Up-and-Coming Vacation Rental Platforms Surge as Summer Heats Up

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Vacayrx: While changes continue on the largest listing platforms, new start-ups are springing up to address user pain points.


It’s not just about the screening, it’s about providing service early on in the booking experience. Many property managers feel that the experience they offer to guests begins with the first phone call.

Summer is in full swing and the vacation rental industry is busy with its seasonal travel rush. However, beneath the surface remains turmoil as the industry writhes with the changes forced upon it by the largest listing platforms.

In the past twelve months property owners and managers have watched “Direct Bookings” evolve from an option, to a suggestion, to a mandatory requirement. Phone numbers have disappeared, emails and links have been redacted from in-platform messaging, and whispers percentage based listing fees are now in the air.

Although many property owners and managers are taking to the web to voice their dissatisfaction, concern, and frustrations with such changes; the changing landscape is providing opportunities for up-and-coming vacation rental platforms.

Take vacayrx.com for example. The small, Jackson Hole, WY based start-up has recently rocketed past 1,000 live property listings and boasts properties in more than 30 US States. The majority of such listings belong to small-to-mid sized property managers throughout the country, and are largely a result of growing fears that property management services will be hindered by the lack of direct communication between managers and prospective guests pre-booking.

For high-touch property managers, such fears are justified, as the preclusion of phone calls and direct emails pre-booking can result in higher risks of damage, theft, and neighborhood disruption. While some users remain optimistic that these risks are minimal, the reality remains that the elimination of such communication makes guest screening nearly impossible.

Property managers are most likely to bear the brunt of these changes as guest screening is one of the services promised to the homeowners who entrust them with access to their homes. Problem guests that are not sniffed out in advance have proven to be extremely damaging to the reputation of management companies and horror stories of raucous parties and neighborhood degradation can lead to reduced property counts, bad reputations, and lost income.

While the large corporations who dominate the industry have turned a blind-eye to such concerns, companies like Vacayrx have gone against the grain and are beginning to reap some of the reward. “We believe that guest screening can only be achieved through direct owner/manager communication with guests pre-booking” a spokesman from Vacayrx stated. “It’s not just about the screening, it’s about providing service early on in the booking experience. Many property managers feel that the experience they offer to guests begins with the first phone call. This is an opportunity to set expectations, ensure that a home is the right fit for a specific guest’s needs, and ask questions to ensure that a guest can be properly accommodated.”

While the industry giants have suggested that instant gratification of bookings is a priority for guests, the fact remains that many guests are allured by the thought of a more personal experience in a vacation rental than that of a hotel.

“The fundamental difference for guests between a vacation rental and a hotel is that if you want a continental breakfast and a newspaper then clicking a button to book is sufficient. If you want to know that a property has two boogie boards, beach towels for the entire family, a downstairs bedroom for grandma, and a fantastic pastry shop around the corner--then you want to talk to someone.”

For more information about Vacayrx, their existing traction, and future growth plans check out their site at vacayrx.com, subscribe to their service via Amazon Subscription Service, and watch for their up-coming launch on Product Hunt.

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Jesse Martinek
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