US: Portland-based vacation rental management platform Vacasa has notified its employees of an unspecified number of layoffs from the company, believed to be in the hundreds, with immediate effect.
The company says it is making workers redundant across all functions globally and, in a statement released on Friday, it attributed the job losses to the current climate surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
It said: “The unprecedented global health crisis of coronavirus [COVID-19] is having a severe and sudden impact on businesses of all sizes. The travel sector in particular is being hit hard and we are not immune to its devastation at Vacasa.
“With rapidly evolving travel restrictions and closures in popular vacation destinations like ski resorts and beaches, we are seeing a significant decline in reservations and revenue,” it added.
In addition to the job cuts, Vacasa announced a number of changes to “preserve the longevity of the business”, including a portion of employees switching to part-time status for the foreseeable future working half of their usual hours for half the pay, the complete executive team taking a 50 per cent pay cut, and the interim CEO Matt Roberts opting to receive no compensation in the calendar year.
Vacasa becomes one of the first high-profile casualties in the vacation rental space to make its layoffs public in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Hundreds of employees who had just been notified of their job losses took to social media platforms such as LinkedIn to express their sadness at the decision albeit understanding given the current health scares.
The company has achieved rapid growth and expansion within the last six months alone, after its acquisition of Wyndham Vacation Rentals for $162 million in October was swiftly followed by a $319 million strategic investment round led by Silver Lake, which took the company’s private valuation to over $1 billion [a unicorn].
Local sources at Portland Business Journal newspaper said that Vacasa had more than 6,000 employees around the world, including around 400 based at is headquarters in Oregon. The company added in the statement that it was planning to re-employ people when business returns to some sense of normality in the travel sector.
It said: “We know this crisis will eventually pass and when it does, people will desperately need to connect and travel. Vacasa will be ready to provide the quality vacation rental experiences they’ve come to expect.”
The newspaper also reported that Vacasa had been weighing up going in for an initial public offering [IPO] this year prior to the announcement of the layoffs. Those plans have now been put on hold for the time being at least.
For more information, visit the Vacasa website here.