Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Short-Term Rentals

Numa Buys Dutch Rival YAYS Group

2 weeks ago

Berlin-based hospitality brand Numa Group has acquired Dutch aparthotels operator YAYS Group from Proprium Capital Partners. The companies did not disclose details of the deal. 

But the deal was likely funded with Numa’s latest fundraising round in September. Numa raised $59 million and said the funds will be used for expansion across Europe. 

Together the combined entity holds over 5,200 units. 

YAYS Group operated 489 units across the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, which will now be added to Numa’s portfolio. YAYS Group was taken over by Proprium Capital Partners in 2017. 

Numa was founded in 2019 by Christian Gaiser, Dimitri Chandogin, Gerhard Maringer, and Inga Laudiero. Gaiser’s isn’t new to hospitality — growing up in a family hotel in the Black Forest in Germany. Meanwhile the other co-founders come from financial services.

Its portfolio consists of 4,500 units, in ten countries and across 28 major European cities including Berlin, Munich, Rome, Milan, Barcelona and Paris. Its latest addition being 24 units in two properties in Madrid. 

Short-Term Rentals

Airbnb’s AI Acquisition Paid Partially in Stock Valued Above $100 Million

3 weeks ago

Airbnb made public filings on Tuesday showing that its acquisition of AI company GamePlanner.AI was paid partially with stock valued at about $104.5 million. 

The filings said that the company is offering 877,062 shares and the two largest recipients were listed as Adam Cheyer (337,652 shares) and Siamak Hodjat (245,565). 

Cheyer and Hodjat are the co-founders of GamePlanner.AI, which Airbnb said on Tuesday that it had acquired for an undisclosed price. 

Other stock recipients included several venture capital funds: B Capital, Golden Circle Ventures, a fund owned by Hong Kong businesswoman Solina Chau Hoi Shue, and a trust related to venture capitalist Gary Morgenthaler, among others.

One filing referenced $119.15 as the last reported stock stock price on November 13, which would make the total value of the shares $104.5 million.

Citing sources familiar with the deal, CNBC reported that the total value of the acquisition was nearly $200 million. Airbnb stock is up 3% over the last day and up 36% year to date.

Short-Term Rentals

Miami Startup Launches Vacation Rentals Crowdfunding Platform

4 weeks ago

Miami startup has launched a real estate crowdfunding platform for investing in luxury vacation rentals.

Following SEC compliance and the finalization of its online investment processing platform, allows both accredited and non-accredited investors, starting from $200. 

Foothold was founded in September 2022 after raising capital to invest in real estate for private investors, the company designed a crowdfunding platform to cater for accredited and non-accredited investors to invest online.

The company has announced availability starting November 8, including an investment opportunity in the “Patagonia Mirror Hotel” resort in Argentina. The company plans to extend its platform to local US investors in 2024, actively seeking partnerships with hospitality and glamping space developers.

According to its website, the company counts over 1200 investors and 21 units under development. 

“Our long term vision is to create a solution to help real estate developers and architects in securing funding to turn their visions into reality. We collaborate with them to create unique short-term rentals with the potential to captivate Airbnb users,”said German Rimoldi, co-founder of Foothold.

Foothold’s concept isn’t new – fractional ownership of vacation rentals, especially in the luxury segment, have been gaining momentum. 

In October last year, luxury vacation rental brand Wander launched what it called the industry’s first vacation rental REIT named “Atlas” — with an attempt to attract investors with high yield-passive income promising eight percent annual returns and 14 percent targeted total return.

Another Miami company offers a similar proposition: to allow everyone to invest in short-term and vacation rentals.

Short-Term Rentals

Booking Holdings Is Compensating Hosts and Partners for Payments Failure

1 month ago

The problem surfaced in late Summer —’s short-term rental hosts in Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America cited financial hardships because the company wasn’t paying them for guest stays.

A condo hotel that was listed on Source:

CEO Glenn Fogel told financial analysts last week during Booking Holdings’ third quarter earnings call that would begin letting partners know that compensation is on the way.

Missed Host Payments

“During the quarter, some of our partners at experienced delayed payments due to a planned upgrade to our finance and payment platforms in early July,” Fogel said. “We’ve now cleared the backlog of outstanding payment issues related to the system upgrade. We plan to provide compensation to partners who experienced an extended delay, and we recorded this in our Q3 results. We plan to communicate to all partners who were impacted by these payment delays within the next few days.”

The company won’t specify precisely how much it would be shelling out to hosts as compensation.

A spokesperson said the amount of the payments are “meaningful, not material.”

In-House Payment System Is Strategic Priority

When the reports of missed payments for hosts first surfaced several months ago, the company downplayed the issue.

But in addition to the financial pain it inflicted on hosts, the snafu was an embarrassment to the company because it has been developing its own payments system over the last few years as a strategic imperative.

Pain for Hosts

Fogel discussed the issue with this reporter at Skift Global Forum in September.

Fogel: We did a very, very large change in our backend financial systems. Some things didn’t work so well. You do everything you can to make sure it’s going to be perfect. Wasn’t. Some people didn’t get paid a very, very, very small percentage. But even one person is one too many.

We have two types of customers. We’ve got the travelers and we’ve got the partners. And if we don’t provide good service to them, that’s on us. We screw it up, and there were mistakes. And if you don’t pay a very large company so much, well, it’s not a big deal.

By the way, in our agency business where we get paid by the partner who sends us money afterwards our commission, sometimes we don’t get paid on time either. So 30 days late, 60 days late, 90 days late, and during the pandemic, we didn’t get paid at all. Happens. This is not a pandemic, this is a mistake. And the thing is, for the smaller partners, partners that were really depending on that payment, I just felt so horrible.

Schaal: What kind of redress can you have for them?

Fogel: First thing is get their money as fast as you can, as fast as you can. And I’ll tell you, I get emails and I’ve read them and they are really heartbreaking. You just feel horrible when you do something wrong. And we have fixed it, it’s good now. But I’ll tell you, this is something where I say to the team, and I say that … I spoke out at a town hall for all of our 20 something thousand employees.

And I told them about this. I said, “Look, this is not the way we want to be. We got to do better. We should not ever, ever feel that this is OK.” Well, it’s only a small number of partners. That’s the wrong attitude. It’s always got to be, every partner counts. So the lesson from it was we have to do better.

Short-Term Rentals

Telluride, Colorado’s New Annual Fees for Short-Term Rental Hosts

2 months ago

Telluride, Colorado, is lifting its moratorium on new short-term rental licenses and introducing a $857 annual per-bedroom regulatory fee for property owners who rent to vacationers. This move is aimed at boosting revenue for housing initiatives and alleviating housing shortages.

A recent study by Economic and Planning Systems in Telluride offered various per-bedroom regulatory fee options to help address the impacts of short-term rentals and support affordable housing. 

A Vrbo listing in Como, Colorado. Source: Vrbo

One of the options included a 100% mitigation rate, charging $2,608 per short-term rental bedroom to generate $3.9 million for affordable housing, and a 20% mitigation rate, which would levy a $522 fee per bedroom, generating $778,000. The council chose a rate targeting about $1.5 million annually for affordable housing.

The Telluride council introduced three tiers of short-term rental licenses exempting residents who rent for under 29 days a year from the new per-bedroom regulatory fees, while “classic” license holders will pay the full fees.

Telluride now joins three other communities in adopting regulatory fees to fund affordable housing. Breckenridge charges $756 per bedroom. Pagosa Springs charges $500 a bedroom. 

The town is also mulling a ballot measure for 2024, seeking voter approval for an excise tax on vacation rental homes. Additionally, Colorado Governor Jared Polis is exploring legislation to categorize short-term rental properties under commercial lodging properties for tax purposes, arguing that they should be taxed at commercial rates rather than residential property tax rates.


IDEAS: Moonpass Lookouts, An Elevated Lodging Experience

6 months ago

Situated amid 55 acres of woodland in Wallace, Idaho, MoonPass Lookouts will feature a collection of five bespoke fire lookout towers elevated 30 feet above the ground.

The towers have been designed to offer guests an ‘unparalleled opportunity to witness the celestial wonders above.’

Credit: Moonpass Lookouts

Moonpass Lookouts is the latest venture for Kristie Wolfe, a renowned Airbnb Host known for her unique builds, including The Big Idaho Potato Hotel, The Tropical Treehouse, and The Hobbit Inn.

Credit: Moonpass Lookouts

When construction is complete, each tower will feature all of the essential amenities needed for a relaxing stay, including a full-size bed, a fully equipped kitchen, wood burning stove and a private sauna.

Credit: Moonpass Lookouts

However the real triumph here is the smart glass roof that has been designed for stargazing.

Credit: Moonpass Lookouts

You can hear more about Moonpass Lookouts from Kristie below:

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are celebrating the ideas that are redefining what it means to be truly innovative in the travel industry, including the projects that are defining the future of short term rentals and reimagining the guest experience.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.

Listen to the Skift Ideas Podcast here.

Online Travel

Ask Skift: Expedia’s Short-Term Rental Strategy

6 months ago

Ask Skift is our artificial intelligence chatbot that offers a new way for readers to better engage with our breadth of knowledge and our latest experimentation creating products travel professionals rely on. It digs into news stories, Skift Research reports, Airline Weekly issues, Skift Live events, the Daily Lodging Report, and more to answer many questions about the travel industry.

Here are three questions we asked it about Expedia’s short-term rental business.

How has Expedia’s short-term rental business changed over the last 5 years?
Over the last 5 years, Expedia has been working on diversifying its offerings, including expanding its short-term rental business. However, the company has faced challenges in integrating its various product offerings across its many brands. For instance, Vrbo’s short-term rental inventory was long siloed from Expedia’s other offerings (12/05/2022). Expedia has also made acquisitions and created new businesses to address the short-term rental market, but some of these experiments have been shut down to focus on the core business, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic (05/26/2020).

As the short-term rental industry has evolved, Expedia has had to adapt to the increasing convergence between different accommodation sectors. Platforms like Expedia and have started to mix various types of accommodations in their search results, making it harder to define what is included in the short-term rental or vacation rental sector (12/03/2020).

Overall, Expedia’s short-term rental business has seen changes and challenges over the last 5 years as the company works to diversify its offerings and adapt to the evolving accommodation landscape.
What is Expedia’s main short-term rental brand and why?
Expedia’s main short-term rental brand is Vrbo (previously HomeAway). Vrbo operates an online marketplace for alternative accommodations, focusing on whole-home vacation rentals. It has localized websites around the world and serves as a platform for families to find the space they need to relax, reconnect, and enjoy their time away together. Expedia Group, which owns Vrbo, has broader interests in the travel industry, including other brands like and However, Vrbo stands out as their primary brand in the short-term rental market due to its focus on whole-home rentals and family travel experiences.
What is the difference between the business models of Airbnb and Vrbo?
Airbnb and Vrbo have different business models in terms of property types and target markets. Airbnb offers a variety of property types, including apartments, private rooms, and vacation rentals, catering to a wide range of guests. On the other hand, Vrbo focuses primarily on whole homes, targeting families and larger groups looking for vacation rentals in destination resort areas.

Airbnb’s adaptable business model allows it to offer the right type of supply in many parts of the world, depending on market conditions. This diverse supply enables Airbnb to continue growing in various segments. In contrast, Vrbo’s focus on whole homes may limit its growth potential in certain markets.

Additionally, Airbnb has a broader brand recognition and attracts more direct traffic and bookings compared to Vrbo. Airbnb has also been more nimble in adapting to market changes, such as transitioning to emphasize long-term stays faster than its competitors.

In terms of host and property manager relationships, Airbnb has been trying to downplay professional hosts, while Vrbo adopts a hybrid approach, catering to both individual homeowners and professional property managers. Airbnb has been increasing its share of professionally managed vacation rental bookings but still mostly serves lower-value rentals, contributing less to overall revenue for professional property managers compared to Vrbo.

Overall, the main differences between Airbnb and Vrbo’s business models lie in their property types, target markets, adaptability, and relationships with hosts and property managers.

Short-Term Rentals

Swiss Investor Viadi Group Buys Luxury Villa Operator Edge Retreats

6 months ago

Swiss travel investor Viadi Group has acquired British luxury villa rental marketplace, Edge Retreats. 

Based in London, venture-backed Edge Retreats was founded in 2013 and has a portfolio of 6,500 villas across over 50 countries. 

Founded in 2022 by travel entrepreneurs Florian Steiger, Auret van Zyl and Oliver Corkhill, Viadi Group acquired majority stake in villa rentals company in the Carribbean, in January this year, and experiential tour operator, Explorations Company last year in 2022. 

“The big picture is that the dry up of investment capital for pre-profitability companies is real, and is creating opportunities for companies that have cash,” said Carl Shepherd, the co-founder of HomeAway and board member on Edge Retreats.  “The Edge Retreats experience crafted by Aurelie Leperuq is unique, with average order values many times higher than any of its competitors, net promoter scores that were off the charts high, repeat business that drives the brand.  But cash to grow just wasn’t available. Until investors start to see the short-term rental category as desirable again, the opportunities lie with those who have cash on hand for acquisitions.”

Edge Retreats is headed by Aurelie Lepercq, who was formerly HomeAway’s European general Manager and then became the chief executive officer of Edge Retreats in 2018. 

“Cross border acquisitions in STR are not new at all.  We built HomeAway by buying the major sites in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, and Australia,” Shepherd added.  “Awaze is the product of another company’s cross border acquisitions. All it means is that the acquirer has a use for the acquiree.  Because travel is global, not local, cross border acquisitions make perfect sense as long as you have the ability to scale them.”

Short-Term Rentals

Sonder Hands Out Stock Options to 97 New Employees

8 months ago

Despite a couple of rounds of layoffs since the middle of last year, Sonder hired 97 new, non-executive employees, and gave them all stocks options, as is the company’s practice.

Sonder apartment Rome Italy

A Sonder apartment in Rome, Italy. Source: Sonder

These were mostly city positions and customer service jobs, and were a combination of back-filling roles and new ones because of property and building openings, a spokesperson said.

Sonder’s careers page lists around 75 open positions from housekeeping leads to front desk hospitality agents and a vice president of design, development and openings in a variety of global destinations.

In its Tuesday announcement, the hospitality company said it granted a total of 327,600 shares of stock options to the 97 new employees as a whole.

Sonder’s share price at the Tuesday close was 58 cents, down 3.69 percent for the day.

Short-Term Rentals

Airbnb Suspends Listings in Myanmar Amid Political Unrest

9 months ago

Airbnb has suspended hosting of all lodgings in Myanmar as the country has implemented strict laws prohibiting foreign tourists from staying at unregistered guesthouses or hotels.

February this year marked the two year anniversary after the military coup at the start of February 2021, when democratically elected members of the country’s ruling party, the National League for Democracy, were deposed by the Tatmadaw [Myanmar’s military] in a military junta. 

Airbnb suspends operations in Myanmar. Source: Airbnb

The military set a deadline in January for political parties to re-register under a new electoral law and dissolved 40 parties Tuesday, including Suu Kyi’s NLD, for failing to meet the registration deadline.  ”We want to see a return to democracy in Myanmar. We would like to see the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other people who continue to be detained, and we will continue to work towards that,” said UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric. 

It is illegal to rent out private homes or offer short-term rentals to tourists in Myanmar – those failing to abide by the laws could face up to three years in prison. Only permanent residents and foreigners holding specific business visas are permitted to rent out apartments or houses on a short-term basis. 

Airbnb sent out email notices two weeks ago to hosts in Myanmar informing them their listings and reservations are no longer available. It told hosts that their listing would no longer show up on Airbnb.

Separately, on the other side of the world, Airbnb is also removing listings that haven’t received a permit from the government of Quebec following a fatal fire in Montreal in a building that was located in a section of the city where authorities barred short-term rentals.




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