Vacation rental startup Vacasa is going after the urban market.
In an announcement today, the company unveiled a new service called Vacasa Multifamily that will provide short-term rental management in cities. Property managers and developers using the service will be able to turn their urban units over to the company, which will then handle things like booking rentals, cleaning and marketing.
“From navigating complex local regulations and increasing operational efficiencies, to driving bookings and optimizing nightly rates, Vacasa Multifamily is there every step of the way for its partners,” the company said in a statement.
Vacasa Multifamily is already up and running in Boise, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Portland, San Antonio, and Seattle. More expansion is planned in 2019, though Carvey said “we don’t have plans for it to be more than 5 percent” of Vacasa’s overall portfolio.
Vacasa has grown rapidly since its founding in 2009 and this year became the largest vacation rental management company in North America.
The company made a name for itself by managing primarily stand-alone single-family homes, such as cabins and beach houses, in popular travel destinations, and offers property owners services such as housekeeping. The idea is that a property owner can essentially have Vacasa do all the work of running a short-term rental while still collecting a regular paycheck.
Colin Carvey, Vacasa’s head of growth, told Inman that the new multifamily offering is the company’s “core product” — so, a suite of management services — but geared specifically toward developers and property managers, as opposed to individual property owners. In this way, it is distinct from Airbnb, though Vacasa says it partners with the other short-term rental site to market properties.
Carvey pointed out that urban vacation rentals often have a number of unique structural issues that may be different from ordinary housing, or less urban vacation properties. Many tall buildings, for example, require key fobs to use the elevators. And people staying in a unit for only a short time don’t need walk-in closets.
Vacasa Multifamily aims to help managers and developers handle those types of design considerations, maximizing the building’s efficiency for the short-term rental market.
The multifamily announcement comes a week after the company revealed a new service for running entire communities that have a large percentage of vacation rentals. The service will see Vacasa assume the responsibilities of a traditional property manager. The company is already running 16 communities in the U.S. and Costa Rica.
Earlier this year, Vacasa also launched a program designed to connect agents to would-be buyers of short-term rental properties.
In a statement, Joshua Viner, senior manager of Vacasa Multifamily, said the company decided to launch the urban-oriented service after being “approached by developers and property managers seeking our vacation rental management services.”
Carvey also said that targeting urban markets is a response to the trend of travelers wanting more space and a more home-like landing place.
“I think this really is the definition of people wanting a different experience when they go to an urban market,” he explained. “When I have a hotel, I don’t go back to that hotel until it’s time to go to bed. When I go and stay at a Vacasa place in an urban market, I can go there and relax a little bit.”
This post has been updated with information about Vacasa’s relationship to Airbnb.