The short-term vacation rental platform reports a net loss of $56 million to start the year despite booming revenue.

Vacation rental platform Vacasa reported a doubling of booking value, driven in part by an uptick in the price travelers paid to book a home on the site in the first three months of this year.

People spent $494 million to stay in homes managed by Vacasa during the first quarter, the company told investors on Wednesday. That generated $247 million for the company, a near-doubling compared to the same time period last year.

The steep increases weren’t enough to make the company profitable to start the year, and Vacasa reported a net loss of $56 million.

The company, which went public in December, remains in growth mode with CEO Matt Roberts saying it was rapidly hiring salespeople after adding about 200 last year. 

That team is focused on searching for owners of second homes, who are willing to offer stays at their homes through the platform. It also works to purchase independent vacation property management companies to bring those homes onto the platform.

“The ROI of a new salesperson is super high,” Roberts said in a call with investors.

The key focus was to bring independent homes onto the market, rather than to acquire property management companies, Roberts said. 

The company believes it will increase its offerings by about 30 percent this year and is on a path toward profitability for the full year of 2023, it said. That’s despite rockiness in the broader housing market and stock market, as well as ongoing rampant inflation.

Vacasa also believes it is in some ways insulated from a recession, much like Airbnb’s leaders said last week during a discussion about their earnings so far this year.

“The breadth of our options across all of our destinations, we really have a value to luxury selection,” Roberts said. “We have these homes across a variety of price points to accommodate a wider range of consumer preferences.” 

Roberts declined to give an update on the status of installing technology into what had been each of the 35,000 homes it managed in February. He said an update would be given in a few months.

The company reported achieving two milestones for hosts and for itself.

First, bookings through the platform earned homeowners $1 billion over the past year, Vacasa said. That came from the $2 billion in gross booking value generated over the same time period.

The $247 million in company revenue for the first quarter marked a 91 percent increase compared to last year.

“Our business model continues to prove its strength, generating over $2 billion of Gross Booking Value over the past 12 months,” Jamie Cohen, Vacasa’s chief financial officer, said in a statement.

Email Taylor Anderson

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