When we pitched Tim Draper, a 3rd generation VC, his feedback was: “Vacayo has a lot of competition, but they seemed to have figured it out. It’s a bit change.” He was right mostly. Our experience with hosting short-term guests goes back over ten years starting with hosting on Couchsurfing before Airbnb was founded. Given this advantage, we’re not only positioned to continue outpacing new entrants who will need to learn in inner workings of the industry, were a bargain to investors who are backing an idea that has been polished.
Out of the gate, Vacayo pioneered a new model in short-term rental management, one that offers furnishing plus fixed monthly income to property owners. We also built technology to automatically match local superhost with homes for the first time in property tech. Which begs the question: Do we have any actual competitors? That conclusion can be drawn by taking a closer look at our space and breaking down the categories of prop-tech companies.
Pillow, Evolve, Oasis
Help improve revenue and help outsource/handle the ground operations for already established vacation rentals. Homes must come furnished and fully equipped before signing with them.
Guesty, MyVR, Orbirental
Vacation rental software that helps with bookings, calendars and revenue management. They don’t offer full-service management.
Beyond Pricing, Wheelhouse
Dynamic pricing software for the vacation rental industry. The software is similar to the pricing tools on websites like booking.com or Airbnb.
Vacayo, Wanderjaunt, Sonder
Companies converting empty rentals to short-term by offering fixed monthly income to owners. They add supply to the short-term rental market, rather than merely focusing on the demand (guest) side. Vacayo differentiates itself from these competitors by partnering with Superhosts, a highly scalable model. We are also focused on group travel, designing our spaces for maximum privacy and flexible sleeping arrangements.
Wanderjaunt fits this category but, unlike Vacayo, do not landlords guarantee higher income. One reason might be their lack of experience in the space. Another could be that they launched in Phoenix, Arizona, a second-tier city. Vacayo, on the hand, operates in high tourism markets such as Miami and San Diego.
Sonder began as a pure Airbnb competitor in Canada before pivoting to add property management. While their model is similar-they both furnish and lease property from landlords–there are a few key differences.
1. Sonder is positioning their technology towards guests rather than landlords, which will result in software similar to Airbnb. They already compete with Airbnb for direct bookings.
2. Sonder only works with landlords of multi-unit buildings, excluding single-family homes. They are restricted by their management model, where they hire a cleaning company and operate similarly to a hotel within their buildings.
Our takeaway is that Vacayo’s direct competition is limited, although there are many players in the space. Our focus is helping smaller property owners of single-family homes and apartments maximize their income. That’s not to say we are opposed to partnering with larger landlords; it’s just not our growth strategy. At the same time, we’re creating amazing opportunities for Superhosts. Between meeting travelers’ demands for affordable accommodations, with property owner’s need for rental income, with Superhost’s interest in growing their business, we’ve built a thriving three-sided marketplace.