Most vacation rental property owners sooner or later come across the name of Vacasa. However, many are not sure what Vacasa is and whether it can help them get into or improve their short-term rental business.
In this article, we will cover the most important questions which Airbnb hosts have about Vacasa in order to let them decide if this is the right choice for their needs. Specifically, we will discuss what Vacasa is, what services it offers, how it works, how much it costs, what the pros and cons of hiring Vacasa are, and what the best Vacasa alternatives in the US market are. We will also cover how homeowners usually find Vacasa.
How Homeowners Find Vacasa
There are three major ways in which vacation rental property owners find Vacasa:
Word of Mouth
The real estate investing community is very close, so investors talk to one another and ask for recommendations. Thus, referral from other vacation rental investors is one of the most popular ways in which homeowners find Vacasa.
Another way in which second home owners come across Vacasa is through online searches. As the biggest short-term rental property management company not only in the US but also in North America, Vacasa has put a lot of effort into SEO and content marketing to be findable online. A lot of roundups of the best Airbnb property management companies written by third-party experts include Vacasa. Also, there are over 13,000 online reviews of Vacasa, both by property owners and guests. The strong overall online presence of Vacasa makes it easy for homeowners to find it on the internet.
Vacasa Finds Homeowners
Last but not least, most times instead of homeowners finding Vacasa, it goes the other way around and Vacasa finds homeowners.
In specific, owners of second homes across the nation have been receiving mail from Vacasa including personal information (such as their name and address) and property information (such as location of the property, that it is a second home, and that it is currently operating or can operate as a legal vacation rental according to city, county, and state ordinances). These letters signed by the Vacasa Co-Founder and CEO Eric Breon have been received by people who have never expressed an interest in working with Vacasa or the property management services that they provide.
While cold outreach is a popular marketing strategy in the real estate industry, the level-of-detail present in these letters raises many serious questions about the potential misuse and even abuse of personal data and public records. While county information is available to the public, there is a requirement that they cannot use it for commercial purposes. As Vacasa does exactly this, this means that the company might violate laws for business benefits and profits. This raises a major red flag about the ethics behind Vacasa’s business model and practices.
What Is Vacasa
Vacasa is the largest full-service vacation rental property management company in North America, with a portfolio of 35,000+ Airbnb rentals in 35 US states, Canada, Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rica. Eric Breon and Cliff Johnson founded the company in 2009 and established the headquarters in Portland, OR.
Vacasa’s mission is to renovate the short-term rental management industry by providing the best vacation home experience for everyone (hosts and guests), everywhere. For hosts, Vacasa claims to boost monthly rental income by an average of 20%.
Vacasa works with most property types. These include standard properties like studios, condos, townhouses, duplexes, cottages, and cabins and more specialized properties like waterfront vacation rentals, lake houses, mountain cabins, snowbird vacation rentals, golf vacation villas, and others.
What Does Vacasa Do
As a full-service Airbnb manager, Vacasa provides most services that are required for running a short-term rental business, allowing investors to enjoy passive income. Vacasa services are broadly categorized into core services covered by the standard property management fee and additional services that are paid separately.
The main Vacasa services provided to all vacation rental property owners include:
- Preparing rentals for welcoming guests
- Getting short-term rental licenses and permits
- Installing smart home devices
- Creating and optimizing vacation rental listings
- Distributing, managing, marketing, and advertising listings across top channels
- Cleaning and restocking properties between guests
- Inspecting and maintaining properties
- Setting up dynamic pricing
- Managing revenue
- Communicating with and supporting guests
- Providing tax support
- Managing and maintaining hot tubs
Vacasa Services That Cost Extra
The optional Vacasa services that can be requested based on need are:
- Interior design: Guided or curated.
- Linen program: Initial supply of bedding and towels and regular replacements.
- Vacation rental property insurance: Providing up to $1,000,000 in liability coverage, $1,000,0000 in damage coverage, and $15,000 in bed bug coverage.
Missing Vacasa Services
The most important service that is missing from Vacasa’s portfolio is Airbnb rental property furnishing. This process can take 12-16 weeks when it is not guided by a professional, while it is crucially important as it can boost revenue by as much as 50%.
How Does Vacasa Work
To get started with Vacasa, vacation rental property owners can fill in a contact form on the company website or call. As a next step, they will talk to a Homeowner Consultant who can answer their questions to help them decide if the Airbnb manager is a good fit for their property and expectations.
If an investor moves forward with Vacasa, it will connect them with a local market expert. Together they will review the property income potential, the property management fees, and the local team.
The onboarding process is owner-driven and does not entail a startup cost.
In order to cover most of the US market, Vacasa hires local teams of professionals who handle all the work. They benefit from national corporate accountability and billions of vacation rental data points to help them optimize the performance of each property.
Unlike other top Airbnb management companies, Vacasa does not have specific requirements in terms of short-term rental property eligibility. They work with most property types, and rentals can be guest-ready or not.
When hiring Vacasa, Airbnb hosts need to sign a written agreement, but they do not need to commit in the long term. Contracts can be canceled at any point, with a 90-day notice. In case of early termination, owners have to honor all reservations within the 90-day window.
According to the vacation rental property management agreement, hosts keep the right to reserve their home for personal use as much as they want. All they have to do is to block the desired days on the online calendar.
How Much Vacasa Costs
Vacasa charges a single property management fee for the core services provided by it. However, this fee varies depending on the market and the property type and size, and the company website does not discuss the range. According to Vacasa reviews by property owners, the fee ranges between 25% and 35% of rental income. This is comparable to the fees charged by most full-service short-term rental property managers in the US market.
Meanwhile, the extra services offered by Vacasa are paid additionally. The guided interior design costs $99/property, while the price of the curated design ranges between $599 and $1,199. The vacation rental insurance starts at $7/night. It's not clear how much the linen program costs.
Importantly, Vacasa does not charge onboarding or early-termination fees. This means that investors are free to quit whenever they decide.
Pros and Cons of Vacasa
The main benefits that hiring Vacasa brings to vacation rental property owners include:
- Coverage of many markets and most property types
- No property eligibility requirements and expectations
- Promise to boost revenue by 20% on average
- Help getting properties ready for guests
- Comprehensive property management services
- Working with a local team
- National corporate accountability and supervision
- Solid positive online reputation
- Fees comparable to other full-service Airbnb managers
Some drawbacks that property owners considering working with Vacasa should not ignore are:
- Absence of short-term rental property furnishing services
- Lack of pricing structure transparency
- Lack of personal touch and approach
- Some concerning negative reviews by property owners and guests including mismanaged properties and unexpected charges
- Not the best value for money in the US vacation rental market
Before deciding to hire Vacasa, smart vacation rental property owners should consider some Vacasa competitors. To facilitate your research and your decision, we’ve reviewed the top alternatives to Vacasa in the US market.
Awning: Best Overall Vacasa Alternative
Awning is a true full-service short-term rental property management company which covers the entire US market and most property types. Awning provides all services that are needed to secure passive real estate income for investors while optimizing the performance of their vacation rental.
Services that are worth highlighting include:
- Dynamic pricing: Unlike most Airbnb managers who automate this, Awning applies a mix of AI-driven data analysis and human review by local real estate experts.
- Interior design and vacation rental furnishing: This process is led by the ex-Head of Design at Airbnb, ensuring that rental income is boosted by 50%.
- Amenity management and maintenance: Awning takes care of lawns, swimming pools, and hot tubs at no additional cost for owners.
- Guest communication and support: Awning achieves one of the fastest response times in the industry, at 5-15 minutes.
Awning can achieve nationwide coverage by setting up local teams of vetted professionals in each market before even onboarding properties there. In addition, the company can provide the best value for money in the US short-term rental market by automating most vacation rental management processes, while focusing human efforts on the tasks that really require human intervention.
Awning charges an industry-low fee starting at 15% of rental income. If a property over performs in the first few months, the fee can be lowered. Investors are free to cancel at any point.
To get started with Awning, investors should schedule a call to discuss the property with an Awning agent. The onboarding process is simple, and the Awning team has experience both onboarding new properties and taking over management from another company.
Air Concierge: Best Vacasa Alternative for Luxury Vacation Rentals
Air Concierge review shows that this is a full-service hospitality management company that works with short-term rentals, luxury rentals, and long-term rentals. Unlike Vacasa, Air Concierge focuses on the West Coast only.
While Air Concierge markets itself as a full-service Airbnb manager, many of the required services are provided for an additional fee. These extra services include:
- Taking out trash
- Activating and deactivating alarms
- Installing wireless entry keypad
- Installing noise monitoring devices
- Getting permits, collecting, and remitting transient occupancy taxes
- Inspecting homes seasonally
Among the standard property management services, one that is worth mentioning is:
- Design: This is managed by the founders and hosts of HGTV’s “My House Is Your House”
Air Concierge has a more transparent pricing structure than Vacasa. The property management company charges between 10% and 25% of rental income. The rate changes based on the rental duration, the contract length, and the property type. Managing long-term rentals costs less than managing short-term rentals, while luxury rentals are in between.
Air Concierge requires property owners to sign three-month or one-year written contracts. The property management fees associated with annual agreements are lower. Unlike most Vacasa alternatives, Air Concierge charges a $300 onboarding fee. There is an early-termination fee of $3,500 for three-month contracts and $7,500 for one-year contracts.
Casago: Best Vacasa Alternative for Mixed Portfolios
Casago property management review shows that this is another full-service vacation rental property management company that operates in 21 US states, DC, and resorts in Mexico. Casago works with vacation rentals, furnished and unfurnished long-term rentals, corporate housing, and entire resorts.
Casago covers most services expected from a full-service Airbnb manager. They also have the option to customize services based on the needs and preferences of owners.
One major service missing from the Casago portfolio is interior design and furnishing. This means that property owners have to get their vacation rentals ready before starting working with this company. Casago does not offer vacation rental insurance.
Casago achieves multiple market coverage through a network of local franchises rather than teams of local professionals. Each franchise operates as its own Airbnb property manager which has to report and be accountable to Casago.
The property management fee charged by Casago is equivalent to 18% of monthly rental income, regardless of the market and the property. This is a very clear pricing model.
Hiring Casago entails signing a written property management agreement, with no long-term commitment. Property owners can cancel the agreement at any point, with a 30-day notice. According to the contract, hosts provide furniture, appliances, cookware, and dinnerware.
AvantStay: Best Vacasa Alternative for Large Properties
AvantStay review reveals a full-service Airbnb management company which focuses on providing group experiences and operates in 11 US states and some locations in Mexico. The company manages entire homes with 4+ bedrooms.
AvantStay provides all services that an Airbnb host needs in order to gain passive income, including furnishing, which is not covered by Vacasa. Similar to Vacasa, they can increase rental income by 20%.
This Airbnb manager does not discuss the pricing structure on their website, like Vacasa. However, it’s not clear if the fee changes according to markets and property types.
When hiring AvantStay, property owners need to commit to a one-year contract or multiple-year contract. This differs from most top Vacasa alternatives which allow hosts to leave whenever they want.
Rabbu: Best Vacasa Alternative for Large Portfolios
Rabbu is a full-service vacation rental property management company which works with properties, entire buildings, and even hotels. They operate in 60+ US markets distributed across several different states. The property types managed by Rabbu include single-family homes, multi-family homes, condos, ADUs, boutique hotels, and large commercial hotels.
Rabbu property management covers most services required from a full-service provider. Importantly, all services are part of the core plan, and there are no additional services offered for an extra fee.
However, Rabbu does not help with interior design and furnishing, which might prevent hosts from achieving optimal Airbnb income and ROI. The company doesn’t help get short-term rental licenses and permits either, so investors need to take care of this themselves.
Rabbu can cover multiple markets across the US by working with on-the-ground local managers and a team of carefully vetted vendors for services such as cleaning, repairs, etc.
According to the Rabbu website, the company charges a single property management fee, calculated as a percentage of the booking revenue. The percentage varies based on market and portfolio size. Rabbu reviews by property owners reveal an average fee of 25%, which is on the lowest end of what Vacasa charges. It’s not clear if long-term commitment is expected and how easy or not it is to get out of contract.
As the largest vacation rental property management company in the US market, Vacasa offers many pros and cons to property owners. While the company provides most services needed to run a short-term rental business, the outreach campaigns and the lack of transparency about the pricing structure and some negative reviews make one doubt the ethics of Vacasa practices and work.
Awning is the best Vacasa alternative and the top vacation rental management company in the US, offering full-service management. Services include 24/7 guest communication, dynamic pricing, calendar management, and more. Services available in all 50 states. Plus, our fees start at just 15% of revenue, much lower than the industry standard. Call or text 415-223-2830 to learn more and get started.