Skift Take

Consider this a peek behind the curtain of VTrips, which has not been immune from the layoffs rocking the property management industry.

Florida-based VTrips, a vacation rental property management company, laid off around 75 employees, more than 9% of its full-time workforce, in late September, Skift has learned.

A privately held company, Vtrips has seldom — if ever — discussed layoffs, but founder and CEO Steve Milo confirmed the 75 layoffs, although he characterized them as “seasonal layoffs,” and “planned synergies.”

“VTrips expanded in 2021 and 2022 through M&A and has spent 2023 synergizing costs,” Milo said.  “Similar to other property management companies in the U.S. market, we saw ADR and occupied nights reduce in 2023 vs. our budget by about 10%.  Unlike some of our competitors, who are unprofitable, VTrips has been reducing costs since Fall 2022 by methodically leveraging our central platform which reduces headcount but not our guest relation scores.”

When it comes to synergies in 2023, Milo pointed to contracting out laundry services to Gorman Linen Services, which enabled VTrips to reduce staff in laundry facilities in Texas by 50%, as one example.

Assuredly more significant in terms of costs savings, over the past couple of years, VTrips moved some of its call centers from the U.S. to Jamaica and back-office operations to the Philippines.

VTrips Is a Smaller Company Than a Year Ago

VTrips announced four acquisitions in June 2022: Carolina Retreats in North Carolina, Tybee Vacation Rentals in Georgia, as well as Silver Sands Vacation Rentals and Miss Kitty’s Fishing Getaways, both in Texas. Those deals brought the company’s units to 7,000 and employee ranks to 1,000, according to a VTrips announcement at the time.

However, a source in a rival vacation rental property management company said a few weeks ago that VTrips only had around 4,500 live properties online.

“Our unit count approached close to 7,000 units but we shed units in 2022 by eliminating hotel-like units, studios, and other units that did not create revenue,” Milo replied.

Today, VTrips claims 6,000 units, and roughly 725 employees after the September layoffs. (The company separately made job trims in its M&A unit earlier this year.)

Milo said Hurricane Ian in September 2022 took out more than 400 units in Fort Meyers Beach, Florida.

As for the online properties’ shortfall (Vtrips statement of 6,000 units versus another report of 4,500 live units), Milo said units from the Deep Creek, Carolina Retreats and Tybee acquisitions of 2022 will be integrated into the VTrips online platform in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Milo said employee headcount (1,000 a year ago versus 800 in the peak season of 2023, and around 725 after the recent layoffs) is a misleading number because the company is using more contractors and there is a labor shortage. He said the company is focused on organic growth, an area “where we have tripled our headcount.” To a great extent, “organic growth” means sales.

“We will enter 2024 with over $5 million in G&A (General and Administrative) savings as a result of restructuring leases, laundry facility efficiency, technology efficiency, leveraging our call center in Jamaica and back office in the Philippines and eliminating redundant positions,” Milo said.

Rivals such as Vacasa, Sonder, Evolve, and Avantstay have likewise executed layoffs in 2023 as demand flattened.

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Tags: avantstay, evolve, future of lodging, layoffs, online travel newsletter, property managers, sonder, vacasa, vacation rentals, vtrips

Photo credit: Steve Milo (right), the founder and CEO of VTrips, spoke on a panel with Tim Coates, CEO of RedAwning, at the Skift Short-Term Rental Summit in June. Source: Skift

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