Just as entrepreneurs once sold pickaxes to prospectors in the California gold rush, TurnKey is one of many companies selling services to property owners in today's vacation rental gold rush.
TurnKey Vacation Rentals, a vacation rental management company based in Austin, has raised $21 million in a Series C investment round. The company provides marketing and professional management services to vacation rental owners in 40 U.S. markets.
The investment round was led by venture capital firm Adams Street Partners. Other participating investors include Altos Ventures and Silverton Partners. The Austin, Tex.-based company has raised $41 million, to date.
The company expects to use the funding to almost double the number of properties it manages this year. It will also introduce online virtual tours, floorplans, and 3D models of all of its homes, and it will expand the ability of guests to contact it via phone, email, SMS, or chat, from the booking process through the guest’s stay.
Like Expedia-backed booking website HomeAway, TurnKey is based in Austin, which ironically voted to ban short-term rentals last year. It’s precisely companies like TurnKey that aggravate hotel lobbyists and other activists by helping to professionalize the vacation rentals.
TurnKey handles all interactions with the guest for an 18 percent fee, underpricing the 35 percent fee that is more typical of other companies. The company says its software and efficient business practices enable it to undercut competitors. But this may also be a case where investor largesse is helping a company gain market share.
The company, which was founded in 2012 by travel veterans and supported by all-star investors, specializes in providing a consistent experience for guests. For example at each property, it leaves a tablet computer with customized software that answers guest’s most frequently asked questions about the property’s amenities and the local attractions.
Property owners get access to a browser-based tool that captures real-time revenue and guest reviews, gives advice on how to set rates, and handles housekeeping. TurnKey helps post and manage listings on websites like HomeAway, VRBO, Airbnb, and Flipkey. It also shares with owners photos of their house shot after each guest’s stay.
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Photo credit: TurnKey is a full-service vacation rental manager that uses technology and its own staff to rent and manage properties on behalf of owners. TurnKey