Portland: Vacation rental management company Vacasa Alabama LLC is expanding in Alabama by acquiring Island Resort Management.
Island Resort’s owners, Phil Purpura and Dot Small, who also own Alabama Realty, cited Vacasa’s pricing technology, marketing and booking expertise as reasons for selling. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Purpura said: “We were able to book and make our owners really happy, but we knew that where the industry seemed to be going is just more technology, more online, more handheld stuff, more getting to vacationers. What we really liked about Vacasa Alabama is that they not only had that presence nationally and knew what they were doing, but their business plan is to also have local people on the ground at the office. So, it’s kind of the best of both worlds.”
Since entering the Alabama market with the acquisition of Laura’s Vacation Rentals in July 2018, Vacasa has grown its portfolio from 80 to more than 275 vacation rentals in the state, including the Island Resort acquisition. The company went from five to 27 employees and plans to add another 20 this year.
Laura Hancock, who founded Laura’s Vacation Rentals in 2007, now operates Vacasa Alabama. She said she was looking to grow Vacasa throughout the state and mentioned downtown Birmingham as an attractive market for the company.
Hancock said: “We would love to grow that Birmingham area with some vacation rentals, especially downtown. I know when I used to practice law, it would be great for people to be able to rent if they’re there for a week-long deposition or something like that.
“Instead of the hotel thing, have a condo where they can stay downtown and walk to and from their place. I could see it being something in the future,” she added.
Founded in 2009, Vacasa, along with its subsidiaries, manages more than 11,500 vacation rentals in 26 U.S. states and 16 countries. The company currently partners with booking channels including Airbnb, Booking.com, Homeaway and VRBO.
According to the Portland Business Journal, Vacasa was the fastest-growing private company in the city in 2014 and the largest equity funding recipient in 2017. The company recently raised a total of $207.5 million in funding.