Airbnb has been the dominant player in the vacation rental market for some time, but now Vacasa has entered the neighborhood in a big way. The Portland-based company, which was founded in 2009 and has a strong foothold in the Pacific Northwest market, just closed a $103.5 million Series B round led by new investor Riverwood Capital, with participation from NewSpring and previous investors Level Equity and Assurant Growth Investing, according to Geekwire.
Investors were excited by what Vacasa brings to the vacation rental game—property management. Airbnb’s peer-to-peer model relies on homeowners to fix up their properties for guests, and since most of us earned our property management experience by playing the board game Monopoly, it doesn’t always go so well. Vacasa, though, takes a much more hands-on approach, billing itself as a “full-service property management company,” with on-the-ground employees who work as housekeepers, reservations agents, local managers, etc. That can make renting a vacation home more akin to staying in a hotel and less like staying in your uncle’s spare bedroom.
Currently, the highest concentration of Vacasa’s rental properties are in Oregon, but it has been slowly spreading across 17 U.S. states, Europe, South and Central America, and South Africa. Now, with the new influx of cash, expect Vacasa to give Airbnb a good elbow to the ribs.ML