Skift Take

It’s not going to be an easy journey for the new CEO. The company has mounting losses and it has been a soft season for vacation rentals.

Luxury hospitality brand Inspirato has a new CEO: Eric Grosse.

Grosse, who previously held a board position at Inspirato will be taking over as its chief executive officer effective immediately. Grosse comes from the travel and service industry — he has been the president of Expedia worldwide and was the co-founder and president of Hotwire. 

It’s not going to be an easy journey for Grosse. The company has mounting losses and it has been a soft season for vacation rentals. In March this year, the company said that with excess supply and lower occupancy, it would use online travel agencies, including Airbnb and Vrbo, to list its luxury rentals — but without the high-end frills — potentially hurting its “luxury” status.

The second prong to this strategy was to cut excess supply by terminating some leases. 

In July, it laid off 6% of its staff in a second round of layoffs.

Founded in 2010, Inspirato is currently unprofitable. For 2023, it anticipates total revenue between $320 million and $340 million and a full-year 2023 adjusted EBITDA loss between $30 million and $45 million. 

CEO Brent Handler decided to step down and make way for change. He told Skift, “My belief was that I was not the best person to execute on the profit strategy. And as the largest shareholder, I just looked with sober eyes and said, who can execute on this strategy the best?,” Handler said.  “Is it me who is really a company builder, entrepreneur, or is it Eric, a seasoned senior level executive and leader who has an opportunity now to come in and invigorate this team and obsess over the basics, the basics of providing this incredible member experience, the basics of improving your operational efficiency and technology.”

Phoenix Embraces Short-Term Rental Regulations

The Phoenix City Council in Arizona has unanimously approved regulations for short-term rentals following a September 6 vote legalizing backyard casitas, The Daily Independent reported. This changed code will introduce a permitting process for property owners wishing to rent out their spaces on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo. 

The city must issue or deny permits within seven days of application for all short-term rentals in Phoenix. Additional regulations include an initial and renewal fee of $250 per permit; background checks for owners or designees to ensure they are not convicted sex offenders or felons; notification to adjacent properties about short-term rental operations; and the display of permit numbers on all advertisements.

Enforcement begins on January 15, 2024, with civil penalties of up to $1,000 for every 30 days of operation without a permit. However, the new regulations do not control the concentration of such rentals in neighborhoods.

Telluride, Colorado Eases Short-Term Rental Rules

After two years of debate and regulation surrounding short-term rentals in Colorado’s mountain communities, Telluride’s town council is considering ending a voter-approved cap and moratorium on STR licenses, Colorado Sun reported. This move comes as property owners in various communities push back against taxes and regulations enacted during the pandemic’s tourism boom. 

While the short-term rental industry faced scrutiny, communities also saw record revenues from new taxes and fees. Telluride’s potential strategy involves increasing fees and excise taxes rather than renewing the cap.

A study conducted by an outside research firm revealed that most local governments were funding affordable housing through fees and taxes on short-term rentals. While the debate continues, Telluride’s housing crisis remains a significant concern, with some advocating for increased revenue from licenses and fees to address the issue. Approximately 760 active licenses exist in Telluride, with about 55 applicants on a waitlist.

A Scottish Deal

Short-term property management group ALTIDO has partnered with Edinburgh-based estate agency Revere to offer a comprehensive service to investors, landlords, buyers, and sellers in response to new legislation requiring hosts to get a license in Scotland, The Scotsman reported.

The partnership leverages ALTIDO’s international client base, facilitating access to a broader market. As regulatory changes impact the short-term buy-to-let market, larger players are expected to enter, sparking interest in hotels and aparthotels. 

Numa’s New Money

Numa Group, a German Airbnb competitor, has raised $59 million in a funding round, led by Verlinvest, an investor in Oatly and Vita Coco, Business Insider reported. Numa Group, founded in Berlin in 2019, has developed a platform for booking accommodations that modernizes various aspects of the hospitality industry, including room reservations, online check-in/out, and customer support.

It aspires to merge elements of traditional hotels, such as luggage storage, with the flexibility of short-term rentals. Numa Group’s platform currently features over 4,500 rooms and apartments in 28 European cities. The company will use these funds to expand to 15,000 rental units across Europe.

Bob W Enters London

Short-stay apartment operator Bob W has secured the Gulaid House in Knightsbridge. The company aims to offer premium stays at better value than traditional providers. Gulaid House Knightsbridge features deluxe studios to four-bedroom apartments. The property was acquired by Saudi-based real estate private equity partner Gulaid Group Holding and leased to Bob W, serving as a trial for expansion into high-value sites in London and Europe. 

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