What’s the first thing you do when planning a trip? If you’re like many people, then before you go to Kayak.com, before you book a car, and before you make reservations at that exclusive restaurant, you’re probably doing one thing: Googling your destination.
It’s a fact of life at this point that Google has become a gateway into the broader internet, including for travel, and now vacation rental giant Vacasa has a new program to harness that reality.
Vacasa revealed Thursday that it launched a new integration that will let travelers book its properties directly via Google. In a statement, the Oregon-based firm said the integration makes it the “first vacation rental management brand to successfully complete a direct API integration with Google.”
The statement further explains that when a would-be traveler searches Google for a rental and ends up on one of the properties the company manages, that traveler “will be directed to Vacasa.com, where Vacasa guarantees they will receive the best price.” Vacasa’s rentals will also now appear in the interactive map view that Google generates when someone searches for lodging.
Vacasa was founded in 2009 and today manages more than 14,000 rentals across multiple continents. The company’s business model is fairly simple: individual owners sign up to have Vacasa manage their properties, many of which are in vacation-oriented destinations such as beach companies and mountain getaways. The pitch is that it allows owners to turn a profit on their properties without the headache of running a rental on their own.
Travelers have long had the ability to book Vacasa-managed properties via the company’s website or through various online portals such as Airbnb. However, the Google integration is something new, and should theoretically put Vacasa properties in front of even more eyeballs.
Company founder and CEO Eric Breon said in a statement that the new Google integration could appeal to people who might have traditionally stayed in a hotel.
“Partnering with Google to make the homes we manage available through the search engine is yet another way for us to drive exceptional financial returns for our homeowners,” Breon said.
Vacasa also said Thursday that vacation rentals generally are a growing market, with a recent study indicating that 48 percent of travelers chose to stay at a vacation rental over the past year.
The integration with Google continues a string of significant announcements that Vacasa has made in recent months. Most recently, the company said in July that it plans to acquire Wyndham Vacation Rentals for $162 million. Once completed, that deal should grow Vacasa’s portfolio to more than 23,000 properties.