Q&A with Eric Breon, CEO of Vacasa.com
Q: What is the biggest difference between Vacasa and Airbnb?
A: In 2009, my wife Alia and I inherited the responsibility to take care of a small family cottage in Long Beach, Washington. After interviewing professional property managers, we found that they all lacked the marketing technology needed to make renting the home a financial success. So, we managed the home ourselves instead. In the first year, the home grossed over $20,000 in rental income – six times more than what the local property managers had expected.
A: Very much so! I think it’s quite clear that we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg. Today more than ever, people are seeking more authentic travel experiences, and vacation rentals are a great way to get that. Vacation rentals are also a great option for families and groups who need the option of communal spaces and full kitchens.
A: Consumers today are much more willing to experiment with boutique lodging options and alternative accommodations, like vacation rentals, and place less of an emphasis on major brands. This is mostly driven by increased access to information and online reviews. According to a recent survey conducted by BrightLocal, 84 percent of people now trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation.
Another major change agent in the travel space is the evolution of mainstream virtual reality. At Vacasa, we now offer 360-degree virtual Matterport tours at no cost to owners or guests. This helps us more transparently represent our homes during the booking process, which has resulted in increased bookings. In the coming years, I anticipate we’ll see more and more travel brands leveraging VR-based marketing tools and technology.