Skift Take

From the end of last year until now, Vacasa has seen homeowners leaving its platform and CEO Rob Greyber expects it will continue into the first quarter of 2024.

Top of the morning to you, readers! In the spirit of debate, here’s a contrarian view we don’t hear often: Alleged proof that banning Airbnbs indeed makes rents and housing more affordable. Real Estate Economics crunched the numbers for us, and urges you to look at Irvine, California as a case study.

Moving on.

On the itinerary today:

  • Vacasa earnings
  • Airbnb-backed Zeus Living Shutters
  • Private Equity Investor or Airbnb Owner?

Vacasa Is Losing Homeowners

Property manager Vacasa’s persistent problem of homeowner churn won’t go away. 

From the end of last year until now, the Portland, Oregon-based company has seen homeowners leaving its platform and CEO Rob Greyber expects it will continue into the first quarter of 2024.

Vacasa’s third quarter revenue stood at $379 million, down 8% year over year. The company reported a net loss of $402 million. The company expects a 6-7% revenue decline in 2023 and an Adjusted EBITDA of $5-15 million for the year.

In covering Inspirato and Vacasa earnings this week, I observed that despite posting steep losses, both companies were optimistic about growing again, thanks to rational business planning and cost saving measures: In both cases, the companies did layoffs, pruned their portfolios, and curtailed software expenses. 

Inspirato’s annual burn rate of $60 million would be neutralized by savings north of $50 million by next year, the company reassured investors.

Vacasa said it reduced its cost of revenue by 13% year over year, and  its technology and development expenses decreased by 11%, along with sales and marketing expenses by 23%. 

Both Inspirato and Vacasa went public via SPAC mergers and ended up going through stock splits in the recent past. While softening demand is an industry headwind, both Vacasa, Inspirato and other companies in the short-term rental industry are shifting gears from growth mode to liquidity mode. 

“The short-term rental industry continues to adjust to a dynamic macroeconomic environment and changing travel patterns, and we see the impacts of this in elevated levels of homeowner churn,” Vacasa CEO Rob Greyber said. “Homeowners are responding to recent market conditions, evaluating if they should continue to rent out their home and if so, on what terms.”

Keydata’s Scottish Partnership

The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers picked data vendor Key Data as an exclusive partner. In this collaboration the association’s nearly 1,700 members can use Key Data’s Scottish market insights dashboard for real-time performance and industry trend analysis. All ASSC members receive preferred access to Key Data’s business intelligence and benchmarking tools, covering over 45 key performance indicators crucial for adjusting STR business strategies. 

Airbnb-Backed Zeus Living Shutters

Zeus Living, a property management startup that secured funding from Airbnb is shutting down. The startup raised  $150 million in funding from tech investors, and has informed landlords of its decision to “wind down operations” due to financial challenges, The Information reported. 

The shutdown marks the latest setback in the real estate tech sector, which is grappling with the impact of increasing interest rates. Zeus Living specialized in leasing, furnishing, and subletting homes and apartments to corporate professionals seeking extended stays in several U.S. cities through its platform and other services like Airbnb. The company conveyed its financial struggles to landlords in an email, stating it could no longer fulfill its payment obligations for the properties.

Private Equity Investor or Airbnb Owner?

Private-equity company TPG is buying up single-family homes in Florida to rent them as Airbnbs. 

While several private-equity entities, publicly traded companies such as Invitation Homes, and institutional investors have long been involved in single-family home purchases for annual leasing, TPG stands out as one of the few major investment firms purposefully procuring homes for daily rentals, The Wall Street Journal reported.

TPG has enlisted the services of Kasa, a New York-based hospitality firm that currently oversees approximately 75 daily lodging properties throughout the United States.

A TPG spokesperson described the Florida home acquisition initiative to the Journal as a “pilot program,” indicating that its expansion might be contingent on performance outcomes. TPG emphasized that Florida serves as the initial testing ground, and should the program demonstrate success, the company would explore extending it to other vacation markets.

The company’s strategy revolves around upgrading the Florida homes, furnishing them anew, and entrusting their management to Kasa. This approach is aimed at allowing the private-equity firm to command premium rates compared to those offered by individual Airbnb hosts.

Summer’s New Money

Summer, a proptech startup enabling second home ownership for investors, has raised $68 million in a funding round. This includes an $18 million Series A investment and a secured debt facility of up to $50 million, Short Term Rentalz reported.

The Series A funding round was spearheaded by QED Investors and Viola FinTech, and received enthusiastic participation from prominent investors such as Lightspeed, 1Sharpe Capital Ventures, Connecticut Innovations, Alumni Ventures, Elizabeth Street Ventures, Merrimac Corp, Gaingels, firstminute capital, and Not Boring. 

Booking Holdings Compensates Hosts 

It’s a telling tale of better late than never.

This summer’s short-term rental hosts in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America voiced concerns over financial hardships arising from the company’s failure to promptly compensate them for guest stays.

During Booking Holdings’ third-quarter earnings call last week, CEO Glenn Fogel disclosed plans to inform partners that payment is forthcoming, Skift’s Dennis Schaal writes. 

Initially downplayed by the company when reports of payment delays for hosts surfaced several months ago, this issue not only caused financial distress for hosts but also presented an embarrassing setback for The company has been diligently developing its own payment system in recent years as a strategic priority.

Booking Holdings Is Compensating Hosts and Partners for Payments Failure


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