Skift Take

Property management companies such as Vacasa and others in the short-term rental sector are under pressure and have been forced to reorganize.

Property manager Vacasa reorganized its sales department, and eliminated 25 jobs, the company said Friday.

Skift received a tip about the layoffs, and a Vacasa spokesperson confirmed the move, adding the motivation was to concentrate on inbound sales.

“We have continuous initiatives in place to optimize resources and teams to where they can be most efficient and effective,” the Vacasa spokesperson said. “In line with those efforts, we have reorganized our sales development team to focus on inbound sales, which resulted in reassignments as well as the elimination of approximately 25 positions.”

The spokesperson said the job cuts were “not a cost-cutting exercise — representing about 0.3 percent of our total workforce — but an ongoing effort to optimize our sales function.”

The reorganization of Vacasa’s sales department came after it added 200 salespeople last year, and was engaged in a self-described “aggressive” hiring plan in 2022.

Vacasa onboards new homes to manage both by acquiring portfolios of homes from other property managers, and by recruiting homes on an individual basis. In the first quarter of 2022, Vacasa increased sales and marketing expense 125 percent as it upped advertising to homeowner prospects to drive more inquiries to its expanded sales team.

“With the individual approach growth engine humming, we are focused on hiring additional sales representatives throughout the rest of the year and are already pacing ahead of our aggressive hiring goals,” CEO Matthew Roberts said during an earnings call in May.

The reorganization and layoffs came as several property managers have either gone out of business, or conducted their own reorganizations replete with job cuts.

There are conflicting reports about the status of the vacation rental market this summer, with some reports suggesting a falloff of occupancy in the U.S., where Vacasa operates, and others citing record short-term rental bookings this summer.

What’s clear is that recession fears and the market’s impatience with money-losing companies such as Vacasa and Sonder have impacted their valuations, and exerted new pressures.

Vacasa went public in December and Sonder followed a month later. Vacasa’s stock closed at $2.53 per share on Friday while Sonder’s traded at $1.02.

The Vacasa spokesperson Friday expressed confidence in the company’s business model — citing $2 billion in gross booking value generated over the last 12 months. The spokesperson expressed gratitude to the laid off employees, and added that “all those affected are eligible for rehire.”

Asked if this was just an initial round of layoffs, the spokesperson said the company doesn’t have any plans for further staff cuts.

Tags: layoffs, property managers, reorganization, sales and marketing, salesforce, spacs, vacasa, vacation rentals

Photo credit: Shown here is a vacation rental in Key West, Florida, that was offered for booking by Vacasa. The company is reorganizing its sales force. Vacasa