Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Re-birth of Vacation Rental Management Companies

There seems to be quite a lot of venture capital investment money going into companies that help Owners manage their on-line rental bookings. Is this likely to become a major trend and should you consider using these services?

Turnkey Vacation Rentals just raised a "further" $3m to help develop their Vacation Rental Management business. As the blurb says .....

"As vacation home rentals and apartment rentals go more mainstream, you can expect more vacation rental management companies, broadly similar to Turnkey Vacation Rentals, to emerge as owners seek to make the hosting process more efficient and less of a hassle."

Turnkey is an Austin-based vacation rental management company and is led by former executives from Hotwire and HomeAway and had already raised $1.5m. They secured an additional $3 million in seed funding to "expand into ski, beach, and other markets."

Turnkey are not the only company targeting to provide online services to Vacation Rental Owners. Guesty, which currently focuses on providing support to Owners who advertise on Airbnb, is reportedly planning to expand into providing vacation rental management services on other platforms.

So, what's going on? In the early days of the online Vacation Rental business, most owners were happy to manage everything themselves, including enquiries, bookings, payments, deposit refunds etc etc. At the time, this was bad news for the "old school" Vacation Rental Management companies, who, in the days before online vacation rentals sites, managed everything for the owners ..... and took a very large share of the revenue!

Nowadays, the online portals and tools have become so sophisticated, that there seems to be an emerging market for someone who will take care of all the online tasks for the owners .... and hopefully, do so in a cost effective way.

I'm not sure I am ready to try these new offerings just yet, but I think it is worth watching this space .....

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