Should Owners use Vacasa for Vacation Rentals or go with a Local Company?

Should Owners use Vacasa for Vacation Rentals or go with a Local Company
Image Photo by Hamish Duncan from Unsplash

Homeowners of short-term vacation rentals may decide to manage their listings on their own, or they may choose to use a vacation rental property management company. There are local property management companies, as well as worldwide companies, so which one should owners choose for the best results?

What Is Vacasa?

Vacasa is a widely known property management company that manages properties worldwide. With such a widely known presence, this may seem like a benefit, but it has proven to be a disadvantage for owners in recent years.

Vacasa was founded in 2009 by a property owner who needed a reputable property management company to oversee the entire rental process for his vacation home.

Because necessity is the mother of invention, Eric Breon used his entrepreneurship and analytical background to develop a vacation rental management company to manage his vacation home; thus, Vacasa was born.

What began as a company managing vacation properties in the Pacific Northwest soon grew to manage vacation properties in the Rockies and Lake Tahoe. Vacasa continued to grow and now has over 3,300 employees. There are over 14,000 Vacasa rentals for guests to choose from, and they have properties in over 16 countries.

With numbers like these, Vacasa is successful, right? Unfortunately, Vacasa has been unable to keep up with so many properties, which has proven costly to owners who use their property management service.

Vacasa Faces Problems

In the beginning, Vacasa gave guests a personalized experience by answering specific questions related to the properties they managed. This is undoubtedly how Vacasa gained its success. With so many properties worldwide, the employees are unable to give a personalized experience to each guest.

A guest who is curious about a rental property may need to call the property management company directly to ask a question specific to the property. With Vacasa, the customer service representative is highly unlikely to know the details of your property and is even more unlikely to have ever visited it. This can be a turn off to a potential guest. A guest does not want to listen to a representative fumble through unclear details of the property you are interested in. This is where choosing a local property management company can prove beneficial.

In 2017, Vacasa faced a $3 million class-action lawsuit by owners who used Vacasa to manage their vacation rental properties. These homeowners claimed that Vacasa misrepresented its commission and fee structure by charging guests additional fees and pocketing the money themselves without sharing with the property owners.

Founder Eric Breon claims in the class action lawsuit alleged that Vacasa has always been transparent with fees. He continues by saying that Vacasa shares applicable fees with homeowners, just as the contract states, and that any fees not shared with homeowners are permissible as the contract states.

The Risks and Rewards of Vacasa

Photo by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

As an owner, you may already be in a current contract with Vacasa. This may have you double and triple-checking those fees being collected by Vacasa. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. So if you have had good luck while using Vacasa, why mess up a good thing?

However, if you are in the market for a vacation rental property management company, it is important to know what the risks and rewards are for using Vacasa.

Owner Resources

Vacasa offers many resources for owners to benefit from. When you choose Vacasa to manage your vacation rental, you will need to first create a Vacasa owner login to access your account. You will enter a contract with Vacasa, where they will oversee the rental process.

Vacasa was founded on technology, and that technology continues today. Vacasa will create a 3D tour of your home and take high-quality professional pictures to highlight the features of your home in the listing.

Vacasa will then take the listing and post on Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, and, Expedia, and TripAdvisor for maximum exposure. Employees at Vacasa are specialized in social media, search engine optimization, and digital marketing. This helps ensure your vacation rental listing is found before the rest.

Vacasa will manage each portion of the rental process, including scheduling cleaning services to visit the property after each guests’ departure. Vacasa implements many resources for owners to take advantage of. Some of these resources include a linen program, installing smart locks, and rental insurance. These resources offered by Vacasa may not be found with a local property management company.

The Benefits of Staying Local

While Vacasa has the manpower, expertise, and money to offer owners a variety of resources, Vacasa may not be able to offer guests a 100% local experience.

A guest who calls a property management company to ask questions about the property or the area may be connected to a representative on the other side of the country. Subsequently, this representative may not be able to answer any of the questions the guest has, which can easily prove to be frustrating with a guest.

Local property management companies will be in the area that your vacation rental is located and will be able to answer questions directly related to the property and the area. More than likely, the local property management company has personally visited the property and can answer a guest’s question from experience.

Another benefit of staying local is to provide small businesses with revenue. Instead of helping line the pockets of big companies like Vacasa, talk to a local property management company to see if they can offer you the resources you want at a price you can afford. This will be beneficial for all parties involved; you, the guests, and the local property management company.

The Bottom Line

While Vacasa has found themselves in hot water recently with owners over their fee system, they have continued to grow by adding employees and vacation properties. Vacasa offers resources and pricing that a local property management company may not be able to offer. There are benefits and disadvantages to both sides, so it is important to prioritize your needs to decide which company is the best for you.