baggage fees.
“Resorts are in super convenient locations, so they don’t have to rent a car. Orlando resorts have shuttles,” says Shin, by way of example. “The value is high for families. Our audience is families and friends planning a golf vacation or other getaway.”
Large groups booking multiple residences get a discount, and so do those staying longer than 20 days.
To learn more about Vacatia or browse available resorts, visit their website.