Spotlight: Vacasa Takes the Work Out of Vacation Rentals

Spotlight: Vacation Rental Company Vacasa Takes the Work Out of Vacation Rentals

If you have a second home or rental property, you might think you have to utilize peer-to-peer services like Airbnb in order to gain some extra income from those properties. But some homeowners may not want to go through all the work of renting out their spaces on those platforms. That’s where Vacasa comes in.

You can read more about Vacasa and the services it provides to homeowners and vacationers in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Provides a vacation rental service.

Cliff Johnson, co-founder and chief development officer of Vacasa told Small Business Trends, “We’re helping thousands of second home owners to rent out their homes. You may have heard of listing channels like Airbnb, but we’re quite different. At Vacasa, we specialize in vacation rentals and we don’t leave it all up to the sharing economy marketplace. Instead, we hire property managers and housekeepers in every local market we operate in to completely oversee on-the-ground operations (no more “PLZ let us in” texts at 2 a.m.). Then, we use proprietary technologies to optimize the experience to provide a consistent, top notch result for vacationers.”

Business Niche

Offering a more full-service experience.

Johnson says, “We completely support your vacation rental. We’re not a peer-to-peer system, but instead rely on dedicated local teams to ensure your vacation rental experience is consistent and amazing.”

Small Business Deals

How the Business Got Started

Because of the founder’s own struggles with a vacation rental.

Johnson says, “Our innovative founder Eric Breon was given the task of renting out his wife’s family beach home on the Washington coast and found that the local support required to maximize revenue and ensure a high quality of care for guests was completely lacking — so he created Vacasa to solve that local problem, and now we’ve scaled it globally.”

Biggest Win

Taking care of employees.

Johnson explains, “Our biggest win in my view was getting to the size and scale where we can start to make a real difference in the lives of the employees that make this all happen.  We were able to roll out a $15/hour minimum wage company wide earlier this year and we’ve rolled out an option plan to all full time employees that have been with us for over a year.  Creating great careers that allow people to grow and flourish in their roles has always been a core part of our business and these steps show that we are continually committed to making that happen to allow our employees to share in the success of the business.”

Biggest Risk

Paying local employees twice the minimum wage.

Johnson says, “It’s not easy to put a capital expense target up so high, but it’s absolutely worked out for us in the long run. Now we’re known for setting the pay scale at a very appealing level to acquire the best talent and retain the best talent — it’s a self-fulfilling risk that keeps rewarding us time and time again.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Getting even more properties.

Johnson says, “We’d use it to expand our business through organic growth or by acquiring another property management business — there are literally millions of homes that are not being optimized to their full potential and the home owner just needs our help to start to leverage these amazing assets — passive income is a wonderful friend as we all get older and want to work less hours.”

Team Communication Strategy

Listen to anyone with good ideas.

Johnson says, “There’s really no hierarchy here at Vacasa, the intern might tell the CEO the most innovative thing that year and it will get put into the process — that’s how level the playing field is and how family Vacasa is.”

Favorite Quote

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Albert Einstein

Johnson explains, “I always encourage people to think through solutions in a way that will resonate with everyone that is impacted by that innovation or solution.  A great idea is worthless without the enthusiasm and understanding of the people who have to implement it.”

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Image: Vacasa – Cliff Johnson, Co-founder and Chief Development Officer, Eric Breon, Co-founder and CEO, Scott Breon, Chief Revenue Officer and Kimberly White, VP of Home and Hospitality Comment ▼

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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