Fast-growing Vacasa is once again expanding its capabilities as an all-in-one place for rental homeowners with the launch of Vacasa Interior Design.
The company, which built a vacation rental management platform and manages a portfolio of more than 13,000 homes, now wants to help homeowners create aesthetically pleasing spaces. By doing so, the company has found that rental occupancy rises an average of 12 percent and revenue jumps 20 percent.
Call it the Instagram effect.
With people finding rentals online and sharing their experiences, the effect of a well-designed first impression photo is striking.
“I have always been interested in how intentionally focusing on a space can drive revenue,” said Kimberly White, senior director of design services at Vacasa. “People are formulating their first impression before they even get to a home. If you have the exact right first impression photo with the great view and it dials in with the colors and textures, you grab people’s attention with design elements and they don’t even realize it.”
The company has three tiers of design it offers homeowners ranging from simple consultation on design strategy all the way to fully furnishing a property. With well designed property homeowners can often command higher rates. The design team consists of five people, including White, and is based in the Portland headquarters. As the service gains traction, White expects to hire more team members and is already planning to add design employees at the company’s field offices.
The new service has been in the works since last year. It was piloted with 60 homeowners on projects and another 160 multifamily properties where Vacasa worked with property managers.
White and her team source many of its items from the online marketplace Wayfair and offer homeowners the company’s trade discount.
This is the latest expansion of Vacasa’s vacation home rental management business. The company, which has raised $207.5 million from investors, launched Vacasa Real Estate last summer to help people buy and sell vacation properties by giving real estate agents access to Vacasa homeowners. Earlier this year the company opened its first real estate brokerage office on the Oregon coast.
Vacasa, which is based in the Pearl District, has more than 3,000 employees across its footprint, which includes the U.S., Europe, Central and South America, and Africa. Many of these employees work in the field maintaining the properties. The company is one of a handful of high-growth Portland-based firms that is consumer-facing. Much of Portland’s technology-based companies are in the business-to-business market.
It’s a company that has a big vision and has amassed the investment capital more often seen in larger tech hub cities. It’s last funding round was $64 million, secured last fall.
Vacasa works with property owners to market their homes and handle booking, cleaning and maintenance, among other tasks. Its proprietary pricing software uses hundreds of data points to set prices and maximize homeowner returns.