US: Vacation rental management platform Vacasa has announced a $108 million strategic investment round.
The financing was led by existing investor Silver Lake with participation from other existing investors including Riverwood Capital and Level Equity.
Silver Lake previously invested in Vacasa last October in a $319 million strategic investment round, with participation from the same investors and NewSpring. The round ensured Vacasa reached unicorn status at the time, as its value exceeded $1 billion following the announcement.
The private equity firm has also recently injected money into global online travel agencies Airbnb and Expedia, both of which required immediate funding as bookings came to an abrupt standstill in March. It participated in a $1 billion investment round for Airbnb, before assisting Apollo Global Management in a $3.2 billion capital raise for Expedia shortly afterwards at the end of April.
Vacasa CEO Matt Roberts, who replaced Eric Breon as interim CEO in February, said: “Like many companies in the travel sector, Vacasa experienced challenges as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. We are incredibly fortunate for the continued support of our investors.
“As we begin to emerge from this global crisis with an infusion of capital, we are in a very strong financial position to capture consumer demand. We believe there will be a preference shift from hotels to professionally managed vacation rentals as privacy and cleanliness rise to be top priorities for travellers,” he added.
Back in March, Vacasa laid off an unspecified number of employees, believed to be in the hundreds as the result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
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 Roberts opted to receive no compensation in the calendar year.
The company now says it is already experiencing strong recovery as stay-at-home restrictions lift and popular vacation destinations reopen. Recent data from the company reveals a substantial increase in daily reservations in more cities, and a reduced booking window:
Guest reservations booked in May were six times those booked in April, indicating an increased interest in leisure travel.
During the height of the crisis, Vacasa had guest bookings in only 357 U.S. cities. This has increased to 723 U.S. cities.
In April, Vacasa saw its booking window peak at 142 days, signalling that guests were booking trips further out. Since mid-May, Vacasa’s booking window is back down to 40 days, inline with 2019 averages.
Since its founding in 2009, Vacasa’s professional team of housekeepers have serviced and cleaned homes with a set of consistently high standards. The company recently launched Vacasa Premium Clean, a new programme that meets or exceeds all currently published CDC recommendations and follows the Vacation Rental Management Association’s [VRMA] SafeHome guidance. As demand for vacation rentals continues to increase, Vacasa’s goal is to provide even more protection and support to everyone in the communities it serves.
Silver Lake managing director Joerg Adams said: “We are excited to continue our partnership with Vacasa, which has spent the past decade delivering exceptional experiences to its guests and strong financial returns to its homeowners. We believe in the team, the business model and the customers and communities Vacasa serves, and that this investment enables the company to continue to innovate and to maintain its strong growth trajectory.
For more information, visit the Vacasa website here.