Vacation property management startup Vacasa announced Monday that it is acquiring Sea to Sky Rentals, a company that caters to travelers in the Pacific Northwest.
Sea to Sky is based in Seattle and currently manages 85 properties, all of which Vacasa will take over. Michelle Acquavella founded Sea to Sky in 2003, but told Inman that she ultimately decided to sell after concluding that her firm’s properties and their owners would be “best served by passing the torch.”
“Through our research it really became clear Vacasa would be the best choice,” she added.
Both Sea to Sky and Vacasa manage vacation-oriented residential properties. The companies don’t typically own the units themselves, but rather contract with owners to handle day-to-day operations.
Vacasa has also grown to become the largest vacation rental management company in North America.
Acquavella said that Sea to Sky originally helped kick start the vacation rental industry in and around Seattle.
More recently, however, the city imposed new regulations on the industry. Though Acquavella worked with local political leaders on those regulations and spoke positively about the outcome, she said Sea to Sky ultimately lost all of its apartment rentals as a result.
“All of those got wiped out,” she explained. “A large portion of our business model got removed.”
According to Acquavella, the more difficult post-regulation business environment — which now relies on single-family properties — helped drive the decision to sell.
She also praised Vacasa, saying the company is a good fit because it provides property owners “that small company feel with the resources of a larger international corporation.”
“I think the biggest benefit for homeowners is that the size of Vacasa allows them to have resources that we don’t have,” she added.
Vacasa expects to have all of Sea to Sky’s rentals moved over into its portfolio by July.
The financial details of the acquisition have not been publicly disclosed. As part of the transition, Acquavella will be leaving the company to spend more time on her family. However, Sea to Sky’s on-the-ground property care department will move over to Vacasa.
“That is a huge benefit to Vacasa and it’s a huge benefit to our homeowners,” Acquavella said of the staffing continuity.
The acquisition brings Vacasa’s total unit count in Washington up to 650, according to a company statement.
Eric Nicholson, Vacasa’s Northwest region director, added in the statement that “we are excited to begin caring for Sea to Sky Rentals’ vacation homes, bringing more options to our guests.”
“We’re also looking forward to building strong relationships with Sea to Sky’s homeowners by increasing their bookings, taking good care of their homes and exceeding their expectations,” he added.
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