Skift Take

AvantStay confirmed late Tuesday afternoon it cut 37 employees, or nearly 10% of its workforce.

AvantStay confirmed late Tuesday afternoon it cut 37 employees, or nearly 10% of its workforce. Responding to a Skift inquiry, the Los Angeles-based vacation rental property manager tied the layoffs to platform and tech improvements, adding that the company is profitable.

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“As part of our ongoing reorganization strategy to drive operational efficiency and reduce operational silos, we recently underwent a reorg that affected less than 10% of our workforce,” the company said in an emailed statement. “This is largely due to our fully proprietary platform and technology efficiencies that we’ve gained over the past six months.”

Several vacation rental property managers have faced a “new normal” in recent months in the face of an uncertain economy. AvantStay, Vacasa and Sonder have executed multiple layoff rounds over the last year, and Evolve recently downsized, as well.

Property Manager AvantStay Lays Off 10% of Staff, Third Round of Job Cuts in a Year

You read it here first: Well, at Skift’s Short-Term Rental Summit in NYC this month, Blueground co-founder and CEO Alex Chatzieleftheriou hinted at launching one-year stays at one of the company’s dozen cities in the United States. The company told Skift that the product will offer lower monthly rates, rent freeze features, and the flexibility to hop around between different cities in the country. 

“This is an ambitious product — we’re looking to change people’s mindsets and how they rent. Many people don’t know furnished rentals for longer term are an option. We are gathering feedback from guests before we officially launch later this year,” a Blueground spokesperson told Skift. 

Consider This: The Honolulu City Council agreed to give property tax relief to people who own second homes in Oahu and make money by renting out one of their homes. Resolution 33, adopted June 7 gives owners of second homes worth up to $1 million a tax savings of around $500, depending on their tax classification. This measure is intended to enable these property owners to keep renting out their properties without having to raise the rental prices.

If you rent a room on sites like Airbnb or Vrbo in Newport, Rhode Island, brace yourself for fee hikes. Lincoln County Commissioners discussed the county’s first increase to its short-term rental license fees since 2019. The proposed fee for a new short-term rental license would be $750, up from $350. The proposed fee for a renewal license is $500, up from $125. 

The travel and tourism industry has seen a significant 41 percent decrease in deal activity (mergers and acquisition, and venture deals) compared to last year, with the number of deals dropping from 475 in January-May 2022 to 282 in the first five months of 2023. According to GlobalData, North America experienced a decline of 48 percent. Deals in Europe were down 49 percent, followed by declines in the Asia-Pacific region (27 percent) and South and Central America (36 percent). The Middle East and Africa region had no change in deal volume.

Around the World: As a way to soften calls by the hotel industry for regulation of short-term rentals in Malaysia, Airbnb is proposing its own guidelines. Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Public Policy head for South-East Asia, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, suggested the introduction of a “three strikes law” that would result in the revocation of an individual’s registration as an Airbnb host for persistent noise and nuisance issues.

And in India, Airbnb is partnering with the country’s ministry of tourism to promote cultural tourism and showcase heritage stays in the country. This collaboration is part of the “Visit India 2023” initiative. As a part of this partnership, Airbnb would create a dedicated microsite called Soul of India, provide support to hosts in untapped tourist areas, help them promote their homestays, enhance host capacity, and encourage responsible hosting practices. 

There is increasing support within the French parliament for the implementation of more lenient visa regulations for foreign owners of second homes. Multiple parliament members are now endorsing the concept of a five-year visa, which would permit visits totaling up to six months per year within the validity period. Currently, second-home owners are required to submit complete paperwork for each visa application, typically lasting four to six months, and undergo an in-person visa process.

Elsewhere on Skift: Renowned footballer Lionel Messi’s contract with Saudi Arabia’s tourism authority requires him to promote the country’s tourism industry on his social media platforms. The contract includes payments of approximately $2 million for annual family vacations, $2 million for promoting Saudi Arabia on social media, $2 million for participation in an annual tourism campaign, and $2 million for charitable work and public appearances. The contract, which is potentially worth $25 million over three years, also includes a clause preventing Messi from making negative comments about Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi Arabia is being extra cautious, leaving absolutely nothing to chance while attempting to give its global image a makeover,” writes Skift Asia Editor Peden Dom Bhutia.

Lionel Messi’s $25 Million Saudi Tourism Deal: Details Revealed in New Report

Under Canvas, an outdoor accommodations brand, started around 10 years ago in West Yellowstone, followed by interesting tented developments in nature areas with high tourist interest: the Great Smokey Mountains, Zion, and other places. The initial iteration of the brand quickly found interest from guests but executing in this space is not easy. 

Now, with the launch of ULUM in Moab, Utah, the brand is creating a more elevated experience: Think electricity in tents, Aesop amenities, Pendleton blankets and more emphasis on the F&B delivered in purpose-built communal spaces. Launched in Moab within driving distance to Canyonlands airport and many of the natural parks, the brand represents Under Canvas’s evolving business model seeking to address a gap in the market and appeal to a higher-end customer.

‘Glamping’ grows up: ULUM’s bid to create approachable luxury

Skift Short-Term Rental Reporter Srividya Kalyanaraman writes the Skift Short-Term Rental ReportSend news tips to [email protected].

You’re reading a free version of the new Skift Short-Term Rental Report. To learn more and get full access, please visit our subscription page.


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